Vanilla with a Twist

a personal journey.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Life in America

Sadly a girl reports that the site once here is now forever gone...

Below is a copy of a press release from NCSF (National Coalition for
Sexual Freedom) ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

Contact:
Susan Wright, NCSF Spokesperson
(917) 848-6544

Wave of Obscenity Prosecutions Leads to Closure and Self-Censorship
of SM
Websites

October 20, 2005 - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has announced
that his office will specifically target "bestiality, urination,
defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior" in
pursuing new obscenity prosecutions. The Department of Justice began
recruiting in late July for a new anti-obscenity squad to pursue
obscenity prosecutions, and the FBI announced in September that it
was forming an anti-obscenity task force to crack down on
pornography.

Any website that has content containing "bestiality, urination,
defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior" should be
forewarned that prosecution is possible. Additionally, Federal
sentencing guidelines state that any obscenity-related punishment
should be "enhanced for sadomasochistic material."

Forty people and businesses have been convicted of obscenity since
2001, and 20 additional indictments are pending according to Andrew
Oosterbaan, chief of the Justice Department's child exploitation and
obscenity section. There were only four obscenity prosecutions
during the eight years of the Clinton administration.

Though adult content is, in theory, protected by the First
Amendment, only a jury can determine if a work is obscene or not
under the subjective set of standards that vary from one community
to the next established in the 1973 Supreme Court ruling, Miller v.
California.

Text is not inherently more protected than images when it comes to
obscenity charges. The erotic fiction website Red Rose Stories is
facing obscenity charges after federal agents raided the owner's
home on October 3rd, taking computer equipment and diskettes that
contained all of their files and site information.

The Department of Justice is clearly hoping that websites will self-
censor or remove their content entirely. Midori, a fetish model and
SM educator who teaches classes on bondage, has removed her website,
BeautyBound.com, citing fear of obscenity prosecution. The owner of
three SM websites, known as GrandPa DeSade, removed his websites
from the Internet. SuicideGirls.com also announced they are
self-censoring their materials over concerns about a possible
obscenity crackdown.

Recent prosecutions of obscenity on websites include: A former
police officer in Lakeland, Florida, was arrested on October 7th on
over 300 obscenity-related charges for the sexual content posted on
his website. The same day, webmaster Chris Wilson, owner of amateur
website NowThatsFuckedUp.com, was raided on charges of obscenity by
a local Sheriffs office.

"I think it's crucial for us to stand up for consensual
sadomasochism and other alternative sexual practices," says Barbara
Nitke, fetish photographer. "This is a battle worth fighting, and I
hope everyone who can will just censor out the most provocative
material from their websites, but keep them up. I also appeal to the
lawyers in our community to help us find ways to keep people's
websites up."

Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF)
have proactively challenged federal obscenity laws as applied to the
Internet, arguing that obscenity laws based on "local community
standards" are too vague and their existence burdens protected
speech, resulting in self-censorship due to the fear of prosecution.
A district court three-judge panel in New York ruled that while
Nitke and the NCSF members were at risk, more proof was needed that
obscenity laws cause otherwise protected speech to be restrained
through acts of self-censorship. The case is currently on appeal to
the United States Supreme Court.

"The effect of silencing alternative lifestyle speech was exactly
why we brought the lawsuit," says attorney John Wirenius, lead
counsel for NCSF. "The self-censorship we are seeing underscores the
importance of supporting our ongoing obscenity challenge."

To contribute to the appeal of the CDA lawsuit, go to:
www.ncsfreedom.org/donations.htm

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom - www.ncsfreedom.org
Barbara Nitke - www.barbaranitke.com

###

A project of NCSF

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is a national organization
committed to creating a political, legal, and social environment in
the United States that advances equal rights of consenting adults
who practice forms of alternative sexual _expression. NCSF is
primarily focused on the rights of consenting adults in the
SM-leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities, who often face
discrimination because of their sexual _expression.

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
822 Guilford Avenue, Box 127
Baltimore, MD 21202-3707
410-539-4824
media@ncsfreedom.org
www.ncsfreedom.org