August 10, 2005

Contrary to what NBC’s DATELINE may say, promoting hardcore pornography with porn spam is not ‘legal’

NEWS RELEASE from MORALITY IN MEDIA, Inc.

NEW YORK (August 10) – On August 5, NBC TV’s Dateline aired a segment “On The Hunt” that looked at the invasion of unwanted ads for Internet pornography. In the otherwise commendable segment, Dateline reporter John Hockenberry said, “But this porn invasion is legal.” Hockenberry also interviewed a “full-time spam fighter” who said that if the porn spammer is based in the U.S., “all he has to do is write the phrase ‘sexually oriented’ on the mail and it’s all perfectly legal.”

Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media, had the following comments:

“Enacted in 2003, the Can Spam Act (15 U.S.C. 7702-7712) is intended to ‘control the assault of non-solicited pornography and marketing.’ Among other things, the Act prohibits messages (1) with false or misleading transmission information, (2) with a deceptive subject heading, (3) without a functioning return electronic mail address clearly displayed, (4) without a valid physical postal address of the sender, (5) sent to recipients whose email addresses were obtained in a manner prohibited by the Act, (6) sent using a computer that the spammer accessed without authorization, or (7) sent to recipients who have requested not to receive messages from the sender. Porn spammers violate all of these provisions.

Yes, a subsection of the Act requires placement of the words ‘sexually explicit’ in specified areas in the email. But that subsection also prohibits ‘sexually oriented material’ in the initially viewable area.

“In addition, the Act expresses the sense of Congress that ‘the Department of Justice should use all existing law enforcement tools to investigate and prosecute those who send bulk commercial email to facilitate the commission of Federal crimes,’ including sections of the federal criminal law relating to fraud and false statements, importation and Internet transmission of obscenity, and racketeering.

“I can’t help wondering whether the hosts and reporters on ‘news programs’ like Dateline just don’t do their homework or are so driven by ideology that they knowingly say things that aren’t true.

“In January 2003, Prime Time Live aired a program entitled ‘Young Women, Porn and Profits: Corporate America’s Secret Affair.’ In this otherwise commendable program, host Diane Sawyer said that distribution of hardcore pornography is ‘perfectly legal,’ unaware of or ignoring the fact that there are federal and state obscenity laws that are enforceable against distributors of hardcore pornography.”

Morality in Media that works to curb traffic in obscenity and operates the www.obscenitycrimes.org website, where citizens can report possible violations of federal Internet obscenity laws. Author: MIM   08/10/2005

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