New Orleans (CNSNews.com) - The Democratic presidential ticket of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman is the Internet pornography industry's best insurance against strict enforcement of pornography laws, a leading industry lawyer told an Internet convention Friday.
The sometimes harsh rhetoric by prominent Democrats against Hollywood violence and calls for regulation of the pornography industry is par for the course in a presidential election year, Paul Cambria, a leading First Amendment lawyer, told executives attending the IA2000 convention in New Orleans, LA. Nevertheless, he urged those in attendance to back the Gore-Lieberman ticket.
Billed as the world's largest Internet/audio text trade show, which runs September 21-24, IA2000 is attended by some 4,000 executives from technology firms, Web hosts, service providers, credit card processors, and other firms eager to form partnerships with pornographic Web sites generating tens of millions of hits daily.
In his remarks, Cambria denounced as "shortsighted" the suggestion that the porn industry's endorsement of the Democrats could help Gore's Republican rival, Governor George W. Bush. Bush's earlier pronouncements against pornography have resonated among voters - a majority, according to polls - who perceive the country to be in a state of moral decline.
"You should use this power to encourage individuals to vote in such a way that the next regime that comes in... will embrace the First Amendment and not try to eliminate the erotic messages that are now here and available to consenting adults in this country," Cambria said.
At stake is the profit coming from billions of dollars spent each year by people who view pornography on the Internet. "When someone is elected president, they bring with them an entire body of individuals, an entire body of politicians who are going to be the prosecutors, who are going to be the people at the [Federal Communications Commission], who are going to be the judges, who are ultimately going to be Supreme Court Justices, who are going to make decisions on policy.
"So it isn't just what Al Gore has to say, or Tipper (Gore), or any of the other players. It's what the whole body politic of that party brings with them," he said.
Cambria blasted "self-anointed cleansing groups," such as Morality in Media - a New York-based media watchdog group - who he said have as their goal the stamping out of all erotic entertainment. "They want to come in and turn the switch off and decide for you as an adult what your content should be in your home," he said.
Gore Likely to Follow in Clinton's Footsteps
Gore has said publicly that every federally subsidized computer in every school should have a smut-blocking filter on it as a condition for receiving federal tax dollars. But a few days later, according to Cambria, Gore's spin doctors let it be known that what he meant was that each school should have a program in place for deciding if there are going to be filters.
"The Clinton regime has not prosecuted any adult obscenity at any time. Their focus has been on child pornography, and their focus should be child pornography," he said. The Internet pornography industry has as big a stake as anyone else in seeing that child porn is stamped out, Cambria said.
A Bush-Cheney victory would spell trouble for the Internet pornography industry, Cambria warned, because it would continue a pattern set by former Republican administrations of pursuing multiple lawsuits against porn purveyors and slowly driving them out of business.
Bush was one of 15 Governors who issued a proclamation supporting the enforcement of anti-pornography laws, and Cambria quoted from an anti-pornography proclamation signed by the governor: "'I urge all Texans to join the battle against pornography. It has no place in a decent society. I urge local communities to join us in sending a clear message that pornography is not welcome in the Lone Star State.'"
In an interview with CNSNews.com, Cambria said the November election is the first in history in which Internet regulation in general and adult web sites in particular will be major topics in a presidential election. The web population that consumes pornography is a constituency that runs into the millions, and those people should be politically involved supporting Democrats, he said.
Commenting on Internet filtering software, Cambria said: "I'm not convinced that people in the adult business have any problem whatsoever with filtering. I think people in the adult business embrace filtering."