The adult entertainment industry had a small victory as the Supreme Court of Oregon had ruled 5 to 1 that live sex shows are permitted in that state under the freedom of expression banner. The Oregonian newspaper followed by filing a brief in favor of that ruling.
There is no doubt that the adult entertainment industry is a multibillion dollar industry. It is also a recession proof industry. In the 1990’s when the rest of mainstream America were suffering through a recession, companies struggling to make a profit, and laying off hundreds of thousands of workers, the adult entertainment industry was alive and kicking making record breaking profits.
Our society is based on the foundations of capitalism and the free enterprise system. We have the right, protected under the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to choose the type of business that we want to create. However, as business owners, we have a responsibility to protect society from those that should not see adult material. These individuals consist of those under the age of 18 and those convicted of a sexual offense on a child.
Child pornography is a big problem in this country. Convicted sex offenders have free access to adult material to lure little children so they can commit their sick acts on a child over and over again. Bill O’Reilly is right. If you sell adult material to someone who then commits a sexual offense on a child, that vendor should be held accountable as well. It creates a market for this kind of behavior. Hold the vendors accountable and you destroy that market and will deter this type of behavior.
In the restaurant industry, there exists the Dram Shop Act. Under this act, if a restaurant employee knowingly sells alcoholic beverages to someone who is intoxicated with that person leaving the premises and then kills another person, that restaurant can be held accountable. To comply with this act, all “eating and drinking establishments” have the duty to cut that patron off and to make sure that the patron does not leave in their car while intoxicated. The establishment must make a reasonable effort to ensure the safety of the intoxicated patron as well as society at large.
What the adult industry needs is for some responsible adult business owners to stand up and take the lead. The adult industry also needs a version of the Dram Shop Act to hold vendors of adult material accountable for selling this material to minors and convicted sex offenders. This will force all adult business owners to act in more socially responsible ways to help protect society.
Social Responsibility and the Adult Entertainment Industry
A business has many responsibilities: economic, legal, and social. To be socially responsible does not mean to abandon its other primary missions, such as to make a profit. All adult webmasters are business owners and need to think like business owners.
Social responsibility requires companies to balance the benefits to be gained against the costs of achieving those benefits. Many of the same groups that are fighting to keep adult establishments out of their neighborhood are doing the same thing with casinos. These same groups don’t want casinos in their neighborhood for the fear that the crime rate will increase. This has yet to be proven with casinos, and many state and local governments are starting to realize the income benefits of having casinos in their neighborhoods by creating regulations for the casinos to follow. Some of the benefits include creating new jobs and increasing in tax revenues.
In many states, such as Mississippi and Louisiana, casino type gambling is a major source of revenue in terms of tax revenue. This tax revenue then goes back to society for the development of new public services such as the development public schools. Therefore, both adult businesses and society can gain when adult businesses begin to actively strive to be socially responsible. These states should also start to realize that the tax revenue from having these establishments can add to the development of the services that they provide their citizens.
The Supreme Court has consistently ruled that states and local communities have the right to limit adult businesses in their communities in a time, place, and manner, in accordance to an application of standards. Adult business owners must accept this. One thing that comes to mind is that state and local communities can limit the adult establishments, such as Gentleman’s Clubs to a certain area. This area can be a certain number of miles away from schools and public parks. The tax revenue that they receive can go to maintaining the beautification of that area. That means money from this tax revenue can be appropriated to fund police patrols of these areas as well as the maintenance and upgrading of the landscape.
This is only one portion of tax revenue, albeit still a large portion. However, you still have the many small home based adult businesses. These are individuals who set up their own adult websites and operate it from their homes. Many of the owners of these types of websites are husband and wife teams, such as the website NaughtyAllie.com. This website has been featured on numerous occasions in AVN Online magazine, and is widely successful. This is another source of tax revenue that can help society and these adult business owners need to also realize that as well.
Eliminating Instant Access
Virtually all adult websites feature instant access, where all you need is a valid credit card and you have access to all kinds of adult material. The problem with instant access is that there is really no way of keeping children under the age of 18 accessing adult material. For example, a 14 year old boy could see his dad’s wallet, grab his credit card, and enter the information as on the card. Once that transaction is processed, that 14 year old boy now has access to material he should not be seeing.
The other problem is with convicted sex offenders. These individuals have free reign on the Internet to access adult material and use this material as a lure for the next victim. According to Bill O’reilly, child pornography is a violent crime because of the very nature of the acts on a small child. With convicted sex offenders having access to adult material it creates a market. Prevent convicted sex offenders from gaining access, and this market can be eliminated.
One thing comes to mind is the elimination of instant access and having their website visitors apply for membership. Adult business owners would have to conduct background checks on the individuals that want to become a member of their website.
The things that you would be looking for in the background check are:
- whether the individual has been convicted of a sexual offense,
- whether the individual is actually the person who is applying,
- whether the individual is in fact 18 years of age or older
Employers do this type of due diligence with individuals who apply for employment, so why not with visitors who apply to be a member of your adult website? As an adult business owner, you have a responsibility to prevent people such as this from gaining access to adult material. Wouldn’t you want to have the most qualified members to have access to your member’s only area? If they pass the background check, their application can be approved, thereby becoming privileged members.
Those that value the protection of society would not object to undergoing background check in order to become member of an adult business. They would actually respect your business even more, and be more proud to be a member of your business. Also, many patrons of adult establishments have higher incomes so membership rates should reflect that as well. Convicted sexual offenders are typically in the low income category, so they wouldn’t be able to afford the higher rates. It is these lower life forms contribute to the demise of adult entertainment. Prevent these people from accessing adult material, and you can begin to restore the image of this industry.
Would this increase the cost of doing business? Absolutely! The adult entertainment industry is much like all of the other industries in that they have regulations that businesses within it have to follow. Being socially responsible means putting forth reasonable effort to protect your adult business, as well as being held accountable for any actions that affect the people and the communities in which the business resides. Being a responsible adult business owner means baring some of the costs to help protect society, therefore, you sacrifice some of your short-term profit and make it up in the long-term.
As an adult business owner, you can pass a portion of the cost in the form of higher monthly membership dues. For example, if the cost of doing business increases by 5%, then increase your prices by 2.5%. You are now sharing the burden with your customers instead of gouging them like what Big Oil is doing to its customers. Do not increase your prices by 10% if your cost of doing business increases by only 5%. This is an example of price gouging. Price gouging is illegal and not socially responsible.
It is now time for both adult business owners and society to start working together for the greater good. The message is simple, do your part to protect society and you will protect your first amendment rights. This is a massive change effort for the adult entertainment industry, and one that is desparately needed in order to improve the image of the industry. However, with small victories, adult businesses and society can make great strides. The economic, legal, and social benefits will far outweigh any costs.