Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WARNING; Sexually Explicit Material Is More Accessible, Made Next Door and Can Destroy Lives. Thanks to Technology, Porn Has an Unprecedented Reach Measured in Billions and Bandwidths. and with Jacksonville Immersed, Local Officials Find They're Facing a Tougher Fight

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

WARNING; Sexually Explicit Material Is More Accessible, Made Next Door and Can Destroy Lives. Thanks to Technology, Porn Has an Unprecedented Reach Measured in Billions and Bandwidths. and with Jacksonville Immersed, Local Officials Find They're Facing a Tougher Fight

Article excerpt

Byline: RACHEL DAVIS and KONRAD MARSHALL

The consumption of pornography is all around us, judging from the magazines for sale at gas stations, to the adult-themed boutiques in strip malls throughout the city, to the pay-per-view options and cable channels we can beam in through our television sets, to the pop-ups and junk e-mails we seem unable to avoid on our computers.

But with technological advances in online networking and file-sharing, porn has reached a point where the production is all around us, too, from professional production companies to amateur dabblers. And law enforcement is hesitant to step in as the community becomes more accepting and prosecutors fear losing a case that might set a precedent for even more liberal standards.

Though amateur porn has been a force for at least a decade, the number of movies being shot by your neighbors has grown dramatically. PornoTube, regarded as one of the top three amateur sites, has seen a 34 percent month-to-month increase in uploads since its creation in June 2006.

Smut has a power, one obscured by the same tired numbers trotted out to show the industry's bigger than the big four sports combined. It's a hold displayed on a personal level, as our neighbors become both buyers and suppliers.

Florida ranks fourth in uploading and viewing adult content on one of the other top sites, XTube.com, and Jacksonville alone had more than 90,000 visitors contributing to and/or using the site in the past 30 days. Girls Gone Wild has visited the area at least twice in 2007, trawling for young women willing to bare their bodies - and finding them.

Eric Nelson, of Florida Beach Guy Enterprises and Beach Models in St. Augustine, has been producing adult movies and pictures for a string of his own Web sites since 1994, drawing female "models" from locales as different as Palatka and Ponte Vedra Beach, enticing the various women to have sex with him and sign "profit sharing" agreements.

For a few hundred dollars, one Callahan-based company will allow you to have sex with one of its "models" while the act is filmed. Or you can merely join the Web site for access to the images and movies they create. ("Do your part," their Web site teaser urges. "Feed a local porn star for only pennies a day.")

Stephanie Buehler, a licensed psychologist and sex therapist from Irvine, Calif., said social mores today afford women more permissive attitudes about being videotaped. Music videos have in many cases become soft pornography. Television programs - and not just late night ones - regularly engage in sex scenes or sex talk. Exhibitionism is no longer perverse but celebrated, with YouTube, MySpace and Facebook leading the charge.

"There is a never-ending supply of girls who are willing to bare it all for 15 minutes and a paycheck," said Stephen Yagielowicz, a senior editor with Xbiz.com, an adult entertainment news site billing itself as "The Industry Source" - or, as Yagielowicz likes to call it, "the CNN of porn." "They break down the doors to do it. And Florida is a particularly bountiful spot."

Lawrence Walters, a first amendment attorney in Altamonte Springs who has represented Floridian porn producers for more than a decade, said the state's climate encourages people to take care of their bodies, and to display them. Florida, he said, has become a preferred location in the industry, second only to California.

"It's really growing here, and it doesn't take much to get one of these operations up and running," Walters said. "All you need is a camera and a computer, and two willing participants."

From a legal point of view, said Walters, Florida is an interesting set of regional microcosms, with the majority of production going on in the southern part of the state, and the majority of cases against pornographers going on in the north.

"In the north, there's this industry that's developing, but they butt heads with the conservative forces in the area who expect to see obscenity prosecutions," he said. …

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