Throwback: When Porn Industry Opposed Censoring Of Library PCs

people using computers at a library.

Responding to theft, substance use, and public porn access, Los Angeles City Council members proposed tightening the laws at those places for kids, book enthusiasts, and seniors. Their proposal came way back in 2017.

The Council members David Ryu and Nury Martinez proposed a series of strict measures to restrict adult content viewing on computers at libraries. Ryu said that he knew Los Angeles taxpayers would not like their dollars spent so that people could access raunchy content at public libraries.

However, the LA-based trade association for the adult entertainment industry, the Free Speech Coalition, was unhappy with the attempt to filter library computer videos. The trade association argued that that move could breach the Amendment I right of taxpayers to read their preferred content and view what they wish to see.

Librarians and regular customers need not tolerate drug consumption or lewd conduct in public, said the Executive Director of the FSC Eric Paul Leue. At the same time, Leue said, restricting online content was a vehement dislike of free speech, plus it directly opposed the free idea flow. He said that filtering software was a quick-fix, and that it often blocked explicit videos, sexual health details, LGBTQ websites, and sites such as the FSC’s. Those websites lack sexual photographs but discuss issues pertinent to the industry that the FSC represents.

The Council members sought to make security better at 73 Los Angeles libraries, plus censor photography and digital video with filtering software used for every public library computer, wireless network, and workstation.

The Council raised this matter for discussion before, but it led to computers being blocked with screen filters. The councilmembers found that measure ineffective at stopping passers-by and kids from viewing adult content. After that, Ryu said, the County government used digital content filtering tools at its libraries, whereas courts backed filtering to some extent notwithstanding concerns regarding free speech.

Ryu believed that it was possible to preserve free speech at the same time as protecting kids. He was and is still possessing an American Civil Liberties Union membership.

Nury Martinez implied that there was no balance between protecting kids and free speech. He described the act of libraries allowing people to view porn on public systems as ‘outrageous’ and ‘not right’. As for Martinez, libraries should be accessed for learning purposes instead of something lewd. Parents should not need to bother about their kids being exposed to explicit videos and photographs.

Anyhow, the FSC felt that kids could be protected in a way that did not involve Los Angeles choosing what content American taxpayers could view. Leue said that libraries could utilize privacy screens for blocking inadvertent content viewing, but the FSC were concerned about a proposal to restrict access to specific websites or content.

The proposal wrongly suggested that porn could be clearly defined and easily identified, instead of being a changing concept that hinged on the law enforcement views concerned, Leue said. In 2016, magazines such as Cosmopolitan were attacked as porn in conservative US districts, and there were severe measures to restrict LGBTQ imagery and content, plus nudity elsewhere. We should not be comfortable about state-funded workers deciding what was acceptable or unacceptable for grown-ups to research/read, or which ideas could or could not harm public health.

Leue also said that setting a limit on controversial literature and art might be difficult and that the aforesaid tools could be too harsh.

Artists such as Larry Sultan, Jeff Koons, and Mapplethorpe graced government library shelves, but they handled the same sexually explicit themes identically, he said. Censoring porn might appear easy, but libraries had a history of being full of books that censors considered harmful or obscene not long before. Leue cited Heather Has Two Mommies and Kinsey Reports as two of those kinds of literary books.

Not all from the adult video industry opposed the proposal from the councilmembers, though. For instance, Adam Grayson of Evil Angel was surprised to know that it was even possible to view pornography at a government library. Grayson is the CFO of Evil Angel, a porn film production house and distributor. He termed the councilmembers’ proposal as a ‘common sense’ motion. Grayson solidified his view with the possible situation of his children going past a creeper who watches the Evil Angel website at the library.

Source: https://www.laweekly.com/porn-industry-opposes-effort-to-censor-library-computers/