Walters Explores Criminal Liability Theories for Some Adult Operators

Oct 26, 2012 10:15 AM PST

LONGWOOD, Fla. — Adult industry attorney Larry Walters has posted on his website,, a recently published article that gives an analysis of criminal liability theories used against online adult service providers.

The article, published by the Stanford Law and Policy Review, was the result of a symposium held at the school earlier this year, titled, “Law and Adult Entertainment.” Its title is "Shooting the Messenger, An Analysis of Theories of Criminal Liability Used Against Adult-Themed Online Service Providers." 

"This is the first time that a top tier law school has published a law review issue focusing on adult entertainment issues, and is further evidence of the mainstreaming of erotic media," Walters told XBIZ. 

"This particular article focused on the potential criminal concerns facing online service providers, such as hosts, escort advertising directories, Internet forums, tube sites and other user-generated content business models," he said. "Currently, there is no legal protection for these service providers when it comes to potential criminal prosecution based on material uploaded by third-party users." 

Walters said that immunity and safe harbor exists for most civil claims, but criminal liability is relatively uncharted territory in the law. 

"Some legislation has been considered at the federal level, but nothing has passed yet," he said. "So for now, online service providers must be concerned with potential prosecution for things like child pornography, obscenity, Section 2257 violations, criminal copyright/trademark infringement, prostitution and other crimes." 

The Stanford Law article explores these potential concerns and makes recommendations to clarify the law in this evolving field.

Walters, who often writes for XBIZ, noted that law papers on adult entertainment issues are a rarity, and said he was grateful the university's law school published it.

"It is encouraging that a respected law school like Stanford would devote a peer reviewed publication to a topic like adult entertainment," he said. "Adult businesses continue to drive the development of the law in these unsettled areas."

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