This article that I discovered at the TampaBay.com website explains the whole deal of how the sex media and sex work is steadily blowing up in the Sun Coast and South Beach....and the possibility of, favorable court decisions pending, there could be a serious alternative developing to Silicone Valley (aka, the San Fernando Valley in Cali) as a production center.
Tampa Bay.com: Tampa's newest porn star? It could be you
Snicker if you must, but Tampa's adult film industry — and Florida's as a whole — is no joke.
An October cover story in the Adult Video News examined Florida's burgeoning role in the adult film biz, crediting a wealth of talent, a permissive attitude toward nudity (especially in South Florida) and a "healthy and vibrant strip-club scene" for creating a de facto "East Coast branch of the San Ferndando Valley's near-monolithic Porn, Inc."
But when it comes to porn, you're not likely to hear local chambers of commerce crowing about industry growth. Hundreds of Florida adult Web sites prefer not to advertise their location, lest they draw the ire of community leaders.
It happened with Voyeur Dorm, a site featuring college-age babes lounging around a West Tampa house. Claiming the site violated local zoning standards, city officials wanted it shut down. Voyeur Dorm argued that the "business" at hand was actually taking place in cyberspace, and therefore not subject to local ordinances, and it won. The city appealed the decision all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, but Voyeur Dorm still came out on top.
Still, conflicts like these are why the adult industry carries on mostly outside the eye of the public. And for amateur pornographers, that can pose a ton of legal problems.
Take the case of Clinton McCowen, a.k.a. Ray Guhn, who ran a few successful adult Web sites from outside Pensacola. In 2006, McCowen was arrested on charges including racketeering, obscenity and prostitution.
Yep. Authorities say McCowen and partner Kevin Patrick Stevens paid women to have sex on camera, which, when you get right down to it, does sound a lot like prostitution.
But it's not prostitution, say porn advocates. It's art.
"If it has artistic value, then it's not obscene," said St. Petersburg attorney Brandon Kolb, who's running the show at Porn Camp. "You're not hiring people to perform a sexual activity. You're hiring people to perform their interpretation of a theatrical role."
Don't laugh. In 1989, the California supreme court ruled that participants in an adult film were doing it solely for the money, not their own sexual gratification, and therefore couldn't face prostitution or pandering charges.
The case, California vs. Freeman, helped solidify the state's status as a porn mecca. In the years since, officials elsewhere have been loath to pursue similar charges against porn producers, lest their states become similar hotbeds of X-rated action. That's partially what's at stake in the Ray Guhn case, which will go to trial in late June.
"If we get a decision like they got in Freeman," said Larry Walters, McCowen's Orlando attorney, "that would clearly open up the floodgates and allow the creation of adult material without fear of prosecution under prostitution laws."
If that happens, watch out — Florida's under-the-radar porn industry might suddenly take center stage.
Hmmm....didn't our fearless blog founder just get back from a roadie in Florida today??? Just a coincidence, no doubt.... ;-)