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August 30, 2002 06:25pm
Adult Industry Blasts Michigan Attorney General
Source: Resource Media
by: Company Press Release

(CHATSWORTH, CA) -- Adult entertainment industry executives complained today that Michigan attorney general Jennifer Granholm is trampling on the rights of legitimate companies in her aggressive attack on purveyors of child pornography on the Internet, according to AVN Online, the leading trade magazine serving the Adult Internet Industry.

Granholm this week served cease-and-desist letters to six Internet billing firm, threatening criminal prosecution if they did not discontinue processing subscription fees for dozens of Internet sites her office accused of "allegedly trafficking in child porn."

A report today appearing on the AVN Online Website said at least one processor, iBill, immediately severed relationships with Websites on the attorney general's list and another, CCBill, warned all its adult clients to be ready to show documentation proving the ages of any persons who appear in sexually explicit imagery on their sites.

AVN Online said adult site webmasters interviewed by its reporters were outraged at Granholm's action because it was encouraging billing processors to shut down businesses dealing in legal erotica. "This is a witch hunt," one Webmaster told AVN Online, adding "If she wants to see child pornography sites, I'll send her the links myself. She's looking in the wrong place. She's looking at the mainstream adult Internet when she should be looking in the corners of the Ukraine and places like that."

Frank Bongiorno, a veteran adult video director and owner of Purrrfect Video Productions, said his site, FrankiesAngels.com, appeared erroneously on Grandholm's list and iBill immediately stopped handling subscription orders. Bongiorno said he was "livid" at both iBill and Granholm, telling AVN Online, "All I know is that if they had taken five minutes to go through my site, they would have realized that everyone in there looks over 18, and if they had any questions, they could have called me and I would have faxed them the appropriate paperwork."

Bongiorno told the magazine he believes Granholm's actions are part of a publicity stunt timed to win voters in her bid for governor in November's election, and Internet attorney Larry Walters termed Granholm's actions "chilling," and said the case bears close scrutiny by the industry, as it carries a tremendous potential to set precedent for future law-enforcement action.

Walters also noted that if allegations by the Michigan Attorney General that specific Websites are distributing child pornography prove to be false, affected Webmasters may not only have a cause of action against her office, but also against any billing processors who caved in to her demands that they sever financial relationships with those sites. "The way I see it," said Walters, "The Webmasters who were falsely accused could potentially assert a defamation action (libel/slander) if any statements about child porn turn out to be false."

About AVN Online:
AVN Online, published by Adult Video News, is the leading independent authority in adult entertainment on the Internet. AVN also publishes the monthly magazine AVN and an industry newsletter, operates the leading adult industry trade shows Adult Entertainment Expo and Internext, provides content through the Websites AVN.com, AVNonline.com, AVNInsider.com and AVNLive.com, and hosts the annual AVN Awards ceremony every January in Las Vegas. For more information visit AVN.com or email PR@AVN.com.

For Interviews with Tom Hymes or other AVN editors call:
Patti Rogers, 800-76204761 Ext. 33#, or PR@AVN.com

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