Category Archives: Obscenity

[Podcast] The Communications Decency Act, Backpage, and Sex Trafficking: Should Congress Take Action?

[Update: 2017-07-12] As expected, last night’s discussion was lively. While there were considerable areas of agreement (beginning with the moral imperative to combat child sex trafficking), there were also some provocative debates about the role of major tech companies, the boundaries of speech, and the best options for moving forward. Kudos to host Cheri Roberts…

“The Nineties” on CNN Launches with “The One About TV”

Last night, CNN aired the first episode of its new documentary series, “The Nineties,” which focused on the changes that occurred in television during that decade. Among the major themes: development and then abandonment of shows aimed at an African-American audience, fragmentation of the television audience, increased vulgarity and nudity, a growing acceptance of gay…

Digital Technology and Child Pornography [Lecture]

2017-05-31 Digital Technology and Child Pornography from Frederick Lane A presentation delivered at the National Seminar for Public Defenders in New Orleans, LA on 31 May 2017. If you are interested in discussing a presentation or professional development program for your organization on this topic, please contact me for information regarding my rates and availability.

The FCC Should Get Out of the Business of Regulating Speech [Updated]

[Update 2017-05-23]: On Tuesday, May 23, the Federal Communications Commission issued a statement that it will not take any action against Stephen Colbert for a sexually-explicit joke [see below] that he made about Donald Trump on the May 1 episode of his show, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” According to Variety, which was the…

"Your Honor, This Woman Gave Birth to a Naked Child!" Robert Minor, Cartoon of Anthony Comstock (1915)

Trumpism is the New Comstockery [Guest Post]

By Dr. Amy Werbel Author of the forthcoming book Lust on Trial: American Art, Law, and Culture During the Reign of Anthony Comstock [Columbia University Press, 2018] A new word has entered common parlance and it bodes well for the future of democracy: Trumpism. The tendency of Donald Trump to run his campaign and his…

“The Nineties” — CNN Announces July 9, 2017 for Documentary Premiere

Earlier this year, I traveled to Los Angeles to sit down for a two-hour interview with Herzog & Company, the production company working with actor Tom Hanks and Playtone on a new documentary called “The Nineties.” It is the latest installment in a series that has so far covered the 60s, the 70s, and the…

Cultivating a Culture of Cybersafety [Lecture]

2017-05-02 Cultivating a Culture of Cybersafety from Frederick Lane A presentation delivered at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES on May 2, 2017. If you are interested in discussing a presentation or professional development program for your organization on this topic, please contact me for information regarding my rates and availability.

Art & Ethics: Censorship [Lecture]

2017-04-27 Art & Ethics: Censorship from Frederick Lane A presentation delivered to the Art & Ethics class at Fordham University on April 27, 2017. If you are interested in discussing a presentation or professional development program for your organization on this topic, please contact me for information regarding my rates and availability.

“Are We There Yet, Sisters?” Cindy Gallop and Julie Scelfo in Conversation

One of the great things about New York City is the endless number of lectures hosted by various organizations and institutions. Last night, I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by the Brooklyn Historical Society. Entitled “Are We There Yet, Sisters,” the event featured a wide-ranging conversation between journalist Julie Scelfo and Cindy…

“The Nineties” — My Interview with CNN for Its Upcoming Documentary

Just about twenty years ago, in the wake of the passage of the Communications Decency Act, I began researching what would become my first mainstream book: Obscene Profits: The Entrepreneurs of Pornography in the Cyber Age. It was published by Routledge (now part of Taylor & Francis) in 2000 and remains one of the only…