back to article Interstate web host foils gonzo porn baron Max Hardcore

A federal jury in Tampa, Florida convicted a pioneer of gross-out "gonzo" porn last week on obscenity charges stemming from the delivery of his movies over the Internet, despite the fact that he lives and works entirely in California. Paul Little creates porn in Altadena under the names of "Max Hardcore" and "Max Steiner." …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Weirdness

    Or he could host his empire in Japan, where they have eel porn, and also octopus porn. Cockroach porn, etc. Leeches, earthworms, and so forth. But they blur out pubic hair!

    Octopuses don't have pubic hair.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I see a new line of hosting pagkages...

    All based in Japan, could be good business

    coat on and on way over there...

  3. David Neil
    Paris Hilton

    Re. Japanese tentacles

    The reason they go for the tentacle stuff is due to the Govt outlawing depictions of male genitalia - the thinking was no schlong, no smut....

    Paris - Cos she's wondering why her wax job appears to have become pixellated

  4. Greg

    8 and a half hours

    Now that's some jury duty. Watch a full day's worth of porn.

  5. Brian Gannon
    Boffin

    Eight hours!

    Did they really need to watch eight hours just to be sure the material was obscene.

  6. Kai Hauschildt
    Alien

    @ ashley

    and that is precisely why critter pron is so popular in japan. most of the critters used don't need to be blurred. besides, the shuddering of the accidental viewer takes care of any required blurring...

    do aliens have blurrable parts?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    This made me smile

    In reality he should be locked up in a cell for ten years with a big nasty man called "mom".

    I remember watching a documentary on Channel 4 years ago about a girl trying to break into the Adult industry in the US. The girl visited Max H who's interview technique was to rip her underwear off in front of the documentary crew and force himself on her there and then. When she refused to do something in a scene for him, he became so abusive and threatening to the girl that the documentary TV crew actually had to rescue the girl from his house to prevent further harm to her both physically and psychologically.

    While I understand he is not the only bad apple out there ... the fact that this particular asshole has been prosecuted has cheered me up a little.

  8. Stephen

    gah

    this is just wrong.

    watch out gay porn... there are plenty of homophobes that are "offended" by such material.

    i guess this what happens when the intolerant are the majority...

    you'd think after all the wars and terrorism people would stop trying to force their views on the world and just live their lives as they see fit, but no... they are "compelled".

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    re: TV crew actually had to rescue the girl

    It's not like that documentary had an agenda and made things appear worse now is it?

    I'm sure Max isn't the most pleasant of gentleman, but the docu story sounds like he was acting criminally, with video evidence to boot. I'm sure any girl who was mistreated for real could report it to the police.

    It's a slippery slope most can't help avoid, but just because this Max character doesn't fit in with our own norms doesn't mean it's OK for him to be locked up nefariously. Haven't these prosecutors got something better to do that would really help make Florida a nicer place to live?

  10. William Hart
    Alien

    @Ashley asks Do aliens have blurrable parts?

    Technically not. Their working definition of porn involves watching endless shots of politicians smiling.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which one was it?

    Vonnegut once had an apropos quote, I think from "Breakfast of Champions," (or Maybe "Pearls before Swine") where the Supreme Justice brags about having made the most definitive ruling on obscenity vs. art ever.

    "Art doesn't have public hair."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @AC: Rescuing the girl

    Ummm...that's a standard plot for a Max Hardcore scene: girl shows up for porn shoot and is immediately attacked and rather thoroughly degraded.

    Are you sure it was a documentary you were watching and not a Max Hardcore DVD?

    (His stuff is definitely not to my taste, but it's just acting. Is watching someone pee in a girl's mouth really that much worse than watching them get disemboweled in a Hostel movie?)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if

    If I can't have my hardcore pronz or my delicious flat chest drawings I don't see why people should be allowed to watch man on man action infact what's the point in porn in general...

    It's not that I have a problem with it, but if people want to ruin my fun I'll damn well make sure I shit in the pool before I get out.

    Just wait till the UK government makes tentical pronz equal to extreme pronz just as they're trying to make loliz equal to CP.

    And hey lets face it, if I'm already a criminal why not just go out on a rapeathon - o right becouse sadly I'm a good human being with no wish to hurt anyone, shame the moralist nambies arn't so just. To busy trying to save the world they fail to see that they're making it unlivable. I happen to like vices.

    Although the Articles about the states - there are do gooding lunatics here too.

    Things not to do in England

    Don't smoke - it kills everyone in the world

    Don't drink more then 3 units - or you will die!

    Don't drive ever - your fuel is destroying the world!

    Don't use your technologies - your power usage is destroying the world!

    Don't watch pronz! - You will turn into a rapist!

    Don't look at drawings of filthy flat chest - You are a peadophile!

    Don't let children outside to play! - They will get kidnapped by dirty peadephiles!

    Don't leave your children inside watching TV! - They will turn into fat peadophiles!

    Don't discipline your children - It hurts their self esteem and it's against the law.

    Don't not discipine your children - becouse we'll sue you for the damage they cause.

    I think this list could rumble on for a while.

    It's a great country it really is, so come on guys lets go down the library, we'll have a wild time!

  14. Peter
    Stop

    @AC

    "I'm sure any girl who was mistreated for real could report it to the police."

    Surely this must be the most naive statement of the year. Luckily, there's still just over half a year left.

  15. steve
    Pirate

    re: TV crew actually had to rescue the girl

    years later i remember that too, it was pretty jaw dropping, if the girl was acting scared, then she was too good an actress for porn!

    screw max, he's no hard done by hero.

  16. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    @This made me smile

    Hmm, I seem to remember the documentary you mention, except not quite in the same way that you do.

    It showed a naiive girl with "Daddy issues" (apparently her father had left when she was young and her "agent" was leading her around by the hand) being drawn into something that she was not ready or prepared for.

    If anyone is to blame it is her agent who was more interested in getting his fee than taking care of her.

    But this gets away from the issue that, both in the USA and the UK, there are those who don't like pornography and will use (or abuse) any case or any bandwagon they can in order to ensure that *their* tastes govern what *we* are allowed to see (cf the UK's "extreme pornography" legislation).

    Of course what they *really* want is to ban *all* porn, but they know that they don't have a chance of getting their way all in one go, so they go for the "soft targets" instead and slowly the thin end of the wedge gets driven in more and more...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Max H docu on C4

    I saw the doc and she was pretty scared by the whole thing, to be fair though going to Max H as one of your first ever porn jobs is a pretty silly thing to do, I am sure the doc crew knew his rep and where looking for this sort of reaction.

    Wasn't it a a Nick Bloomfield(?) doc?

  18. John Savard Silver badge

    An Important Principle

    Proof of criminal intent, or _mens rea_, is normally essential for a conviction of a criminal offense. But since the offence in question was a breach of Federal obscenity laws, and not Florida laws, I can see why the courts would reject knowing where the servers were located as being a critical element in establishing intent. Even so, this is the sort of thing that "brings the administration of justice into disrepute".

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Re: "Art doesn't have public hair."

    Look, a simple set of trimmers and a shaver can take care of that problem!

    Mine is the one with funny stains...

  20. StopthePropaganda
    Thumb Down

    First they came for the "hardcore" pr0n producers

    and I cheered them on

    then they went after the gay pron

    and I allowed it

    then I said "F**K the Democrats!" and they came for me

    but there was no one left to speak out.

  21. Chris C

    Freedom? What freedom?

    To my knowledge, I have not seen any of this creator/producer's content. However, I doubt it would be to my liking since I am most definitely visually and aurally offended by excretory-based porn as well as pain, degradation, and humiliation. So do you know what I do? I avoid it. Just because I don't like that kind of content doesn't mean somebody else shouldn't be allowed to like it. As long as everyone involved (especially the actors) are performing voluntarily and without coercion, and as long as the content is distributed within the confines of the law (not distributed to people under 18, for example), I see no problem with it.

    What somebody wants to do or watch in the privacy of their own home is their own business, not mine. Of course, I bet the guy caught simulating sex with a bicycle in his locked hotel room thought the same thing; now he's on the sex offenders list.

  22. Dave Bell

    Nothing new, and it's not just porn.

    Isn't this essentially a re-run of the Amateur Action BBS case of the early Nineties?

    Which is slightly odd, because the case was set up to invoke Tennessee standards, and these days there are several porn sits based in that State.

    And it doesn't take much for an English court to decide they have jurisdiction over a libel case. Not even a server presence necessary.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Give that jury a medal

    I can't take twenty minutes of Mr Hardcore's output. Video, that is, not ejaculation/vomit/scat/whatever he decides to get up to

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    How is the prosecuter different from the offender?

    I'm actually not that far from where he'll probably be staying. I may pay him a visit and express my sympathy. The system definitely mimicked his style of attack. I found his work amusing and a bit entertaining, myself. A few bits that were less extreme were a bit arousing, but yeah, his name pretty much tells you all you need to know.

    I'm definitely sad to see him prosecuted, though. He was well known in the industry, and I've seen exit interviews with some girls. Things are definitely consensual after all is said and done. Sounds pretty obvious like this documentary in question did their best to make him look bad.

    Anti-obscenity laws are very questionable to me. An entire community could be extremely left, or right, and call the expression of a dissenting opinion obscene. Very similar, in fact, to how KKK members were found innocent of murders in light of overwhelming evidence, simply because the jury approved of the murders.

  25. Fuzzy

    @ Chris C

    Sorry chris but your comments have the element of common sense and as you know common sense and the law (or politicans) are mutually exclusive.

    it is the unfortunate reality that politicans or other fringe elements feel it is their moral duty to impose their own ideals on others. Nothing changes. Whats the saying when the first law was made the first victims were common decency, common law and common sense

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I like my pr0nz on toast thank you very much

    Does that make me a baaaaad boy?

    I remember the documentary too. I seem to recall that the girl objected to being taken roughly in the throat and almost being asphyxiated. Kinda understable really. If she wasn't prepared for what to expect, someone around her wasn't doing their job properly. She didn't appear to mind to much her appearance in Ben Dover video mind you (as I recall due to the severity of the chaffing I got)so perhaps you guys should look that one up;).

    We are really being teased by our betters though. First they legalise pr0n and then they set about trying to ban it by the back door. I thought that was what bad boys did, though I digress. It's ok for them to kill hundreds of thousands of civilians in far off countries but God forbid anyone sees someone else voluntarily having the crap beaten out of them for sexual gratification.

    There's nowt as queer as folks.

    Mine's the dirty mac with the fake arms and the kleenex in the inside pocket.

  27. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Backing off

    If someone puts something in a sewer and it backs up to your house, you are the one who has to do something about it.

    First clean house then find the bastard that did it. And if the sewer pipe was intercontinental so what? He shouldn't shit on my floor!

  28. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    @Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    wtf are you on? that's close enough to amanfrommars comment.., no scrap that, amanfrommars makes some sense (at least he does to me if you read his stuff properly).

    As for the jury verdict, it seems the spirit of Mary 'I don't do blowjobs' Whitehouse is alive. God rest her merry little soul.

  29. P. Lee Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    @Graham Marsden (@this made me smile)

    "If anyone is to blame it is her agent who was more interested in getting his fee than taking care of her."

    ...and that is precisely the reason for banning "extreme porn."

    What you do in your own home is up to you, but once it becomes commercial, the interests of individuals are too often subjugated to those of the corporation and everyone knows that the law is rather bad at protecting the individual.

    Its one thing for your boss to make it clear that if you don't work late on a project you'll be missing a promotion and might be first out when cost-cutting comes around; its quite another when a boss pressures you to do the kind of things described above. Its the same reason we have statutory rape laws - regardless of the possible consent - there is far too much scope for abuse.

    As for freedom and tolerance there is a reasonable case for not allowing it. Freedom and tolerance of the individual to speak his mind is one thing - freedom and tolerance for a business to make money any way it wants to is another. Let Max put up his work on the internet without sponsorship or fees - he has a right to be heard.

    As for freedom and tolerance for the individual, just try saying that you're a "Christian," "evangelical" or "creationist" in one of these comment pages and feel the love! Finding civility between people of differing views is almost impossible these days. The term "tolerance" is usually misapplied by reserving it only for those who say "anything is ok". That is not tolerance, that is merely a commonly held belief in permissiveness.

    So go ahead and assemble a mighty pron collection. Just be tolerant of those who disagree that it is an acceptable business model. If you don't like this idea, remember I'm advocating that all porn should be free...

    Paris - you know why!

  30. Peter

    Don't look at porn if it offends you

    Hey, there's gotta be over 100 websites out there. Only 1 of them is Max's. Look at the other 99+ websites if Max's offends you.

  31. david wilson

    Apart from the Jury...

    ...who is actually going to watch the porn and be offended by it?

    I was under the impression that there were few things in the world more boring than porn that doesn't happen to turn you on, unless you're a fan of poor acting.

    If what was involved in making the films wasn't actually criminal (any more than a TV show depicting crime is itself criminal), then as long as the output is kept away from the unassuming public by being charged for, who is going to end up watching it who doesn't want to watch it?

  32. Alan Fisher

    Hugh's next?

    and then they came for Hefner and I cheered 'em on! ;)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bad law

    Whilst I personally find Max Harcore's products distasteful, the principle is the important thing here (remember Voltaire*)

    From the various articles I have read about the case, some of the jury members have complained that they basically had no choice but to return a guilty verdict:

    'It was a travesty but we had no choice because of the way the law is written', one juror told AVN. Several jurors approached Max Hardcore and his attorneys to express their sympathy at having been forced to convict him on the counts due to the "poorly written" law regarding the transportation of obscene material via the internet and the mailing of the DVDs to the middle district of Florida. Another juror reportedly said that if two words in the law had been different, he would have held out for acquittal.

    Full article is here: http://www.avn.com/video/articles/30610.html

    *although Wikipedia says he never actually said the line "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @P. Lee

    I think you're confused. As you say, there is a statutory rape law and others against assault and battery among other things. Those laws are sufficient in themselves to protect the poor little petal from the TV documentary. She wasn't the brightest thing, bless her, but she was being trailed by a whole documentary crew which is more than most other "actresses" have to protect her.

    You're wrong too about intolerance. The above case is precisely about intolerance because the State of Florida bent the law in order to go out of their way to prosecute someone "they didn't like". That, my friend, is intolerance.

    God help you when they come for the sanctimonious tw@ts.

  35. Graham Bartlett

    @AC

    "Trying to ban it by the back door"

    Ahem...

  36. Kevin Thomas
    Paris Hilton

    WTF?

    There's pron on the internet!!??

    Why am I always the last to find out about these things...I guess I should put the hoover back in the cupboard then.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Finally ... proof that the French are extreme.

    "Some argue that, since the Internet is available everywhere, obscenity prosecutions can occur anywhere. That's an extreme position, and not even the prosecutors in this case seem to agree with it."

    Haven't the French just done a number of people who have written and published the material on UK systems purely on the basis that it could be read in France?

  38. Tony
    Paris Hilton

    Ahem...

    @Graham Marsden 'they go for the "soft targets"'

    I guess I'd best get in a stock of that viagra those helpful people keep emailing me about then...

    @ AC 'ban it by the back door'

    My girlfriend has the same irrational prejudice.

    Paris, because she would never make any smutty movies.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    rain clouds everywhere

    This kind of legalese activity seems to be quite a succesful way of killing of any american dream of "cloud computing" as a competetive advantage or succesful business model...

    But then again it may all have been a strain of miasma computing anyway...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Surely

    In order to subject speech to state regulation, a court or jury must determine that an average person applying the standards of the community would find the speech offensive, lacking in any serious substantive value, and appealing solely to the prurient interest.

    Surely that statement could be applied to all US politicians (and reality shows come to think of it)?

    Alien p0rn - now thats extreme

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Community Standards?

    The community standards bit has never made sense to me for things like pr0n-- it is not like a picket fence outside a house or something that the local physical "community" can observe.

    It would seem more reasonable to consider the "community" for the purposes of the law to be whoever can or does observe the material-- typically those that are interested (and therefore unlikely to 'convict').

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    EXPLOITED VICTIMS?! DON'T GIVE ME THAT GARBAGE!

    Firstly, I am a woman who is secure in her sexuality.

    The actresses perform of their own free will, they are not stupid (smart enough to know what they are getting in for) and many people in all walks of life have to do shitty things to get ahead in their career (everyone has to start somewhere). Their career is sex on camera- go figure. They are getting paid, young actresses making a name for themselves- in it to win it! They are using Max just as he is using them. This should not make him a guilty man!

    Do not talk of them as 'exploited victims' -P-lease! Women have always loved to flaunt themselves to catch men and all want to be seen as desirable (except for ugly feminists in denial)- why do you think vain cosmetic surgery, make up, non-casual clothing and extreme dieting exists? And why do you think many women 'let themselves go' after marriage? Has YOUR wife gained 50lbs and no longer puts an effort into her appearance? Do not patronize us females by making out we are helpless, dumb and exploited. Yet we can play that game at our own free will.

    I'm sure these girls don't *really* entirely enjoy filming with Max- or any other star/director for that matter- Porn actresses have to have loveless sex with strangers whilst looking like they are REALLY enjoying it, with cameramen everywhere and directors- not exactly horny or a girls' fairytale ending.

    If i look at over 95% of porn, I can tell the girl is not *really* enjoying it. And if somebody urinated down your face, you probably wouldn't be smiling either. It's hard to find girls who actually *like* to drink that stuff! Besides, the girls getting upset, unhappy and worn out is all part of the act!!! If they were enjoying it it wouldn't work! It would just be like all that other dull, waste-of-time humorless porn out there (yawn...), it all contributes to Max's cutting edge. Don't tell me you are convinced by these cheesy girls' expressions and pleas?! And if you are and disapprove, why the hell are you watching it?! Or even know who max is? Forced entry hurts, fact- it also hurts your wife...

    Just face it- 'we' all like to do the dirty in different ways- and there are many men AND women, myself included, who get off on this kind of dirty. It's like S/M without all the cheesy outfits (well...... i take back that statement...)

    To me, Max is the Russ Meyer of the 21st century.

    ---

    Girly.

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