UIC Review of Intellectual Property Law


Nicole Chaney


Advertisers employ bare-skinned models and sex appeal to seduce American consumers with every magazine, billboard, and television advertisement. The ubiquity of sexual gratification has reached a tangible quality in American culture, but sex is still somehow taboo in our legal system. Despite the vast market for online adult entertainment, obscenity laws have been used to strike down claims for adult content copyright owners. These content owners are producing creative sexual expression for the public benefit, but they are being denied the same economic incentives granted to their mainstream counterparts. Ironically, Playboy Co. is an outlier in the adult entertainment industry as it has continually enjoyed enforcement of its adult content copyrights. Multiple judges have argued that explicit adult content is obscene, and therefore, is neither protected by copyright or the First Amendment. This comment argues that there is, in actuality, a hetero-patriarchal judicial bias to blame for the lack of protection in adult content copyright. Further, it argues that these content evaluations violate the core copyright policy of encouraging creative work for the public benefit. Finally, it recommends that the Copyright Act should be amended to reflect the virtual omnipotence of the internet and the growing demand for digital sexual content by rewarding adult content providers through enforcement of valid explicit content copyrights.