The Lighted Candle Society
818 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, N.W. SUITE 1100
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006
SEPTEMBER 2003 NEWSLETTER John L. Harmer
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Several months ago I was contacted by an individual in Hollywood who introduced herself as representing an entity known as “World of Wonder.” She informed me that this organization was planning to do a documentary on the evolution of pornography and asked if I would be willing to be interviewed. When I posed some questions about why she was contacting me she responded that it was because my name was listed as the attorney of record in the attempts to obtain judicial injunctions against several of the more gross pornographic motion pictures produced during the 1970’s. I was assured that the documentary was intended to confirm the rationale that I had used in the lawsuits that the motion pictures in question should be sequestered as “moral public nuisances.”
However, in our brief conversation I became quite certain that neither the alleged purpose of the documentary nor the assurances being given to me were reliable. I quite firmly declined to be interviewed. During the next few days I contacted two other attorneys that I assumed would be sought out by these same people and urged them to decline to participate in the production. After that I simply forgot about the matter.
Earlier this month I received from one of those attorneys a copy of a newspaper interview with an individual described as “…the co-chief of World of Wonder.” It turns out that World of Wonder is a production entity from Great Britain that has earned hundreds of millions of dollars with the production and distribution of pornography on British television. A final note from the article says, “…World of Wonder has a Wal-Mart sized rack of adult-themed projects in development in the US and the UK.”
It is manifestly true that the continued erosion on television and in motion pictures of any restraint regarding explicit sexual content has now reached the ultimate limits. A viewer must still seek out these exhibitions of degenerate and lascivious conduct, but they are not difficult to find. It is also manifestly true that the more restrained (although not by much) television networks are gradually moving farther and farther into the exhibition of explicit perversion because of the loss of viewers to the cable and subscription channels that are now broadcasting pornography.
In response to this increasing willingness by the producers of motion pictures and television productions to include the vulgar, carnal, and sensual in their productions a group of entrepreneurs have emerged throughout the country who are editing these productions that are worthy of saving into “family friendly content.” Most of these entities are what can be referred to as “mom and pop” businesses. They are small, under-capitalized, and struggling to stay alive. However, they are expanding rapidly as parents who are unwilling to have their children view such vile materials turn to these sources for acceptable versions of current entertainment productions.
Inasmuch as the work of these entities enables the original producers to reach a larger audience and to obtain sales revenue that otherwise would not have been theirs one would assume that the producers would be happy to let these small independent entities produce more income for the producers. Alas, such is not to be. Several organizations representing the motion picture and television production industry are now engaged in an intense effort through the federal courts to force these small firms to cease dignifying their otherwise obscene materials. This litigation is now in its sixth or seventh month. The financial burden upon this network of small entities to defend themselves in the courtroom is about to crush them out of existence.
The Lighted Candle Society has been contacted by several of the owner operators of these enterprises and their attorneys in an appeal for our financial assistance to help meet their legal expenses. I have carefully reviewed the documents that have been presented to me by their attorneys. I am satisfied that the modifications being made by these small firms to the motion pictures and television shows now on videocassette and DVD are quite within the bounds of copyright law. No one is attempting to escape any financial responsibility in the use of these materials. There is no evidence, and no claim by the industry in the court briefs they have filed against these entities that this is the case. There is nothing close to the “pirating” of these productions that has received so much attention in the music industry. Rather, this network of local enterprises has come about in response to the requests of their customers to be able to obtain entertainment materials that are suitable for a family in which moral values are held in high regard.
The entertainment industry’s sole argument against what these individuals and small firms are doing is one of the most specious and arrogant imaginable. The allegation of injury is simply couched in the concept that by removing the obscene these defendants have in some remarkable way denigrated the quality of the intellectual property. The exact language used by the industry attorneys was “…the defendants create and commercially distribute unauthorized altered versions of motion pictures, without regard for the Director(s) vision, storytelling, and artistry.” By making the productions acceptable to an audience that is committed to teaching their children higher moral values these small enterprises are alleged to have violated the “vision and artistry” of the original producers.
Returning to the aforementioned newspaper article that appeared in the London Observer on 17 August 2003, the reported noted
“…is unrivaled when it comes to second guessing what entertainment the U.S. public wants and, right now, the blockbusting movie producer has a hunch that American families are ready to welcome the porn industry into their dens.
“And that is why Fox – keen to build on the momentum from smash hits American idol and 24 – will become the first network to air a primetime drama set against the backdrop of adult entertainment business…U.S. television schedules are suddenly pumped full of genuine porn icons.”
How much more of this crass contempt for dignity and virtue will be thrown into our faces before we finally respond? Our children will interpret our silence as having the clarity of commitment that comes from a shrug of the shoulders. We can no longer tolerate the unopposed efforts by those conspiring minions of darkness whose only criteria for right or wrong is financial profitability. Surely we have not sunk to a state of such incomprehensible lethargy that we will stand passively by while the values and attributes of virtue and dignity which have ever been the fundamental basis for the American culture are completely assaulted and destroyed.
In our next newsletter we shall announce the details of a special fundraising endeavor the proceeds of which will be used to assist with the legal costs for these individuals and entities who are striving to confirm our right to refuse to allow into our homes and lives the moral degradation of pornography. Between now and then we ask you to provide us with the names and addresses of those like yourself who would be willing to support such an effort if they only know about it. What these “family friendly enterprises” are doing will not solve the basic problem of lost values among the American people, but at least it will be an important effort to stop the problem from getting worse.
Your continued support of the LIGHTED CANDLE SOCIETY is one way in which you can help defend the legacy and heritage of virtue and dignity that our forefathers left to us and which we in turn yearn to leave for our posterity. We are confident that by making a strong stand for virtue and dignity we can instill within our children an understanding of how and why they must beware the debilitating and tragic consequences of pornography. What we say and do in defense of light and virtue will be the message that our children and so many others who yearn for a world free of the filth of pornography will grasp and accept.
Thank you for accepting the challenge to stand with us in refuting darkness with the light of truth.
JOHN L. HARMER
President, The Lighted Candle Society
The Lighted Candle Society
818 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20006
Dear Mr. Harmer:
Please accept this as my commitment to become one of The Lighted Candle Society. I enclose my check in the amount of $ . I wish to receive the Society’s newsletter and other literature so that I may use these in my own neighborhood and community to fight against the pornography epidemic.
Subscribing Member $35.00 Sustaining Member $100.00 National Sponsor $500.00
State Zip Code
State Zip Code
State Zip Code
State Zip Code
State Zip Code
Please mail the above form to: The Lighted Candle Society, 552 W 925 N, Centerville, UT 84014