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ALBANY, N.Y. – New York General Assembly Member Félix Ortiz has introduced a bill which would establish a $2 “surcharge on sexually oriented media,” the proceeds of which would be used to establish a “crime victims fund” in the state.

Under Bill A03417, the term “sexually oriented media” is defined as “a magazine, video, DVD or internet website whose domain name is registered in this state, where the content of such magazine, video, DVD or internet website features nude pictures or nude performances.”

The bill defines “nude” as “entirely unclothed… or clothed in a manner that leaves uncovered or visible through less than fully opaque clothing any portion of the breasts below the top of the areola of the breasts, if the person is female, or any portion of the genitals or buttocks.”

Under the bill, the surcharge would apply as follows: “for each magazine, video or DVD purchased in this state, two dollars for each magazine, video or DVD purchased; or… for each download purchased from an internet website, two dollars for each download purchased.”

The wording of the bill as it pertains to websites would be sure to raise a host of practical questions, quite apart from legal and constitutional concerns such a law would create.

If a consumer purchases a subscription to an adult website which streams its content rather than offering it for download, for example, would the $2 surcharge apply to each month purchased by the consumer? Would it apply only to the initial act of subscribing? Or, given that such a subscription may not involve any “downloading” of content, would the surcharge simply not apply at all?

For what it’s worth, the bill is much clearer on the question of to whom the law would apply – with the answer being essentially any entity in New York which sells products that fit within the bill’s definition of sexually oriented media.


Gene Zorkin has been covering legal and political issues for various adult publications (and under a variety of different pen names) since 2002.