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At UCSD Campus Porn Gets Personal And Vindictive

Hugh Hewitt points out a University of California San Diego (UCSD) article about porn on Student-Run TV. UCSD senior Scott York, who made his rounds on the cable new circuit earlier this year for airing his homemade porn on the student channel's "Koala TV" show (NSFW), Sheehan's it by re-running the porn video with the face of a UCSD student council member Kate Pillon superimposed on the woman unlucky enough to have sex on camera with York.

The University's administrators, while acknowledging the the original broadcast (and presumably the rebroadcast) violate the stations charter, have decided let the student council handle the situation. Given that their laissez faire attitude has allowed the situation to degenerate to this point, perhaps it's time for them to step up.

In the UCSD Guardian article Pillon states that she's not interested in pursuing legal action against York. Given the general dictum in lawsuits of finding "deep pockets," she should probably be pursing action against UCSD...


Comments (29)

The university does need to... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

The university does need to take action. This yahoo's conduct is damaging THEIR reputation. It doesn't hurt him at all. He is a celebrity basking in the glory of seeing his name and face everywhere. They look like stooges.

How the hell is he able to ... (Below threshold)
sabrina:

How the hell is he able to broadcast porn in the first place? What am I missing here?

From the article:
"It’s very clear in the charter what our responsibilities are. We are to make sure no student breaks FCC broadcast rules and regulations, which Steve York has not done."

Yet FCC regulations clearly state that it is against federal law to air obscene programming. Last time I checked, blatant porn fell under this category.

Or am I wrong - seriously, I may be, as I am no legal scholar.

It's just such a breathtaki... (Below threshold)
joe:

It's just such a breathtakingly juvenile thing to do.

Sabrina,You're mis... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Sabrina,

You're missing that this is a college TV station that is closed circuit, meaning you can't watch it except for on campus. Therefore it does not fall under the FCC's pervue. What can be aired is determined by the school's charter, and violations are handled by the school.

Interestingly, public access television is also extremely loose when it comes to regulations. There is almost nothing you can't air on public access.

Thanks mantisThat ma... (Below threshold)
sabrina:

Thanks mantis
That makes sense. I was thrown off by that statement in the article.

He'll probably claim his Ma... (Below threshold)

He'll probably claim his Major is Film and Broadcast and get immunity anyhow. There's a good number of Film majors down at SD, an arms length (and better surfing weather) than UCLA.

So why not just hand this d... (Below threshold)
mojo:

So why not just hand this dweeb his hat and boot him back to whatever podunk town he hails from? Sans degree, of course.

What the hell is going on a... (Below threshold)
JAT0:

What the hell is going on at that college? Did anyone follow that koala TV link? There was not one video there that was fit for any TV programming - please tell me my taxes are not going to this crap!

"We are to make su... (Below threshold)
"We are to make sure no student breaks FCC broadcast rules and regulations, which Steve York has not done."

mantis, wouldn't you agree that the above statement is a little misleading, though? His claim that FCC broadcast rules and regulations weren't violated are based upon the unstated fact that the FCC has no such rules and regulations that apply to this station. The statement sounds as if the things being broadcast were actually A-OK with the FCC, when the material wouldn't pass that entity's standards if it were in a realm in which those standards were applied.

In a similar vein, though, if the FCC isn't involved in closed-circuit (therefore private) communications such as this, doesn't that leave the University free to take whatever action it deems necessary without fear of a first amendment challenge? In other words, if it's private and therefore not subject to government regulation, wouldn't it be isolated from government protection as well?

(Mark, pennywit, and others in the legal field, if you're lurking, feel free to chime in as well...)

Ok, Peter F. got to this on... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ok, Peter F. got to this one before me. It seems that most college tv stations are governed by university rules meant to mirror FCC regulations (i.e. no indecent material aired except between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the FCC's "safe harbor" for smut and other fun stuff like Comedy Central running the unedited South Park movie).

Now I would like to hear from the more lawyerly types too, but as I understand it the justification for FCC's comes from the commerce clause allowing the federal gov't to regulate commerce between the states. In this case the show is not aired outside the university (and I'm not sure it can be considered commerce at all; is anyone paying?), which is well contained within California, so the FCC can't touch it (one may wish to open an argument that since the video makes it on the internet, it is then "interstate", but my guess is you would be fighting a losing battle for several reasons).

One must also note that FCC regulations are murky at best, inconsistently applied and enforced, and often downright stupid. Who the hell knows what they might decide is under their jurisdiction?

One may also point to public high schools having the ability to abridge their students first amendment rights and try to apply that here since it is a public university, but I don't think that would work either since these students are legally adults.

In any case, BoDiddly, yes that is a misleading statement, although I don't think intentionally so.

I know the dude personally ... (Below threshold)
mike:

I know the dude personally and most of you are right on about the whackoness this person has.

What most of you don't understand is the fact the Associated Students are a bunch of douchebags caving in to administration pressure to silence this person who wrote for a newspaper the administration officailly disfavors.

What most of you don't know is the newspaper officially disfavors this "yahoo". Please consult his website.

www.steviewhy.com

If you know this guy, tell ... (Below threshold)
T:

If you know this guy, tell him I have seen better porn from the Internet sites that pay bums to have sex with hookers. I mean he was done in 15 minutes, and this includes pre-coitel chit-chat and a money-shot cleanup. Sad, sad for him to show his "quickness" on TV.

Ok, Peter F. got to this on... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ok, Peter F. got to this one before me. It seems that most college tv stations are governed by university rules meant to mirror FCC regulations (i.e. no indecent material aired except between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the FCC's "safe harbor" for smut and other fun stuff like Comedy Central running the unedited South Park movie).

Now I would like to hear from the more lawyerly types too, but as I understand it the justification for FCC's comes from the commerce clause allowing the federal gov't to regulate commerce between the states. In this case the show is not aired outside the university (and I'm not sure it can be considered commerce at all; is anyone paying?), which is well contained within California, so the FCC can't touch it (one may wish to open an argument that since the video makes it on the internet, it is then "interstate", but my guess is you would be fighting a losing battle for several reasons).

One must also note that FCC regulations are murky at best, inconsistently applied and enforced, and often downright stupid. Who the hell knows what they might decide is under their jurisdiction?

One may also point to public high schools having the ability to abridge their students first amendment rights and try to apply that here since it is a public university, but I don't think that would work either since these students are legally adults.

In any case, BoDiddly, yes that is a misleading statement, although I don't think intentionally so.

mantis is right on... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

mantis is right on two fronts. You can air just about anything on public access channels, including porn. And the FCC does not regulate closed circuit TV, like SRTV.

However, according to the article it sounds like the folks who run SRTV have some standards that closely follow FCC rules. (Is that maybe so that college kids can learn how real TV is run? I dunno...you be da judge.) Therefore, since they are a private entity, it certainly seems like they are well within their rights to judge content and run it or not run it as they see fit. And it certainly looks like they've decided to err on the side of caution.

Like BoDiddly said, it would be interesting to hear from someone with a legal perspective, though.

Tried to post this in respo... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Tried to post this in response to BoDiddley a while ago, but the server seemed to be down. Haven't read what has been posted since then, so this might be superceded by other more relevant thoughts. Still, I'll try to post it again:

BoDiddly:

I've only got a second...

This is UCSD, a public school. In otherwords, it IS the government. Actions by the regents would probably be deemed to be "state actions" in the context of the Bill of Rights. Therefore, any "censorship" would need to pass First Amendment muster, just as though they were a city counsel trying to shut down live sex shows on public sidewalks. It can be done, but what they do will be scrutinized.

That's my 30-second noodling on it. I'm sure others could poke holes in that.

If you can't show porn at a... (Below threshold)
Brad:

If you can't show porn at a University, a place of openness and free thought, in the United States of America, birth place of freedom of speech. then just how conservative have we become. It's just sex people, I did not enjoy York's porn but I expect students can turn the channel a lot easier than imposing a belief system on everyone at the college. Unless we challenge freedom of speech (as these kids have chosen to do in their extremely sophomoric way) we will loose it.

Ok, Peter F. got to this on... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Ok, Peter F. got to this one before me. It seems that most college tv stations are governed by university rules meant to mirror FCC regulations (i.e. no indecent material aired except between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the FCC's "safe harbor" for smut and other fun stuff like Comedy Central running the unedited South Park movie).

Now I would like to hear from the more lawyerly types too, but as I understand it the justification for FCC's comes from the commerce clause allowing the federal gov't to regulate commerce between the states. In this case the show is not aired outside the university (and I'm not sure it can be considered commerce at all; is anyone paying?), which is well contained within California, so the FCC can't touch it (one may wish to open an argument that since the video makes it on the internet, it is then "interstate", but my guess is you would be fighting a losing battle for several reasons).

One must also note that FCC regulations are murky at best, inconsistently applied and enforced, and often downright stupid. Who the hell knows what they might decide is under their jurisdiction?

One may also point to public high schools having the ability to abridge their students first amendment rights and try to apply that here since it is a public university, but I don't think that would work either since these students are legally adults.

In any case, BoDiddly, yes that is a misleading statement, although I don't think intentionally so.

Umm, 2nd graf should read t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Umm, 2nd graf should read the "justification for the FCC's existence".

You guys are all talking ab... (Below threshold)
Synova:

You guys are all talking about the right to show bad porn, but what about the right to stick someone's face on it without their permission?

The fact that the University apparently doesn't care about *that* is entirely appalling and Pillon should *absolutely* be sueing the school for what amounts to approving a sexual assault on her. Would they condone obscene phone calls in the name of free speech? I really don't think so. Would they condone explicit fiction with the names of real students (who didn't give their permission) I sure hope not! Those sorts of things are assault, sexual harassment and all sorts of other things that are *absolutely* against the rules of the University.

Maybe, maybe Pillon really *really* does not care. But more likely than not she just thinks that complaining wouldn't do her any good, that pursuing legal action would just make things worse. If she thinks that, it's the fault of the University. The University should be at the forefront of encouraging her to make a claim of sexual harassment and should be firmly assuring her that she will win that claim.

If they can't do that it's because they don't want to. If they can't protect their students from other students using University facilities for their harassment, they don't want to, and they are willfully sending a message about what will be condoned.

Do you think a student will come forward if some smarmy old prof offers to up their grade for a BJ? Heck no.

Ah, I see they're leaving i... (Below threshold)
Synova:

Ah, I see they're leaving it up to the Student Council.

Perhaps some bright pre-law students should suggest to the *Council* that they sue the heck out of the University.

Synova's right: It is bad ... (Below threshold)
Mark:

Synova's right: It is bad porn.

She's also right about Pillon, she should be suing their asses for lots of things.

But in her last post, she said something that needs to be corrected. She used the "pre-law" thing.

When I entered law school in 1983, no accredited law school recognized any "pre-law" programs. Law is not like medicine where "pre-med" actually had meaning. Rather, "pre-law" was something someone said to get a chick in bed to make a bad porno.

Law schools wanted people who learned real skills and got a real education in under-grad school. They wanted engineers, biologists, accountants and others who could contribute to society without having to resort to law school.

Somewhere along the way, college counselors started pushing worthless degrees like political science, economics, English and philosophy degrees. Sure, they're great if you're gonna be a professor or news commentator, but try to get a job doing those.

I picked the first two of those, and added a music minor. Lots of initials after my name. Some would consider that "pre-law." Wonderful. If I didnt' get my JD, I would not be eligible for any job on Earth, unless I relied on my mechanics/commercial fishing/construction background.

So please, do not perpetuate that "pre-law" myth. "Pre-law" students are basically worthless for anything unless and until they get the JD that allows them to truly feed off of society. Even then, contributions will be far and few between.

"One may also point to publ... (Below threshold)
DW:

"One may also point to public high schools having the ability to abridge their students first amendment rights and try to apply that here since it is a public university, but I don't think that would work either since these students are legally adults. "

California, along with 5 to 7 other states, has laws that forbid public high school administrators from censoring student newspapers or otherwise abridging free speech rights.

Steve York's porn isn't funded by taxpayers; SRTV is funded solely by self-assessed student fees.

Kate Pillon is a senator on the student government, and in the context of UCSD, she's a "public figure." Public figures are afforded fewer protections against libel or slander than the average citizen. And by the way, this isn't slander, libel, OR sexual harrassment--at the very best, it's satire. Satire is protected speech.

York's porn isn't "obscene" based on what's known as the "Miller test" established by the U.S. Supreme Court. It has to have no political, social, or cultural value, and appeal solely to the prurient interest when contemporary *community* standards are applied.

It's certainly political, since York constantly portrays it as political activism.

Look up the word "prurient" and you'll find that it doesn't come even close to describing Steve York. If anything, York is the opposite of "prurient."

There was this guy enrolled... (Below threshold)
-S-:

There was this guy enrolled at U.C. Berkeley a while ago who referred to himself as "The Naked Guy," and walked around the entire campus entirely naked, attended classes, sat in those classes, just engaged in all campus activities...entirely naked!

What I found most disturbing about that ("The Naked Guy" at U. C. Berekely) was that they actually let him...they heard his excuses, they read his retorts, they actually deliberated all the various "rights" and "freedoms" and such and eventually discharged the guy after other students complained about...about...a naked guy sitting next to them in classes, walking around the school, eating his meals..entirely naked!

Sometimes liberal in education is just nonsense. Same thing goes for this Porno Guy. U. C. S. D. needs to enforce a standard of student behavior here and I'm sure they can find more than enough reasons why and how to. Problem is lack of motivation.

Sometimes liberal in edu... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Sometimes liberal in education is just nonsense.

Much like your writing.

No offense meant, Mark. I... (Below threshold)
Synova:

No offense meant, Mark. I pretty much realize that "pre-law" isn't a course of study and was using it as sloppy short hand for "students who are interested in law and paying attention." My bad.

DW, however, if he/she/it thinks that being a public figure subjects one to personal sexual intimidiation without recourse... That is a sad statement about the world, it really is.

Why in the hell should the ... (Below threshold)
choke yourself private Pile:

Why in the hell should the University be allowed to tell me what I can and can not watch? Unlike naked guy in the classroom sitting next to me nobody is bieng forced to watch this material; If others do not wish to view it then they simply turn off the TV and do some well needed pre-law studying. Pornography is one of the most lucrative buisnesses in the United States right now so it obvious that the populace by virtue of thier dollar votes are in favor of having it around. Most people like it so much that they PAY for it. With this fact in mind then the only question to be answered is whether or not the presentation venue is appropriate. College is a place meant to expose the students to a myriad of different view points and let them decide what is right or wrong; I don't feel it does the students justice to be fed the pre-digested cud of what the wise and mighty council of kids has deemed is appropriate for virgin eyes to behold. In conclusion I would like to state that I pay the univeristy simply to show me which books are good to read for my major and that It is I who will decide what is or isn't appropraite for me to watch.

DEFAMATION LEAGUE!!!!!!... (Below threshold)

DEFAMATION LEAGUE!!!!!!

Well I've read both sides o... (Below threshold)
wallflower:

Well I've read both sides of the issue, and even though he blew his load kinda fast, he's kinda hot and I wouldnt mind a roll in the hay with him.

Its closed circuit, big deal. Ok, yeah he's pushing the envelope, but such a reactionary stand is not the answer.

"DW, however, if he/she/it ... (Below threshold)
DW:

"DW, however, if he/she/it thinks that being a public figure subjects one to personal sexual intimidiation without recourse... That is a sad statement about the world, it really is."

Welcome to the real world, post "Hustler V. Falwell."

U.S. Supreme Court
HUSTLER MAGAZINE v. FALWELL, 485 U.S. 46 (1988)

"The State's interest in protecting public figures from emotional distress is not sufficient to deny First Amendment protection to speech that is patently offensive and is intended to inflict emotional injury when that speech could not reasonably have been interpreted as stating actual facts about the public figure involved."

It's clear from the video that Pillon wasn't actually porking Steve York, so you can't say that it could be interpreted as "stating actual facts" about her. Therefore, it's protected speech.

Linked at: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=485&invol=46




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