Word is that a tabloid in Australia (obviously not a publication that values any broad notion of press freedoms) has managed to stir up a massive set of police raids against the company that produces the AbbyWinters.com family of websites. Reports differ on whether computers and data were seized, but the owner of the company was arrested (no charges yet filed).

If you’re familiar with the photos from AbbyWinters.com (which was once, briefly, an advertiser on ErosBlog) your mind will be boggled by this development:

abby winters sample photo

Australian sexual politics are notoriously primitive, true, but AbbyWinters.com is famous for making some of the classiest, prettiest soft-core porn [see note below] in the world. It’s hard to imagine the expenditure of serious law enforcement resources on this, even in a place where it’s illegal to make an “objectionable film“.

Note: I should expound on my carefully-considered use of the word “porn” in the preceding paragraph, because the company behind the Abby Winters websites is — though respected for the quality of their photos — in one sense a bit of a laughing-stock in the U.S. adult industry. In short, they are often mocked — in my view, deservedly so — for insisting somewhat shrilly that their products are not pornography. Indeed, their boilerplate affiliate-promotion agreement used to threaten in direst terms to terminate any affiliate who characterized their products as porn. From an objective standpoint, this is about as ludicrous as threatening to fire a used-car salesman if he should ever be so vulgar as to call an automobile a “car”. As the current story makes clear, the bizarrely hostile legal environment in Australia presumably goes a long way toward explaining these “it’s not porn, honest!” symptoms of schizophrenia.

I can muster nothing but astonished contempt for the Australian newspaper that “takes credit” for stirring up the raids. Although I understand that Australia does not share the much-besieged constitutional protections of press freedom we endeavor to enjoy here in the United States, I am further aware that newspapers throughout what was formerly called “The British Empire” nonetheless do treasure and profit from a fairly robust freedom of the press. For them to attack this very freedom in order to sell a few newspapers — when instead they should be doing everything they can to protect and extend it — strikes me as both hypocritical and shortsighted. Or even downright idiotic.

Thanks to Violet Blue for the links.

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