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BDSM and the Law

IANAL ("I Am Not A Lawyer"): The Webmaster is not a lawyer and this section is not offered as legal advice or an attempt to interpret the law. These links are a starting point -- not the final word on legal issues. I do not mean to endorse a site or article by including a resource here. For reliable legal advice, you must talk to a real lawyer.

The Law as it Relates to BDSM

  • The Law, S/M and You by A. Spencer Bergstedt, Attorney At Law. (legal advice from a real lawyer.)
  • Improving the Legal Standing of Non-Traditional Relationships by Jay Wiseman
  • The NLA-I Law Project: The National Leather Association is looking for volunteers in a nationwide project to recognize the legal status of BDSM in various localities.
  • BDSM-LegalIssues mailing list: This list is dedicated to legal issues surrounding BDSM as a consentual lifestyle, businesses whose major trade or product caters to people who engage in BDSM, and groups who are looking to discuss legal issues as they endeavor to set up groups/clubs/organizations. This list is primarily geared toward the United States, but certainly opinions from Europe, Australia, Canada, and other areas can add new perspective to issues. Throughout the US, more play space is being developed, more parties are being held, and more people keep getting arrested. This list will encourage open discussion of federal, state and municipal law and how organizations have dealt with law enforcement and government agencies. Appropriate topics may include, but are not restricted to: risk management, constitutional law, personal injury and safety, operational issues, sodomy and prostitution law.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BDSM-LegalIssues/

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Specific Legal Cases

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Sex Laws

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Interacting with Law Enforcement

       

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Pertinent Texas Laws, Codes, and Resources

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Find a Kink Friendly Lawyer in San Antonio

    If you're looking for a kink friendly attorney, I'd suggest starting with the following resources

  • your local ACLU Affiliate Office: http://www.aclu.org/affiliates/
  • Kink Aware Professionals Directory is a national list of Doctors, Lawyers, and Professionals who are knowledgable and friendly toward the scene. If you know of some please notify the list's maintainer and drop us a note as well.
    URL: https://ncsfreedom.org/resources/kink-aware-professionals-directory/kap-directory-homepage.html
  • If the lawyer doesn't have to be kink friendly, you can start with San Antonio Lawyers Referral Services 210-227-1853 and the San Antonio Community Law Ctr. 210-271-9595.

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Leftist, Liberal, and Libertarian: Editorials, Opinions, and Arguments

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General Law Resources and References

  • APB Online
  • Cornell's Legal Information Institute
  • www.cybercrime.gov, from the U.S. Justice Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS), is a Cybercrime website which defines computer crime, instructs how to report it, lists the department's latest thinking on privacy vs. policing on the Internet, and shows how the government searches and seizes computers. The site includes sections on
        Reports, press releases, speech texts and testimony,
        Speech Issues in the High-tech Context,
        Privacy Issues in the High-tech Context,
        Laws against computer crime and press releases on significant hacker cases,
        Crimes facilitated by computer use,
        The department manual on searching and seizing computers,
        Answers to frequently asked questions about encryption,
        How to report privacy violations for investigation,
        International efforts against computer crime and child pornography, and
        Data on law enforcement cooperation against computer crime
    Assistant Attorney General James K. Robinson says the site "provides information that can be useful from the classroom to the courtroom, ... (to) children, parents and teachers; lawyers, law enforcement and the media."
  • The FindLaw Search Engine at FindLaw.com
  • Freeadvice.com
  • Legaldocs.com
  • Law.com
  • Law News Network
  • The Librarians' Index to the Internet: Law
  • Martindale-Hubbell's Lawyer Locator
  • Nolo.com Self-Help Law Center
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court Collection from Cornell University's Legal Information Institute
  • Uniform Code of Military Justice

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Privacy Issues

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Privacy Advocate and Civil Liberty Groups

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition (CIEC) is "a broad group of Internet users, library groups, publishers, online service providers, and civil liberties groups fighting for the future of the First Amendment and the future of free expression in the Information age." CIEC "came together to oppose Congress' first attempt to regulate content on the Internet, the Communications Decency Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court found unconstitutional on June 26, 1997. This site is being preserved as a resource on the landmark CDA case."
  • Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center
  • Internet Privacy Coalition
  • Lambda Legal and Education Fund
  • The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom engages in national advocacy on issues related to sexual identity, expression and orientation by participating in the development of public policy and by supporting positive media presentations of diverse sexual practices. NCSF is a voluntary, not-for-profit association that offers a free membership to individuals and organizations who support the rights of adults to engage in safe, sane and consensual sexual expression.
  • National Lawyers Guild: "an association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system."
  • Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.: People who practice alternative sexual expression can sometimes find themselves in trouble. Like the "Paddleboro" defendants in Massachusetts, they may be charged with crimes under archaic laws. They may face the loss of custody of their children. The Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. has been established to help people who find themselves in this kind of trouble. Valerie White, the agency's executive director, says the new agency hopes for several responses to this announcement. "We hope people who need financial assistance with legal fees and the expenses of litigation will contact us for help. We hope lawyers and child-development specialists who are willing to work with this population will permit us to put them in a referral database. And we hope people who share our dedication to sexual freedom will help us build our fund." In the first week it was in business, the group received five inquiries. It has already made a grant to help a woman find an expert witness in a child custody case. The agency has applied for 501c3 status as a tax exempt organization. "We want to focus on alternative sexual expression among consenting adults, like polyamory, swinging, BDSM, fetishism and so forth" White says. "GLBT folks already have a great resource in the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund." Contact the new non-profit at:
    Sexual Freedom Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.
    156 Massapoag Ave.
    Sharon, MA 02067
    valerie@forevermail.com
    781-784-6114
    URL: http://www.sfldef.org
  • The Woodhull Freedom Foundation: Victoria Woodhull was the out-spoken, “racy” activist who introduced sex-positivist values to America during the Victorian era. She believed that both men and women had a right to “free love" without government or public intervention. Throughout the 1870s, she lectured and published, arguing against society’s sexual double standard. Woodhull advocated sexual satisfaction and love for all, legal prostitution, the right to multiple partners, and supported people’s abilities to make their own decisions about consensual sexual activities.
    "To those who denounce me, I reply: Yes I am a free lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please." - Victoria Woodhull
    Woodhull Freedom Foundation
    1312 18th St NW Suite 103
    Washington, DC 20036
    URL: http://www.woodhullfoundation.org/

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Historical Documents

 

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Information For Law Enforcement

For police and lawyers who are interested in BDSM in a professional capacity.

 

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