Watch Out - Porn Coming To An iPod Near You

By ERIC J. SINROD

Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2005

Adult-oriented content historically has been at the leading edge of various types of technological development, from the early days of photography, to home video players, to content available on the Internet. Now, with new iPod video capability, pornography may push the envelope of video content available on iPods. Of course, this development presents some issues.

Protecting Children

It is tough enough already for parents to monitor the Internet viewing habits of their children. Many parents have home computers located in a central place, such as the primary living room, so that they can be sure that their children are accessing only age-appropriate content.

However, the ability of parents to monitor is seriously undermined if their children quickly can download adult content onto their iPods and then take it away from the home for easy viewing elsewhere.

Protecting The Workplace

Employers often undertake vigorous efforts to monitor and ensure that only work-related and otherwise appropriate content is viewed by employees in the workplace. Many employers insist that the only computers accessible in the workplace are those that belong to the employers precisely so the employers can monitor for proper content viewing.

Yet, iPods are becoming so ubiquitous and are so small, they are an easy vehicle for bringing pornography into the workplace. Employees discreetly could try to view pornography away from the watch of others. By engaging in such behavior, they often could be distracted from their true work functions, and problematically, they could contribute to an inappropriate and potentially hostile work environment to the extent the Pod porn is seen by others.

What To Do?

So, what are we to do?

As video makes its way onto iPods, parents can and should let their children know that they periodically will check their kids' iPods to see what video content has been downloaded. They also should check on filters that are being developed to prevent adult content from being downloaded onto iPods.CYBERsitter, for example, reportedly is researching the process needed to filter pornography video content from iPods.

To the extent adult video content becomes a true iPod phenomenon, employers obviously should ban employees from viewing such content in the workplace. If that does not get the job done, employers should consider banning iPod video use in the workplace.

The Internet and hand-held devices of various types bring all of us and all types of content closer together. Of course, this has many beneficial effects. Some may argue that viewing pornography on iPods is a positive development too for interested adults. Without debating that issue, the truth remains that Pod porn must be dealt with when it comes to children and the workplace.


Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris (www.duanemorris.com), where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is (www.sinrodlaw.com), and he can be reached at [email protected] To receive a weekly e-mail link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an e-mail with the word Subscribe in the Subject line to [email protected] This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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