Distribution

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
8

Dial-A-Porn recordings are now available locally in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Denver, Pitts burgh, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and other major cities across the country.[1992] These services generate large numbers of calls.

Many Dial-it providers can communicate fifty-seven second messages to a maximum of 50,000 callers per hour without any caller receiving a busy signal.[1993] During one day in may of 1983, eight hundred thousand calls were placed to one sexually explicit recorded message service.[1994] In the year ending February 28, 1984, 180 million calls were made to the same numbers.[1995]

In 1984, Dial-A-Porn recordings represented forty-four percent of the twenty-seven million messages on the "976" exchanges offered by Pacific Bell.[1996] This figure dropped to twenty-seven percent in 1985, but was due to an increase in the volume of other "976" offerings.[1997]

Dial-A-Porn providers and the telephone companies realize significant revenues from the Dial-A-Porn services. When a caller is charged on his monthly telephone bill for prerecorded Dial-A-Porn messages, the provider of the message and the telephone divide the revenues according to local tariffs.[1998] The telephone company generally earns from two to nineteen cents for a one-minute call[1999] with the remainder going to the Dial-A-Porn provider.

In New York, one Dial-A-Porn provider earns two cents per call and the telephone company earns 9.4 cents.[2000] In California, Dial-A-Porn providers earn $1.26 per call while the telephone company earns seventy-four cents.[2001] In some other areas, Dial-A-Porn providers earn $1.45 per call while the telephone companies receive fifty cents.[2002] At two cents per call in New York City, one major Dial-A-Porn provider earned sixteen thousand dollars a day and a total of $3.6 million for the year ending February 28, 1984.[2003] The telephone company for the state of New York has earned as much as thirty-five thousand dollars a day from Dial-A-Porn calls.[2004] Pacific Bell estimates that their company earned twelve million from Dial-A-Porn calls between October 1984 and October 1985.[2005]

Not all Dial-A-Porn calls are local calls. Eighty percent of the calls made to Dial-A-Porn recordings provided by one major service in New York are local calls and twenty percent are long distance.[2006] A direct long distance call from Michigan to a Dial-A-Porn number in New York costs the caller fifty-eight cents per message during the day, thirty-four cents per message after five o'clock in the evening and twenty-three cents per message after eleven o'clock at night.[2007]

Telephone companies face a dilemma as a result of the rapid rise of Dial-A-Porn. The telephone companies support the MANS concept as a means of providing information to the public and earning revenues to help keep basic telephone rates down.[2008] However, they have been subjected to mounting public criticism for helping to provide sexually explicit messages to anyone who can dial the assigned number.[2009]

In response, some companies have taken legal action against Dial-A-Porn providers. For example, one telephone company has refused to offer Dial-A-Porn services at an estimated revenue loss of five hundred thousand dollars per year.[2010]

One telephone company recommended to the Commission several steps to alleviate the growing Dial-A-Porn problems. It proposed that all advertising clearly and plainly disclose the cost of the telephone call.[2011] If an individual is unaware of the charge or if a child makes an unauthorized call, the company should offer a one-time adjustment of the telephone bill to delete the charges.[2012] They also suggested that a telephone subscriber could have "976" access "blocked" from his or her lines.[2013]

The advertising of Dial-A-Porn numbers has become pervasive. In the San Francisco area, Dial-A-Porn numbers are listed in the white pages of the telephone directory under "Dial-It" and in the yellow pages under "Recorded Announcements."[2014] Listings under the San Francisco yellow pages heading include "Adult Fantasy," "Gay Phone" and "High Society."[2015]

In addition to telephone directories, the numbers are also openly advertised in sexually explicit magazines and tabloids. For example, the June 1985 issue of one leading sexually explicit magazine contained ten pages of Dial-A-Porn advertisements.[2016] Many of these publications are sold on the public streets with the Dial-A-Porn numbers openly displayed.[2017]

Dial-A-Porn numbers have also been advertised in a major California newspaper, although many newspapers have now discontinued the advertisements.[2018] In addition, Dial-A-Porn numbers are found in magazines in convenience stores and newsstands and are passed around among children and even written on walls.[2019]

Moreover, some Dial-A-Porn advertising is deceptive. Advertisements often refer to "free phone sex" or "free love" when in fact the caller is charged on their telephone bill if they make the call.[2020] This misapprehension is especially common among younger callers and minors.[2021]

Notes

  1. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I Teresa Hillman, p. 380; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 229.
  2. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p.228
  3. Id.
  4. Id.
  5. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Dunkle, p. 251.
  6. Id.
  7. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 229.
  8. Id.
  9. Id.; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 380.
  10. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 380.
  11. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 229.
  12. Id.
  13. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Judith Trevillian, p. 271.
  14. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Dunkle, p. 259.
  15. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 229.
  16. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Judith Trevillian, pp. 273-74.
  17. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, William Dunkle, p. 250.
  18. See generally, Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Judith Trevillian.
  19. Las Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Judith Trevillian, p. 276.
  20. Id., p. 253.
  21. Id., p. 254.
  22. Id.; See, The discussion in recommendations for Law Enforcement Agencies for more information about the legal issues surrounding Dial-A-Porn.
  23. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 383; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 229.
  24. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 388A-6.
  25. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 230.
  26. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 383.
  27. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 383.
  28. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 231; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Teresa Hillman, p. 377.
  29. Id., pp. 384-85; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 230; Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Judith Trevillian, p. 264.
  30. Los Angeles Hearing, Vol. I, Brent Ward, p. 230. In 1985 Dr. Victor Cline conducted research involving fourteen children (eleven boys and three girls) and their parents on the effects of Dial-A-Porn on children. He found that each of the children displayed an addictive behavior toward the Dial-A-Porn recordings. Cline reported that none of the children stopped placing the calls until they were admonished by their parents upon discovery of the practice. The research also concluded that the children retained very vivid and recurring memories of the Dial-A-Porn recordings. Cline observed that the children exhibited characteristics of embarrassment, guilt and shame about their involvement with Dial-A-Porn. Cline suggested that the long-term effects of the Dial-A-Porn experiences may be the most alarming.