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Adult Film/Is it illegal to produce pornography in the state of Missouri?

The most recent Missouri statutes regarding pornography ( don't appear to approve of or condemn it. It seems that the "promoting obscenity" section (573.020) would fail to hold up against the production of pornography if it was intended for distributed solely online.

Also, I'm unfamiliar with the legality of deciding not to distribute the film after it has been produced and actor/actress have been paid or distributing the film online for free instead of for profit; let's say, in a pornography friendly state like California.

Please let me know your thoughts on this. Thanks!


The statute you reference really focuses on child pornography, not the production of pornography generally, except for the promotion of obscenity.  However, you should NOT assume that a prosecution for obscenity would not hold up if the content was distributed solely online (although for a variety of reasons, this type of prosecution is much more difficult).

Regarding your question related to distribution, whether or not you distribute the film, or whether you elect to distribute it for free ultimately will not make a difference in connection with obscenity laws.  A good model release will not require you to distribute the content, whether it's for free or profit.

As always, it is vital that you retain a qualified attorney in this area to advise you before you take step one in this business.  If you'd like to discuss your situation with me further, feel free to contact me through

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Dan Pepper


Lawyer representing adult industry businesses and entertainers, and can answer questions related to:

How to start an adult film business or adult website LEGALLY.

What laws to be concerned about with getting into the adult entertainment industry.

What terms and conditions do you need on your adult website.

How to comply with 18 USC 2257 - the federal record keeping requirements.

What forms and agreements do you need for models and crew.

How to deal with copyright and trademark laws.

Before asking your question, I recommend visiting and requesting a copy of the Top 6 Considerations of Starting an Adult Entertainment Business. You may find your question answered there.



I have been practicing law since 1994, and have represented numerous businesses and entertainers in the adult entertainment industry as the managing member of Pepper Law Group, LLC, at My firm also operates 2257Sentry, one of the industry's leading 18 USC 2257 custodian record keeping services for producers of adult content.

Free Speech Coalition, Frequent speaker at adult industry events including the Internext Expo and Exxxotica New York; interviewed in AVN Online; regular contributor to XBiz World

XBiz World AVN Online

BA in Political Science, JD (law degree)

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