Seth Warshavsky (born 1973) is a Polish-American pioneer in the Internet pornography industry and the founder of Internet Entertainment Group (IEG). During the dot-com bubble, Warshavsky's welcome media attention made him the face of the online pornography industry to a public fascinated with what was then virtually the only segment of the dot-com industry operating at a profit. On February 10, 1998, he testified at a hearing on Internet Indecency before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Warshavsky converted a warehouse in Seattle into the studios of IEG's flagship website, Clublove.com. The website used computer technology that was cutting edge for its day. The business model was similar to that of a live peep show. For a monthly membership fee plus an hourly charge, you could watch post card sized, low resolution images of women strip and touch themselves in real time. For more money, you could talk to the camgirls over the phone and direct them.
Warshavsky was also rated by Time Magazine in their Digital 50 edition as one of the 50 original pioneers of the internet, with the likes of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Steve Case (Warshavsky was #40 out of 50)
Early Internet pornography scandals
Warshavsky was involved in many of the early Internet's porn-related media controversies, including:
- the distribution of a homemade pornographic video starring Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee
- a 1996 lawsuit over use of the domain name candyland. Hasbro v Internet Entertainment Group (Founded by Seth Warshavsky) 1996 WL 84853
- a 1998 lawsuit over a sex video of Pamela Anderson and Bret Michaels (never aired by IEG)
- a 1998 lawsuit by actor Kelsey Grammer over another sex video (also never aired)
- the Our First Time hoax.
- nude photographs of Laura Schlessinger in 1998
- Papalvisit.com, a website with information about the 1999 visit to the U.S. by Pope John Paul II that also featured salacious stories and links to pornographic websites
- the investment and creation, with David Marshlack, of VoyeurDorm.Com
At IEG's peak, Warshavsky claimed to have 100,000 subscribers and $100 million annual revenue, although subsequent events cast doubt on the veracity of this earnings claim.
Anderson and Lee filed a $90 million copyright-infringement suit against IEG in 1998 to claim a share of the profits of the video of them. A U.S. district court judge dismissed the case, ruling that the duo gave up their rights when they agreed to let IEG webcast the footage. Following appeals, Anderson and Lee were awarded a $1.5 million judgment plus court costs and attorney fees in December 2002.
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- "Archdiocese of St. Louis, et al. v. Internet Entertainment Group, Inc. - Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions". Internetlibrary.com. 1999-02-12. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
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