Oliver Leaman, PhD, Professor of Philosophy and Zantker Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Kentucky, responded on the Ask Philosophers website on Feb. 15, 2007 to the question "Why is it that prostitution... is illegal in most states while the production of pornographic movies... legal?":

“I suppose there is generally a distinction between actually doing something and doing it in order to represent it ‘artistically’. Suppose for example that I set out to cheat passersby by operating a scam; then if I am caught I may be prosecuted and sent to prison. If I act in a movie in which I do exactly the same thing, I would not be charged since although I am being paid to represent something in itself illegal, the representation is not itself illegal.”

Feb. 15, 2007