What is the difference, you ask?
As it turns out, plenty.
You see those late-night commercials for GIRLS GONE WILD? Ever see a Mardi Gras boobies video for sale? Well, as it turns out, those aren't considered porn. They are considered adult videos, but are not subject to many of the restrictions of trade that are placed on hardcore pornography. For instance, you can advertise them on late night TV, and video stores can sell them from the rack rather than having a separate room.
Same thing with softcore. Softcore isn't considered porn, I shit you not.
Where the line is drawn in making the distinction I shall not go into. I do know, and it is rather amazing to me as to what is allowed and what isn't but that's pretty much beside the point for the purposes of this tirade.
The main point is that there are some distinct advantages that crop up.
1.) I have the equipment to do this now. It doesn't take any further investment in equipment.
2.) It's legal, as long as you verify and maintain proof of age of your participants. A copy of a picture ID is suffucient. It's a whole lot nicer than selling drugs from a legal standpoint.
3.) It's profitable. This is something that is debatable, but within the realm that it's pretty cheap to produce (when you already have the equipment), the potential for profit is good.
4.) Tax write-offs. Say that I create a line of adult videos called "Hot Tub Hotties". Buying and installing a hot tub then becomes a business expense. And since I'm shooting at my home studio, the rennovations also become partially a business expense.
It's not a get-rich-quick scheme, certainly. There are expenses to be had, like paying the models (I refuse to call them actors), marketing and advertising, DVD duplication, website space and maintenance, and the like. And keeping an attorney on retainer.
The other part that I haven't touched on is the question of ethics. I have no problem with it because I understand my own sense of ethics and morality, and I've always sort of had one foot in the fringes of the "sex industry". The issue comes in more with the potential models, and the problems that can be associated with them. For instance, if I get contacted by a woman who has a crack habit and wants the money to buy more drugs, how do I deal with that? My gut response is to say no, because I don't want the bad karma and the potential hassles that can come with it.
The things that worry me the most are the business aspects. That is an area that I do not have good skills or knowledge in.
More research is required.