The Road to Cartagena

November 30, 2010

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke and FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas will travel to Cartagena, Columbia next week for the ICANN Board of Directors meeting. One of the topics to be discussed at the meeting is the .XXX “sponsored” Top Level Domain, proposed by Internet registry ICM.

FSC opposes the .XXX sTLD – the majority of adult Internet business owners and webmasters do not support being categorized in an Internet ghetto that will cost them millions in extra fees annually and also make it easier for anti-adult entities to censor and block their sites.

It’s been a long fight. There have been several attempts by ICM to get the domain approved. ICM President Stuart Lawley previously had said that pre-registration for .XXX addresses would NOT be proof of support for the domain; in this latest attempt, he has gone back on this statement. FSC believes that most Internet business owners that have signed up for pre-registration are doing so as a defensive measure, so that domain resellers and cyber-squatters don’t infringe on similar .com address where their businesses reside.

Webmasters – you worked hard to build your business; do you really want an address in the .XXX ghetto?

“ICM continues to act as if  it already has a contract with ICANN for .XXX.” Duke said.  “The issues are far from resolved and this battle is far from over. Rest assured that FSC will be there every step of the way to represent the best interests of the adult online community.” – jc


Pornification: When the Thrill is Gone, What Then?

November 29, 2010

In an article from the Boston Globe, author Don Aucoin gives some interesting perspectives of the “pornification” of America. As sexual imagery becomes more and more mainstream, what effect is it having on society? And if sexual imagery has become so commonplace – we wonder – what are they repercussions for pornographers?

While feminists and moralists decry the misogynistic effect that “porn” imagery is having on young men and women, some media analysts say that the increase in sexually explicit content is just a function of trying to make messages stand out from the never-ending flow of media that assails us everyday. Are we becoming desensitized?

Pamela Paul, author of “Pornified,” compares pornographic imagery to cigarette smoking – once glamorized in movies and music; when the unhealthy effects were exposed to the public, people quit their pack-a-day habits. Paul hopes it will be the same with porn – though, we dare say, that no one ever got lung cancer from looking at XXX-rated magazine or movie.

But with Paris, Brittney, Christina, Gaga and other starlets ponying up to play like porn stars – what happens to the real porn stars, when you take away the thrill? -jc

(Some rights reserved by NykiM)


Homeland Security Shutters more than 70 Torrent Sites

November 29, 2010

Since last week, Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division (ICE) has shut down more than 70 file-sharing sites. According to reports, the Department of Homeland Security is seizing sites directly from Internet regulatory body ICANN without citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or the more recent Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeiting Act (COICA). Reportedly, the sites were closed without any notification to owners.

Several of the sites offer P2P sharing while some may traffic in counterfeit goods.  A list of seized sites was published by tech blog TorrentFreak.com. -jc

(Some rights reserved by therapycatguardian)


HIV Infection Risk Lowered by Pill

November 23, 2010

Researchers announced today that an antirtroviral medication called Truvada, when taken daily, has been shown to reduce the incidence of HIV infection by 73 percent ; the NY Times stated that the pill is effective when taken at least 90 percent of the time. Funding for the research was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the National Institutes for Health. The study was published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Truvada is already available and is being used to treat HIV infection; however, NPR.com pointed out, the medication can cost as much as $36 a day, though there are less expensive generics available overseas. One report stated that Truvada is distributed overseas for a cost of 40 cents a pill.

Not a cure, but a significant step forward in the fight against HIV/AIDS. – jc

(Photo: Some rights reserved C.Goldsmith/CDC)


Illegal Downloading: Ouch! We Touched a Nerve

November 22, 2010

Usually, we don’t blow our own horn at FSC, but since posting our FSC Anti-Piracy public service announcement videos on YouTube in April, we have received more than 670,000 views and hundreds of comments. Content piracy and copyright infringement are a hot topic – and the adult industry is part of that discussion.

The first publication that featured the videos was Wired.com, and from there, it spread like viral wildfire. Our SFW PSAs were featured in Huffington Post, Defamer.com, Media Bistro, Ad Week, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and the NY Times. Most recently, the PSAs were the inspiration for an article in well-respected  financial pub The Economist.

We even made it onto a couple of TV and radio stations, including a mention on L.A.’s KTLA,  Chicago’s Pat Down videoblog, as well as Canadian radio.

Around the globe, publications in other countries translated the PSAs so that their viewers could get the message;

Spain’s El Mundo featured the PSAs en espanol, und in Bild.de sprechen sie auf Deutsch. And oo- la-la, they love us inFrance. And Portugal. And Greece. And Turkey. And Russia… well, you get the picture.

If you go to YouTube to watch the vids, you will see hundreds of comments there and most were extremely negative, vulgar and even vicious. At first, it was hard to not answer – but then we thought, ‘If this is how people react when we’re asking them nicely not to steal, then let them vent.’ Let the world see their reasons for thinking it’s okay to take something for free.

But not every comment was offensive. Some brave souls tried to take the counterpoint.

Lioyd1rving said, “It might seem hypocritical, but I think I see the point. People think they’re giving “the system” what’s coming to it, but the truth is, those on top of said “system” couldn’t care less, because they’re already sitting on millions. It’s the ones at the bottom — that is, those who aren’t swimming in dollars; cameramen, actors, etc. — who end up taking the brunt of the hit. (Just because you’re an actor doesn’t mean you’re world-famous and rich-out-your-ass, especially in porn.)”

Afilmdatabase said, “As a mom and pop business in the adult film industry, I can attest to the truth of this PSA. Yes, you are screwing over the “little” people who work behind the scenes. Yes, this does affect tax revenue both nationally and locally (our state taxes, for examples, are a percentage of our income). Finally, the industry employs a ton of people. In this economy, with the high unemployment rate, that’ a very good thing. BTW, amateur porn is a cheap alternative to stealing if you can’t afford a $2 VOD.”

As I said, anti-piracy is a hot topic. Senate recently approved a bill that may force torrent pirates to walk the plank, while the MPAA and RIAA are flexing their collective muscles.  European nations seem ready to make pirates walk the plank, taking fire at the tubes and torrent. New media formats are changing faster than the media players can keep up with, and new media moguls will be born when innovation leads to monetization.

Until then, the adult industry will continue to make the adult entertainment content that you enjoy – because we know you’re watching. – jc

(Some rights reserved by Lincolnian)


Diane Duke Speaks at UCLA Condoms in Adult Films Panel

November 18, 2010

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke addresses the participants and audience at UCLA’s “Condoms in Adult Films” Panel. Duke and performer Mr. Marcus represented the adult industry at this debate with representatives from the Pink Cross Foundation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, UCLA’s Reproductive Health Interest Group and the Los Angeles County Health Department. -jc


Ignorance is the Disease: Thoughts on the UCLA Condoms in the Adult Industry Panel

November 18, 2010

The only way to combat ignorance is with education, and never was that more apparent than at today’s “Condoms in the Adult Industry” panel hosted at UCLA’s School of Law. Thankfully, long-time performer Mr. Marcus and FSC’s Diane Duke were there to represent the adult industry. Otherwise, no one from the industry may have been there at all.

It was a last-minute gig.

It’s difficult to have an intelligent, open debate under the best circumstances. In this situation, the adult industry – which is what the debate was centered on – was allowed only two seats out of a panel of six. That seems suspect, but not to be unexpected since there was virtually NO outreach to the adult industry community to attend or speak at the meeting. Duke, who was able to muscle her way onto the panel at the last minute, aptly pointed out during the discussion today; the adult industry is not against workplace regulation – but we demand to be asked to the table in discussions that so greatly affects OUR industry.

It also is difficult to have a conversation when the audience (mostly UCLA law students, public health activists and members of the public) knows little on the topics being discussed. Except for public health activists and representatives, most people have very little correct information about sexually transmitted diseases or what the adult industry does in terms of self-regulation or business practices.

In that type of atmosphere, the danger is that misinformation will be spread or that agendas will be pushed, without the people whose interest are at stake ever being included in the discussion at all.

Aside from Marcus and Duke, the only other panelist that could comment on the adult industry from the standpoint of a former performer was Pink Cross Foundation’s Shelly Lubben – but more about her later.

Other panelists included UCLA Bixby Program Director Dr. Paula Tavrow, AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Director of Public Health Whitney Engeran-Cordova, and Los Angeles County Public Health (LACPH) STI program Director Dr. Peter Kerndt. All of them were touted with full biographies including their many accomplishments and credentials.

Funny how Diane Duke’s bio – including her work as a director with Planned Parenthood and the American Heart Association – was somehow “lost” in the email so that she had to explain to the audience, herself, the credentials that she has in speaking on the topic of public health.

In fact, the audience could have learned a lot about sexually transmitted infections from the panelists today. Instead, the focus was on statistics for adult industry performers that LACPH has “gathered” from Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM), since the AIM clinic is required to share data with the county. But how many people in the audience recalled that last year, after a performer was diagnosed with HIV, that LACPH claimed, since 2004, there have been as many as 22 cases of HIV in the performing population? The LA Times later retracted the statistic, presumably because it’s not verifiable. But by then, it was too late to stop the spread of misinformation.

No one on the panel spoke more about STIs than Pink Cross’ Lubben, who issued a laundry list of diseases that she claims she contracted “while working in porn,” including herpes, HPV, as well as “extensive reproductive damage,” 12 years of hemorrhaging and severe anemia, due to unprotected sex that she was forced to have on adult production sets. She used the word “rape” liberally to describe her on-set experiences. She also claimed to have contracted HPV during a gangbang shoot with four male performers. Lubben also claims that 66% of adult performers have herpes and that 111 adult industry members have died from AIDS – without citing the statistical sources for this information.

When an audience member forced the question to Lubben, that she had been a prostitute for six years prior to being in her first adult movie (and during her time as a performer, and after she retired from performing), Lubben replied that she had always had “protected sex” as a prostitute, but was “forced” to not use a condom on-set.

Well, here are some FACTS about various STIs from the Centers for Disease Control website:

• Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is so common, at least 50% of sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives.

• For those that choose to be sexually active, condoms may lower the risk of HPV… But HPV can infect areas not covered with a condom – so condoms may not fully protect against HPV.

• Results of a nationally representative study show that genital herpes infection is common in the United States. Nationwide, 16.2%, or about one out of six, people 14 to 49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection.

And that’s the thing – the only way to fight ignorance is with facts.

It’s a fact that FSC and most in the adult industry are NOT against regulations for workplace safety. But we do demand to be included in developing industry-appropriate regulations that work to keep the industry safe and viable. Right now, the current CalOSHA regs require mandatory condom use and the on-set protocols are based on standards developed for medical settings like clinics. Well, when they developed regulations for the construction industry, did they base them on regulations for crab fishermen? And what industry would allow regulation to be imposed upon it, without having a voice in developing those regulations? FSC has been working with CalOSHA to make progress in developing industry appropriate standards.

And as long as we’re talking about the facts here, perhaps we should ask why UCLA, AHF and LACPH are so determined to see the adult industry regulated and by whom? Aren’t there other industries that also have risks inherent in employment? Are there are other sexually-active groups with higher rates of HIV transmission that may present a greater threat to the public health than the approximately 1,000 active adult performers in California?

AHF’s Engeran-Cordova wisely observed that the topic gets complicated when you involve sex, HIV and the workplace. That’s not a subject that can be fully discussed in an hour on a campus, or in four meetings with the CalOSHA Board of Directors, or without the input of the people who are most affected – the members of the adult industry.

As Mr. Marcus said, it really has to do with education. I just want to add that knowledge doesn’t come from an ivory tower and real communication doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Otherwise, ignorance will spread like a disease. – jc


Brazzers GetRubber.com Campaign Urges Fantasy AND Safe Sex

November 16, 2010

Online adult mega-site Brazzers has launched its GetRubber.com campaign, encouraging consumers to indulge in fantasy, but also indulge in safety when it comes to real-life play. The production company has posted a sky-high billboard in NYC’s Times Square featuring adult starlets Nikki Benz, Rachel Roxxx and Rachel Starr. And at the GetRubber.com site, Brazzers has posted a public service announcement featuring adult starlets Jenna Haze, Julia Ann and Jessica Jaymes – the ladies talk about regulations for performers in the industry, and remind “civilians” that should play it safe in real time sexual encounters.

These performers are professionals, so don’t try this at home! A great example of the adult industry helping to educate the public. – jc

(Photo: Some rights reserved by Paul Keller)


.XXX Domains: Pre-registration is NOT proof of support

November 12, 2010

ICM President Stuart Lawley plainly states, at an adult webmaster conference in 2007, that pre-registrations for the proposed .XXX “sponsored” Top Level Domain will NOT be used as proof of support from the adult webmaster community.

These days, Lawley is singing a different tune. But he’s still trying to get the .XXX sTLD pushed through despite no support from the “sponsoring” community of adult online businesses. .XXX will cost adult webmasters millions in unnecessary fees and make it easier for anti-adult entities to censor adult websites.


FSC Issues Letter to GAC Addressing .XXX Concerns

November 12, 2010

Free Speech Coalition (FSC) yesterday submitted a letter to the ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) regarding concerns over the proposed approval of the .XXX “sponsored” Top Level Domain (sTLD). The action comes after Internet domain regulator ICANN’s decision to consult with GAC about key issues regarding the proposed .XXX domain, prior to the ICANN board voting on the issue at their Dec 5 meeting, in Cartagena, Columbia.

 
“In our letter, FSC emphasizes that ICM’s proposed .XXX sTLD poses a threat not only for adult entertainment community, but also to the stability and security of the Internet as a whole,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “The GAC has an inherent understanding of the issues and hopefully will guide the ICANN Board in the right direction.”

 
The letter is accompanied by other documentation and outlines specific points that would present significant obstacles to the approval of a .XXX sTLD.

Those points include:
• ICANN’s lack of authority to oversee content-based regulation, and its inability to approve any other entity to oversee content-based regulation, in regards to establishing a domain category.

• Lack of support for the proposed .XXX sTLD from the “sponsor” community, which is necessary for approval.• Use of fees from .XXX domain registrations to fund proposed regulatory board (IFFOR) in violation of free speech and free association rights.

• Inconsistencies in documentation provided by domain registrar ICM and its president Stuart Lawley, in their ongoing campaign for approval of .XXX.

• Lack of transparency by ICM during the approval process, overall.
GAC has previously expressed its disapproval of the .XXX domain, and documentation confirming this was included in the packet sent by FSC.

FSC opposes the proposed .XXX sTLD because it is not supported by the adult online community; it would cost adult online businesses millions every year in unnecessary fees; and it would make censorship efforts easier for anti-adult entities.


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