FSC Calls Industry-Only Meetings to Discuss Workplace Safety, Performer Testing

April 25, 2011

Free Speech Coalition is calling for industry members to meet this Friday, April 29, to discuss current developments with workplace safety protocols and performer STD testing. These meetings will review the current status of workplace safety and performer testing, as well as what is on the horizon for adult film productions.

There will be three separate meetings for producers, agents and performers. The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Producers 10am-12pm
  • Agents 1pm – 2:30pm
  • Performers 3pm – 5pm

The meetings will all be held at the Skirball Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049, in the Haas Room.

These meetings are for industry members only, so you must RSVP to attend. FSC encourages all producers, agents and performers to attend. If you would like to RSVP or would like more information, please contact joanne@freespeechcoalition.com.

 


FSC’s Duke Debates .XXX on CNN

April 20, 2011

Attorney Robert Corn-Revere and ICM Registry CEO Stuart Lawley (l to r) at the 2007 XBIZ Hollywood Conference

Yesterday, Free Speech Coalition (FSC) Executive Director Diane Duke appeared live on CNN International to debate the newly-launched .XXX “sponsored” Top Level Domain with ICM Registry legal counsel Robert Corn-Revere.

While the segment aired live yesterday afternoon, CNN posted a video clip on the background of .XXX on its website. The topic, which has been very controversial among adult online industry business owners, has still received little coverage from the mainstream media.

“I made it clear that the only entities that would benefit from .XXX are ICM Registry, registrars and ICANN. The Internet community and the sponsorship community want no part of this,” Duke commented.

FSC has spearheaded the opposition to the .XXX domain, citing lack of support from the “sponsorship community,” as well as the unnecessary cost to adult online businesses that may purchase .XXX address in an attempt to protect their brands from cyber-squatters and domain resellers.

Potential censorship also is another pitfall for adult websites; less than five days after the domain’s approval by Internet regulator ICANN, India announced that it would block all .XXX addresses. Saudi Arabia soon followed suit. The domain is the first to categorize websites by content, setting a negative precedent for fragmentation of the Internet.

Ultimately, .XXX will make it easier for children to find adult content on the Web — though ICM Registry, the company profiting from the .XXX domain, claims that the new domain will somehow protect children from accessing online adult material.

“I pointed out that this was nothing but a money grab in the name of ‘child protection.’” Duke added. “I have nothing against businesses making money — in fact, I am in favor of capitalism — just not by forcing adult businesses to purchase something they don’t want simply in the name of child protection.”

FSC continues to oppose .XXX and encourages online adult business owners to avoid being trapped in the .XXX ghetto. For more information on .XXX, contact FSC at (818) 348-9373.

(Photo: Some rights reserved by LukeIsBack.com)


FSC Reaches Out to Performers Affected by PornWikileaks

April 15, 2011

Free Speech Coalition (FSC) today announced it is looking into legal options available for performers affected by the PornWikileaks.com website. The site has exposed the personal information of thousands of purported performers and gained international media attention after being exposed on industry gossip blogs and message boards.

Free Speech Coalition stands in opposition to the violations of performer privacy by PornWikileaks,” said Diane Duke FSC Executive Director. “This is not an issue of free speech; it is about violating the privacy of performers. It’s about potential extortion and exposing performers to potential harassment, stalking and other criminal activities.”

To date, it is unclear where the data displayed on PornWikileaks originated but federal authorities are currently investigating breaches of federal law in the accumulation of data that has been exposed on the website. In addition to concerns regarding illegal access of medical databases, there are grave concerns about misuse of 2257 documents.

“Anonymity is an important part of controversial speech, as the courts have recognized for more than half a century. Publicly posting the sort of information involved here has an obvious chilling effect on performers and exposes them to known dangers which are extremely serious,” said attorney Reed Lee, FSC Board member and Government & Legal Committee Chair. “Would the website operators have published the NAACP’s membership list in the most difficult days of the civil rights struggle? Everyone involved with PornWikileaks is playing a most dangerous game. They target the performers and they target free expression itself.

“The Free Speech Coalition is actively exploring all viable legal responses to the situation and will do anything it can to protect adult performers,” Lee added.

Currently, industry attorney Corey Silverstein is representing client Paul Armstrong in a possible action against individuals using the PornWikileaks website for illegal activity. He is seeking performers that have had their personal information posted on PornWikileaks and have been threatened in any way by anyone connected to the site.  Performers that would like more information on how to contact Silverstein can do so through FSC, by contacting PWL@freespeechcoalition.com.

“While I cannot discuss the specific nature of my clients’ allegations and any action that is being prepared, it is important to note that this is not a simple free speech issue,” Silverstein said. “The individuals running this website are allegedly intentionally and knowingly jeopardizing the safety and privacy of adult performers all over the world while purposely defaming them in the process.  The website repeatedly refers to adult performers as ‘pornographic whores’ and ‘Hookers’ and even talks about specific adult performers ‘degrading the whole family.’ My clients cannot comprehend why the individuals running this website would want to intentionally cause so much potential harm.”

“Of course there is also the issue of how this website has acquired the information it publishes and what additional information website’s operators have obtained,” Silverstein added.

FSC stands in support of all industry members that are exploring possible legal response to PornWikileaks, and is encouraging individuals who have been affected by PornWikileaks and/or their attorneys to contact FSC, at PWL@freespeechcoalition.com.

(Animation: Some rights reserved by Chris 73)


AIDS Healthcare Foundation Selling Bareback Movies?

April 15, 2011

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) since 2009, has waged a campaign against adult industry production companies in an effort to legislate mandatory condom use on adult production sets. Imagine our surprise when this story appeared on gay industry blog TheSword.com yesterday, alleging that an AHF-owned Out of the Closet resale shop in Wilton Manors, FL was openly selling used gay bareback titles, presumably with revenue from those sales going to fund AHF’s various projects.

Former performer Ryan Dixon (aka Kameron Scott), who is HIV-positive, was working as a cashier at the Wilton Manors store when he discovered the titles for sale there. His story appears on TheSword.com, along with exerpts from his letter of resignation and photos of the titles allegedly taken at the Out of the Closet store. When Dixon confronted his manager at the store about the bareback movies offered for sale, he claims his manager’s response was, “Who cares?”

Well, we thought AHF did.

Ironically, AHF’s legal counsel Brian Chase was at a “Condoms in the Adult Industry” seminar yesterday when this story broke. The panel was held at UCLA, hosted by UCLA’s Reproductive Health Interest Group, Queers for Public Health, and Law Students for Reproductive Justice. The little-publicized but “open-to-the-public” seminar featured a panel of gay industry members, as well as representatives from various health organizations, voicing their support of mandated condom use on adult sets.

FSC has been working with CalOSHA compliance experts, adult industry stakeholders and the CalOSHA Board of Directors to develop industry-appropriate workplace safety regulations for adult production sets. We will continue to represent the best interest of adult performers and businesses in this issue.

The next CalOSHA meeting to address regulation for adult production sets is schedule for June 7 at 10am. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the CalTrans Bldg., 100 S. Main Street in downtown Los Angeles. FSC will continue to keep adult industry members updated on developments, and we encourage concerned individuals to attend the OSHA meeting on June 7. – jc

(Photo: Taken from LA Weekly/Steve LA; some rights reserved)


Here’s Some of What FSC Offers to Members

April 15, 2011

Free Speech Coalition (FSC) is the trade association for the adult entertainment industry. Our mission is to lead, protect and support the growth and development of the adult entertainment community. As such we are often the watchdog for the industry, on the forefront of protecting the industry through lobbying and litigation efforts. Many of you are familiar with our recent work on 2257, CalOSHA and .XXX. FSC takes its role as industry watchdog very seriously and we are relentless in our efforts to protect the industry from oppressive regulations.

However, we at FSC are also mindful that there are a number of other factors that impact the success of adult businesses. Our industry is made up of a number of businesses large and small and as your trade association we also look to ways to increase your net result of operations by finding ways for our members to cut expenses and increase revenues.

FSC Anti-piracy Action Program (FSCAPAP)

APAP’s state-of-the-art technology incorporates audio/video fingerprinting and meta-data. This state-of-theart software offers the most comprehensive and effective technology available to track, take down and document infringements of your content. FSC has negotiated group pricing for its members for a fraction of what the tracking technology normally costs. Moreover, FSC has approached a number of previously offending tubesites to work with FSC to block uploads of pirated content. Utilizing APAP technology, our program not only blocks stolen content from being uploaded, but also through monetization realizes a potential new revenue stream for content providers and distributors.

Human Resources Consultation

Many adult industry businesses are too small to warrant a staff human resource (HR) position. Yet no matter the size, HR issues creep up in any and all business settings. FSC has negotiated with Neda Ghazanfarpour of HR Monster, LLC to offer discounts to FSC members for HR consultations and services. NEDA is an accomplished attorney and HR specialist highly recommended within the adult entertainment industry.

Health Insurance Discounts

Recently, FSC was approached by a number of studios because they had seen their health insurance premiums skyrocket this year. As an association we are working to obtain insurance rates at a lower rate for members. Individual companies will still have complete control over the type of plans they offer but FSC members will benefit from a group discount.

Freight Discounts

FSC is working with shipping companies to offer discounts to FSC members that could save thousands of dollars annually for FSC member companies. Again, negotiating as a group, FSC is able to get more favorable rates for many of our member than they can get on their own.

These are but just a few of the member benefits offered by FSC. For more information or to become a member contact Joanne Cachapero, joanne@freespeechcoalition.com or call the office at (818) 348-9373.

For the past 30 years FSC has not raised its membership dues, making an FSC membership the best investment an adult business can make in today’s economy. With these discounts and other protections offered by FSC, you can’t afford not to be a member. As your trade association FSC not only watches your back, we watch your bottom line. – dd


FSC Anti-Piracy Program Adds Slutload, Takes Down Bootlegger

April 7, 2011

Ventura Content, parent company of Pink Visual, this week reached a settlement with AFIC, Inc., operators of tubesite Slutload.com, in a copyright infringement suit filed in December. One of the conditions of the settlement requires Slutload.com to participate in Free Speech Coalition’s Anti-Piracy Action Program (FSC-APAP), bringing the total number of participating tubesites to twelve.

“Slutload.com is a significant addition to our program,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “Special thanks go out to Pink Visual for the work they have done to combat piracy and for endorsing FSC-APAP through their actions.”

Slutload.com will begin utilizing FSC-APAP’s Mediawise technology in order to comply with the terms of the settlement. The list of tubesites already using Mediawise includes ExtremeTube.com, KeezMovies.com, PornHub.com, SpankWire.com, Tube8.com, Xtube.com, Xvideos.com, XNXX.com, TNAflix.com, Empflix.com, and XHamster.com.

Mediawise technology allows fingerprinted digital content to be detected by the tubesites, prior to being uploaded. At that point, APAP tubesite operators prevent the illegal content from being posted and, instead, post an approved trailer or truncated version of the scene. Users who view the content are offered an option to purchase the original content and a link to the content producer’s retail website. If a purchase is made, this effectively creates a rev-share affiliation for the tube site and the content producer, and a new stream of revenue for both parties.

“The tubesites are completing the process of fingerprinting their back catalogs and almost all of the studios have fingerprinted their entire libraries. Weekly we have studios and tubesites approaching us to join our program,” Duke explained. “Because of this industry-wide coordinated effort, 2011 promises to be the year the adult industry started to make a significant impact in the fight against piracy.”

FSC-APAP also partnered with content protection firm Porn Guardian in February. At the end of March, Porn Guardian succeeded in stopping an Atlanta-based bootlegger from selling illegally replicated copies of adult DVDs on online retail website EBay.

“Copyrighted full-length feature films from several major studios were being offered,” said Porn Guardian partner Peter Phinney. “Hothouse Entertainment first found the listings and brought them to our attention. We did some due diligence to verify that this was not an authorized reseller; then, we registered almost 30 complaints with eBay on behalf of Hot House, Raging Stallion Studios, Falcon, Lucas Entertainment, and Channel 1 Releasing.”

The seller packed up his operation and fled as soon as he was notified of the first complaint via email. His eBay Profile now reads, “no longer a registered user,” and “this seller currently has no items for sale.” It is estimated that this pirate, who was located in Lawrenceville, GA, had sold almost 1,000 bootleg DVD’s from his electronic storefront.

“We’re overjoyed with this result,” Hot House Entertainment President Steven Scarborough said. “Thanks Porn Guardian and thanks eBay for taking this guy out.”

Content providers currently participating in the FSC-APAP program include Wicked Pictures, Girlfriends Films, Adam and Eve, Hustler/LFP, New Sensations, Digital Playground, AEBN, Vince Voyeur, Severe Society Films, Titan Media, Channel 1 Releasing, Bel Ami, Hot House Entertainment, Kristen Bjorn Productions, Raging Stallion Studios, Falcon Studios, Hot Desert Knights, Factory Video, Corbin Fisher, Bear Films, Pacific Sun Entertainment, Treasure Island Media, and OCCash.

“With Vobile’s Mediawise technology addressing the tubesites, and Porn Guardian’s program addressing P2P, cyberlockers and Torrents, FSC-APAP is a truly comprehensive, industry-wide approach to fighting piracy,” said Duke.

For more information about the FSC’s Anti-Piracy Action Program, please contact (818) 348-9373 or diane@freespeechcoalition.com, or please visit FSCAPAP.com.

(Illustration: The Capture of the Pirate Blackbeard, 1718, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1920)


Now What? Video of .XXX Seminar at Phoenix Forum

April 6, 2011

Well, here it is – the much anticipated video of the “.XXX – Now What?” seminar that was presented at webmaster trade conference The Phoenix Forum, on April 2. As you’ll see, the discussion was “lively,” to say the least – or down right hostile, especially after ICM Registry’s Vaughn Liley seemed unable to adequately answer questions posed by a packed house of adult webmasters.

The confusion expressed over .XXX and its IFFOR regulatory board’s policies and bylaws by webmasters and ICM’s representatives is remarkable, considering the nearly decade-long push by ICM to get the “sponsored” Top Level Domain approved by domain regulator ICANN.

It also is important to note that The Phoenix Forum is a long-established, well-attended adult online trade conference – with reported record attendance this year – it should be assumed that the majority of U.S. adult online business owners were either at the conference or had company representatives there. If the hostility and confusion expressed at this seminar represents the opinions of a cross-section of the U.S. adult online community, how is it possible for ICM Registry to claim that the .XXX domain is supported by this community?

Clearly, the concerns over online ghetto-ization, censorship, unnecessary fees, potential regulatory issues, cyber-squatting, payment processing, and trademark infringement – just to name a few – are hugely threatening to all adult online businesses.

Forty-four minutes into the video, Liley refers to the mainstream media reports following the approval of .XXX on March 18 at the ICANN 40 Conference in San Francisco, and specifically, the reports on the Indian government’s announcement that they will be the first to block the .XXX domain. Liley implies that the media coverage .XXX has received will lead to increased traffic for webmasters (combined with a marketing campaign financed by ICM). But what he fails to elaborate on is that much of the news following the approval of .XXX was negative – at best, referring to .XXX as “unnecessary” with many media analysts implying that the domain scheme amounts to nothing more than a money grab (FSC has links to many articles stating as such in publications like Forbes, Bloomberg, Huffington Post, etc.).

Later in the video, around 1:39, Liley is questioned about the potential for ICM to spider content on .XXX sites (and .coms that are linked to .XXX addresses) and other authentication verification procedures. His reply prompts catcalls of “liar” and “criminal” from the audience.

The panel was moderated by Wasteland.com founder Colin Rowntree. Representatives for pro-.XXX interests were ICM Liley and GEC Media’s Gregory Dumas. Representing the anti-.XXX side were Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas, FSC Board member and journalist Tom Hymes and FSC Board Chair and attorney Jeffrey Douglas. Mikandi’s Chris Lewicki, Wildline’s Chris Miller and CCBill’s Ron Caldwell also sat on the panel.

We suggest that you use headphones to listen to this video, due to the poor acoustics of the seminar venue.

Special thanks to videographer and adult webmaster Lloyd Brown for recording this important event, as well as Colin Rowntree for making this video available.

All adult businesses have an online presence at this point, so this is an important issue for the whole industry, from online content providers to adult online retail sites to payment processors; we encourage you to watch and judge for yourself.

In related news: ICANN and ICM Registry finalized the contract for the .XXX domain on April Fool’s Day. How appropriate.

FSC’s advice to adult online businesses? Stay .COM – just say “NO” to .XXX – jc


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