Weinstein’s Crusade Could Cost State ‘Tens of Millions’ of Dollars, Says Legislative Analyst’s Office

March 4, 2015

weinstein_michaelAccording to a report by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, a proposed state ballot measure that ALLOWS ANY CALIFORNIA resident to sue an adult film company, performer or distributor, could cost the state tens of millions of dollars through loss of massive tax revenue.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California Legislator’s non-partisan fiscal and policy advisory, suggests that the proposed initiative could result in the migration of the billion-dollar adult industry from California or underground.

“The state stands to lose tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue, and thousands of vital jobs for what is essentially a one-man moral crusade. This analysis supports what we’ve been saying for years. It’s costly and wasteful and would ultimately hurt performers,” said Diane Duke Free Speech Coalition CEO.

Performers have largely opposed similar legislative proposals, taking the position that any effective regulation needs to begin with performer choice.

The proposed ballot measure would result in a taxpayer-subsidized office that would be tasked with the review of every adult film shot in California to establish that a condom was used. Additionally, under the proposed initiative, Michael Weinstein, head of the controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation, could be sworn in as a quasi-Attorney General, a position paid by taxpayer dollars, and could only be removed from that post by a vote of the California Legislature.

“Weinstein’s obsession with adult films will cost California tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and will result in a loss of critical services for our communities, said Duke.  “Weinstein wants to line his pockets with taxpayer money and appoint himself as Attorney General.”


FSC Partners With First Entertainment Credit Union for Service to Members

February 27, 2015

logonewFree Speech Coalition is proud to announce its affiliation with First Entertainment Credit Union. Active FSC members and their families now can become members of the credit union for their personal banking needs.

“This has been a goal for FSC and our members for several years. We are thrilled to be able to offer active FSC members and their families the opportunity to access First Entertainment for their banking needs and many other financial services,” FSC CEO Diane Duke said.

“Especially because of difficulties faced by industry members that have had their business turned away by other institutions,” Duke added, “it’s so important to establish a relationship with First Entertainment, to provide benefits to FSC members.”

Services provided include savings and checking accounts; consumer, auto and home loans; credit and debit cards; financial planning, as well as financial education resources.

First Entertainment Credit Union was originally established as the credit union for Warner Brothers studios, but now offers services to many local industries and businesses. With branches in Burbank, Culver City, Encino, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Santa Monica and Studio City, members also can access online banking and ATMs nationwide.

For a complete overview of First Entertainment, visit their website. FSC members that would like to open an account should visit a nearby First Entertainment branch location.

For information on how you can become an FSC member or take advantage of FSC member benefits, contact joanne@freespeechcoalition.com or (818) 348-9373.


50 Shades of Censorship

February 12, 2015

stop_pipa_sopa_stop_internet_censorship_by_sampomassa-d4mt607Whatever your opinion of the film and books, the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon is being treated as if it were the final victory over prudish sex censors. But the real answer is a bit more complicated.

For three decades, the Free Speech Coalition has argued that the government has no right to tell adults what books they may read, what films they may watch and what–if any–pleasure products they can enjoy. And while we’ve often been successful, censorship is cyclical. Historically, for every gain we make, we face a backlash that threatens to roll back those rights. The ubiquity of 50 Shades may be one of them.

So while adults in media centers like New York, LA and San Francisco can freely explore sexuality, many — at home and abroad — can not. While we’re often aware of restrictions in places like Iran, China or Malaysia, many are in our back yard. Below some important issues facing our right to read, write and watch what we want..

1. Public Libraries

At least four counties in Florida banned the 50 Shades book from their libraries, calling it “semi-pornographic,” and the book has been pulled from shelves in dozens others, from Georgia to Wisconsin. In many of these places, the waiting list was hundreds of readers long.

2. Pleasure Product Sales

While buying the 50 Shades book in Alabama is permitted, it is still crime to sell anything that might stimulate genitalia. Alabama’s anti-obscenity statute was challenged in 2009 by free speech advocates — but the ban was upheld by the state Supreme Court. Similar bans remain in effect in Virginia and Mississippi.

3. Erotic Writing

When we think of hardcore porn, we rarely think of written word. But Karen Fletcher, a 56-year old woman Pittsburgh was indicted on four felony counts over sexually explicit stories that she published on her personal website, Red Rose. Fletcher was attempting to process her own childhood sexual abuse, but Mary Beth Buchanan, a Bush-appointed anti-pornography zealot, decided the written material was so obscene as to be illegal — and Fletcher was arrested and found guilty. It was the first successful obscenity prosecution of a written ‘pornography’ since 1973, and set a dangerous precedent for similar prosecutions.

4. Banking Restrictions

Thanks to the Justice Department’s Operation Choke Point, many adult performers and businesses found their banks unceremoniously closed this past year. The DOJ’s Choke Point pressured banks to cut dealings with legal businesses, including porn that were “reputation risks.”

5. Limiting Performer Choice

If a proposed 2016 ballot measure passes, the production and sale of films shot without condoms would be banned within the state of California, limiting performer choice of health and safety options. Proponents of the measure say it as a public health issue, and that adult films should teach condom use. But adult performers are not sex educators, and have argued vehemently that condoms are less often reliable than the testing system currently in place, and that only they — not the government — should have ultimate control over their bodies.

6. Internet Service Providers

This summer, the UK made the production of visual material that includes many consensual BDSM practices, like squirting and caning, illegal. This comes right on the heels of another law that prohibits UK internet users from accessing adult sites unless they request explicit permission from their internet service provider. Given this, it’s unlikely that the 50 Shades movie could even have been made in the UK under these new laws.

7. Driver’s Licences

If Focus Features doesn’t abide by record keeping regulations (known as 18 U.S.C. 2257) for 50 Shades stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, the producers could be prosecuted and even jailed. It’s unlikely to happen, since the law is usually applied selectively to adult producers, but in a conservative administration, that could easily change. During the Bush administration, adult companies were regularly searched for violations and even alphabetical misfiling of a driver’s licence could result in prosecution.

8. Zoning Regulations

Rather than censoring obscenity, many adult books stores, novelty shops and theaters have been shuttered under dubious nuisance laws, or through onerous zoning restrictions in conservative locales. While 50 Shades itself may be difficult to legally censor, censorship advocates have steadily stripped away the rights of merchants to sell pleasure products, videos and magazines to consenting adults. Paired with restrictions on shipping in more conservative states, and consumers can be left with adult ‘deserts’  — where access to adult material, not to mention educational material about adult sexuality, is severely limited.

9. Corporate Censorship

Google no longer accepts ads for adult companies, Apple won’t allow adult-themed apps, and sites like Facebook and Instagram regularly ban users who show so much as a breast-feeding baby. In some ways, corporate censorship (which need not abide by First Amendment protections) is more insidious than government censorship, especially as fewer and fewer companies control a wider and wider audience

10. University Bans

Academic discussions about sexuality are important and vital. And while in the past ten years we’ve seen important scholars like Linda Williams, Constance Penley and Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals approach the subject with nuance and rigor, others like anti-porn professor Gail Dines who have called for an outright ban on 50 Shades, comparing it to domestic abuse. Some universities, like Northern Illinois University, have blocked porn sties on their ISP all together.

11. Conservative Boycotts

Target is being boycotted for 50 Shades-themed items; theaters are being protested over implied sexual violence of BDSM. And thanks to pressure from anti-porn activists and morality groups, hotel chains like Marriott have pulled adult videos from their rooms all together.

The Free Speech Coalition has been fighting for the right of adults to make our own decisions about what we watch, read, write and if we can buy pleasure products. A donation to the Free Speech Coalition helps us makes sure that material with adult subject matter is legal and accessible, no matter who you are or where you live.

The Free Speech Coalition is only able to fight with your support. Please consider donating even $5, $10 or $25 to keep this important fight going.


‘Adults Only IP’ Conference to be Held February 24

January 29, 2015

RTA68xRkcThe State Bar Association of California, Intellectual Property Section, will present a one-day conference entitled “Adults Only IP.” The speakers and panels featured at the conference will cover controversial areas of IP law, including topics relating to the adult entertainment and cannabis industries.

Several prominent adult industry attorneys will be featured speakers for panel discussions, including conference keynote speaker Paul Cambria. Attorneys Jeffrey Douglas, Michael Fattarosi, Allan Gelbard, and Greg Piccionelli also will take part in discussions.

Law students, IP Section members and non-members are encouraged to attend. To register, please click here or contact (415) 538-2508.

The conference schedule is as follows:

Growing Like a Weed: IP Law for Cannabis Businesses

The growing, processing and distribution of marijuana is already legal to one degree or another in about half of the 50 states + Washington, D.C.; it is already a billion-dollar a year business and is projected to grow to $8 billion (or more) by 2018. And that doesn’t include the ancillary businesses that support the industry: software, lighting & moisture control equipment, accounting and legal services, advertising, etc. Like every emerging industry since the founding of the country, with growth comes a host of IP issues. This panel will discuss them based on real experience to date.

Speakers: Lance Rogers, Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara, LLP; Shabnam Malek, Cobalt Law, LLP; Peter Gutenberg, Law Office of Peter Gutenberg

Moderator: David Branfman, Branfman Law Group, P.C.

Protecting Highly Infringed Content: Copyright and the Adult Industry

Adult content is well known for being both highly infringed and a hot bed of questionable infringement accusations. Its unique place in our society leads to particular, and particularly interesting, challenges. Hear from our panel of experts about strategies and issues special to protecting adult entertainment content.

Speakers: Allan Gelbard, The Law Offices of Allan Gelbard; Roy Liebrecht, Lookhu.com

Luncheon Keynote: Having It All: Protecting Free Expression and IP Rights

Preeminent First Amendment attorney Paul Cambria, who has represented

Larry Flynt, DMX, and Marilyn Manson, will share his experiences on the cutting edge of protecting and defending adult content. Over lunch, Paul will discuss the nexus of criminal law, constitutional law, and intellectual property, and examine how each influences the others when tackling such groundbreaking subject matter.

Keynote Speaker: Paul Cambria, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP

Getting Down and Dirty with the USPTO: IP for the Immoral and Scandalous

Dealing with unusual trademarks or patentable devices, especially those that may be considered obscene, scandalous, or immoral, can add extra complexity to protecting clients’ assets. Our panel of accomplished attorneys will share their experiences and tips for registering and enforcing potentially problematic marks and inventions.

Speakers: Greg Piccionelli, Piccionelli & Sarno; Anna Vradenburgh, The Eclipse Group, LLP; Tammy Terry, Osha Liang, LLP

50 Shades of IP: Adult-Oriented Transformative Works

From 50 Shades of Grey to Ellery Queen, transformative works such as fan

fiction and fan art have been a part of popular culture since the advent

of the novel itself. Each change in technology brings new ways works can

be transformed, and new challenges for rights holders, users, and the legal

system. Our panel of experts will discuss fan fiction, fan art, cosplay, fictional

characters in virtual worlds, and how adult content may affect a fair use

analysis, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Speakers: Corynne McSherry, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Todd Alberstone, Alberstone Consulting

Moderator: Hannah Poteat, Poteat Law

In the Footsteps of Saul Goodman: The Ethics and Morals of Representing

Controversial Clients

What ethical duties arise when representing clients that may be engaged

in illegal ventures? What happens to an attorney’s reputation when

representing unpopular clients or unsavory topics? And is there a difference

between the ethics and morals behind these representations? Our panel of

experts will discuss these topics and their experiences representing marijuana

dispensaries, the adult entertainment industry, criminal defendants, and so

much more.

Speakers: Jeffrey Douglas, The Law Office of Jeffrey J. Douglas; Michael Fattorosi, The Law Offices of Michael W. Fattorosi, P.C.; Edward Lear, Century Law Group, LLC; David Welch, D|R Welch Attorneys at Law


Buy a #$@&%!! FSC T-shirt!

January 19, 2015

T-shirt_frontFree Speech Coalition is selling T-shirts and proceeds are going to fund legal advocacy for adult businesses. E-XXX-PRESS your right to free speech and tell everyone how you feel about adult entertainment! Only $20 while quantities last!

The front of the shirt says, “If you don’t like porn you can #%@$ MY &@$#!” and the back says, “… OR DON’T WATCH IT.” Pretty damn cool, and fashionable in basic black, sizes S-M-L-XL.

So, represent for FSC by wearing your support on your sleeve. Funds go to provide legal resources. FSC needs the support of industry members and fans alike – help us defeat mandatory condom regulation, as well as other legal challenges that threaten our right to do business!! From condoms, to 2257, to piracy, FSC works hard everyday to protect and promote the well-being of adult industry professionals and businesses.

Please, help us protect the industry that you love and the adult entertainment that you enjoy. For more information on how to purchase a shirt, please contact info@freespeechcoalition.com or call T-shirt_back(818) 348-9373.

Attendees of the Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, in Las Vegas, Jan 21-24, VISIT THE FSC TABLE at the bottom of the stairs in The Joint. We will have T-shirts available for purchase at the show, so we hope to see you there!


Misguided ‘Adult Film Act’ Would Remove Performer Protections, Drive Industry Underground

January 13, 2015

Today, Michael Weinstein of AHF submitted the draft text of his controversial statewide ballot measure, which would force adult film performers to wear condoms, calling them a threat to public health.

The Act would result in an effective criminalization of the adult industry. Under AHF’s proposed Act, those involved in the manufacture of an adult film that did not comply would be personally liable for massive penalties for even minor infractions. The Act would require adult film producers to be issued licenses by the government in order to produce, and would require performers to submit their personal medical records for state inspection. Talent agents would be punished for representing adult performers.  And, perhaps most dramatically, and in an acknowledgement that Measure B succeeded in driving the industry out of state, the Act would effectively prohibit the sale and distribution of adult films produced without condoms inside California, even in private transactions. This is not regulation — this is Prohibition.

The Act would destroy the industry as we know it, drive the existing producers underground, and eliminate hard-fought performer protections. This process has already begun to happen in the wake of AHF”s misguided Measure B. Film permits dropped, productions moved out-of-state, and producers began shooting outside the industry’s widely praised testing system. That’s why, like AHF’s previous campaigns, we expect this will be vigorously opposed by performers.

Performers should always have the right to use a condom, but AHF’s conservative morality should not be forced on them under penalty of law. Performer should have control over their bodies, not the government and certainly not Michael Weinstein.


FSC Award Recipients Announced

January 9, 2015

9cRgzRoceFree Speech Coalition proudly announces the recipients of the 2015 FSC Awards, which recognizes industry professionals and businesses, for excellence in business and representing a pro-adult image through advocacy and actions.

A new award has been added this year to the roster of awards, in honor of late FSC Board member Christian Mann. Called the Christian Mann Courage and Leadership Award, it is given to a member of the adult entertainment or pleasure products community who has shown exemplary courage and leadership in standing up and fighting for the rights and image of the industry.

The award recipients are as follows:

Legacy Award – Phil Harvey

The Legacy Award is given to an individual who, though innovative ideas and successful business practices, has built a solid presence in the adult entertainment industry.  Furthermore, this individual has gone above and beyond to not only protect the rights and freedoms of individuals and businesses within the industry, but also to improve the stature of the industry as a whole.  This award is called the Legacy Award rather than a lifetime achievement award because while the individual has done much to build an outstanding legacy, FSC knows that this individual’s great contributions are far from over.

Performer of the Year AwardChanel Preston

The positive image award goes to industry performers who have gone out of their way to dispel the myths and misconceptions of the adult entertainment industry through advocacy and public awareness programs, and community service.

Man of the Year and Woman of the Year – Christian Mann, Lorelei Lee

The Man and woman of the Year awards go to individuals who have displayed exceptional leadership qualities both within their own business, and throughout the industry. While the recipient of this award is clearly a successful business professional, the individual who is awarded FSC’s Man or Woman of the Year has made a significant positive contribution to the overall welfare of the adult entertainment industry.

Pleasure Products Company of the Year – Pipedreams

The Pleasure Products Company of the Year award goes to the pleasure products company that has demonstrated constant and unwavering innovation and excellence. The company’s success not only benefits their individual business but also the industry as a whole. In addition to their creative innovation, the company conducts business with high ethical standards and integrity.

Retailer of the Year – Castle Megastore

The Retailer of the Year award goes to the retailer that has demonstrated constant and unwavering innovation and excellence. The company’s success not only benefits their individual business but also the industry as a whole.   In addition to their creative innovation, the company conducts business with high ethical standards and integrity.

Production Company of the Year – Wicked Pictures

The Production Company of the Year award goes to the production company that has demonstrated constant and unwavering innovation and excellence. The company’s success not only benefits their individual business but also the industry as a whole.   In addition to their creative innovation, the company conducts business with high ethical standards and integrity.

Internet Company of the Year – Clips4sale

The Internet Company of the Year award goes to the Internet company that has demonstrated constant and unwavering innovation and excellence. The company’s success not only benefits their individual business but also the industry as a whole.   In addition to their creative innovation, the company conducts business with high ethical standards and integrity.

Christian Mann Courage and Leadership Award – Peter Acworth

The Christian Mann Courage and Leadership Award is given to a member of the adult entertainment or pleasure products community who has shown exemplary courage and leadership in standing up and fighting for the rights and image of the industry. This award is not automatically given annually—only when warranted by great works—that would honor our great friend, Christian Mann.

Leadership Award – Streamate

FSC’s Leadership Award is presented to the adult entertainment industry business or individual that demonstrates excellence in the adult entertainment industry in leading by example. This award can be given for community service, activism, creating a positive and outstanding work environment, innovations and other qualities that lift the business or individual above the rest.

A presentation ceremony for the FSC Awards is scheduled on January 14, at 6pm, at the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood, CA, which also is the site of the FSC Summit and XBIZ 360 shows. If you would like more information on the FSC Awards, please contact info@freespeechcoalition.com.


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