‘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

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.

Measure B Decision will Hurt Performers

December 16, 2014
Policeman in Hazmat clothing with gieger counterThe 9th Circuit Court of California announced today that it would decline to issue an injunction to stop the Measure B, the 2012 ballot measure which seeks mandate condoms in adult film produced in Los Angeles County. This latest decision is not a ruling on the constitutionality of Measure B, but rather a decision declining to enjoin the rest of the statute at this time. Previous courts have struck down the enforcement component of the law; this latest ruling does not change that decision.

“While this intermediate decision allows that condoms may be mandated, it doesn’t meant they should be,” said Diane Duke, CEO of the Free Speech Coalition. “We have spent the last two years fighting for the right of adult performers to make their own decisions about their bodies, and against the stigma against adult film performers embodied in the statute. Rather than protect adult performers, a condom mandate pushes a legal industry underground where workers are less safe. This is terrible policy that has been defeated in other legislative venues.”

Los Angeles County has seen a 95% drop in permits since the passage of Measure B, as adult film production has moved into neighboring counties, and out of state, most notably to Las Vegas.

Under standards enforced by the industry, in order to work, adult film performers must test every fourteen-days for a full-slate of STIs, including HIV. There has not been a transmission of HIV on a regulated adult film set in over a decade.

“This decision will hurt performers,” said Duke. “That’s why a broad coalition that includes doctors, public health advocates, performers and performers rights groups came together to defeat similar legislation this summer.“

Plaintiffs in the case are considering all options for moving forward and will make a decision in the coming weeks.

FSC Congratulates UK Protestors

December 16, 2014

censoredFree Speech Coalition applauds the efforts of Charlotte Rose, Jerry Barnett, Sex and Censorship and the coalition of free speech advocates that protested on the steps of the Parliament today. The protestors fought to protect the personal liberties and free speech of British citizens in light recent amendments to existing legislation that places a stranglehold on adult content created in the UK and viewed by British citizens.

“Rose’s face-sitting protest was not only the first of its kind, but also courageous and brilliant,” commented Diane Duke, FSC CEO. “She got her message across and managed to bring unwanted and embarrassing media attention to the prudish British Parliament. BRAVO!”

Rose’s protest was organized on Facebook after the legislation changed to outlaw the distribution of movies featuring sex acts including spanking and whipping and face-sitting, if filmed in the UK.

“I suspect that this is just the beginning of the backlash,” said Duke. “These free speech advocates not only have our full support, but also our undying gratitude for free speech is a global issue and impacts us all.”

Adult Industry Calls Weinstein Statewide Condom Bill “Misguided and Dangerous”

November 7, 2014

no-on-measure-b2Performers and producers oppose Michael Weinstein’s dangerous and ill-informed attacks on the adult industry. This morning, he will announce that he will place a statewide version of his disastrous Measure B legislation on the ballot. Measure B, a Los Angeles condom ordinance, resulted in a 95% drop in permits for adult production, and spurred an industry exodus to Las Vegas.

Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, released this statement:

“Michael Weinstein is resorting to the ballot initiative process because he can’t get it done any other way. His campaign has failed multiple times in the legislature, it’s has been opposed by HIV outreach and LGBT groups, it’s been opposed by civil rights groups, it’s been opposed by newspaper editorial boards and, most importantly, it’s been opposed by performers. Why? Because the bill not only takes away performers’ control over their own bodies, it pushes the industry out of California and underground, making performers ultimately less safe.

Anyone who looks at the data around performer health sees that Weinstein’s campaign is more about his dislike for the adult industry than it is about workplace safety. Despite shooting hundreds of thousands of scenes, there hasn’t been a transmission of HIV on a regulated adult set since 2004 thanks to a rigorous protocol that requires performers to be tested every fourteen days for a full slate of STIs including HIV. Yet because it attracts donors to his organization and headlines for himself, Weinstein has manufactured a crisis.

In his one-man war against the adult industry, Weinstein routinely uses performers who contracted HIV in their personal lives, and were stopped from working by testing protocol, as evidence of danger. It’s cynical and shameful, and he’s been reprimanded repeatedly by public health authorities for making claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

As a result, Weinstein now uses confusing language, most notably “the performers contracted HIV while working in the adult industry” to imply that transmission happened on a set without making the claim directly. (It’s like saying “Magic Johnson contracted HIV while working as a basketball player”). Having failed at the legislative level, he’s now hoping that he can use such language to confuse voters.

Michael Weinstein’s controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been under fire locally and nationally for using his taxpayer funded organization to enforce various versions of his conservative morality. His misguided morality campaign is not limited to adult sets — as part of his condom-only campaign, he has called for an end to HIV vaccine research, he opposed medication that can prevent HIV transmission, and he has sued the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles when they’ve opposed him.

Performer health is important. But performers, the most tested population on the planet, should have the ultimate right to control their bodies and their health. They don’t deserve to be shamed or treated as a public danger, or to have their rights trampled. Michael Weinstein is using taxpayer money to fund a campaign that is opposed by performers, public health experts, and civil rights groups, in hopes that he can use the ballot initiative to accomplish what has failed in every other venue. We, likewise, will oppose this.”

FSC Statement on Affirmative Vote by CA Senate Labor Relations for AB1576

June 25, 2014

This morning, California Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee cleared AB 1576, the legislation to require mandatory barrier protection use on adult production CA-Senate-Sealsets. The bill will now proceed to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Regarding today’s developments, Free Speech Coalition issued this statement:

“Today’s vote is a slap in the face to adult performers, who have been outspoken in their opposition this bill and have worked so hard to defeat it. In his words and actions, Hall has made it abundantly clear that he knows little about the performers he seeks to control, and respects their opinions even less. He has not worked with them on this bill, and has actively spurned their offers to create an alternate solution that would strengthen comprehensive workplace safety measures while respecting their real concerns about privacy and personal choice.

Supporters of AB 1576 stated again in the hearing that the bill relies on the PASS database for testing and enforcement. That Hall would rely on our private procedures says something both about the strength of our existing  procedures, and the short-sightedness of Hall as to what this bill will cost the state. As the bill approaches appropriations, we suspect that Senators will have very serious concerns about how a private testing system run privately serve as the backbone for government regulation.

We understand that Assemblymember Hall wants a bill for his legacy, but such legacy should not be built on the backs of adult performers.”

AB 332 Stalls After Appropriations Committee Meeting

May 8, 2013
(l to r) Attorney Karen Tynan and Kink.com director Princess Donna

(l to r) Attorney Karen Tynan and Kink.com director Princess Donna at the state capitol

This morning in Sacramento, proposed “condom” legislation Assembly Bill 332 was presented to members of the House Appropriations Committee. Sponsor of the bill Assembly Member Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) waived his opportunity to speak on the legislation and AB 332 was sent to suspense file by the committee. Free Speech Coalition is pleased that AB 332 legislation has not moved forward today out of committee.

Representing adult industry opposition to AB 332, labor attorney Karen Tynan stood ready to deliver a statement to the legislators, focusing on the financial pitfalls of the regulatory scheme. Tynan also hoped to speak to the process already started with state regulatory agency Cal/OSHA, to establish industry-appropriate regulations for adult film productions.

“My testimony was meant to explain and emphasize the incredible waste of taxpayer money that will result if AB332 is enacted,” Tynan said. “Cal/OSHA has a process where they have stakeholder meetings and attempt to create feasible regulations. We are still in that process with the draft regulations pending revisions. AB332 demands that the state legislature throw out all that work and start over with the AHF plan.”

Testimony would have also outlined the potentially enormous costs to taxpayers if AB 332 is passed, not only administrative costs, but also in a significant loss of jobs and revenue for counties in California as adult producers are pushed to other areas for production locations.

“Committee members with adult entertainment businesses in their districts should be reminded that these businesses create jobs, pay taxes, and should have a voice in this process,” Tynan added.

Kink.com founder and FSC Board Member Peter Acworth also attended this morning’s meeting with a contingent of performers and industry professionals. Acworth also had prepared a statement, but left the meeting without delivering testimony.

“We got here at 5:30am and spent most of the day,” Acworth said. “But we’re happy the bill has been put in suspension. I hope this is the end of the bill. I remain a strong advocate for performer testing and the APHSS.org database system.”

Representatives from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and other AB 332 supporters were apparently not in attendance at this morning’s meeting.


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