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Free Speech X-Press
Delivering Weekly Censorship Updates to the Adult Industry

Vol. VIII, No. 23, April 28, 2006 — A Member Service of the Free Speech Coalition
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Free Speech X-press is researched and edited by Kat Sunlove and Layne Winklebleck.
Copyright 2005 Free Speech Coalition. Permission to reprint granted to FSC members; please give credit.
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VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR FSC MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION
http://www.freespeechcoalition.com
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SEX TOYS LAW PROPOSED
COLUMBIA, SC — “It is unlawful for a person knowingly to disseminate obscenity or a sexual device,” says a proposed amendment to the South Carolina law.  A person “disseminates a sexual device,” within the meaning of the proposed law, if it is designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs and solely for the sale of prurient interest in sex. And, good citizens of South Carolina, we are talking felony here. People convicted under obscenity laws in South Carolina face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
   We can thank Republican Representative Ralph Davenport of Boiling Springs for proposing a bill
(H 4830) that would add sex toys to the state’s obscenity laws.   
       Sugar ’N Spice manager Pat Irons says the proposed law is outrageous. While Davenport’s proposal is probably aimed at shutting down X-rated adult bookstores, Irons said, it hurts customers of "couples-oriented" stores such as her West Columbia shop, which sells everything from lingerie to bridal shower novelties to lotions.
       At Sugar ’N Spice sex toys are displayed in a separate room. Buyers include men and women who "need a little help" because surgery or medical problems are affecting their marriage, Irons said.
Some quotes and information are from Seanna Adcox, The Associated Press, 4/23/06      
 
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ICRA OPPOSES PROPOSED LABELING LAW
WASHINGTON, DC — Last week Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced a new legislative initiative, called the “Child Pornography and Obscenity Prevention Amendments of 2006,” that included, among other provisions, requirements that all websites operated primarily for commercial purposes must put warning labels on every page that contains sexually explicit material, with penalties of up to five years in prison for non-compliance.
    The Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), which is a much respected non- profit organization “working to protect children from objectionable material while preserving free speech on the Internet,” has aligned itself against the initiative. 
       Said ICRA CEO Stephen Balkam:  "ICRA applauds the efforts of Attorney General Gonzalez to combat child pornography, which is abhorrent and utterly illegal. We understand the gravity of this widespread threat and share the goal of creating a safer Internet for children. However, we vigorously oppose an added measure included in the draft bill which would require Web sites with sexually explicit material — material that is legal, but potentially harmful to minors — to use a government-mandated labeling system. ICRA strongly believes that self- regulation of legal Internet content leads to the best balance between the free flow of digital content and the protection of children from potentially harmful material."      
      "ICRA’s self-labeling system is applicable in any language. Parents can use filtering software to allow or disallow access to Websites based on the information declared in the label. A nationally mandated system like the one proposed today for sites with sexually explicit material cannot guarantee international compliance. US-based servers will simply move offshore to avoid this well intentioned, but fatally flawed law."
Information and quotes are from the ICRA Website and from Government Technology Magazine, 4/21/06                      
 
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ANOTHER VIOLENT VIDEO BILL MOVES FORWARD
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The Oklahoma Senate has unanimously approved a bill (HB3004) that would make it a crime to sell violent video games to children under 18. Sponsored by Senator Glenn Coffee (R-Oklahoma City), the bill adds violent video games to a list of materials considered harmful to minors. The bill now goes back to the house for approval.
    A series of courts, including the 7th and 8th Circuit courts of appeal, plus federal judges in Washington, Illinois California, and most recently, Michigan, have ruled that similar laws are unconstitutional. (See X-Press report, “Violent Video Games Law Struck Down,” 4/7/06)
Information drawn from a News.com report, 4/25/06
 
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COALITION FORMS TO PROTECT NET NEUTRALITY
WASHINGTON, DC — In an effort to to raise public awareness of inadequate protections for the neutrality of the Internet in the pending “Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancements Act of 2006,” a coalition of strange bedfellows has formed for a last moment fight.
  SavetheInternet.com Coalition, consisting of such diverse interest groups as Gun Owners of America, Craigslist.com, Public Knowledge, MoveOn.org, the American Library Association, Afro-Netizen.com, the Consumer Federation of America, the Consumers Union, and Free Press, recently held a national conference call as a part of their campaign.
     “Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the Internet’s First Amendment — a principle called ‘Network neutrality,’” said the group, “that prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you — based on what site pays them the most. Your local library shouldn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to have its Web site open quickly on your computer.
      “Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn’t speak up now, Congress will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by telephone and cable companies that want to decide what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.”
       "The fight for Internet freedom is now being waged in earnest," said Tim Karr, campaign director for Free Press. "On one side you have the public and on the other side the nation’s largest phone and cable companies looking to strip the Net of neutrality."
        The coalition is not alone in the effort to prevent the Internet from being hijacked by telecommunications giants. In the Senate, Ron Wyden (D-OR) tried to head off the problem in March. (See X-Press report “Net Neutrality Issues Debated in Congress,” 3/10/06). Senators Olympia Snowe, (R-ME), and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) have circulated a draft bill which would impose Net neutrality regulations on broadband providers.
 Internet companies such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo have also expressed dismay at the lack of protection in the pending law. The Internet companies are relative new kids on the block when it comes to lobbying in D.C., however, compared to the cable and telecommunications industries.
       In the most recent development, members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have rejected a Democratic-backed Net neutrality amendment to the pending legislation by a 34-22 vote. The final version of the telecommunications bill does include some Net neutrality regulations, including charging the FCC with investigating any "violation" of fair treatment principles. It is unclear what may happen in the Senate.
Some information and quotes are from Bary Ayissa Johnson, PC Magazine, 4/24/06
See also Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, 4/26/06
 
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UPDATE ON FCC FINES CHALLENGE
WASHINGTON, DC — As we noted last week in an X-Press report, in a rare show of unity, CBS and other broadcast networks and their affiliates have asked a U.S. appeals court to overturn FCC decisions that found broadcasters violated decency standards by airing profanity. Organizations and commentators are quickly weighing in on the issue. Findlaw’s Julie Hilden opines that the FCC is likely to lose at the Supreme Court level.     The Supreme Court might finally take the networks up on their invitation to make indecency law a historical relic, says Hilden, in order to make way for a more robust information age. Many other constitutional scholars agree that outdated broadcast indecency rules might fall victim to the broadcast network’s challenge.
      On the other side of the issue, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is holding fast to the correctness of the fines. Speaking at the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Martin noted that some of the violations cited for fines involved the Supreme Court’s famous "Seven Dirty Words" decision, based on a George Carlin routine aired on a California radio station. Little could be more clear than that two decade-old decision, Martin scolded, yet broadcasters are still crossing those lines.
Martin quotes are from John Higgins and John Eggerton, Broadcasting and Cable, 4/25/06                                              
 
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OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK

SACRAMENTO, CA — The ninth annual FSC Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Day event was very well received by legislators and staff at the Capitol. (See Mark Kernes’ report at AVN.com)
BRUTUS, MI — John Mart Messer and Deborah Messer have been indicted by a federal grand jury on obscenity and child pornography charges. Details of the case are not yet available, other than those provided by the Department of Justice,
 
POLK COUNTY, FL — Chris Wilson, a webmaster who pled no contest in January to five misdemeanor counts of possession of obscene materials in a highly bizarre series of actions by county prosecutors, has been sentenced, as expected, to five years probation with the requirement that he not run another adult site during that time.
 
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — City commissioners have agreed on a new ordinance which bans total nudity and requires topless dancers to perform on an 18-inch tall stage at least six feet away from customers with no touching. See comments by attorney Brad Shafer.
 
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — FSC Communications Director Tom Hymes will speak on a seminar panel during the upcoming Sex in Video Games conference being held June 8-9, 2006, in San Francisco.
 
which are not regarded as likely to tell the full story. __________________________________________________________

UP AND COMING
 
APR 28-30 — Venus 10, International Trade Fair, Paris

APR 29 — 2nd Annual Sin City Chamber of Commerce Spring BBQ, Chicken Ranch Brothel, Pahrump, NV (Benefit for FSC)

MAY 5-7 — Leather Fest, Washington, DC

MAY 10-13, Webmaster, Toronto, Ontario

MAY 25-29 — Mr International Leather, Chicago, IL

JUN 8-9 — Sex in Video Games conference, San Francisco

JUN 8-11 — Cybernet Expo 2006, Shelter Pointe, San Diego

JUN 9-11 —Exxxotica Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL

JUN 18 — Folsom Street East, New York, NY

JUN 17 — Leather Pride Night, New York, NY

JUN 17 — Rock N Roll Bingo, Benefit for FSC, L.A. CA

JUN 23-25Erotica Los Angeles, L.A. Convention Center

JUN 27-JUL 1 — AASECT Annual Conference, St Louis

JUL 12-14, XBiz Summer, Las Vegas, NV

JUL 15 — Night of the Stars, L.A. Center Studios, L.A. CA

JULY 16 — Bob Tremont Golf Tournament, Vista Valencia GC, Valencia, CA

JULY 17-19 — Adult Novelty Expo, Universal, CA

JUL 15-22, Gay Games, Chicago, IL

JUL 26 — AUG 5 — Outgames, Montreal, Canada

JUL 19-22 — Lifestyles West, Las Vegas Stardust

AUG 4-6 — Internext Summer 2006, Weston Diplomat, Hollywood, FL

AUG 22-24 – Gentlemen’s Club Owners Expo, Las Vegas, NV
 
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Subscriptions to Free Speech X-Press are FREE to FSC members. Contact us at Sunlove@direcway.com or 800-476-7MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT
SAN DIEGO, CA — An FSC membership meeting is scheduled for 11:30 AM to 1:00 on Sunday, June 11 (room location to be announced) during the Cybernet Expo in San Diego. Speakers will include FSC Deputy Director Scott Lowther, First Amendment attorney Eric M. Bernstein, FSC Board Director Connor Young and FSC General Counsel Jeffrey Douglas. No doubt the meeting will be very upbeat thanks to the recent victory in defeating the .XXX Domain scheme (see report below). FSC Executive Director Michelle Freridge will moderate a discussion of the current state of FSC and the latest issues threatening free speech.
     Also at Cybernet Expo: Don’t miss the panel discussion of First Amendment issues scheduled on Saturday, June 10, from 1:30 PM to 2:30 (room location to be announced). See seminar schedule for details.
 
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DOT XXX GOES DOWN IN FLAMES, FSC CELEBRATES
MARINA DEL RAY, CA — The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board of Directors has voted (9 to 5) to reject the proposal by ICM Registry for a .XXX Sponsored Top Level Domain, a scheme which would have created a virtual red light district for adult entertainment. The vote represents a major victory for the adult Internet and for FSC, which has taken a strong position against the .XXX TLD almost since it was proposed. After study and analysis, FSC concluded that any such action, even if .XXX was initially intended to be voluntary, risked ghettoizing the adult Internet and burdening it with government mandated restrictions.
 In March, FSC Communications Director Tom Hymes lobbied against the proposal at the ICANN meeting in Wellington, joined by Fiona Patten of the Australian EROS Association. In addition, FSC mounted a concerted campaign to rally adult Webmasters and adult entertainment companies to send letters to ICANN in opposition to .XXX. Many did send letters, including Larry Flynt of Hustler, Steve Orenstein of Wicked, Private Media and other major players, and the results clearly paid off as evidenced in comments by ICANN Chief Executive Paul Twomey. Twomey said that the Board took the adult sites’ concerns as a sign ICM did not fully represent the industry, a criterion currently required for such domains. Twomey said the decision largely came down to whether the creation of .XXX might put ICANN in a difficult position of having to enforce all of the world’s laws governing adult entertainment, including ones that might require adult sites to use the domain.
    The ICANN vote is a victory for free expression around the world, a victory which fittingly involved an international alliance in which representatives of American and Australian adult entertainment joined forces in expressing similar concerns to ICANN at the Wellington meeting. Without that coordinated effort, and without the letters sent from adult industry companies, ICANN could have perhaps assumed that objections to .XXX stemmed from the opinions of only one trade association.
      In a bizarre twist, many social conservatives representing anti-adult entertainment factions in the U.S. also lobbied ICANN against the .XXX idea. The groups feared that adult Internet companies would keep their dot-com domain names as well as .XXX domain names, thereby expanding the availability of adult materials on the Internet.
Some information and quotes are from Anik Jesdanun, Associated Press, 5/10/06
 
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STATE HIGH COURT WILL NOT HEAR CHALLENGE
NEW ORLEANS, LA — The Louisiana Supreme Court has refused to hear a constitutional challenge to the state obscenity law brought by Emmette Jacob Jr., the owner of Le Video Store in St. Martin’s Parish. Jacobs faces obscenity charges based on standard video titles such as "Sabrina’s First Swing Party Orgy" and "Bootleg Bondage, Vol. 1.” In October, after hearing the arguments posed by Jacob’s attorney J.D. Obenberger, State Judge Charles Porter ruled that the Louisiana obscenity law is constitutional. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling. (See X-Press Report, “Community Standards Test Upheld,” 10/7/05) Obenberger has said in the past that he might take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court but had not yet seen the Louisiana Supreme Court comments in early news accounts.
    Barring further appeal, Jacob and Edward Burleigh Jr., the owner of Le Video Place, who has been charged in a related case, will face trial on obscenity charges in coming months.
Information and quotes from Kayla Gagnet, The Daily Advertiser, 5/9/06
 
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SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FOR MINORS TARGETED
WASHINGTON, DC — Representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) has endorsed new legislation called Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA) that would restrict access by minors using school and library computers to commercial social-networking Websites such as MySpace.com and Facebook. The measure is defined in terms of sites which let users create public Web pages or profiles and which offer discussion boards, chat rooms, or e-mail services, which means it would cover much more than MySpace, also bringing in a wide range of interactive Websites and services, including Blogger.com, AOL and Yahoo’s instant-messaging features, and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which permits in-game chat.
From Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com, 5/10/06
 
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DANCE CLUB OWNER SUES CITY OVER NEW LAW
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Mark London, owner of Sensations and Lady Godiva exotic dance clubs, has filed suit in federal court against a new adult business ordinance which bans nude dancing, keeps patrons and dancers 6 feet apart, and mandates that dancers perform on stages at least 18 inches high. The ordinance also orders the removal of doors and partitions from peep show booths.     The lawsuit was filed for London by Gregory Fisher Lord, an attorney who won four years ago when he represented Velvet Touch adult bookstore in a suit against the city’s zoning ordinance. Lord won in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the city was ordered to pay $125,000 for legal bills.
  The city will be represented by Scott Bergthold of Tennesse, the same guy who lost in the Velvet Touch case. So once again it will be Lord v. Bergthold. Bergthold keeps showing up in X-Press reports all over the nation. He goes from state to state as a hired gun, drafting and defending municipal adult business regulations.
      This time the city is being financially backed by social conservative groups. The Michigan Decency Action Council has promised to pay at least $90,000 from private sources to pay the city’s legal fees. The Black Hills Neighborhood Association has raised $102,000 to help the city cover the legal fees. Bergthold told them the suit should not cost more than $70,000. But Association spokesperson Judy Rose says if it does, she will turn to the donors who have remained anonymous.
Information from WoodTV Channel 8 News, 5/9/06
See also Jim Harger, The Grand Rapids Press, 5/10/06
 
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FILTERS BLOCK WEBSITES UNEVENLY
WEST PALM BEACH, FL — When students or teachers in schools or libraries here try to log on to sites such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation or Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, they are greeted with a notice that says the site is blocked. The reason: it falls within the gay/lesbian category.
 However, students who want to check out organizations that oppose gay rights, such as the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality or the Traditional Values Coalition, encounter no problems.
       Bob LaRocca, who monitors computer security for the school district, says part of the problem is the ages of students surfing the sites. He acknowledges the blocked sites may be fine for high school children but has concerns about younger students accessing them. That keeps them off limits for everyone.      
       "Someday, when we can differentiate who is going through the sites, things may change," he said. "But there is no technology out there to do that. When you have 200,000 users, how do you judge how old someone is? It’s impossible, so we have to treat it so it’s the youngest child."
         The American Civil Liberties Union plans to review the policy.             
Information and quotes from Christina DeNardo, Palm Beach Post, 5/9/06
 
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COPS DO CAREFUL INVENTORY DURING RAID
POCOLA, OK — Police here have raided Adult World and accused owners of violating state obscenity laws. However, no arrests were actually made. The officers said their only goal was to confiscate the pornography and shut the store’s doors. An investigation leading to the raid took several months, during which time the officers reached the conclusion that the store was selling illegal videos and magazines. After the raid, officers from several agencies took inventory and seized items, which they said would be destroyed. The cops were still going through items to be destroyed several hours after the raid. Perhaps it was difficult to decide which officers would take which DVDs home for destruction.
Factual information from Channel 40 News, 5/8/06
 
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OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK
 
                The Children’s Safety and Violent Crime Reduction Act of 2006 (HB 4472) complete with expanded obscenity law and 2257 provisions, has been placed on the calendar of the U.S. Senate for a vote.
 
                Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is planning to introduce a bill providing incentives to cable companies for a la carte programming.
               
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COMING SOON:
 
The Gala 19th Annual Night of the Stars Awards Show
AND
The Bob Tremont Golf Tournament
(See Calendar below for dates)
 
TICKETS AND SPONSORSHIPS
NOW AVAILABLE
 
Bob Tremont Golf Tournament
             Event Sponsor $2,000 (Foursome, Hole Sponsorship, & additional recognition)
             Foursome & Hole Sponsor $1,300
             Foursome $1,000
             Hole Sponsor $500
             Individual Ticket $260
 
19TH Annual Night of the Stars Awards
             Event Sponsor $5,000
             Program Sponsor $3,000
             Table Sponsor $1,500
             Individual Tickets  
                $175 (Purchased before June 1, 2006)
                $200 (Purchased on or after June 1, 2006)
             Ten Tickets            
                $1,600 (Purchased before June 1, 2006)
                $1,800 (Purchased on or after June 1, 2006)
 
Night of the Stars Program Advertising
             Full page, Full Color Ad (81/2×11)                         $500
             Half page, Full Color Ad (81/2×51/4)                     $250
             Quarter page, Full Color Ad (41/4x 51/4)               $125
             Business Card Size, Full Color Ad (2×5)                $75
 
For application materials or additional information, contact Valerie Vizmanos or Michelle Freridge by email or at 818-348-9373
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UpComing Events
 
MAY 25-29 — Mr International Leather, Chicago, IL

JUN 8-9 — Sex in Video Games conference, San Francisco

JUN 8-11 — Cybernet Expo 2006, Shelter Pointe Hotel, San Diego

JUN 9-11 —Exxxotica Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL

JUN 16-17 — Exotic Erotic Expo and Ball, New York, NY

JUN 18 — Folsom Street East, New York, NY

JUN 17 — Leather Pride Night, New York, NY

JUN 17 — Rock N Roll Bingo, Benefit for FSC, L.A. CA

JUN 23-25Erotica Los Angeles, L.A. Convention Center

JUN 27-JUL 1 — AASECT Annual Conference, St Louis

JUL 12-14, XBiz Summer, Las Vegas, NV

JUL 15 — Night of the Stars, L.A. Center Studios, L.A. CA

JULY 16 — Bob Tremont Golf Tournament, Vista Valencia GC, Valencia, CA

JULY 17-19 — Adult Novelty Expo, Universal, CA

JUL 15-22, Gay Games, Chicago, IL

JUL 26 — AUG 5 — Outgames, Montreal, Canada

JUL 19-22 — Lifestyles West, Las Vegas Stardust

AUG 4-6 — Internext Summer 2006, Weston Diplomat, Hollywood, FL

AUG 22-24 – Gentlemen’s Club Owners Expo, Las Vegas, NV
 
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Subscriptions to Free Speech X-Press are FREE to FSC members. Contact us at Layne@inreach.com or 800-476-7813.

 











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