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

Vol. VIII, No. 18, March 24, 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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DOT TRIPLE-X DECISION LIKELY SOON
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will be asked to make a decision on the controversial .XXX top level domain (TLD) when it meets March 27-31 in Wellington. The stakes for the adult Internet in ICANN’s decision are especially high now, thanks to U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Mark Pryor (D-AR), who have introduced legislation calling for a mandatory .XXX TLD exclusively for adult entertainment. This action in the Senate confirms what many adult Internet observers — including FSC — have feared, that if a .XXX TLD were established, it would soon become a mandatory adult entertainment ghetto, with who knows what additional government controls and sanctions to be imposed once the American adult Internet industry is neatly rounded up in one location.
    ICM Registry, the private company founded in 2000 specifically to seek approval for the .XXX TLD, has apparently met ICANN’s criteria for creating a TLD, according to an ICANN decision in June. Since then ICANN and ICM Registry have been negotiating the controversial contract that would create a virtual red-light district. ICM Registry President and Chair Stuart Lawley will attend the meeting in Wellington.
    “We look forward to the ICANN board ratifying the contract,” Lawley says. “Once our contract is signed, we can implement plans which we expect would lead to the .XXX TLD being operational around six months later.”
    FSC Communications Director Tom Hymes will attend the meeting in Wellington, seeking to influence the decision on behalf of the American adult entertainment industry. Fiona Patten of EROS Foundation, the trade association for the Australian adult industry, plans to join with Hymes to present a united international front on the .XXX TLD issue.
From Ulrika Hedquist, Computerworld New Zealand, 3/20/06
 
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HIGH COURT DECISION IN OBSCENITY CHALLENGE
WASHINGTON, DC — Without hearing oral arguments and without any explanation other than a four word statement, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the July, 2005, decision of a three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which refused to enjoin the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA) in a lawsuit brought by photographer Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF).  (See X-Press report, “Panel Rules in Obscenity Law Case,” 7/29/05)
    In affirming the lower court decision in Nitke v. Gonzales the Supreme Court offered no guidelines, essentially ducking an opportunity to address the patently obvious Internet-era problem of community standards in the definition of obscenity as set forth by the Supreme Court in Miller v. California (1973). Local community standards, argued Nitke and NCSF, cannot be accurately applied to the Internet and, therefore, should not be used to determine what is obscene on the Internet. The appeals panel had agreed that legitimate issues had been raised but decided that the case for overturning the obscenity provisions of the CDA had not been adequately made.
    The issue of the availability of explicit materials on the Internet which may be deemed harmful to minors, even though legal for adults, was not at issue in Nitke. The indecency provisions in the CDA had already been struck down by the court in Reno V. ACLU (1997). However, the CDA also contained obscenity provisions which were not challenged in Reno v. ACLU. Under the CDA, materials produced, for example, by a photo artist such as Nitke, who chronicles sadomasochism in kinky New York, could be the subject of an obscenity prosecution brought in the most conservative parts of the nation once the photos were posted on a Website. This is patently unfair, since artists who post work on Websites have no control over geographical distribution. Nitke, who had not been charged with obscenity, and NSCF, ably assisted by attorney John Wirenius, took on the heavy load of challenging that law on behalf of us all. We commend them for their valiant effort. However, as it stands, a law which is Medieval by Internet standards remains on the books.
From the Associated Press, 3/20/06
And from Q. Boyer, YNOT.com, 3/20/06
And from an NCSF press release, 3/20/06
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RULES FOR WALL STREET ENTERTAINMENT
NEW YORK, NY – In order to crack down on the common practice on Wall Street of taking clients to exotic dance clubs, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) have proposed rules
    The proposed rules come against a background of a rise in complaints and sexual harassment lawsuits by women who are brokers or executives on Wall Street and who feel excluded when male peers take clients to the clubs.
    Mike Paul of the New York-based reputation management firm MGP & Associates PR, says exotic dance clubs would be a hard habit for Wall Streeters to break. "The bottom line — and you won’t get any company to say it — is that Wall Street and “strip clubs” are ingrained together and have been for a long time," said Paul.
From Jayne O’Donnell, USA Today, 3/22/06
And from the NYSE Website
 
requiring members and member organizations to develop written policies defining, in the case of the NYSE: “forms of entertainment that are appropriate and inappropriate and to detect and prevent entertainment that is intended as an inducement for obtaining customer business, or could give rise to a conflict of interest.” NASD members have similar new requirements. The proposals must be approved by the Security Exchange Commission. __________________________________________________________

ISP FILTERING CONSIDERED
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Some politicians here are pressuring the Federal Government to require Internet service providers to filter adult materials. The Courier Mail reported that Senator Steve Fielding of the fledgling political party Family First has been in negotiation with Prime Minister John Howard over measures to block adult entertainment. Under Family First’s plan, the adult Internet would be blocked by Australia’s most commonly used Internet service providers.
    Recently, however, the Family First plan has been overshadowed by a plan put forward by the Labor Opposition. Under Labor’s plan, according to opposition Leader Kim Beazley, all Internet service providers would be forced to offer a “clean feed” service to households, schools and other public Internet points accessible by children.
    Beazley said adults who still wanted to view legal adult content could opt out of the system.
Initially, Communications Minister Helen Coonan rejected the Labor proposal. Coonan said that PC-based filters remained the most effective way to remove such content. She said a recent trial of server-level filters found they reduced network performance by between 18 and 78 per cent. She said the government estimated such a scheme would cost $45 mllion ($32m U.S.) to implement and $33 million ($24m U.S.) a year to maintain.
    However, the next day Coonan backtracked and said that the government had not ruled out such a filtering system.
From Mark Metherell, The Sydney Morning, 3/23/06
And from John Oates, The Register (UK), 3/22/06
And from Robbie Swan, an EROS News Alert, 3/21/06
 
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VOTERS TO DECIDE ON ADULT LAWS
BILLINGS, MT — Two proposals to limit sexually oriented businesses in Yellowstone County will go before voters in June, the first being an obscenity ordinance which proponents believe would ban hard-core adult entertainment, but which actually merely outlines the Miller test for obscenity, with a few questionable additions. Unclear on the concept, proponents claim, “the law, if passed, would work hand in hand with the sexually oriented business law by making it illegal for adult bookstores to sell the obscene or hardcore pornography that they sell now. If this law passes the adult bookstores would only be allowed to sell softcore pornography similar to what is sold in the Town Pump stations."
    Note the phrase “obscene or hardcore” in the foregoing. Once again, those who would censor adult materials are, when it comes to understanding the law, themselves victims of the right-wing spin that seeks to equate “hardcore” with “obscene.” In fact, most so-called hardcore adult entertainment is well within the acceptable community standards of most Americans circa 2006, as proven by jury verdicts time and again.       The other proposal to go to the voters involves amendments to county zoning regulations which would create new regulations for sexually oriented businesses, including exotic dance clubs. The group Citizens Against Sex Exploitation (CASE) initiated both proposals in the face of longstanding resistance to the ordinances on the part of the Yellowstone County Commissioners, who fear expensive legal challenges (see X-Press Report “Commissioners Face Catch-22 on Ordinances,” 4/29/05) and the reactions of many Montanans who simply don’t see a problem.
    "I find it “obscene” that even though Mayor Tussing, our past Chief of Police, has testified that the erotic stores, gentlemen’s clubs and massage parlors do not create policing problems and the city county planning department recommended not going forth with this ordinance, you [CASE] still persist with this," said Terry Zee Lee of Billings.
From Jody Hathaway, KULR Channel 8 News, Billings
And from Dallas Erickson, Montana News Association
And from Roger Clawson, The Village Outpost
 
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UPDATE ON KANSAS BILLS
TOPEKA, KS — The state House of Representatives here is busy on several bills mentioned in recent X-Press reports. The good news: No “sin tax” this year.  HB 2680, the “sin tax” bill under which exotic dance clubs, escort services and adult bookstores would pay a 10% levy on gross sales will be sent to a study committee during the summer for yet more analysis. Kansas House Tax Committee Chair Kenny Wilk (R-Lansing) wants to see what happens with a legal challenge to the Utah law which formed the model for the proposed bill.
    "Let’s stand back and see what we learn from the Utah litigation and be better informed next year," Wilk said.
In the meantime, as expected, the House has given first-round approval to a bill (HB 2912) making it easier to prosecute under the state’s anti-obscenity law by removing the phrase "sexually provocative aspect" from the definition of what materials are illegal. (See X-Press Report, “Lawmakers Seek to Fix Obscenity Statute,” 3/17/06) An expected vote of approval will send the bill to the Senate.
    Also moving from committees to a final vote in the House is a billboard measure  (SB 253) that would ban billboards advertising adult video stores, exotic dance clubs and other sex-related businesses within a mile of highways. Under the proposal, a business within a mile of highways could post two signs, one no more than 40 square feet with the name, address, phone number and operating hours, and another noting the premises are off-limits to minors. Signs already in place could remain for three years after the bill becomes law.
    "I think we have the votes in the full Senate for this," said Representative Huelskamp (R-Fowler). "It’s good for children and families and sends a message that Kansas is a family friendly state."
From The Associated Press, 3/21/06
And from Steve Painter, The Topeka Eagle, 3/21/06
 
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EXOTIC DANCE BILL STALLS
FRANKFORT, KY — Last week we reported that a state Senate bill (SB 250) which would ban full nudity and semi-nude lap dancing in exotic dance clubs, had moved quickly since being introduced March 1, passing 9-1 in the Senate Judiciary committee, and by a 36-2 in a vote by the full Senate. In the House, however, SB 250 has not fared so well. It did not get a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee in time for action, since the committee will not meet again this legislative session.
    "We just didn’t have the time to look into it," said Judiciary Committee Chair Gross Lindsay (D-Henderson).
From the Lexington Herald-Leader, 3/24/06
 
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UpComing Events

 
MAR 24-26  Erotic Art Festival, Seattle, WA

MAR 25-26 Adultcon 10, Los Angeles, CA

MAR 25-26 — GLBT Expo, NYC

MAR 30 – APR 1The Phoenix Forum Tempe, AZ  Mission Palms

APR 2 — 2257 Class with attorney Paul Cambria, S.F., CA (cancelled)

APR 3-5, International Lingerie Show – Las Vegas, NV

APR 6-9, SSSS Western Conference Redondo Beach, CA

APR 7-9 — Leather Leadership, New York, NY

APR 13-16 — DomCon LA, Sheraton Four Points Airport LAX, L.A. CA

APR 24-25 – Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days, Sacramento, CA

APR 28-30 — Venus 10, International Trade Fair, Berlin, Germany
 
APR 29 — 2nd Annual Sin City Chamber of Commerce Spring BBQ, Chicken Ranch Brothel, Pahrump, NV (Benefit for FSC)

See our Website Calendar for a more complete calendar of events scheduled for 2006.
 
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