Free Speech X-Press
Delivering Weekly Censorship Updates to the Adult Industry
Vol. VIII, No. 16, March 10, 2006 — A Member Service of the Free Speech Coalition
DEADLINE NEARS FOR CALIFORNIA LOBBYING DAYS
Free Speech X-press is researched and edited by Kat Sunlove and Layne Winklebleck.
Copyright 2004 Free Speech Coalition. Permission to reprint granted to FSC members; please give credit.
VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR FSC MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION
There’s not much time left to make application to attend our acclaimed lobbying training program, Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days (CFSLD), in Sacramento, California. The dates are Monday and Tuesday, April 24 and 25, 2006, and as always, space is limited. Deadline for applications has been extended to March 20.
The two-day event will include a full day of political action training for participants, as well as our popular cocktail reception for legislators and staff. Call the Legislative Affairs Office at 1-800-476-7813 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and an application form
NEW VERSION OF PENCE BILL PASSES HOUSE
WASHINGTON, DC — The House of Representatives has passed HR 4472, The Children’s Safety and Violent Crime Reduction Act of 2006, sponsored by Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). The bill contains many elements, but the one that targets adult entertainment is Title VI, “Child Pornography Prevention,” which uses a lot of the language from an earlier bill, HR 3726, introduced last September by Representative Mike Pence (R-IN). (See X-Press report, “Bill Would Expand Government Powers,” 9/24/06). Like the Pence bill, Title VI of HR 4472 would greatly expand the reach of obscenity law and U.S.C. 18 §2257, the federal record-keeping law currently being challenged by FSC.
Like the Pence bill, HR 4472 adds civil and criminal asset forfeiture penalties in 2257 and prohibits the production of obscenity as well as the transportation, distribution and sale of it. Under this change it would be illegal to produce obscenity with the intent to transport, distribute or transmit it in interstate or foreign commerce. According to an ACLU analysis, this would amount to unconstitutional prior restraint on speech. HR 4472, like the Pence Bill, also adds “lascivious exhibition of the genitals” as a category of images requiring 2257 record-keeping.
In addition, HR 4472 contains a bizarre change in the definition of “producer.” The definition of producer is a matter near and dear to the hearts of various adult entertainment workers such as webmasters, whom the government has sought to include under 2257 requirements using the dubious category of “secondary producer.” At present the government has been enjoined by United States District Court Judge Walker D. Miller from enforcing §2257 against FSC members whose activities do not include direct contact with performers.
The ruling relies on language in §2257, which reads [in part] as follows: “[Production] does not include mere distribution or any other activity which does not involve hiring, contracting for managing, or otherwise arranging for the participation of the performers.”
HR 4472 strikes these provisos, substituting the following: “[Production] does not include mere distribution or any other activity with respect to which the Attorney General determines the record keeping requirements of this section are not needed to carry out the purposes of this chapter.” Your guess is as good as ours on what that means, but it doesn’t sound good. FSC attorneys will no doubt soon come up with an explanation.
HR 4472 borrows some language from a companion bill in the Senate, (S. 2140) introduced in December by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), with Senator Sam Brownback (R-KN) as a co-sponsor. (See “Senate Version of Pence Bill Introduced,” 12/23/06) Like S. 2140, HR 4472 includes an entire new section to establish a §2257 category for “simulated” sexual conduct.
“Title VI is the worst of both bills,” [Pence and Hatch versions] said FSC Communications Director Tom Hymes in a press release, “and if passed into law in anything resembling its current form, would represent an abusive and unconstitutional affront to freedom of speech in this country. Worse, it would do nothing to aid the eradication of child pornography or the incarceration of child pornographers, an objective supported by all members of the Free Speech Coalition.”
From an FSC Press Release, 3/9/06
DRACONIAN ADULT BUSINESS LAW REINTRODUCED
JEFFERSON CITY, MOState Senator Matt Bartle (R-Lee’s Summit) has re-introduced an adult business bill known last year as SB 32. In its new incarnation the bill is SB 1232. After some modifications last year– a “sin tax” provision was dropped — SB 32 finally was enacted into law as a part of HB 972, an anti-drug “Intoxication-related Traffic Offenses” bill. However, the adult businesses portion of the traffic offenses law ran into trouble due to a Missouri law which states that the legislative intent of a bill must agree with the bill’s title. Since nothing about regulating adult video stores and exotic dance clubs had anything to do with drunk or drugged driving, Judge Richard G. Callahan struck that portion of the law down, severing it from the “intoxicated offenses” part of the law.
Callahan also ruled that a provision of SB 32/HB 972 requiring that patrons and customers in dance clubs be at least age 21 constituted age discrimination.
“…[E]ighteen, nineteen and twenty-year-olds are not minors and the State may not limit persons of majority age from engaging in lawful expressive conduct protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution without a substantial and direct connection to adverse secondary effects…” said Callahan.
If SB1232 again becomes law, without being attached to an unrelated bill this time around, it should pass muster in terms of Missouri law on that count. However, SB1232, as presently written, inexplicably still contains the 21-year-old minimum age provision which Judge Callahan has already declared unconstitutional under the equal protection clause.
Last year, Nellie Symm-Gruender, owner of Passions Video in Missouri and an FSC Board Member, helped mount a lobbying effort against SB 32. The present, identical version, would increase penalties for violations, limit hours of operation (10 to 10), prevent virtually all interactions between exotic dancers and their audience, and create new categories of "public nuisance" that could close businesses completely.
From the text of SB1232
And from numerous reports by AVN Senior Editor Mark Kernes, who followed the SB 32 story closely last year, here, here and here.
Thanks to Sean Bersell for the news alert.
NET NEUTRALITY ISSUES DEBATED IN CONGRESS
WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced a bill called the Internet Non-Discrimination Act of 2006 (S 2360). The bill, also known as the “net neutrality” bill, would prohibit network operators from assessing charges that give some content providers better access than others or blocking its subscribers from accessing content.
The bill, which comes at a time when AT&T has announced plans to buy BellSouth for $67 billion — a major consolidation that would create a telecommunications giant — is intended to ease growing fears that open Internet access may be blocked or compromised by the Bell phone carriers and cable operators, creating tiers of service, fast-track and not so fast. Indeed, pressure is mounting from major telecommunications companies – including BellSouth, AT&T and Verizon – for Congress to adopt legislation allowing exactly that kind of two-tiered Internet. What the major carriers want is to be able to charge service and content providers for express delivery of their data over the fast tier.
Consumer groups and Internet companies like Google and Amazon contend that any move by the network operators to levy fees for premium delivery service would harm Websites that are unwilling to pay for faster delivery. The idea violates the concept of “net neutrality,” which essentially means that all data, once it is out on the Net, is treated equally.
For technical reasons outlined in an article by TMCnet Associate Editor Patrick Barnard, Wyden’s bill will need some “tweaking” before it is ready for serious consideration. One problem is that the language of the bill, which states that network operators "shall not interfere with, block, degrade, alter, modify, impair, or change any bits, content, application or service transmitted over the network of such operator," inadvertently takes away the ability of network operators and service providers to engage in non-discriminatory activities which “prioritize” packets of data in order to deliver better signals to customers.
From Patrick Barnard, YMCnet, 3/8/06
And from Ken Belson, the New York Times, 3/6/06
And from The Progressive Review, 3/7/06
CAMBRIA SENDS MORE TESTIMONY TO SENATE
WASHINGTON, DC — First Amendment attorney Paul Cambria, General Counsel for the Adult Freedom Foundation, has provided supplemental written testimony on the problems of protecting children on the Internet to the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. In January, Cambria went boldly into the committee lion’s den, taking advantage of an opportunity, rare in recent years, for a representative of the adult entertainment industry to testify at hearings that could well lead to new legislation. (See X-Press report “Industry Representative at Senate Hearing,” 1/20/06)
In his supplemental testimony, Cambria clarified that he had misunderstood a question from Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) and had responded to Pryor in a way that made it appear that Cambria was not opposed to Internet user age verification. In fact, Cambria does not agree that Internet age verification is a practical or effective solution at this time, a view that is widely shared by representatives of the adult Internet, including FSC.
After clarifying that point, Cambria went on in his supplemental testimony to build a case for the use of filtering software by the end user as a more effective solution, citing comments by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. ACLU, (re the Child Online Protection Act) and Congress’ own Commission on Child Online Protection, which concluded that end-user filters are more effective than age verification requirements.
Cambria also mentioned a point not made at the January hearing, namely that many adult websites already self-rate for use in conjunction with popular filtering software programs, many of them through the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA) which operates a free self-rating system that meshes with popular filtering systems.
Cambria, who recently attended an ICRA roundtable, said that he had met with ICRA representatives and with filtering experts, and had discussed an even more aggressive industry self-rating system. He said those discussions continue to develop and he said he would be happy to give a progress report to Chair Ted Stevens (R-AK) and the Committee. In the meantime, social conservative groups are reportedly angry over the “failure” of the committee to allow a vote on the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, which Senator Stevens has so far bottled up in the committee.
From Thomas J. Stanton, AVN.com, 3/9/06
OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK
Police may search computer hard drives for child pornography if their owners subscribe to Web sites selling the images, says U.S. appeals court.
Jennifer R. Clason, 32, has pleaded guilty to violations of the federal CAN-SPAM Act.
The Parents Television Council has released a study finding that violence, sexual innuendo and offensive language is rampant in children’s programming.
Protestors in Bali fear a proposed Indonesian law outlawing displays of flesh and public lewdness such as kissing. However, bikini-clad tourists on Bali beaches may be exempted.
Brevard County, Florida, authorities seek to use nuisance laws to close adult businesses.
Nashville cops accused of sexually harassing exotic dancers.
Dallas obscenity trial involving rape and torture films set to begin.
Peoria, Illinois, forced to cough up $163 K in settlement for banning wet T-shirt contests.
MAR 15-18 – Webmaster Access Gateway , Cancun, Mexico
MAR 18 – Fieldens Ball De Sade , Richmond, VA
MAR 16-18 – Fifth Annual San Francisco Fetish Ball Weekend , San Francisco, CA
MAR 24-26 – Erotic Art Festival , Seatle, WA
MAR 25-26 – Adultcon 10 , Los Angeles, CA
MAR 30-APR 1 – The Phoenix Forum , Tempe, AZ Mission Palms
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 18-19 – 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)
May 5-7 –Leather Fest, Washington, DC
May 10-13 – Webmaster, Toronto, Ontario
May 25-29 – Mr International Leather, Chicago, IL
JUN 8-11 – Cybernet Expo 2006, Shelter Pointe Hotel, San Diego
JUN 9-11 – Exxxotica Miami Beach, Miami Beach, FL
JUN 14 – Celebrate Free Speech Day, Flag Day, Washington, DC
JUN 18 – Folsom Street East, New York, NY
JUN 17 – Leather Pride Night, New York, NY
JUN 23-25 – Erotica Los Angeles, Los Angeles Convention Center
JUL 12-14 – XBiz Summer, Las Vegas, NV
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 22-25 – Gentlemen’s Club Expo, Las Vegas, NV
AUG 25-28 – Erotica Expo -New Zealand
SEPT 4 – West Coast Rubber, Palm Springs, NV
SEPT 24 – Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco, CA
SEPT 23-24 – Adultcon 11, Los Angeles Convention Center
OCT 20-26 — Everything To Do With Sex Show, Toronto, Canada
OCT 21 — Exotic Erotic Ball, San Francisco, CA
DEC 1-3 — Black Rose 2006, Washington, DC
Subscriptions to Free Speech X-Press are FREE to FSC members. Contact us at Sunlove@direcway.com or 800-476-7813.