Free Speech X-Press Delivering Weekly Censorship Updates to the Adult Industry
Vol. VIII, No. 27, May 26, 2006 — A Member Service of the Free Speech Coalition
Free Speech X-press is researched and edited by Layne Winklebleck.
Copyright 2006 Free Speech Coalition. Permission to reprint granted to FSC members; please give credit.
VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR FSC MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION
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. 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.
.XXX PROPONENTS FIGHT ICANN DECISION
MARINA DEL RAY, CA — Stuart Lawley, president of ICM Registry — which is the company that advanced the proposal to The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for a .XXX Sponsored Top Level Domain (TLD) for adult entertainment online — has refused to accept ICANN’s recent vote rejecting the scheme. The ICANN Board of Directors recently voted 9-5 against the TLD after having voted to approve it earlier. Lawley has filed an appeal of the decision and has also made public a series of emails (see here as a PDF) which allegedly show that the U.S. government pressured ICANN into voting against the TLD. Among other things, the emails allegedly show that White House operative Karl Rove met with James Dobson, the right-wing leader of Focus On The Family, and that a secret “Stop .XXX” went in effect shortly after the meeting.
If the accusations of political pressure are true, such actions would constitute a violation of understandings concerning the supposed independence of ICANN from government control.
"The documents released so far reveal that the United States government exerted undue political influence on ICANN’s consideration of the .xxx domain application, and treated an independent corporation as a client agency of the United States government despite a lack of any legitimate authority to do so," said Lawley.
In an additional development, ICM Registry claims that the government emails, which were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, had been redacted. Lawley has filed suit against the government to obtain the uncensored versions.
ICANN chief executive Paul Twomey denies that the vote to reject the .XXX plan was politically motivated or unduly influenced by the U.S. government. He says that the vote was based only on whether ICANN board members believed ICM Registry could live up to contract language. ICM Registry was agreeing to comply with all relevant international laws on X-rated content, an obviously unrealistic promise.
"It became clear that if we approved this, ICANN would end up being the world’s censor," said Twomey.
Some information is drawn from Victoria Shannon, International Herald News, 5/21/06
See also: Ben Charny, eWeek, 5/22/06
See also: Kevin Murphy, Computer Business Review, 5/19/06
ANOTHER “SHODDY” STUDY CHALLENGED
MINNEAPOLIS, MN — U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis recently issued a preliminary injunction against the city here in a case brought by the 22nd Avenue Station, an exotic dance club also known as the Double Deuce. The challenge came after the city attempted to close the club based on a 2002 amendment to the city’s adult ordinance. The city Planning Commission, in drafting the amendment, had relied on studies touting the "adverse secondary effects" adult establishments allegedly have on neighborhoods, a reliance which has been successful for such ordinances in past decades. However, in the same year as the amendments were passed, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in City of Los Angeles v. Alameda Books (2002) that governments could not rely on shoddy data or reasoning and that their evidence for secondary effects must fairly support the rationale for an ordinance. Anti-adult entertainment factions are only now slowly catching on to this new standard. (See X-Press report, “Victory in Secondary Effects Trial,” 1/27/06)
In the case of the Double Deuce, a secondary effects study done by urban planner R. Bruce McLaughlin calls the city’s rationale for the ordinance into serious question. The Double Deuce averaged significantly fewer calls for police service over a three-year period than two neighboring bars, a nearby liquor store, and even one nearby residence. McLaughlin also found no discernible effects on property valuation related to the presence of the club.
In his ruling, Judge Davis noted that the city failed to provide any meaningful rebuttal to McLaughlin’s findings. And "although the City was not required to conduct its own empirical studies before passing the 2002 ordinance," Davis wrote, "it cannot rely on shoddy, irrelevant studies to justify its passage."
"The notion that adult entertainment causes crime is a lie," said Randall Tigue, an attorney for the Double Deuce. "The secondary effects are just myths."
Information and quotes from Mike Mosedale, Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages, 5/24/06
BUST FOR DVDS FEATURING (GASP!) SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
BRAZORIA, TEXAS — Convenience store owner Sandipkumar Ghandi, after being arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge when a female employee woman filed a complaint against him for unwanted sexual conduct, ended up being additionally charged with a felony when police identified allegedly obscene DVDs for sale at the store. Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne claims the DVDs clearly violate the Texas Penal Code on obscenity, which states (according to Yenne) that people cannot wholesale pornographic material that includes any type of sexual intercourse.
Information is drawn from Bridget Brown, The Facts, 5/23/06
See Michael Hayes, XBIZ.com, 5/24/06 for comments by First Amendment Attorney Lawrence Walters
LAWRENCE V. TEXAS CITED IN POLY CASE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — The privacy rights outlined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas (2003) — of considerable interest to the adult entertainment industry because many hold that the right to obtain and enjoy adult materials is implied in that decision — were recently cited in a dissent by Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Christine M. Durham in Utah v. Rodney Hans Holm, a case involving Holm’s conviction for bigamy and sexual conduct with a minor. Holm was convicted of bigamy not because he married several wives in legal civil marriages, but because of his multiple religious-ceremony marriages in which he “purported to marry” his “wives.” The court majority ruled that the bigamy and sex with a minor statutes were constitutional under such conditions and upheld his convictions.
Chief Justice Durham concurred as to the sex with a minor conviction but dissented from the rest of the decision. Citing Lawrence, she questioned whether the state can constitutionally criminalize private, religiously-motivated, consensual relationships between adults
“The majority upholds Holm’s criminal bigamy conviction based solely on his participation in a private religious ceremony because the form of that ceremony — though not its intent — resembled what we think of as a wedding…. [This] ignores the legislature’s intent that the concept of marriage in Utah law be confined to a legally recognized union,” said Chief Justice Durham.
Information drawn from Art Leonard, New York Law School, 5/18/06
Thanks to Woodhull Foundation for the news alert.
AUSSIE GROUP FIGHTS PIRACY DOWN UNDER
AUSTRALIA — On behalf primarily of American producers, Adult Industry Copyright Organization (AICO) has filed legal actions alleging piracy in violation of Australian law against Digital Sinema, a DVD mail-order company and Venus Adult Shops chain, which has stores in several New South Wales communities. Piracy is rampant in Australia, having been a standard operating procedure for many distributors since the advent of DVDs in the adult market, with American producers losing significant revenues. According to AICO Executive Officer Graeme Dunne, Private and Wicked both had successes in their single studio actions against DVD pirates last year. (See X-Press Report, “Anti-Piracy Group Strikes Again,” 2/10/06) Now other companies have joined AICO, including Vivid, Zero Tolerance, Red Light District, Falcon, Titan, Acid Rain and Colossal.
Information from an EROS Association news bulletin
PLAYBOY TO HELP WITH PARENT EDUCATION
CHICAGO, IL — Playboy Enterprises has announced that it will launch an educational program in the next few months to teach parents how to use various content-control devices and ratings guidelines. Already in place is an interactive website, http://www.takeparentalcontrol.org/ which includes content-blocking techniques for cable and satellite television, the Internet, wireless mobile phones, video games, satellite radio and portable media players.
It’s unusual — and responsible — for a company that offers explicit, adult programming to spearhead such a multifaceted anti-indecency campaign, according to Playboy Entertainment Group president Jim Griffiths.
“What’s important to us is that people understand that we are supporting our programming, but also supporting a person’s right to choose not to see our programming,” Griffiths said.
Information from Thomas Umstead, Multichannel.com, 5/22/06
OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK
The U.S. Senate has passed S 193, a broadcast indecency bill by Sam Brownback (R-KS) which would increase fines to a maximum of $325,000 per incident.
Over 10,000 people took part in an anti-adult entertainment rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, in support of a bill that includes a ban on public kissing and erotic dressing.
FSC has issued an alert in the adult press informing the industry that an underage girl in possession of fake ID has sought to obtain work as a performer.
A motion seeking dismissal of FSC’s challenge to Utah’s Child Protection Registry has been filed with the court.
Bob Tremont Golf Tournament
The Gala 19th Annual Night of the Stars Awards Show
The 6th Annual Bob Tremont Golf Tournament
(See Calendar below for dates and locations)
TICKETS AND SPONSORSHIPS
Event Sponsor $2,000 (Foursome, Hole Sponsorship, & additional recognition)
Foursome & Hole Sponsor $1,300
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
$175 (Purchased before June 1, 2006)
$200 (Purchased on or after June 1, 2006)
$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
MAY 25-29 — Mr International Leather, Chicago, IL
MAY 27 — Azania Fetish Ball, Phoenix, AZ
JUN 1 — Black & Blue Ball, New York, NY
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 23-25 — Erotica 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, (1 PM Shotgun) Braemar Country Club, Tarzana, CA