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

Vol. VIII, No. 22, April 21, 2006 — A Member Service of the Free Speech Coalition
Free Speech X-press is researched and edited by Kat Sunlove and Layne Winklebleck.
Copyright 2006 Free Speech Coalition. Permission to reprint granted to FSC members; please give credit.
WASHINGTON DC — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has announced a new legislative initiative, called the “Child Pornography and Obscenity Prevention Amendments of 2006,” that includes provisions related to both combating child pornography on the Internet and to adult entertainment on the Internet. Regarding child pornography, the proposed legislation would increase criminal penalties for ISPs that fail to report the presence of child pornography on their systems, tripling the current fines to $150,000 for the initial violation and $300,000 for each subsequent violation.
    As regards the adult Internet, the proposed legislation would require all websites that are operated primarily for commercial purposes to include warning labels on every page that contains sexually explicit material, with penalties of up to five years in prison for non-compliance. Borrowing from definitions used elsewhere in federal law, the definition of sexually explicit in the DOJ proposal would cover depictions of everything from sexual intercourse and masturbation to "sadistic abuse" and close-ups of fully clothed genital regions.
The idea of mandatory self-rating is not new. Similar proposals go back at least as far as a White House summit in 1997. However, as CNET commentator Declan McCullagh notes, the popularity of the idea eventually faded, thanks in no small part to the problem of labeling news sites. News articles can feature sexually explicit content (when reporting on a rape trial or sexual education) and major online publishers decided that they were going to refuse to rate themselves.
    If the Child Pornography and Obscenity Prevention Amendments of 2006 becomes law it would surely face a constitutional challenge. David Greene, director of The First Amendment Project, thinks the proposed law would be struck down as impermissible compelled speech. “The only times courts allow product labeling is with commercial speech — advertisements,” said Greene.
       In addition to the foregoing, the legislation would prohibit Websites from initially displaying sexually explicit material without further action, such as an additional click, by the viewer.
        The proposed legislation would also prohibit hiding innocuous terms in a website’s code so that a search for common terms on the Internet would yield links to sexually explicit Websites.
From a DOJ U.S. Newswire press release, 4/20/06
And from Declan McCullagh, CNET, 4/21/06

ALEXANDRIA, VA — At the same that Attorney General Gonzales announced the initiative described above, he also announced that the Department of Justice is examining the possibility of requiring Internet service providers to retain records for specified periods of time in order to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of child predators. Gonzales said he planned to reach out personally to the CEOs of the leading service providers, and to other industry leaders, to solicit their input and assistance in researching the issue.
    “Record retention by Internet service providers consistent with the legitimate privacy rights of Americans is an issue that must be addressed.” Said Gonzales.
       The AG’s remarks came at the end of a speech at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children which included an impassioned and explicit accounting of the ways in which the nexus of groups of child predators and the Internet had resulted in an alarming explosion in sexual abuse.
        Even while recognizing the urgency of the problem of sexual child abuse, however, civil libertarians are alarmed at the dangerous idea of forcing Internet providers to retain their customers’ online activities for future police access.
      CNET analyst Declan McCullagh says that a December vote by the European Parliament’s for a data retention requirement seems to have attracted broad interest in the United States. McCullagh notes that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff endorsed the idea during a recent discussion. FBI Director Robert Mueller also has gone on record as favoring the idea.       
       Under present law, Internet providers are required to retain any "record" in their possession for 90 days "upon the request of a governmental entity." Another federal law requires ISPs to report child pornography sightings to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Information drawn from the text of the Gonzales speech, 4/20/06
And from Declan McCullagh, CNET, 4/14/06

U.S. BROADCASTERS — After several years under a hot spotlight created by the Federal Communications Commission and Congress over so-called indecent language and explicit themes in broadcasting, and after getting hit with $4 million in fines by the FCC, the major broadcast TV networks, CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX, have filed lawsuits in different U.S. appeals courts challenging the fines.
    "The FCC overstepped its authority," the networks said in a joint statement, "in an attempt to regulate content protected by the First Amendment, acted arbitrarily and failed to provide broadcasters with a clear and consistent standard for determining what content the government intends to penalize."
       The FCC may face lawsuits from small-fry broadcasters as well as the big networks. KCSM, a student-run station in the San Mateo Community College District in California, plans to appeal a $15,000 fine the FCC levied against the station for airing a blues documentary. Law firms from across the country have offered to fight the ruling free of charge.
       The supposedly indecent documentary was “Godfathers and Sons,” part of a series that examined the heyday of blues in Chicago through a number of interviews. The people interviewed used profanity while telling their stories. KCSM argues the documentary serves the same educational purpose as the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” which contains similar language but was deemed acceptable by the FCC.
Factual information and quotes drawn from The International Herald Tribune, 4/18/06
And from Dana Yates, The San Mateo Daily Journal, 4/18/06

TOPEKA, KS — Relying once again on a Kansas law which mandates a grand jury investigation if enough names can be gathered on petitions, Abilene anti-adult entertainment gadfly Phillip C. Cosby, and Paul Barnes, president of Topeka Evangelical Area Ministries, have announced that they have gathered 3,300 signatures to seek a grand jury investigation of four adult businesses here, Priscilla’s, After Dark Video, Adult Entertainment Center and Sinsations. Cosby and his group Operation Southwind have used the tactic several times before without much success. (See X-Press report, “Kansas Grand Jury Law Used Again,” 8/19/05) A Salinas grand jury last year refused to issue indictments. A Wichita grand jury subsequently investigated seven adult businesses and returned only a single indictment. (See X-Press report, “Grand Jury Returns a Single Indictment,” 12/2/05) Now it’s Topeka’s turn.
Information from Ric Anderson, The Capital-Journal, 4/20/06

LAS VEGAS, NV — Combining their resources in a joint action, eight of the most prominent gentlemen’s clubs in Las Vegas have filed a complaint in federal court against the Nevada Department of Taxation, the Nevada Tax Commission and the Nevada State Board of Examiners. Deja Vu Showgirls, Little Darlings, Spearmint Rhino, Olympic Garden, Sapphire, Crazy Horse Too, Treasures and Scores are asking the court to repeal the state’s live entertainment tax and refund the millions of dollars it already has cost the clubs.
     Nevada’s tax on live entertainment requires the adult clubs to pay up to 10 percent of ticket sales or admissions as a tax. The clubs said the implementation of the tax has been "arbitrary and capricious," with multiple exemptions for almost all types of business except those that provide adult entertainment.
       State Senator Dina Titus (D-Las Vegas) said she is confident the tax can withstand a legal challenge.
        "The rationale is that you can justify a tax when an industry creates a special burden," said Titus. "And the adult industry certainly does that."
      "[Titus] is flat out wrong," said ACLU general counsel Allen Lichtenstein. "The only justification for special taxes is to pay for administrative costs. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that First Amendment businesses can’t be singled out for special taxes."           
Lichtenstein plans to file a court brief supporting the club’s complaint.
Information and quotes from Lisa Kim Bach, Las Vegas Review Journal, 4/19/06

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The California Supreme Court has ruled in Lyle v. Warner Brothers Television Productions, that writers’ assistant Amaani Lyle was not the victim of sex harassment when writers brainstorming scripts for the television series "Friends" used "sexually coarse and vulgar language."
     The decision before the court was whether or not the writers’ comments and simulations while hashing out the scripts could constitute the creation of a hostile work environment, especially for women and minorities. (See X-Press report, “Court Skeptical of Claims in ‘Friends’ Case,” 2/17/06)
       “[This case] has very little to do with sexual harassment and very much to do with core First Amendment free speech rights,” wrote Judge Ming Chin for a unanimous court. "The First Amendment protects creativity. Lawsuits like this one, directed at restricting the creative process in a workplace whose very business is speech related, present a clear and present danger to fundamental free speech rights."
Information and quotes are from The Associated Press, 4/21/06

SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, CA — A history called Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics, has been pulled from library shelves here by the County Board of Supervisors. Board Chair Bill Postmus said the book had         "obscene images," including "reproductions of pornographic cartoons depicting sex acts, including sex with animals." Postmus said he particularly didn’t like the page where the cartoon character was having sex with the hamster.
    County Librarian Ed Kieczykowski agreed to withdraw the book. "This is one of those books that could go either way," he said, adding that because the library system shares a catalog with the Riverside County Library System, residents could still access the book.
    Judith Krug, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said this was the first manga-related book withdrawal that had come to her attention.
From Library Jornal, 4/17/06


      H. Louis Sirkin and Jennifer M. Kinsley, attorneys in the Extreme Associates case, have sent a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Supreme Court asking that the case be heard.
       Pictures showing Jesus in a sexually explicit manner are causing controversy on the University of Oregon campus. The images were published in a student newspaper in response to the Danish cartoon controversy.
       Movie regulators in the Philippines are under intense pressure to ban the public screening of the film "The Da Vinci Code" in the predominantly Catholic country.   
        Plans are underway in Guam to move adult entertainment businesses out of Tumon and relocate them in another part of the island. First Amendment rights and issues must first be studied.             
         Swedish director and screenwriter Vilgot Sjoman, whose provocative 1967 film “I Am Curious Yellow,” helped open doors for freedom of expression, has died at age 81.

UpComing Events

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

APR 28-30 — Venus 10, International Trade Fair, Paris, France

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 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
See our Website Calendar for a more complete calendar of events

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