Free Speech X-Press Delivering Weekly Censorship Updates to the Adult Industry Vol. VIII, No. 30, June 16, 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 http://www.freespeechcoalition.com __________________________________________________________
SENATE BILL WITH HEAVY PENALTIES INTRODUCED
WASHINGTON, DC — Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) along with eight Republican co-sponsors has introduced a bill (S.3499 – text not yet available online) which includes a range of new and very harsh penalties related to both child pornography and adult entertainment on the Internet. Called the “Stop Adults’ Facilitation of the Exploitation of Youth Act,” or “Internet Safety Act,” the bill gives Attorney General Alberto Gonzales what he asked for in April when he proposed a legislative initiative, including mandatory self-rating for commercial adult Internet websites, and actually increases the penalties for non-compliance over what the DOJ had suggested. (See X-Press Report, “Justice Proposes Legislation,” 4/21/06). S.3499 would impose up to 15 years (!) in prison – an increase from the five years suggested in the DOJ proposal – on any commercial site operator who fails to place "clearly identifiable marks or notices" prescribed by the federal government in either the site’s code or on the pages themselves, according to a copy of the bill seen by CNET News.com.
The huge penalties in the bill would surely create a chilling effect that would cause websites to blanket pages with labels or meta-tags, even in very marginal cases, if there was any chance whatsoever that the materials might be seen as sexually explicit.
S.3499 would also criminalize "using misleading domain names to direct children to harmful material on the Internet.” Conviction would carry a prison sentence of up to 20 years. A similar sentence would apply to anyone who knowingly embeds words or images in the source code of their sites with the intention of deceiving minors into viewing "harmful" content.
(See the FSC website for a longer version of this report.)
Information is drawn from Anne Broache, Silicon.com, 6/14/06
UTAH PTA AND LEGISLATORS FILE AMICUS
SALT LAKE CITY, UT — Utah’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and 37 state legislators have filed an application of Amici Curiae (a request to provide a friend-of-the-court brief) against FSC’s challenge to the Utah Child Protection Registry (CPR). The PTA Amicus brief was prepared (pro-bono) by right-wing Televangelist Pat Robertson’s non-profit law firm, the Washington, D.C.-based American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ).
The Amicus brief is in response to FSC’s motion in United States District Court in Utah seeking a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the CPR. The CPR allows parents and others to register email addresses to which minors have "access," and then prohibits emails that advertise "harmful matter," or products or services minors cannot purchase, from being sent to those addresses. E-mailers can pay a private company to "scrub" their lists at a cost of 1/2 cent for every name on their list.
“The Child Protection Registry is a simple, free, common sense measure to keep out messages that are inappropriate for children,” said Carmen Snow, President of the Utah PTA. “Parents and teachers across the state are committed to stop this attempt by the adult industry to invade our homes and schools.”
There was no mention, in the press release announcing the Amicus brief, of the glaring problems with Utah’s flawed CPR, not the least of which is that it conflicts directly with the federal CAN-SPAM Act, which was enacted by Congress in 2003 to regulate and standardize email marketing in the U.S. so that legislation to combat spam in different states does not create conflicting standards for legitimate e-mailers.
(See the FSC website for a longer version of this report.)
From a Utah Kids Registry press release, 6/13/06
FTC PROPOSES ROCKSTAR SETTLEMENT
WASHINGTON, DC — The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a proposed settlement with Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., and Rockstar Games, the companies behind "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.” A brouhaha developed around the popular video game when it came to light last year that a downloadable modification to the PC version enabled or unlocked sexually-explicit mini-games. With the addition of the “Hot Coffee” modification, gamers had options that went beyond of the usual activity of, for example, stomping the heads of prostitutes to bloody pulps.
The proposed settlement does not involve immediate fines, but requires the companies to disclose future content-relevant ratings on product packaging and in advertisements. The companies cannot misrepresent the rating or content descriptions, and they face fines of up to $11,000 per violation if they violate the order when it becomes final after a 30-day comment period.
Some lawmakers were critical of the proposed settlement. The game makers should have been fined millions of dollars for bringing "trash" into consumers’ homes, said Representative Fred Upton, (R-MI). The FTC action did not even amount to "a slap on the wrist," he said.
Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, defended the decision. The FTC did what it could, she said, and the companies incurred about $25 million in costs to recall and re-label the games (From "M," for Mature to "AO," for Adults Only).
"The fact is, simply, the commission does not have the statutory authority to impose civil fines for Rockstar’s conduct," Parnes said.
In the meantime, a House sub-committee chaired by Representative Clifford Stearns (R-FL) held a recent hearing to explore issues of violent and sexually-explicit video games. Proposals in Congress would impose stiff fines on businesses that sell video games with a "Mature" or "Adults-only" rating to minors. However, similar state laws have failed to pass constitutional muster in the courts. (See X-Press Report, “Violent Video Games Law Struck Down,” 4/7/06)
Some information is from Dan Caterinicchia, The Washington Times, 6/15/06
See also, Anne Broache, CNET News.com, 6/14/06
AN AMENDMENT TO FCC FINES CHALLENGE
WASHINGTON, DC — A group of 103 CBS affiliate TV stations have filed a supplement to their challenge of FCC fines ($32,000 each for a total of $3.3 million) imposed as a result of the airing of “Without A Trace,” a December 2004 broadcast “graphically depicting teenage boys and girls participating in a sexual orgy.” The amended filing comes after the stations had a chance to see the actual indecency complaints that formed the basis of the fines, having obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act request. It turns out that the complaints were not “true complaints from actual viewers following the broadcast.”
All of the 4,211 e-mailed complaints came from websites operated by the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association, the stations said. In only two of the emails did those complaining say they had watched the program, and those two apparently refer to a “brief, out-of-context segment” of the episode that was posted on the Parents Television Council’s website.
In the amended filing, the stations make the case that if the complaints had been by actual offended viewers they would have come in immediately followed the broadcast. However, according to an analysis of the complaints, there were none for two weeks following the show. A total of 17 viewers to 93 stations covering 43 million homes called the stations to complain, but did not file complaints with the FCC. It was only after Parent’s Television Council put out an e-lert asking members to complain that the complaints started coming in.
The stations also point out that the complaints were not filed from the markets where the stations aired the show.
Some information is from Todd Shields, Media Week, 6/13/06
See also, John Eggerton, Broadcasting & Cable, 6/13/06
COURT OKAYS FCC BROADBAND RULES
WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has validated a Federal Communications Commission ruling that broadband Internet service providers are subject to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). The decision will almost certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, if it stands, it means that law enforcement can require broadband ISPs to add new surveillance hardware to their networks so that law enforcement can have access to email and web activity for investigations just as they presently have with telecommunications carriers such as the telephone companies through wire-tapping methods.
The legal issues involved hinge on the semantics of whether broadband provider networks are “telecommunications carriers,” within the meaning of the law, or providers of an “information service.” If they were information service providers then they would be exempt from CALEA.
The Center for Democracy and Technology and others involved in challenging the FCC ruling — as well as dissenting Judge Harry Edwards on the three-judge panel — say that both the FCC, and now the court, ignored clear Congressional intent to exclude the Internet from the CALEA statute. CALEA expressly excludes "information services," which has been legal shorthand for Internet services, they say, and the FCC has consistently ruled under other laws that "information services" includes broadband Internet access.
Information from a CDT Policy Post, 6/13/06
And from the Court of Appeals decision, 6/9/06
And from the FCC Order and Proposal, 9/23/06
See also, Steve Javors, Xbiz.com, 6/13/06
WAR OF WORDS IN SCOTTSDALE
SCOTTSDALE, AZ — The high-profile referendum (Proposition 401), aimed at overturning a restrictive new adult ordinance here, has become embroiled in a battle over wording. The two clubs that launched the referendum by a petition drive, Babe’s — owned by adult entertainment star Jenna Jameson with her partners — and Skin Cabaret, have now announced that they intend to file a lawsuit to change the language. The clubs argue that the language is misleading because it does not specifically inform voters it would regulate “cabarets.” The language, in whatever final form, along with arguments pro and con, will be printed in a pamphlet to be mailed to registered voters before the September election.
Information from Jonathan Athens, East Valley Tribune, 6/16/06
For background information see X-Press report, “Showdown in Scottsdale,” 12/16/05
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.
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
JULY 9-12 — Desiree Conference, Las Vegas, NV
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
JULY 17-19 — Adult Novelty Expo, Universal, CA
See our Website Calendar for a more complete calendar of events scheduled for 2006.