A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has dismissed a petition seeking a court order to compel county public health officials to require condom use on porn sets or take other reasonable steps to stem the spread of disease.
The petition, filed
by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, contended that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has passively observed an ever-growing epidemic within the porn industry.
Words alone cannot fight disease, the petition said. For over a decade, county health officials have talked, watched, written and analyzed. What county health officials have not done is act.
Judge David P. Yaffe rejected the petition, noting that the county has broad discretion in how it oversees public health.
The AIDS advocacy group sued the county in July. The action came weeks after an adult-film actress tested positive
for HIV and county health officials released data that showed 18 HIV cases and more than 3,700 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis had been reported since 2004 by a San Fernando Valley-based clinic that mainly serves the porn industry. Adult
Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation officials said at the time that the majority of the cases did not involve working adult film performers.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation officials plan to appeal the decision and said they would press for change.
We just hope the county will do the right thing without being compelled to do it by a court, foundation President Michael Weinstein said. This is going to be a years-long battle and it's going to have its ups and downs, but we know in the end
that public health is going to win.
The owner of a brothel more than two hours' drive from Las Vegas said she hopes to hire Nevada's first legal male prostitutes within a month, now that state health officials have approved a method to test men for infectious diseases.
The world is
ready for women, or even other men, to legally buy sex, said Shady Lady Ranch owner Bobbi Davis. Plus, being the first to offer male service could boost business in tough economic times, she said.
With so many other male revues going on in
Vegas, we thought it was time to give this a try, Davis told The Associated Press.
Until now, men have been effectively barred from legally plying the world's oldest profession in Nevada by the specificity of a state health law requiring
prostitutes to undergo frequent cervical testing for sexually transmitted diseases. The health board approved a regulation to allow urethral testing for men — a crucial rule change by the state agency with ultimate power over whether prostitutes can or
The brothel still needs county approval. Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said: We're going to look at it. We have some concerns. The ramifications of this are going to be statewide . We're going to have to deal with it at our
other six brothels in Nye County if they want to offer the same service. We want to make sure we protect customers and make sure the industry is regulated with clarity and understanding.
Davis said she wants to add two men to the three women
she currently has living and working at her compound of trailers off U.S. 95 about 150 miles northwest of Las Vegas. She said the women usually charge about $300 per hour for the five to 20 customers who visit on any given night. We don't know how to
structure the men's pricing yet, Davis said.
Despite a highly trumpeted New York State law in 2007 that enacted tough penalties for sex or labor trafficking, very few people have been prosecuted since it went into effect, according to state statistics.
In New York State, there have been 18
arrests and one conviction for trafficking since the law was signed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer and took effect in November 2007, according to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. There is one case pending in Manhattan, one in Queens and
two in the Bronx.
The situation is not all that different in New Jersey or in roughly 30 states that have laws against human trafficking — defined as using fraud or force to exploit a person for sex or labor. A federal law passed in 2000 with
lifetime prison penalties has resulted in 196 cases with convictions against 419 people, according to statistics from the United States Department of Justice.
The scale of those numbers contrasts starkly with the 14,500 to 17,500 people the State
Department estimates are brought into the United States each year for forced labor or sex.
The Utah Supreme Court has ruled that a state tax on strip clubs is constitutional but that the same tax on escort services is not.
Passed in 2004, the tax levies a statewide 10% tax on admission and user fees charged by sexually-explicit
businesses, defined as any business where a nude or partially denuded employee or contractor performs any service. Utah-produced merchandise, food and drinks sold by these businesses also are subject to the tax.
The statute also levies a
tax on escort services, which are defined as any person who furnishes or arranges for an escort who is compensated to accompany another individual for companionship. An escort is any individual who is available to the public for the purpose of
accompanying another individual for compensated companionship.
Associate Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant said that the state's Sexually Explicit Business and Escort Service Tax is content-neutral when applied to nudity.
case, application of the tax is triggered by nudity, which the Supreme Court has specifically declared 'is not an inherently expressive condition, Durrant wrote. Because it is not inherently expressive, nudity is unprotected conduct rather than
Regarding the taxing of escort services, Durrant found that the language was fatally overbroad, but opened the door to a legislative revision that included more specific language. Nowhere does the statute define an
escort in terms of nudity, he wrote. The statute also fails to define the term 'companionship.' Therefore, according to the plain terms of the statute, individuals who are paid for providing care for the elderly as well as those who are paid as
tour guides would fall within the definition of an 'escort,' and any person or business who employs them would be subject to the tax.
The nutter sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, is taking a page from the Swedish welfare state in revising his approach to prostitution.
Loudly applauding his eight-month-old experiment is End Demand Illinois (EDI), a coalition of nonprofits that
aims to extend the reform statewide and eventually see it replicated across the country.
What Sheriff Tom Dart has done is shift enforcement resources from the supply side to the demand side: from arresting (and releasing and re-arresting) women
and girls to arresting pimps and customers and impounding their cars, while directing the prostituted females to social services.
Last week a U.S. district judge threw out another part of Dart's new strategy: a lawsuit against Craigslist for the
hazard created by its online want ads offering erotic and adult services-.
A female baseball fan has been charged after allegedly offering her body in exchange for sought-after tickets to the World Series.
Susan Finkelstein, 43, from Philadelphia, was arrested after meeting an undercover policeman in a suburban bar with
the intention, it is claimed, of exchanging sex for admission to a finals game between her beloved Phillies and the New York Yankees.
It follows an advert placed on internet site Craigslist which her lawyer admits may have included a couple of
double entendres but fell way short of prostitution. William Brennan described his client as a nice lady overcome with Phillies fever . As to the advert he said: If someone read into that posting a sexual connotation, that's on them. There's no
overt sexual reference.
The online ad led to a rendezvous between Finkelstein and an undercover police officer snitch. Over a few beers she told the man that she needed two tickets, one for herself and one for her husband. Before prices were
discussed she was arrested by several officers on a nearby table and subsequently charged with the misdemeanour charge of promoting prostitution.
Finkelstein has protested that this was not what she intended. I was hoping to get cheap tickets,
she told local station WPVI-TV, adding: Maybe meet someone, and talk, and bat my eyelashes and maybe get some tickets.
But there was a silver lining for the Phillies fan. A local radio station and car dealer took pity on her plight,
offering a pair of tickets for a weekend game in the process.
Rhode Island Senate lawmakers have approved the bill to make prostitution a misdemeanor offense regardless of where it occurs. Prostitutes would face a maximum six-month prison sentence for a first offense, while their customers could face up to a year.
The bill now goes to the state Governor for approval into law.
Rhode Island is the only state, besides parts of Nevada, that currently allows indoor prostitution. More than two dozen brothels are now operating across the state.
A federal judge has summarily dismissed a lawsuit Chicago's sheriff brought against Craigslist, ruling that the website can't be sued for prostitution ads posted by its users.
The decision is a blow to Thomas Dart, the sheriff of Illinois's Cook
County, who argued the erotic services section of Craigslist violated prostitution laws because it arranges meetings and directs people to places where sex is sold. Dart sought a court order requiring the site to close the section and to
pay the costs his department incurred in cracking down on hookers and Johns who used the it.
The ruling by US District Judge John F. Grady is good news not only for Craigslist but for any US-based website that accepts comments, photos, or other
types of user-submitted content. The decision made it clear that a provision in the CDA, or Communications Decency Act, fully immunizes the site for user-supplied ads even when they provide contact details for prostitutes and brothels.
Craigslist does not 'provide' that information, its users do,
Grady wrote. 'Facilitating' and 'assisting' encompass a broader range of conduct, so broad in fact that they include the services provided by intermediaries like phone companies, ISPs, and computer manufacturers. Intermediaries are not culpable
for 'aiding and abetting' their customers who misuse their services to commit unlawful acts.
A movement to make porn films condom-only is sure to gain further traction as two groups plan to protest the Marriott hotel chain.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Pink Cross Foundation claim Marriott acts as a middleman in selling
condom-less porn productions because it makes millions from the pay-per-view lineup it offers in its hotel rooms.
The groups are planning a Porn In at the downtown Los Angeles Marriott. They also will announce a viral and print ad campaign
for a hotel boycott.
They will protest in front of the Figueroa Street Marriott with banners and three-foot wide condoms. Later, a press conference will be held in a hotel room with streaming porn on the room's flat screen.
Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said that until he gets a commitment from Marriott officials to block condomless adult films to their hotel guests he will urge a public boycott of the entire Marriott chain, which pencils out to about
We want to highlight the brazen hypocrisy — the Mormon Marriott's moral masquerade — of such a so-called family oriented hotel chain profiteering off adult films that endanger the lives of the performers acting in them, Weinstein
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has taken a stand after an adult performer tested positive for HIV several months ago.
In passing a new ordinance that requires adult businesses to be more than 2,500 feet from schools, parks, churches, bars and residential areas, the Orlando city council has sent this message to adult businesses interested in moving to the central Florida
city best known as the home to Disney World: Don't bother.
The message is not only legislative but verbal. We're a little more picky about what types of businesses we want in Orlando, Mayor Buddy Dyer said, with the clear if ungrammatical
implication that Orlando is more serious about addressing the adult entertainment issue than other townships.
With an estimated population just over 225,000, Orlando currently claims only one adult business within its city limits, Fairvilla
The vote by the city commissioners was 6-1. Even before the vote was taken, Dyer, anticipating passage, enthused about how effective it would be. I'd be willing to bet we do not see another adult entertainment establishment open in
Orlando, based on the very restrictive ordinance we're about to pass, he said.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the city's newly strengthened law, which also requires prospective adult businesses to now apply for a permit or license, is
intended to keep adult businesses out without triggering a lawsuit alleging unconstitutional restrictions.
On the 16th September Video Classics X (VCX) is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Debbie Does Dallas with the release of the Definitive Collector's Edition of director Jim Clark's classic adult film starring Bambi Woods as cheerleader
The VCX double-disc edition won a 2008 AVN Award for Best Classic DVD, and the movie itself made history as one of the most iconic and controversial adult films of all time – inspiring lawsuits from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders,
some graphic footnotes in the 1986 Attorney General's Commission on Pornography. It went on to become one of the most lucrative movies of all time in its long second life as a video rental hit.
Alabama Supreme Court justices,ruled 7-2 that Love Stuff can't sell vibrators and other sexual devices.
The decision upholds the state's anti-obscenity law, with justices stating that public morality can still serve as a legitimate rational
basis for regulating commercial activity, which is not a private activity.
Love Stuff, in its appeal to the Supreme Court, had claimed the state law banning the sale of sexual aides was unconstitutional and that it its unconstitutionally
The justices, in their ruling quoted the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a similar 2004 case, Williams vs. Attorney General of Alabama. In that case, plaintiffs seeking to sell sex toys and novelties were seeking to enjoin
enforcement of the state's anti-obscenity statute.
As the 11th Circuit in Williams pithily and somewhat coarsely stated: 'There is nothing 'private' or 'consensual' about the advertising and sale of a dildo, the justices said.
A federal appeals court, ruling that the city of Indianapolis has failed to offer evidence supporting tighter restrictions for adult video and bookstores, has struck down the city's six-year-old ordinance that broadens the definition of an adult
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in its decision, said that the city's ordinance was flawed from the get-go because it mixed all adult establishments, including those that involve public booths, into one lump
If there is more misconduct at a bar than at an adult emporium, how would that justify greater legal restrictions on the bookstore — much of whose stock in trade is constitutionally protected in a way that beer and liquor are not,
the court said in its ruling: Indianapolis has approached this case by assuming that any empirical study of morals offenses near any kind of adult establishment in any city justifies every possible kind of legal restriction in every city.
The 7th Circuit added that Indianapolis city leaders failed to offer an iota of evidence supporting stricter regulations on adult book and video stores.
The six-year-old ordinance expanded the definition of an adult business to include
any retailer that devotes at least 25% of its space or inventory to adult books, magazines, films and sex toys. The new definition also covered retailers who earned at least 25% of their sales from adult items. The threshold was 50% before 2003.
The revised ordinance also made it necessary for adult entertainment businesses to be permitted for a license, and imposed rules on lighting and cleanliness. Adult entertainment businesses also were ordered closed on Sundays and after midnight on all other nights.
The city weakly justified its restrictions on the ground that they can reduce prostitution, stealing, masturbation in private booths and other crimes associated with adult businesses.
Twentieth Century Fox has sent a cease and desist letter to Digital Sin/New Sensations, which is currently in post production on a parody of its television series X-Files .
The adult studio's X-rated drama, set to release in late
September, was given the title The X-Files: A Dark XXX Parody.
In the letter, a representative from Fox demands that Digital Sin/New Sensations change the title of the film and cease use of the X-Files mark.
Sensations does not believe that its intended product infringes the rights of Fox. However, in the spirit of cooperation, the company has decided to respond to Fox's concerns by adapting the title to The Sex Files: A Dark XXX Parody , removing the
website associated with the film and changing the names of the main characters.
The adult studio has successfully parodied a growing list of the primetime lineups from current and past, with spoofs of The Office , Scrubs , Seinfeld
, Friends and 30 Rock resulting in sales that have given a heartbeat to an otherwise slumping industry.
At least five of the 100 top websites in the U.S. are portals for free pornography, referred to in the industry as "tube sites," according to Internet traffic ranking service Alexa .com. Some of their content is amateur work uploaded by users
and some is acquired from cheap back catalogs, but much of it is pirated.
Sites like Pornhub, YouPorn and RedTube attract more users than TMZ and the Huffington Post. The porn sites are even bigger than Pirate Bay, the top portal for illegal
downloads of movies, TV shows and music.
The adult entertainment business, which was previously in the vanguard of home video, satellite and cable television and digital distribution, now finds itself leading the rest of the entertainment
industry in losses from them.
The death of the DVD business has been more accelerated in the adult business than mainstream, said Bill Asher, co-chairman of adult industry giant Vivid Entertainment, who estimates that his company's revenue
is down more than 20% this year.
We always said that once the Internet took off, we'd be OK, he added. It never crossed our minds that we'd be competing with people who just give it away for free.
An AIDS advocacy group has filed complaints with state officials against 16 production companies that show unprotected sex in porn movies.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed the action with the California Division of Occupational Safety and
Health (CalOSHA), alleging the practice amounts to unsafe behavior in a California workplace.
We will not stop until there is a policy of requiring condoms to be used in porn, foundation president Michael Weinstein said.
U.S. adult film actors must prove they have tested negative for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases within 30 days of going to work on a film.
CalOSHA spokesman Dean Fryer said the regulatory agency requires workers in any industry where
there is a possibility of transmission of fluids, including health care and adult films, to reduce the risk of disease transmission.
The employers of porn actors are required to provide a safe and healthy work environment, Fryer
Nearly 60 adult DVDs accompany the complaints against Hustler Video, Maverick Entertainment, Vivid and other porn production companies in Los Angeles. Many people in the multibillion-dollar industry oppose the use of condoms in the films.
Hustler publisher Larry Flynt told The Associated Press, people who enjoy viewing adult films do not want to see people using condoms.
A group of 50 professors has signed a letter urging Rhode Island lawmakers not to ban indoor prostitution.
Rhode Island is the only state in the country besides several counties in Nevada where indoor prostitution is legal.
In a letter,
George Washington University professor Ronald Weitzer and Nassau Community College professor Elizabeth Wood said prostitutes who work indoors are less likely to be assaulted, raped or robbed. They said treating indoor and outdoor prostitution differently
is a step in the right direction.
Rhode Island House and Senate lawmakers have backed sharply different bills that would ban indoor prostitution. They are trying to reach a compromise before a vote expected in September.
Barry Goldman, who operates Torture Portal, Masters of Pain and Bacchus Studios, has been charged by a federal grand jury in Newark, N.J. with distributing obscene DVDs through the mail.
Goldman was charged with eight counts of sending DVDs
containing allegedly obscene films from Jersey City to addresses in Montana and Virginia.
The indictments for 18 U.S.C. § 1461 and § 1467 include the films Torture of a Porn Store Girl , Defiant Crista Submits and Pregnant and Willing
. The videos all were mailed in 2006 and 2007.
The Justice Department is seeking forfeitures of all copies of the movies, as well as proceeds from the sale of the movies.
Regulators also are seeking the forfeitures of domain names
MastersOfPain.com and TorturePortal.com, as well as an email address, SirBNY@aol.com.
Bonnie Hannon, the Justice Department's lead attorney in the case works for the agency's Criminal Division's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force. Investigation of
the case was conducted by the FBI's Adult Obscenity Squad based at the Washington field office.
The obscenity case, originally filed in Montana, was changed to New Jersey, according to an XBIZ source. But in the midst of the appeal, the
government dismissed the case, claiming it is not their policy to file obscenity charges in the place of receipt in the absence of other contacts by the defendant with the place of prosecution.
If convicted, Goldman faces a maximum penalty of
five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the eight counts charged in the indictment.
Craigslist has been accused of returning old ways, running thinly veiled sex-for-hire ads and sparking a new round of 'outrage' from law enforcement.
Ads posted on the Internet giant have replaced pornographic photos and explicit sexual language
with shots of scantily clad women tantalizing would-be customers with love it like it's your last . . . have some fun with this sexy, attractive, vibrant young lady. My measurements are . . .
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley
ripped the Web site, saying its new adult services ads are basically no different than the old erotic services come-ons: A cursory look at the adult services section of the site shows no significant distinction from the 'erotic services'
section that preceded it, Conley told the Herald.
In Illinois, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, a staunch Craigslist critic, said the new revamped site has changed little from the old raunchy one. To say I've been less than overwhelmed by
Craigslist's new practices would be an understatement, Dart told the Herald.
In May, the site announced a crackdown on ads, ordering his employees to censor them for graphic sexual content.
Now instead of appearing naked, women
advertising adult services are pictured wearing bikinis and lingerie. And they rely on innuendo - and the user's familiarity with Craigslist - to get their message across.
The site now runs ads such as Upscale European Beauty Ready to
Play and all natural 40f's ... no disappointments and Let's have some late night fun!
A California bill that would have imposed a 20% tax on sales of adult movies and sex toys, as well as the receipts of strip clubs, has been voted down by a legislative panel. The bill was voted down in the Assembly Tax and Revenue Committee.
California Assemblywoman Mary Salas, D-San Diego, sponsored the proposal, which would have sent revenue from the tax to a newly created Adult Venue Impact Fund.
The fund would then have been distributed to local law enforcement agencies in an effort to deal with secondary effects that are supposedly associated with adult entertainment businesses.
Salas' chief of staff, Francisco Estrada, told
XBIZ that the assemblywoman was deeply disappointed by the 5-4 vote against the bill: At this point, we're not sure if the bill will be resurrected .
Rob Zicari better known as Rob Black and his wife Janet Romano (stage name Lizzie Borden) were each sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to once count of conspiracy to distribute obscene materials last March.
As part of the guilty plea, Zicari and Romano admitted that through the parent company of XPW, Extreme Associates, Inc., they mailed three obscene movies to Pennsylvania, where this whole thing started.
The movies that essentially brought down the company were Forced Entry - Director's Cut, Cocktails 2 - Directors Cut , and Extreme Teen #24 .
They also got in hot water for distributing the material through Internet
As part of of their plea agreement the couple was also sentenced to a two year probationary term upon their release from prison.
The owner of the Chicken Ranch claims that he's trying to sell the legal Nevada brothel, but Nye County officials won't let him because they are trying to rid the county of its legal brothels by attrition.
Chicken Ranch President Kenneth
Green, in the suit filed at U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, points to several incidences where Nye County Board of Commissioners overstepped their authority overseeing the county's legal brothel system.
Green said that after Texas resident
Bruce Kahn made a deposit to buy the Chicken Ranch in 2006, he was able to walk away because the board denied Kahn's application to run the brothel because he was not a resident of Nevada six months prior to the application.
Green also accused
Nye County officials of refusing to allow the transfer of the license to Debbie Rivenburgh, who oversees the brothel's daily operations, because she did not have enough personal funds to operate the Chicken Ranch on her own despite guaranteed
Government officials have virtual unfettered discretion in all licensing matters concerning legal brothels and are using such assumed unfettered discretion to attempt to rid the county of its legal brothels by attrition,
the complaint reads.
Green is seeking declaratory judgment, an injunction permitting the sale and punitive damages.
U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson has temporarily stopped the state of Kansas from enforcing a law restricting roadside signs for adult stores.
The judge issued the preliminary injunction sought by Lion's Den Adult Superstore in Abilene, Kansas
after hearing arguments.
Lion's Den has been trying to overturn the state law, which would become effective July 1 and require the company to remove outdoor advertising within a mile of a state highway.
Representatives at the Kansas
attorney general's office called the decision unfortunate and said it would evaluate its options. The attorney general was sued in federal court by the parent company of Lions Den on grounds that the law violated the 1st Amendment.
A California bill that would impose a 20% tax on sales of adult movies and sex toys, as well as the receipts of strip clubs, has been introduced in the Legislature.
California Assemblywoman Mary Salas introduced the proposal, which would send
revenue from the tax to a newly created Adult Venue Impact Fund.
The fund would then be distributed to local law enforcement agencies in an effort to deal with supposed secondary effects that are associated with adult entertainment businesses.
Free Speech Coalition lobbyist Ignacio Hernandez said the bill could be found unconstitutional on several points, including taxation based on the content of a movie: This measure is clearly unconstitutional and unworkable. This bill is much
broader than previous efforts to tax adult movie and novelty retailers. Therefore, it suffers from greater constitutional defects than prior bills.
Hernandez said the broad definition of harmful material included in the bill's language
would likely be opposed by entertainment organizations like the Motion Picture Association of America.
Specifically, Assembly Bill 847 would levy a 20% on the gross receipts of any California business that is:
A retail establishment whose gross receipts from the sale or rental of adult material exceeds 50% of all gross receipts.
Providing a public or private viewing of adult material.
An establishment that offers live sexually explicit
conduct that is prohibited to audiences under 18 years of age or 21 years of age, depending on whether alcoholic beverages are sold on the premises.
A hearing on the latest proposed porn tax bill is scheduled for next month.
The Detroit City Council is expected to consider a broad nutter inspired crackdown that would ban alcohol at clubs that offer topless dancing.
Strip club owners are vowing a fight. Rob Katzman, owner of the Toy Chest Bar and Grille, says the
potential changes would put nearly all of the clubs out of business.
Detroit has about 30 topless bars. The crackdown stems from a court battle in which a federal judge in 2007 struck down Detroit's regulations on where clubs could open and
ordered them rewritten.
City staffers have recast the laws in consultation with a Tennessee anti-strip club attorney.
A panel of City Council members got their first peek Wednesday at the proposals. The panel took no action, but a majority
of members appeared to have issues with revised ordinances that would stop lap dancing, close VIP rooms and force dancers to wear opaque pasties -- even at dry clubs.
Members Martha Reeves, Kenneth Cockrel Jr., Sheila Cockrel, Monica Conyers and
Alberta Tinsley-Talabi all expressed problems with the alcohol ban.
Several worried it would invite more lawsuits from the clubs. There are all kinds of people in this world, Reeves said: The first thing in my mind when I read this ...
was it was written by a minister.
Pastors and nutter leaders have pushed for the changes. Despite the ban's chilly reception Wednesday, it appears some in the religious community will continue to push it. Richard Mack, a member of Perfecting
Church who has been vocal on the issue, said what I see, I like.
OUTBREAK! 16 ADULT FILM STARS TEST POSITIVE FOR HAVING HIV! screamed the headline on MediaTakeOut.com — and its lead paragraph wasn't much better, claiming that, According to Los Angeles officials, 16 adult film performers have
"recently" tested HIV positive
But unless you're speaking in geological terms, most people don't define "recently" as five years ago, and four of the cases included in that 16 are Darren James and the women he infected,
Lara Roxx, Merisa Arroyo and Jessica Dee.
But scare headlines are what sell newspapers and move websites up in the Alexa ratings when what's called for is objective, factual reporting.
So here are a few of the obvious factual errors
and misleading statements contained in the recent news stories:
In all, 16 men and 5 women who worked as adult film industry performers contracted HIV between 2004 and 2008 : As the L.A. Times notes, that number, which it says came from the
County Department of Health includes both the cluster around Darren James, one transsexual performer who contracted the infection at roughly that same time ... and 10 ... cases involv[ing] men who had sex with other men.
"detail" simply raises more questions. It's well known that some men have sex with other men, including both gay and straight male porn stars, but the difference between them is that gay porn stars generally don't get tested for HIV on a
regular basis, while the males in hetero movies do. And sadly, that lack of testing combined with the subgenre of "bareback" productions is a volatile combination.
So: Subtracting the four Darren James-related cases in 2004, the one
transsexual case from that time, the 10 cases of men who had sex with other men, which may be related to the gay bareback industry — that too awaits confirmation — and the one case discovered last week, that leaves a total of seven cases possibly
unaccounted for over that five-year period.
AVN's investigation continues, but it couldn't hurt for the mainstream press, and the adult industry at large, to heed Mitchell's admonition that, Rumor is rampant when the words 'HIV' and 'porn' are
in the same sentence; the media is like a moth to a flame. We are finding that many clients, patients and companies are tempted to discuss this delicate matter with the world for whatever personal or professional gain. Fact is, that we are still awaiting
final confirmation on the Patient Zero.
After the Los Angeles Times reported that as many as 16 actors and actresses in the adult entertainment industry recently tested positive for HIV, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will host a press conference, protest and rally Monday, June 15th at
9:00pm at porn impresario Larry Flynt's Hustler/Hollywood Store on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood (8920 Sunset Blvd.) to call for the introduction of landmark California legislation that would require the use of condoms by actors performing in porn
videos produced by California's multi-billion dollar adult entertainment industry—a mainstay of the San Fernando Valley economy.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the US' largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider, which operates the largest
community-based alternative HIV testing program in California conducting more than 14,000 free HIV tests annually, believes the State of California should mandate the use condoms by actors performing in films produced by the California industry. AHF
further believes a condoms in porn bill should be drafted as a worker safety provision of California's Labor Code akin to how the Labor Code currently requires the use of hard hats and other garments and barriers as safely precautions on certain
California work sites and locations.
Update: Reported cases are not currently active performers
LA County public health officials
backtracked on the number of previously unpublicized HIV cases in adult film performers Tuesday, saying they don't know if those who tested positive were actively working in the industry at the time. Officials also corrected the number of new cases
adjusting the figure upward from 16 to 18.
On Tuesday, the department told the Times it does not know if any of the people who tested positive were actively performing in the adult film industry. County public health officials said they
mislabeled all reports from the clinic as adult performers, when they had no information about their occupations.
The Adult Industry Medical Foundation, the San Fernando Valley clinic that serves the porn industry, said none of the people were
actively performing when they were tested. Clinic co-founder Sharon Mitchell said each case involved either a non-performer or an aspiring actor or actress who tested positive, then dropped out of the business.
The female actress who tested
positive for HIV at their clinic earlier this month remains the only case detected in a working performer since 2004, Mitchell said.
AVN (Adult Video News), a major trade journal for the US adult entertainment industry, announced plans to consolidate four of their six print publications into one monthly trade magazine.
We are simply acting responsibly in a tumultuous
market. This move reflects a trend of consolidation in the adult entertainment market itself, and allows us at the same time to return to our roots, explains Darren Roberts, AVN's CEO.
Paul Fishbein, AVN's President, said: The rise
of digital media, combined with a downturn economy, has definitely taken a bite out of traditional print advertising revenue, which enjoyed years of vigorous growth.
A Texas Court of Appeals panel has upheld a lower court ruling striking down a tax that imposed a $5 tariff for each customer entering a sexually oriented business (SOB).
On appeal, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs argued that the SOB tax does not
violate the 1st Amendment nor the Texas Constitution, that sovereign immunity bars suit by the Texas Entertainment Association and that the trial court erred in awarding attorneys fees.
But the appeals court judges had concern over a tax that was
a content-based speech regulation and subjected to the strict scrutiny required to determine if the regulation were narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.
Evidence that the SOB tax is aimed at reducing
secondary effects of sexually oriented businesses does not preclude the proper application of strict scrutiny in this case, the court ruled.
In addition, the court overruled the sovereign immunity and attorneys fees claims by the Texas
At post time, it wasn't clear whether the comptroller will appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.
At least one legal brothel in Nevada is trying to add men to its menu of services.
Business is down at the Shady Lady Ranch, where owner Bobbi Davis hopes to start hiring male prostitutes to add to the lineup at the small, roadside brothel to try
to lure new female customers: We've had requests for men in the past, and there's nothing else like this out there.
Nevada Brothel Association lobbyist George Flint says others also have tried over the years, with little success. He argues
that the business model for a brothel that caters to women just doesn't pencil out.
Seducing a woman and seducing a man in a brothel environment are different things completely. One can take a few minutes, the other can take hours. It wouldn't
make money, he said.
Like Nevada's gambling, hotel and convention industries, the prostitution business has hit hard times. Flint estimates that bordellos have seen a roughly 50% drop in revenue since the economy turned sour.
for now, Davis plans to keep her current prices for services—$500 for two hours, $800 for three.
That may change. We're figuring that women may want a longer period of time, maybe a little more romance. They're not quite like men in that
respect, she said.
Davis is drawing up her help wanted ad. She said she'll be looking for one or two men in good shape, in their mid-30s to 50s.
After receiving threats of criminal charges from South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster over its alleged refusal to block prostitution and graphic pornographic ads on the site, Craigslist yesterday sued McMaster, seeking declaratory relief and a
restraining order against the charges. In addition to being unwarranted by the facts, legal experts agree that the charges threatened represent an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech, and are clearly barred by federal law, Craigslist
CEO Jim Buckmaster wrote in a blog post.
A number of state attorneys general went after Craigslist, prompting the company to voluntarily agree to remove the section entirely, and henceforth manually screen for prostitution or graphic pornography
McMaster, however, continued to threaten criminal prosecution against the company and its executives.
Despite Craigslist's legal immunity from criminal or civil liability under state law for unlawful third-party content on its
website, and despite the numerous good-faith actions that Craigslist has voluntarily taken to deter abuse of its service by third parties ... McMaster has persisted in threats to criminally prosecute Craigslist on the basis of third-party content
appearing on the Craigslist website, reads the company's legal complaint.
In a statement on Wednesday, McMaster backpedaled somewhat. Talk of a criminal investigation, supposedly already underway, was replaced with McMaster saying his office
will continue to monitor the site to make certain that our laws are respected.
A state law restricting billboards that advertise for strip clubs and sex shops does not violate the First Amendment, lawyers for Kansas Attorney General Stephen Six argued.
The arguments came in court papers in response to a federal lawsuit
filed by a company that operates a central Kansas adult store challenging the constitutionality of a law that prevents such businesses from having any outdoor advertising within a mile of a state highway starting July 1.
The lawsuit was filed by
company which operates Lions Den Adult Superstore in Abilene. The store is seeking a temporary order to prevent the state from enforcing the statute. It argues that the law violates First Amendment guarantees of free speech and Fourteenth Amendment
guarantees of due process.
But attorneys for Six wrote that the store's billboards aren't protected by the First Amendment because they don't concern lawful activity. Six's lawyers also argued that the law survives First Amendment scrutiny
because it advances substantial governmental interests.
The statute allows onsite signs for businesses that are within a mile of a state highway. But they can have just two signs: One giving the shop's name, address, phone number, operating hours
and a statement, and the other stating that minors are not allowed. The identification sign can also be no larger than 40 square feet. Violation of the statute is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a month in the county jail and a fine of up to $500.
The lawsuit notes similar state statutes already have been struck down in Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina.
The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee have approved a bill to criminalize prostitution that occurs indoors, with a full vote on the House floor expected soon.
The bill, which the committee approved in an 8-to-4 vote, seeks to
rewrite a nearly 30-year-old law that outlaws streetwalkers and soliciting for prostitution outdoors, but has no prohibition against prostitution that occurs indoors.
Rhode Island is the only state, except for certain counties in Nevada, that has
no prohibition against indoor prostitution.
Supporters of the bill include state and local police, who claim that it’s needed to investigate and prosecute cases where prostitutes may be coerced or forced into prostitution, generally defined as
Opponents of the bill generally fall into two categories: those such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes what it views as an intrusion into peoples’ privacy, and those such as members of Brown University
Students Against Human Trafficking, who say that criminalizing indoor prostitution will mean prosecuting prostitutes, who they view as victims.
The amended version of the prostitution bill (H-5044 Sub A) includes exemptions for women who were
“forced” into prostitution. Under the bill approved last night, anyone found guilty of prostitution or of procuring the services of a prostitute (both misdemeanors) would face imprisonment of up to six months, and a fine of $250 to $1,000. For a
subsequent offense, they could face up to a year in prison and a fine of $500 to $1,000.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Donald J. Lally Jr said: I’m very confident we’ll pass it on the floor of the House.
Rhode Island House lawmakers have voted 62-8 to criminalize the solicitation of sexual acts behind closed doors. It now heads for a vote in the Senate, where identical legislation is pending.
The push comes in response to years of
whinges by police that Rhode Island's law essentially permitted brothels to operate in plain sight.
It's a black eye for Rhode Island, and I believe it's time we close the loophole, said Rep. Joanne Giannini who sponsored the bill ending
the distinction between indoor and outdoor prostitution.
If it becomes law, prostitutes could be punished by a prison term of up to six months in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine for a first offense. Subsequent convictions would carry a prison
term of up to one year and similar fines.
Those convicted of hiring a prostitute would face the same penalties.
Pressure from US officials has forced classified advertising website Craigslist to pull the shutters down on its controversial sex adverts in favour of a new, closely-monitored system.
Craigslist chief executive Jim Buckmaster said the site would
be closing the erotic services category next week. Instead, the site will open a new adult services category, in which every advert will be manually approved by staff before it is seen by members of the public.
Each posting to
today will be an acceptable compromise.
The website has consistently rejected claims that it encourages prostitution, saying that it had often assisted law enforcement in their investigations and kept records of everybody who had advertised
on the site. Despite such protestations, however, the attacks sparked a period of concerted pressure.
After similar public statements by politicians around the US, Buckmaster met with attorneys general from several US states in an attempt to
broker a truce. That meeting appears to have led to today's solution, which was greeted positively by officials.
Connecticut attorney general Dick Blumenthal, who was at the meeting last week, said that the change was a good move - but that the
site had to prove that it would continue its commitment: We're very encouraged that Craigslist is doing the right thing in eliminating its online red light district with prostitution and pornography in plain sight. We'll be watching and investigating
critically to make sure this measure is more than just a name change.
US attorneys general have met with Craigslist to discuss concerns that the free online classified service is being used to advertise prostitution.
We are optimistic that our shared concerns can be addressed while preserving the
beneficial aspects of Craigslist...without compromising the quintessentially American values of free speech embodied in our Constitution, the website's chief executive Jim Buckmaster told AFP after the meeting.
Missouri misery attorney
general Chris Koster said prior to the meeting that he intended to begin negotiating with Craigslist representatives to eliminate Erotic Services ads that amount to little more than offers of sex for sale.
US law protects Craigslist and
other websites from being responsible for content posted by users, the website's lawyers argue.
Craigslist is responsible for the types of advertisements it allows, and it is imperative that Craigslist agree to tougher restrictions and to
remove ads for illegal activities from its site, Koster claimed.
SP Star, Owners of Little Tokyo Showgirls, have every right to free speech but not to sell alcohol, a California appeal court has ruled.
Little Tokyo Showgirls in downtown Los Angeles in a heavily industrial area. At one point the club was a
Penthouse-branded gentlemen’s club.
But the club has been road-blocked by the city Planning Commission over the issue of not being able to obtain a liquor license, which was the reason SP Star decided to sue the city. Without a liquor license, SP
Star said, business partner Penthouse bailed from the deal.
But the state Court of Appeal affirmed a Los Angeles Superior Court order that denied a conditional use permit allowing liquor sales at the club. In the suit, SP Star said out that if it
would sell liquor, it would be required by Alcoholic Beverage Control regulations to limit its entertainment to topless dancing on a stage at least six feet from the nearest patron.
The city zoning administrator agreed to grant the permit for one
year. But later, the Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple and the operators of the Fukui mortuary appealed the zoning administrator’s decision.
Fukui voiced 'fears' that sale of liquor 'so close' to the mortuary would lead to mourners being disturbed.
Fukui is three blocks from the club.
City Council members also opposed the permit claiming that that disaster follows if you combined alcohol, testosterone and late hours.
A Planning Commission official also predicted the facility
would become a magnet for inmates being released from the Twin Towers county jail a few blocks away, and for denizens of the nearby Skid Row area.
Craigslist isn't closing down the well-visited erotic services section of the ad-posting site, though it will continue to work to remove inappropriate material.
Appearing on ABC's Nightline site founder Craig Newmark said users
already flag questionable postings.
As reported by AVN.com, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal sent a letter to Craigslist outlining steps to combat the proliferation of prostitution and pornography on the ad site, including
the banning of photos in the erotic services section and the hiring of staff to screen for violating images.
Despite accusations that Craigslist enables and aids in prostitution, including a lawsuit filed in Illinois by the Cook Country Sheriff's
office, Internet legal experts believe such actions won't be effective as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states websites are immune from liability when users of the site violate state law.
Craigslist has claimed that erotic
services postings have dwindled since new restrictions and criteria were put into place.
Marilyn Chambers, adult star of such golden age classics as Behind the Green Door and Insatiable , was found dead Sunday in the mobile home where she had been living for the past several months. She was 56, but would have celebrated her
next birthday on April 22. Chambers was found by her daughter, McKenna. No cause of death is yet known, and an autopsy will be performed.
Chambers' first movie was Behind the Green Door , a landmark for its time both because it featured
the 99 and 44/100 percent pure girl - Chambers had appeared recently as the cover girl on boxes of Ivory Snow detergent - and because it featured her in a scorching interracial scene with popular performer Johnnie Keyes.
she starred in the sexy spy thriller Angel of H.E.A.T ., and in '77, snagged the starring role in David Cronenberg's horror film Rabid . She also created several sexy titles for cable TV, including Party Girls, New York Nights, Bedtime
Fantasies and Sextrospective.
In all, Chambers appeared in just 23 hardcore films, including Behind the Green Door, The Resurrection of Eve, Inside Marilyn Chambers, Beyond DeSade, Never a Tender Moment, Insatiable 1 & 2,
Charli, Up 'n Coming, Marilyn Chambers' Private Fantasies 1-6, Still Insatiable, Dark Chambers, Edge Play, Marilyn Chambers' Guide to Dirty Dancing, Nantucket Housewives, Marilyn Chambers' Guide to Anal Sex, Marilyn Chambers' Guide to Masturbation and
Marilyn Chambers' Guide to Oral Sex.
A proposal to levy a $5 tax on sex acts in Nevada has died in a state Senate committee.
The 3-4 vote Thursday in the Nevada Senate Taxation Committee was one shy of the four needed to keep the proposal afloat.
Committee Chairman Bob
Coffin, the Las Vegas Democrat who sponsored the bill, says the state is desperate for revenue and has not collected taxes from prostitution since it was legalized in some rural counties more than 30 years ago.
Texas legislators have given a green light for a new tax on sexually oriented businesses that would replace a measure that taxes patrons entering strip clubs.
Under H.B. 982, a $5-per-person gentlemen's club fee would be repealed and replaced
with a 10% tax to those sexually oriented businesses that charge an admission fee.
The bill, introduced by Representative Senfronia Thompson and endorsed by the adult entertainment industry, passed the House on Thursday.
This bill is
unlike the $5 admission tax that has been tied up in the courts since the last legislative session, Thompson told XBIZ: The free-speech issue that has dogged that one has been eliminated with this bill. We are charging a tax, in this case, to do
business in the state of Texas.
Thompson noted the proposed tax does not target nude dancing, a form of expression a Texas court ruled is protected by the First Amendment.
She said that the bill was hammered out with the help of
members of the Texas Entertainment Association, which is an industry trade association for Texas strip-club owners. She noted that there are 115 known strip clubs in the state.
The bill's target is strip clubs, but it could be expanded to other
sectors. H.B. 982 defines sexually oriented businesses to include any commercial enterprise selling, renting or exhibiting items [and services] intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification to the customer.
who have paid the state under the old fee would get a credit toward the new tax, which would go into effect as early as July 1. Thompson said that the bill has moved on to a fast track in the Legislature and could be signed into law by the governor
Seattle's Attorney, Tom Carr, suggested that on top of fines and jail time, men now face a $150 fee and re-education classes for patronizing a prostitute.
The Seattle City Council have now approved the fee. The money will go to pay for
re-education classes for both prostitutes and their customers.
Prostitution or patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 and 90 days in jail.
Carr said his office sees about 100 cases a year of people
patronizing prostitutes, a level that has remained constant over the past 10 years. He did not have figures immediately available on cases of people committing prostitution.
The new legislation extends legislation passed in 1994, when the council
required people convicted of prostitution to take a class on sexually transmitted diseases. The class eventually morphed into a peer-counselling session run by a former prostitute and showed success at helping women get out of the sex trade, Carr said.
Funding for the classes dried up in recent years, so Carr proposed setting up a new fee to fund the classes. He also proposed a class for prostitutes' customers, modelled on a program in San Francisco.
" ou look at men who are
patronizing and you bring in someone who has been a prostitute and humanize the whole person, Carr said.
We are realizing more and more that the person involved in prostitution is in many cases a victim as well, and are often subjected to
coercive violence, threats. It can be a pretty ugly existence. Our desire is to offer counselling and solutions that will move them out of that experience.
Nevada senator Bob Coffin has proposed a $5 tax on every prostitution transaction that occurs in the state, according to a Las Vegas Sun report. Coffin says the tax would raise an additional $2 million a year for Nevada, and a lobbyist for the legal
brothel industry supports the idea.
I think we will support [the tax], said George Flint, director of the Nevada Brothel Owners Association. There are 28 legal brothels operating in Nevada, along with illegal unlicensed prostitution, and
prostitution is actually illegal in the city of Las Vegas. Coffin's proposed tax would apply to both legal and illegal prostitution.
The proposed tax would be paid by customers, not levied from the prostitutes' wages.
Florida legislators are looking at next year's budget and trying to figure out how to balance it — and one of the answers they're coming up with is to do it partly on the back of the state's adult industry.
According to an article on MSNBC.com,
two (unnamed) state legislators have argued that new taxes on sex businesses should be considered, encompassing every facet of adult products from sexually oriented websites to the novelties and lingerie sold at boutiques, to DVDs and magazines
sold at adult book- and video stores. And they haven't forgotten door fees at adult nightclubs, either.
No such content-based taxes have successfully been enacted except for a $5 adult club entry surcharge in Texas, and even those proceeds are
being escrowed as Texas club owners continue to fight that pole tax. Similar attempts in Washington state, New York and California have been defeated.
It's a vast untapped source of revenue in Florida — one that could be as reliable as
taxes on drinking and smoking, MSNBC's reporter wrote, recognizing however that: One barrier to such a tax is that opponents would try to overturn it on grounds it could violate free speech rights.
Texas State is holding $11.2 million in fees collected from strip club patrons pending the action of an appeals court.
A $5 fee for strip club patrons was passed into law in 2007, with the money collected to fund sexual assault services in 54
Texas counties and health insurance programs. Last year, a judge struck down the law, saying that topless dancing was protected as free speech and that the state couldn't show a link between strip clubs and inadequate health insurance. The state has
appealed, and the appeals court has not yet ruled.
Though the Texas Comptroller's Office continues to collect the fee, only some topless clubs are paying it. Some clubs have argued that collecting the money while the bill is under consideration
in court is unfair and affects their cash flow as the economy slows. The $11.2 million collected is lower than the $40 million that legislative analysts projected in the law's first year.
Representative Ellen Cohen, who authored the original 2007
bill, is pushing a new version this year, which drops the charge to $3 and sends all proceeds to sexual assault programs. Lawyers for the clubs say they'll take it to court if it passes.
We will continue to fight until they stop filing
unconstitutional legislation, said Stewart Whitehead, an attorney for the Texas Entertainment Association, which represents topless clubs in Texas: These changes don't get them around the fact that they are taxing constitutionally protected
Nebraska is attempting to pass a law requiring statewide enforcement on adult entertainment business.
The Associated Press reports a former pornography addict, a state senator, and the Roman Catholic Church are backing a bill that would require
all sex-related businesses be located a quarter of a mile from childcare businesses, schools, homes, playgrounds, recreational facilities, or churches.
In addition, the measure drafted by Senator Mark Christensen says dancers must stay at least
six feet away from patrons in clubs where triple-x dancing occurs -- and if they want to go out and intermix with the patrons, then they do need to dress.
The bill also prohibits the removal of clothing in those establishments after 11 p.m.
In the longest running obscenity case in American history, Extreme Associate owners Rob Black and Lizzy Borden have each entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy to distribute obscene material. Trial had been scheduled to begin with jury selection
The plea capped a legal battle, begun in 2003 with a 10-count indictment, that had promised to deal with cutting edge free speech issues.
In fact, just three videos were indicted - Forced Entry and Cocktails 2 ,
both directed by Borden, and Extreme Teen 24 , credited to Stanley Ferrara but reportedly the work of several directors - as well as six video clips.
But as noted in AVN's recent editorial , defense of obscenity requires huge
amounts of cash, and with Extreme Associates long closed, and Black and Borden reportedly employed only sporadically - and with an almost universal lack of support from the adult industry - it was too much to expect that attorneys H. Louis Sirkin and
Jennifer Kinsley would be willing to handle the projected two-week trial (and its subsequent appeals) on a pro bono basis.
Estimates of the possible sentences that could be imposed under the plea have ranged from as little as 10 months in prison
for each individual defendant to as much as five years, and a possible fine of $250,000 for each individual and the corporation. The couple will be sentenced on July 1.
Craigslist has released statistics it touted as evidence of its 'success' in reducing the volume of erotic services ads appearing on the Web classified site in an apparent response to a federal lawsuit that accuses the site of facilitating
The number of ads for such services is down 90-95% during the past 12 months on Craigslist sites that serve five major U.S. cities, according to information posted on a company blog. The site credited the spectacular reduction on its joint effort with 40 attorneys general which included the introduction of new measures that require posters to the erotic section to furnish a working phone number and credit card:
with the Attorneys General and law enforcement.
Finally, net revenue is accumulating from the fees now required of those posting under "erotic services," 100% of which is earmarked for donation to worthy
charities, and we will soon be in position to begin distributing these funds.
The blog posting is an apparent response to a federal lawsuit filed against Craigslist by the sheriff of Illinois' Cook County, alleging that the
Web's largest classifieds publication is facilitating prostitution. Sheriff Tom Dart asked the court to force Craigslist to remove the Web publication's erotic section and for $100,000 in compensation for the man-hours the county has had to pay
police to investigate alleged criminal services being advertised on the site.
Chicago's sheriff has filed a lawsuit against Craigslist, saying the site may be the No. 1 source of prostitution in the United States and is straining his department's ability to enforce the law.
The suit claims that changes Craigslist enacted
in November to its erotic services section have done little to curb prostitution, sex trafficking and child pimping on the site. It seeks a court order requiring the site to close the section and to pay the costs the department incurs in cracking down on
hookers and Johns who use the it.
The sheriff conducts stings through Craigslist regularly, the complaint, filed Federal Court in Chicago said. However, the deluge of erotic services postings taxes its resources. The sheer number of
daily postings has made it impossible to stymie Craigslist generated prostitution.
Under the new requirements announced in November, erotic services advertisers must first register with the site using a computerized telephone verification
routine and pay a $5 fee (most ads are free). The site promises to turn over telephone and credit card information to law enforcement agencies with a valid court order.
The lawsuit contended. Pimps and prostitutes continue to post more than 300
posts per day to Chicago's erotic services section: While defendant does not profit from erotic services per se, erotic services is the catalyst behind Craigslist being the ninth most popular website in the country. Erotic services enables defendant
to charge fees of up to $75 per post for job openings due to the significant web traffic garnered by erotic services."
State Assemblyman Alberto Torrico has introduced a bill that would place a tax on adult entertainment products sold in California.
The tax percentage was not written into the bill introduced Friday; however, Torrico spokesman Jeff Barbosa told
XBIZ that the bill is still in the beginning process” and that legislative analysts will provide a tax amount shortly.
The timing of Torrico's proposal comes on the heels of dwindling state coffers, as well as the assemblyman's push to
provide a domestic abuser surveillance fund to track abusers and stalkers.
The bill's language, as it stands, only includes a proposed tax on the sale of harmful matter goods at the retail level.
A Colorado man who posed as a police officer in an effort to confiscate pornography from an adult novelty store has pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer.
Andrew Libby was sentenced to two years of probation.
His lawyer, Kristi
Sanders, says Libby was suffering from delusions when he entered the store last July, saying he was from the Longmont Police Department and needed to inspect pornographic DVDs to look for underage actors.
Sanders says Libby believed the store was
involved in illegal activity that he needed to shut down.
Libby is barred from owning weapons or visiting the store during his probation. He also must get mental health treatment.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has upheld the 2257 federal record-keeping law in the long-contested Connections case.
Writing for the majority, Circuit Judge Sutton addressed what he sees as the critical question in this
issue: Under what circumstances is it appropriate to invalidate a law in all of its applications when its invalidity can be shown [or assumed] in just some of its applications?
Sutton went on to discuss the hypothetical middle-aged couple
shooting their own erotica — a practice used as an example of the burdensome requirements of the statute. Over twenty years and numerous administrations, the statute has never been enforced in this setting, and the attorney general has publicly taken
the position that he will not enforce the statute in this setting, Sutton wrote.
Opposing the ruling was Circuit Judge Helene N. White, who in writing a dissenting opinion stated her belief that under intermediate scrutiny the
identification/record-keeping requirements of 2257 impose an unconstitutional burden on plaintiffs' First Amendment rights.
As for the future of the statute it really comes down to whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case,
attorney Larry Walters told XBIZ: But that is much less likely to happen since the circuit court upheld the law, rather than overturned it.
The upholding of 2257 presents a possible immediate threat to the industry as well:
Webmasters [and others] should be much more concerned about possible inspections and prosecutions,
Walters said: Now that the law has been upheld, 2257 inspections could resume at any time.
Addressing fellow members of the Free Speech Coalition, attorney Jeffrey Douglas said the FBI won't show up anytime soon to inspect the records of adult producers under the revised 2257 regulations.
Douglas' remarks followed in the wake of events
which have left the latest changes to 2257 in limbo, leading to questions about the future of the record-keeping laws under President Obama.
The final revisions to 18 U.S.C. §2257 officially took effect Jan. 20, the same day Obama was sworn
Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel announced on the same day that all regulatory changes not yet in effect from the final days of the Bush regime would be suspended, pending review by the new administration.
more than two dozen adult companies in an 18-month period, the Justice Department has yet to bring a single 2257-based criminal case against a mainstream" adult producer.
And the question remains: Will President Obama's administration
continue to pursue an even more overcomplicated version of this law?
Playboy Enterprises is open to discussions regarding the sale of the company, interim chairman and CEO Jerome Kern said.
Playboy suffered a net loss of $145.7 million in 2008, partly because of a reported $157.2 million in restructuring
costs. The company trimmed 14% of its staff in 2008, and plans more layoffs as it consolidates its online and print divisions in the coming year.
In its year-end report for 2008, Playboy reported revenue at $292.1 million, down 14% from $339.8
million in 2007.
Playboy's publishing income fell from $93.8 million to $84.5 million over the course of the year.
The company did see fourth-quarter profits from its TV programming in the U.S., recorded at $5 million. Licensing income,
which Playboy has touted as its strongest asset, was down 38%.
Representative Mark Miloscia gave it his best shot, but his proposal to tax adult entertainment products and services to fund unemployment and welfare benefits is dead - mainly because it's too complicated.
According to the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer, Rep. Ross Hunter , chair of the state House Finance Committee, had originally said he'd give a hearing to House Bill 2103, but thought better of it after remembering that the state had previously signed onto the 2002 Streamline
Sales and Use Tax Agreement, whose fundamental purpose is to simplify and modernize sales and use tax administration in the member states in order to substantially reduce the burden of tax compliance.
Miloscia's porn tax bill, it
seems, in attempting to put a tax on goods based on their content, wouldn't fly under the simplification agreement - and besides, a tax based on content is just unconstitutional.
In light of a $15 billion state budget deficit, New York Governor, David Paterson, has proposed an additional 4% tax on all digitally delivered entertainment services, including online adult content.
Following the proposition, the iPod
tax was immediately met with criticism from not only the adult entertainment industry, which has largely dismissed the tax as a publicity stunt, but also from the conservatives, who fear that such a tax would legitimize the downloading and
viewing of adult content.
You're sending a message to children, and you're sending a message to teenagers: If you're taxing it, how can it be wrong? said state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long.
Paterson's proposed tax is
the most recent of a seemingly popular trend in that it follows similar propositions in California and more recently, Washington.
At least one constitutional scholar
questions the legality of such a tax.
If the tax were limited to [MP3, porn and other entertainment downloads], there would be some substantial problems, said attorney Reed Lee, an expert in constitutional law: If it's an attempt to tax
all Internet traffic, whether that be downloading the latest NASA pictures from Mars for scientific purposes or what, as well as entertainment downloads, then that has a much better chance of passing constitutional muster. In general, a tax designed to
impose a burden on specific expression will face the most serious constitutional obstacles in court.
Lee cited two late-'80s cases involving the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper and the Arkansas Writers Project. In the Minneapolis case, the
government tried to place a sales tax on newsprint - and failed.
A government can impose a sales tax on newspapers and magazines, so long as it also imposes a sales tax on everything else, Lee explained. But a sales tax on only
newspapers and magazines might pose a serious constitutional problem. And one imposed only on Playboy and Penthouse would face virtually insurmountable problems.
Wisconsin has followed in the footsteps of New York State by passing a stimulus bill that includes a measure for adding sales tax to digital downloads starting October 1. The bill also includes budget cuts as well as a variety of tax increases
to patch Wisconsin's $600m shortfall under its current budget set to expire June 30.
But the bill is getting a lot of media play for its digital tax provisions, fingered as (the arguably misleading moniker of) an "iPod tax." The name
obviously downplays the true reach of the tax, which levies a 4 per cent charge on "digitally delivered entertainment services" including music, movies, e-books, greeting cards, ringtones, and many other downloadable items. It's expected to
generate $11m for the state over two years.
Wisconsin state legislature has now approved a 5% tax
on Internet downloads to take effect in October.
Backed by Governor Jim Doyle, the tax will apply to music, movies, downloads, games, ringtones, e-books, greeting cards and other items, according to the Associated Press. This would presumably
include adult content.
Nevada state Senator Bob Coffin says his state should make brothels legal statewide and tax them to help wipe out a $2 billion budget shortfall.
Nevada is the only U.S. state with legalized prostitution, but brothels are only allowed in rural
counties and pay county taxes only. Coffin proposes that prostitution be decriminalized and that the state get a cut of their revenues, ABC reported Friday.
Coffin said by allowing brothels to open up in Las Vegas, Reno and other cities, the
state could reap up to $200 million a year in taxes to apply toward the budget shortfall.
Nevada State lawmakers have decided not to take up
the question of whether to expand and tax legalized prostitution in Nevada's biggest cities.
The question was broached, in these hard economic times, whether the city of Las Vegas should have legal houses of prostitution, said Assemblyman
Bernie Anderson, D-Sparks, chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Nevada Brothel Owners Association chief George Flint said Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, informed him that the issue won't be considered.
from the leader of the majority party in the Legislature is crucial to move the issue forward. But Buckley said she does not support legalizing prostitution.
I'm disappointed, said Flint, who called the brothel industry the only major
industry in the state that doesn't pay taxes: I felt they at least would look at the merits of the issue. I've seen legal and regulated, and illegal and unregulated. The first is better.
State law currently allows legalized prostitution
only in rural counties. It is banned in counties with 400,000+ residents, which means Clark and Washoe counties.
State Senator Bill Morrisette is asking lawmakers to consider allowing cities decide where sexually oriented businesses can open up shop.
Morrisette, a nutter Democrat from Springfield, said his hometown's fight to keep strip club Shakers Bar and
Grill out of its centre inspired him to create the resolution.
Oregon's Constitution protects sex shops as a form of free speech, meaning they may open in any commercial zone. But Morrisette said he wants lawmakers to put before voters a
constitutional amendment to give nutters more control.
Under his plan, local jurisdictions would not be able to completely ban strip clubs, but rather could create exclusionary commercial zones where they would not be allowed, he said.
A San Francisco supervisor is pushing for a crackdown on permitted businesses that operate as brothels.
Supervisor Carmen Chu has asked the city attorney's office to review massage parlor licensing laws in hopes of making it easier to close
operations known for prostitution. A Chronicle investigation earlier this month revealed that Health Department inspectors suspect at least 50 of the city's 150 licensed massage parlors are places where sex is traded for money.
At some, rooms
have tubs and wall-to-wall mirrors, and the workers dress in lingerie. During one bust two years ago, Mayor Gavin Newsom walked in on a man and a woman engaged in a sex act in the business lobby. Despite Newsom's call for action back then, even that
business still operates with a city permit.
That's not uncommon. Over the past few years, federal authorities and local police have made arrests and given citations at places suspected of selling sex, but the businesses are almost never shut down
by local health officials.
Health Department officials have said licenses often are not revoked due to a combination of factors. Agency Director Mitch Katz has said the police are responsible for stopping prostitution. Yet the crime is generally
considered a low priority and carries minimal penalties.
Officials also say they lack the resources to aggressively monitor the massage business and to fight the legal battles needed to close brothels. It can be prohibitively expensive to go to
court to defend a decision to revoke a license, officials say.
Another hurdle is the vast discretion given to Health Department hearing officers who decide whether a license should be withdrawn. Under current laws, the hearing officer may revoke
an owner's permit for a single health code violation - such as employing a masseuse who wears lingerie. But the hearing officer, who also is a Health Department employee, has broad discretion under flexible guidelines, and revocations have been rare.
The sale of sex toys, and perhaps even the sale of some condoms and lubricants, is now prohibited in Coweta County, Georgia.
The Coweta County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve a new obscenity ordinance and a new ordinance
regulating sexually-oriented businesses.
The obscenity ordinance prohibits sale or distribution of obscenity, and prohibits anyone from "knowingly" selling, or possessing with the intent to sell, any device designed or marketed as
useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.
The county's old ordinance specifically exempted condoms from being considered as a stimulation device. The new ordinance makes no such distinction, and would appear to apply to
items such as ribbed condoms and various lubricants marketed as having a warming or tingling sensation.
The ordinance would also seem to apply to in-home toy parties, which are growing in popularity. A violation is punishable
by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
That ordinance is similar to the old ordinance in that it sets the threshold to be considered a sexually-oriented business at 25% of stock. However, the new ordinance only applies to
pornography, that is, books, magazines, videos, pictures, and the like, depicting sexual acts. The new ordinance widens the 25% threshold to apply to total wholesale and retail value, and limits the sale of such items to no more than 500 square feet in a
building. Aisles and walkways used to access such items must be included in both the 25% and 500 square feet calculations. A business can have no more than 2,000 such items.
Sexually-oriented businesses are allowed in Coweta, but must be
in an industrially-zoned area and at least 1,000 feet from schools, parks, churches, day-care centers, and residentially-zoned property.
A proposal to open a topless coffee shop in a commercial building that has been vacant for four years has received unanimous approval.
The Vassalboro, Maine, Planning Board determined the proposal complied with all of the relevant city codes
regarding traffic, parking and lighting, and therefore the five board members had no choice but to vote for the project.
Vassalboro has no adult business ordinance, and the Planning Board is not authorized to regulate employees’ attire.
The log-cabin-looking structure on busy Route 3 in the rural community has served as home to bars and restaurants, but none of the businesses have been able to remain open for long, even though one bar occasionally featured exotic dancers. A new
venture at the spot could provide the town with much-needed jobs and tax revenue, some local residents feel. Others are predictably outraged .
Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge sailed off with the lion's share of the booty at the 2009 AVN Adult Movie Awards.
Digital Playground's heavily hyped super-big budget epic scored 15 prizes, including Best Video Feature. That's half
the 30 it was nominated for, and four more than the original Pirates in 2006.
Digital Playground took home seven more awards, including four for Cheerleaders and the Best New Starlet prize for contract star Stoya.
Jenna Haze won
the highly coveted prize of Female Performer of the Year, making her only the second woman to win both that and Best New Starlet.
The jubilant Jenna drew cheers from the crowd by echoing Jenna Jameson’s infamous remark from last year: I
will spread by legs forever in this fucking business for you—this is just the beginning of my sluttiness.
The evening’s oddest moment came when James Deen was announced as Male Performer of the Year. Though he had been quite
visible all evening, the notoriously stage-shy actor was suddenly nowhere to be found. He did eventually show up to accept his award offstage, and later admitted to suffering a panic attack that prevented him from taking the stage. I can have sex in
front of a room full of people, but I can't get up on stage and say thank you, Deen told AVN.
In the final year of the anachronistic film categories, the six nominations were split evenly between directors Paul Thomas and Andrew Blake. Vivid
won the Best Film trophy for Thomas' Cry Wolf , and Blake's Studio A was awarded Best Cinematography for Paid Companions.
The award for Best Actress went to jessica drake for Fallen , which she called the best movie I have ever
The awards show began rambunctiously with a number by hip-hop star Flo Rida. It featured an appearance by Larry Flynt and an unusual politically-themed presentation: a video montage of Bush Administration abuses accompanied by an
a cappella rendition of the National Anthem by an uncredited young African-American woman. It brought the audience to its feet.
Dancers will have to give their real names and addresses to the state of North Dakota under a bill that would require registration for strippers.
Police from Fargo and West Fargo say the so-called sexually oriented business bill should
help crack down on prostitution and drug trafficking they associate with nude dancers. No license is currently required.
It's common practice for the individuals who are participating as the service provider to use fictitious names, or stage
names, said Mike Reitan, assistant police chief kill joy in West Fargo: We don't have any way of identifying who these people are.
The bill defines a sexually oriented business as an individual or commercial enterprise that
advertises, offers or provides live nude entertainment for a fee, or in connection with any other transfer of money. The law would require someone who runs a such a business to register with the state tax commissioner.
Failing to register would
be a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Senator Judy Lee, R-Fargo, a sponsor of the bill, said she introduced the bill at the request of police officials. The bill is SB2170.
Porn kings Larry Flynt and Joe Francis are calling on the US government to revive the sex lives of Americans by providing a $5 billion bailout of the country's adult entertainment industry.
Hustler magazine publisher Flynt and Girls Gone Wild
founder Francis have sent a joint request to the Government asking for the bailout to help them ride out the economic crisis.
The pair said while the porn industry was still viable, the economic crunch had taken its toll.
Francis said as
the government was prepared to bail out other faltering industries such as car-manufacturers, they should be willing to help the porn industry.
Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses; we feel we deserve
the same consideration, the statement is reported to have said.
Flynt said the downturn was having an unhealthy affect on the sexual appetites of Americans: People are too depressed to be sexually active . This is very unhealthy as
a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex.
A Georgia state senator said that he is thinking of imposing fees on strip club patrons supposedly to help fund programs for victims of sexual abuse. Surely the reality is more moral than charitable.
The legislation, proposed by Senator Jack
Murphy, would charge between $3 and $5 per visitor at every strip club in Georgia. Murphy says he would forward the additional revenue to therapeutic programs for victims of child prostitution and other forms of sex-related abuse because the state has
cut funding for a lot of such services to compensate for statewide falling revenues.
Although Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who presides over the state senate, says he is reluctant to add such a fee because this is not the time for raising taxes.
Many in opposition to the proposed legislation argue that a fee would not only make a difference, but also put many of these strip clubs out of business.
You’re not just putting a tax on the patrons of the adult clubs, said
Aubrey Villines, a lawyer who has represented strip-club-owner Jack Galardi. What does it do to the waitresses, to the food workers, to the parking attendants? The people who all depend on this industry for work?
A similar strip-club fee
of $5 per patron was instated in Texas in January 2008. In this case, a state district judge ruled in March that the fee was unconstitutional in that it violated the First Amendment.
Murphy says he will announce his final decision after
consulting legislative leadership.
Two years after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom called for a crackdown on brothels that front as massage parlors, city health officials say they know of more than 50 city-licensed establishments where they suspect sex is traded for money.
health officials have no plans to revoke the city permits and shut them down, despite several cases where undercover officers have cited workers for soliciting sex. One parlor continues to operate even though, during a raid, the mayor personally walked
in on a man engaged in a sex act with a young woman on the lobby couch.
The sex shops exist in plain sight from the Sunset District to downtown, serving clients who walk into so-called spas, often with bathtubs, wall-to-wall mirrors and scantily
clad women. In some places, the women are willing participants.
Some health department staff members say they're frustrated. There is only one inspector to oversee the city's 150 sites with massage permits, and officials say they lack the legal
and financial resources to aggressively pursue cases where they suspect prostitution.
And despite the mayor's professed interest in going after the erotic massage parlors, the official line at the health department is that that the agency's job
is to look for health code violations - not stop prostitution.