ADULT INDUSTRY UPDATE By: Lawrence G. Walters www.FirstAmendment.com
The recent Adult Entertainment Expo put on by AVN in Los Angeles last month gave me a chance to reflect on just how vast the adult entertainment industry has become. Instead of some stepchild of the “mainstream” video show, the industry can now support its own Expo. The “Night of the Stars” awards show was well-attended and as outrageous as ever. Congratulations to Christi Lake, Lenny Friedlander and all the other winners for their tireless efforts to protect free expression in the face of organized censorship.
The legal news from around the country presents a mixed bag of decisions. First, the House wisely rejected the pathetic attempt by Rep. Henry Hyde to censor violent video games. But now, the President is asking the media to “evaluate” violent content in movies and TV. The V Chip is available in half of the televisions sold today. Are we going to see an X Chip next to censor sexual expression? Itsoundslikeelectionseasonisjustaroundthecornerandthecensorshipbandwagon is filling up.
Although the government continues to explore new ways to stifle free expression in the adult dancing industry, our firm scored a victory against Seminole County, Florida last month. In their relentless attacks against several nude clubs in the City of Casselberry, Florida, located within Seminole County, the County passed a law banning nudity in any public place (including back yards!). The pre-existing city law, however, expressly allowed nudity in adult entertainment establishments, and even sold licenses for this behavior. The County’s Charter treated city laws as superior to county laws. When the law was passed, we sued Seminole County asking the court for an injunction against the county law since the city law trumped the county law. Of course, the elected trial court judge denied the injunction and gave no reasons for her decision. The real reason was that an injunction would have allowed nude dancing, which would have been a political catastrophe.
We immediately appealed the decision and won in the appellate court. The higher court said that the injunction should issue if, in fact, the City allowed nudity. This case is a lesson in never giving up hope. You may have to keep fighting, but sometimes justice prevails.
On the Internet front, the attempt to censor adult materials from public libraries continues. Now, the federal government is getting into the act by trying to impose restrictions on any library that receives federal funding. The State of Michigan is trying to pass a law restricting adult materials on the Internet. All these efforts reflect a frustration by the moral conservatives in trying to deal with this new medium. The first attempt to charge anyone with obscenity on the Internet is at a standstill in Polk County, Florida, while the Defendant continues to raise money for her defense. See: www.dreamnet.com/becka.
In a landmark ruling, a British court held that U.S. adult web sites could be prosecuted in the U.K. This is an important ruling for the future of the web. This ruling comes hot on the heals of Australia’s decision to censor the web. What if all web sites were required to be acceptable to the unique moral standards of each country?
On the humorous side, the term “oral copulation” was recently upheld by the courts even though it did not appear in the dictionary. I guess, the judges thought that we could figure it out. Speaking of such things, it has been reported that oral sex has now become a fad in our Junior High and High Schools. Teens have used this method as a way to combat the spread of AIDS and prevent pregnancy. PTA meetings have even been called. Is this what Nancy Reagan meant when she said “Just say no.”?