FSC: Duke Voices Industry Concerns in D.C.
Late May, I spent a couple of days in D.C. bringing adult industry concerns to our elected officials and regulatory experts. Topping the list of topics covered was copyright infringement, the 2257 record-keeping law and concern over the push for mandatory condom regulation. I met with both Republicans and Democrats, educating them on how the aforementioned issues negatively impact our industry. I reminded these officials that the adult entertainment industry goes a long way in providing living wages for hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens and hundreds of millions in tax dollars to the U.S. economy.
I met with Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon’s office, Republican from San Diego. Rep. McKeon is concerned with the job loss that comes with copyright infringement. He and his staff agreed to keep the lines of communication open and to alert us about any proposed legislation that could negatively impact our industry.
I also met with Sen. Wyden’s office, Democrat from Oregon. Senator Wyden was instrumental in identifying flaws in the proposed copyright infringement legislation SOPA. FSC sent a letter to Wyden early in the SOPA debate. In that letter, we voiced support for stricter regulations on copyright infringement but pointed out the potential for censorship and discrimination against unpopular speech — specifically adult content. I spoke of our success in utilizing fingerprinting technology and the potential for tube sites to proactively use that technology to screen pirated content. I suggested that, as they consider future regulations, they utilize us as a resource, reminding them that many advances in the Internet were the result of adult entertainment industry innovation.
In my visit to Congressman Brad Sherman’s office, we discussed concerns over the push for mandatory condom regulations. I explained the dynamics of our testing protocols, our success in preventing HIV transmission on set and the crusade against the industry that has been waged by AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Rep. Sherman is extremely concerned about job creation and unemployment in the San Fernando Valley. The representative has worked diligently to create and maintain jobs for his constituency and clearly understands the danger posed to the local economy when one of its largest industries is threatened with unreasonable regulation. We agreed to continue communication on the subject and I promised that I would keep them informed as the local situation develops.
Finally, I met with a couple of the best minds in D.C. on federal regulations and regulatory law concerning 2257. We discussed the significance of the successful decision in our recent appeal and strategies and options for moving forward. Suffice it to say our efforts concerning 2257 are far from over.
Lobbying is a significant part of what I do for the industry. In the past months I have worked building coalitions with unlikely partners. I have met with California City, County and State officials concerning mandatory condom regulations. I have met with the Governor’s offices in other states who would welcome the influx of jobs, taxes and the economic surge that comes with the adult entertainment industry. Those efforts have been rewarding, to say the least. But there is something awe-inspiring about walking among the memorials of the forefathers who created a Constitution on which we — the adult entertainment industry — frequently rely to protect us from those who would silence our right to free expression.
Words can’t describe the inspiration derived from knowing that I am on the front lines of fighting for free expression in our nation’s capital. I am humbled and so very thankful to be able represent the adult entertainment industry to our elected officials. But even more, I am so very proud to be a part of this incredible industry that still, and will forever, questions authority and the status quo.