XBIZ World Presents the Top 10 News Stories of 2014

Rhett Pardon


The long-running case over the legality of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257 and 2257A is now down to the wire in the appellate phase. Oral arguments are slated for Dec. 9 in the Free Speech Coalition’s case against the federal government. The Free Speech Coalition and other co-plaintiffs have asked for the case to be remanded back to the trial court with instructions to enter a judgment declaring the record-keeping law for adult producers unconstitutional under the First and Fourth Amendments. U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson last year found 18 U.S.C. §§ 2257 and 2257A constitutional under the Fourth Amendment, except for in one regard — “the allowance of inspections at the residences of producers, without prior notice, cannot be justified on this record.”

The move to ban porn in the Yahoo’s paid listings in the fall came just three months after Google decided to ban advertising of adult-oriented websites through its AdWords advertising platform.


ATVOD, the U.K. video-on-demand authority charged with requiring VOD operators to make sure those under 18 can’t access hardcore porn, is taking a much larger role in attempts to regulate hardcore porn. Under new rules that ATVOD will be charged with enforcing, material that was banned from sale on a DVD in the U.K. will also be banned from U.K. video-on-demand services. In 2014, ATVOD ramped up its rulings for Rule 11 violations. Rule 11 requires an effective Content Access Control system that verifies that the user is 18 or over at the point of registration or access by the mandatory use of technical tools for age verification. In its four-year history, ATVOD has fingered 170 websites for violations.


The frenzy over cryptocurrency appears to be cooling down, but more adult companies are taking or thinking of taking the numerous forms of payment, which may be traded under names like Bitcoin, Titcoin and Wankcoin. Some of the adult companies that have come to embrace cryptocurrencies as a substitute for traditional methods of processing transactions include MindGeek, SCORE Group, Naughty America, Wicked Pictures, Porn.com, Grooby.com, DominicFord.com, ClassyCams.com and MetArt.com, among other many others. Internet payment service provider Verotel also accepts bitcoin for transactions.


The cloud of dust settled over AB 1576, the piece of legislation that would have required mandatory condom usage on adult film sets in California. But will it, or something like it, be back? AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein told XBIZ that his organization is gaining signatures for a ballot initiative in 2016. AB 1576 died in the state Senate Appropriations Committee after legislators voted to not move it out of committee, essentially killing it. In the meantime, the AHF and others are pushing Cal/OSHA to approve a draft proposal that would amend California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5193, and mandate barrier protection, including condoms, to shield performers from contact with bloodborne pathogens, or other potentially infectious material during the production of films. Cal/OSHA said that it likely hold a hearing over the draft in the spring.


Search giants Google and Yahoo both banned advertising for most porn companies. The move to ban porn in the Yahoo’s paid listings in the fall came just three months after Google decided to ban advertising of adult-oriented websites through its AdWords advertising platform. Adult industry veteran Colin Rowntree told XBIZ that the moves characterize “the further ghettoization of the adult industry by mainstream corporate media and search.” Rowntree is co-founder of adult search engine BoodiGo.com.


Through the past several years, Prenda Law and client copyright holders have earned millions in legal settlements as they exacted payments from thousands of defendants accused of illegally sharing porn through torrents. But Prenda Law is now on the radar of federal judges throughout the country for allegations of unethical practices in cases involving industrial-scale end-user litigation. Calling the firm a “porn trolling collective,” one judge said that Prenda Law “discovered the nexus of antiquated copyright laws, paralyzing social stigma and unaffordable defense costs.” The firm’s cast of attorneys, sanctioned in numerous porn piracy cases, have been accused of seeding the Internet in the hopes of finding more defendants.


U.K. ISPs have automatically been imposing filters on new customers since the beginning of the year unless specifically asked not to do so. Existing customers are next in the new policy under Prime Minister David Cameron. The parental filters of U.K. ISPs are blocking 20 percent of the 100,000 most-visited websites on broadband and mobile phone, according to the Open Rights Group, which also said that the ISPs, in many cases, are blocking sites that are not harmful to children.


While the total number of confirmed cases of on-set HIV transmission over the past decade is zero, voters approved Measure B several years ago. And since then, Vivid Entertainment and several performers have given it a good fight at federal court, trying to topple the law that has taken a fairly safe business and pushed it underground, or even out of state, like Las Vegas. While Measure B is officially on the books, the Los Angeles County ordinance hasn’t yet been enforced. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals currently is weighing Vivid’s appeal of a federal judge’s order denying a preliminary injunction over enforcement of the “Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act. A decision by 9th Circuit judges is expected before the end of the month.


The Los Angeles Times published a lively recap with photography of the 2014 XBIZ Awards on the front page of its daily newspaper. A Los Angeles Times’ subhead read, “Mixing red-carpet propriety and porno prurience, the XBIZ Awards in L.A. celebrate both the performances and infrastructure that have made adult entertainment a $10-billion industry.” XBIZ is frequently cited in the media for coverage of the industry and has been published in CNN, Fox News, Newsweek, MSNBC, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, CNET, ABC and USA Today, as well as the Los Angeles Times among others.


This summer, Chris Ward, president of Falcon Studios, Raging Stallion Studios and Hot House Entertainment, announced the creation of Falcon Studios Group. The new umbrella organization now is home to three leading brands in gay adult entertainment. Falcon Studios Group and sister company NakedSword comprise the gay division of AEBN (the Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network).