opinion

The Future Of The Industry

Michelle Freridge
As a newcomer to the adult entertainment industry and the new executive director of Free Speech Coalition, I am impressed by the generous investments so many members make in this organization.

Our first priority in 2005 is to renew and build upon our relationships with members, local chapters, and other First Amendment organizations across the nation, especially in the Midwest and on the East Coast. Although our historical roots and activities have been centered in California, the mission of the organization is to serve the entire industry nationwide. Since our 2002 Supreme Court victory in Ashcroft vs. Free Speech Coalition, we have been building our capacity to reach out to the diverse segments and broad geographic spread of the industry.

The role of the FSC is to promote the common good and general welfare of the industry — through litigation when necessary, to influence legislation critical to common business interests, and to gather and disseminate information to our members. In the coming year, the Free Speech Coalition will act on all three fronts.

To promote the common good and general welfare of the industry, the FSC will initiate a court challenge to 18 U.S.C. Sect. 2257, the federal Record keeping and Labeling law, because it will violate privacy rights, First Amendment protections and create a significant and unnecessary economic burden on this industry of small businesses.

In addition, the FSC has been alerted to a tax bill passed by the U.S. Congress that would provide valuable tax incentives for film companies that shoot in the U.S. but would deny those incentives to adult entertainment companies. We are considering actions that might help block such discrimination against constitutionally protected speech including litigation.

Search For A Federal Lobbyist
To influence legislation critical to common business interests, the FSC will initiate a search for a federal lobbyist and continue to inform members about federal legislation, obscenity prosecutions and regulatory activities. The Legal & Government Committee is looking for a Washington insider with experience in the adult entertainment industry. We hope to complete the selection process and initiate active lobbying in April, with a thorough evaluation of the success of our effort to be completed before the end of the year.

We will also continue our successful California lobbying that brought you AB1438, the legislation that gives business owners a right to obtain a copy of seized business records. Legislative Affairs Director Kat Sunlove will continue to work with the California state government, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Retailers Association and other business and civil rights groups to promote the business interests of the industry.

Our popular training program, Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days, is scheduled for April 18-19 in Sacramento, Calif. This event provides members with a hands-on opportunity to learn all about lobbying and effective political action. A Celebrate Free Speech Lobbying Days Manual will be updated and available to help members in other states put together their own events in 2006.

Legislative Tracking Service
To gather and disseminate information to our members, the FSC will utilize the 50-state legislative tracking service, currently conducted in partnership with the Association of Club Executives, to inform and mobilize our membership to take direct action on industry concerns in your state.

Through enhanced publications and the expanded website www.freespeechcoalition.com, FSC will disseminate information on industry Best Practices, Model Action Plans and other tools (like the 2257 Model Release Form) for use by members to address a variety of concerns including obscenity, zoning, picketing and other public relations challenges, as well as information on better business practices.

During the latter half of 2005, FSC will offer membership meetings, training workshops, referrals and consultations nationally to help members apply the Best Practices, Model Action Plans and other tools to their specific situation.

FSC intends to reach out to every segment of the industry and every geographic region of the country for support and ask, "How can we help?" Your suggestions will help us mobilize broad involvement and create a strategic plan to guide FSC activities into the future.

Joining Free Speech Coalition should be like joining the Screen Actors Guild when you work in the mainstream film industry, joining the NRA, the Sierra Club or your local chamber of commerce. It should be a choice everyone in the industry makes to ensure the future of the industry and the future of your business.

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