Free Speech Coalition Lauds Nominees for Board Seats

Gretchen Gallen
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. – The Free Speech Coalition held its general membership meeting last night at the Warner Center Marriott with a healthy turnout of supporters, current board members and nominees and incumbents for the coveted six available seats on the trade group's board of directors.

Along with an opportunity for nominees to introduce themselves to existing board members, First Amendment attorney Jeffrey Douglas gave a presentation on the looming demands of 2257 federal records keeping and labeling laws, and Sharon Mitchell of the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation spoke HIV self-regulation within the industry.

Douglas outlined some of the grave concerns industry supporters have over the potentially crippling effect former Attorney General John Ashcroft's proposed changes to 2257 law could have on adult businesses, calling them "landmines and traps to make it infinitely more difficult to distribute adult content."

Regardless of the fact that 2257 laws have never before been enforced, since officially going into effect in 1995, Congress has stepped-up its effort to attack the online adult industry by updating its arsenal of regulations that not only directly pertain to online adult content, but that make it "virtually impossible" to abide by, Douglas said.

The proposed regulations now affect almost the entire daisy chain of webmasters making money off content, including streaming, webcams and some S&M content and spanking. Douglas added that even video retailers will need to start maintaining 2257 records for still shots on video box covers.

"You're looking at jail time and an entire life's work is finished," Douglas said to those who were not taking the imminent changes more seriously.

And while the regulations have not yet gone into effect, on behalf of the FSC, Douglas, Gregory Piccionelli, Paul Cambria and Reed Lee – all well-known industry attorneys – are prepared to file two federal lawsuits in the east and west coasts contesting the regulations when they are finally enacted, which Douglas said could be anywhere from three days to three months from now.

Mitchell then took the podium to discuss recent HIV statistics and the various types of sex acts in porn scenes and their potential occupational safety risks. Mitchell added that there has been a 30 percent increase in industry condom use, making it almost safer to have sex within the adult community than outside of it.

The evening concluded itself with a standing ovation for former executive director Kat Sunlove, who was recently replaced by Michelle L. Freridge.

Sunlove, who will continue on as the FSC's legislative affairs director, was presented with a placard expressing gratitude for the past year she has served the FSC.

The 11 nominees for the two-year board seats include adult star Brittany Andrews, New Destiny Internet Group CEO Spike Goldberg, owner Gary Kremen, Cybersocket Inc. co-owner Morgan Sommer, and adult club owner Jerry Westland.

Board members up for reelection include Marina Pacific CEO Nick Boyias, First Amendment attorneys Jeffrey J. Douglas and Reed Lee, adult film producer and distributor Mara Epstein, and AVN Senior Editor Mark Kernes.

The election results will be announced at the FSC's next meeting in January at Internext in Las Vegas.