FSC Declares War on DOJ; Appeals to Webmasters for Donations

Gretchen Gallen
CHATSWORTH, Calif. – In keeping with its original plan to file two simultaneous lawsuits against the Justice Department once Attorney General Alberto Gonzales signed the new amendments to 2257 into law, the Free Speech Coalition announced this morning that it is headed to Federal District Court to protect the interests of the adult industry.

The FSC also is actively seeking donations, and effective today, is appealing to adult webmasters to help shoulder the cost of maintaining a potentially lengthy legal challenge with the U.S. Government.

"Now it's a race against time," industry attorney Greg Piccionelli told XBiz. "We basically have thirty days to do this and we must raise the money to appropriately challenge whatever the final regulations are that have been proposed. It is critical that everybody in every aspect of the business, even the strip club businesses, join together and dip into their pockets."

In October of last year, the FSC and a group of industry lawyers first announced their intention to sue the government if the new regulations became law and challenge the issue all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Piccionelli, Jeffrey Douglas, Lawrence Walters, Paul Cambria, Louis Sirkin, Reed Lee and Robert Sarno have all agreed to donate a substantial amount of their professional time to fight the amendments.

Gonzales gave final approval Tuesday on changes to current 2257 law, known officially as 18 U.S.C. § 2257, which will create a more stringent record-keeping process for proving that minors were not used in producing content of any type.

The rule signed by Gonzales is a provision of the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act and could become law within the next 30 days; however the specific language of the amended regulations remains unknown at this time.

FSC said in a statement that it intends to obtain a temporary restraining order and an injunction, challenging the law as unconstitutional.

According to the FSC's Executive Director Michelle Freridge, the revised 2257 law could "create an excessively burdensome paperwork system that may violate the privacy rights and personal safety of performers. On a practical level, many producers would find it difficult to comply with the highly technical requirements."

Freridge said that the purpose of filing two separate lawsuits, which will be filed through Paul Cambria and Louis Sirkin's respective law firms, is because there are so many issues with the amended regulations that addressing them all as part of one single lawsuit would be impossible.

The FSC will serve as the plaintiff in both lawsuits because it is a neutral party and does not distribute content and is also not subject to the requirements of 2257 record-keeping laws.

“Under the current unfriendly administration,” Freridge said “the law would become a tool for selective enforcement by the Justice Department and a technical trap for legal adult businesses that have no connection whatsoever to child pornography.”

The FSC has so far raised $50,000 and has $50,000 in matched funds. Freridge estimates the monies needed for the legal challenge against the DOJ at around $200,000, although she said it was difficult to determine how much money would be needed until it is clear what the final regulations are.