January started the year off with a great deal of activity as FSC had a booth at the Adult Entertainment Expo where we launched our new logo, gave out information about membership benefits and provided scheduled hours for our Legal Committee chair and industry attorney, Reed Lee, to be available to answer questions from adult industry professionals about new 2257 rules and regulations and the responsibilities adult industry businesses have in complying with them.
With the recession looming, the issue of copyright infringement became even more pertinent as adult businesses saw a rapid decline in their profit margins. During AEE, FSC came together with the top industry VOD companies to discuss the issue of piracy and potential, industry-wide solutions that we could consider.
Although video production was down, the adult entertainment industry was without insurance as the adult industry’s only insurance underwriter decided to drop coverage for adult entertainment production companies. FSC began working with a number of insurance brokers to find insurance for the industry and vetted these brokers to make sure that they could deliver on their promises. By February, the adult industry had production insurance and a choice of quality brokers to work with in writing the policies.
At February’s XBIZ Conference, FSC had its membership meeting, bringing industry icon Phil Harvey, Adam & Eve’s founder, to speak on the state of the industry. At the conference, FSC continued working with the top VOD companies on the issue of copyright infringement, but this time bringing many of the industry’s top producers to the table as well. At that meeting the group agreed on launching a pilot aimed a curtailing copyright infringement on tube sites. That work continues.
As a response to Cal OSHA’s citing of a handful of adult studios, FSC launched its Workplace Safety Manual aimed at assisting adult businesses in developing a workplace safety plan to comply with OSHA standards. FSC has been working with some of those businesses and industry attorneys to develop industry friendly compliance options. FSC introduced WCO Safety Services, a workplace safety consulting company, to the industry to assist adult businesses in developing workplace safety plans. WCO offers discounts to all FSC members.
Again this year, the California Sate Legislature is considering a bill that will impose a tax on adult businesses, AB 1082. FSC held its annual lobby day March 10, bringing a number of industry professionals to Sacramento to lobby against the bill. AB 1082 was not taken up in committee for a vote and cannot be voted on for the remainder of 2009. It can be brought up again for a vote in January 2010, but that is unlikely. However there still exists the threat of a tax on the adult industry in the crisis-budget process of California. We continue to monitor the process, lobby heavily and provide solid arguments to the state legislature as to, among other things, the unconstitutionality of taxing expression.
After 2257’s final rules and regulations were released at the end of 2008, FSC began working on litigation under these new revisions. We developed an attorney selection committee composed of several industry leaders and attorneys, including: FSC Board Member and Titan Media attorney Gil Sperlein; Adam & Eve founder Phil Harvey; FSC member and producer Dave Cummings (who was a plaintiff in the Denver 2257 case); and D.C.-based Raben Group lobbyist, Dave Grimaldi. This committee considered a number of proposals submitted as a result of FSC’s request for proposal process. The committee selected attorney J. Michael Murray and the Cleveland-based law firm of Berkman, Gordon, Murray and DeVan. FSC is now in the process of considering venues and plaintiffs for its next challenge to 2257.
Finally, in our never-ending process to improve communication, FSC has brought innovation to our existing publications and added additional means of outreach. FSC launched a new website that is not only much more attractive than our old site, but also much more user friendly. We have our own Facebook page for members looking for additional information and wanting a more personal connection to FSC. We have also revised our weekly newsletter format to be more informative and enjoyable.
These are but a few of the many answers to the question of, “FSC, what have you done for me lately?” In the first five months of 2009, FSC has worked diligently to watch your bottom line and your back as you toil, keeping your adult business afloat. Rest assured we will continue our critical work to support and protect the adult entertainment industry.
We’ve got your business interests at heart, and we’ve got your back.