A state appellate court has ruled that Chicago
and Cook County cannot collect amusement taxes from an exotic dance club when other small venues are exempt from the tax.
The 1st District Appellate Court in Chicago wrote that although the city and county had exempted other small, live
performance venues from paying the tax, it had not exempted clubs with nude dancing, which was content-based regulations on speech that do not serve a compelling state interest and, therefore, violate the 1st Amendment."
The city of Chicago and Cook County passed ordinances in 1999 that exempt small venues from paying the city tax of 8% on tickets and the county's tax of 3%.
The exemptions, which specifically did not include "adult entertainment
cabarets," were intended to assist music clubs and theaters that hold fewer than 750 people.
Pooh-Bah Enterprises Inc., owner of the Crazy Horse Too club, filed suit against the city and county in 2001 claiming the ordinances were
unconstitutional because they singled out strip clubs based on the content of the entertainment offered.
A trial judge ruled for the city and county in 2005, but Friday's appeals court ruling reversed that decision.
Attempts to block a state-imposed $5 fee on Texas gentlemen's club admissions — slated to go into effect Jan. 1 — so far have failed.
District Judge Scott Jenkins refused to block the tax from going into effect, paving the way for a lawsuit that
seeks to prove the unconstitutionality of the tariff, which plaintiffs contend is discriminatory, suppresses their right to free speech and endangers the survival of many affected businesses.
The tax initiative is intended by officials to raise
an estimated $50 million annually.
A trial date is expected to be set after Jenkins rules on the plaintiffs' legal standing and ability to sue the state.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Comptroller Susan Combs submitted a
legal brief to the court, stating that the fee does not prohibit nude dancing, does not dictate where live nude entertainment may be presented, does not require any minimum clothing and does not govern the physical setting for the activity.
Even though the state does not specify how the $5-per-customer fee should be collected, most club owners are expected to collect it as part of a cover charge.
America's adult entertainment workers claim their $13bn industry is in trouble. Sales are down by as much as half as customers learn that what they once paid for can now be free. Pirated pornography is flooding the internet while thousands of 'amateurs'
post their activities on websites such as YouPorn.
Last week, Vivid Video, one of the largest porn studios, took legal action against Pornotube, a website the company claims is depriving the industry and its performers of legitimate revenue by
allowing the streaming of copyrighted material.
According to surveys, sites such as YouPorn and Pornotube draw more internet traffic than CNN. Like YouTube, the phenomenally popular, Google-owned website, X-rated sites depend on users streaming
videos to the site - and YouPorn is adding 15 million new users a month.
The adult entertainment industry is starting to get aggressive, says Farley Cahen, an editor at Adult Video News. The problem is that more and more people are
finding out about these sites and that they can get this free content.
After a decade of double-digit growth, the porn industry is seeing sales of DVDs, its biggest money-maker, slip. Last year, total sales were down 15%. The industry says it
is laying off workers.
An Alabama legislator has filed a bill to revoke the state's ban on the sale of sex toys, the second he has filed since the law's inception in 1998.
Representative John Rogers told the Birmingham News that the law is unconstitutional and
embarrassing to the state: A shower head could be considered a sex toy. It's just bringing the state into the 20th century."
This is the same law that adult shop owner Sherri Williams has spent a decade fighting. Despite losing the
battle in October. Though the U.S. Supreme Court refused in October to hear Williams' case, seemingly ending the fight and making selling sex toys officially illegal in the state, a circuit court recently deemed the law too vague after an attempt to shut
down an adult store, opening the issue up for debate.
I intend to pass this bill this year, Rogers said. I want it to be one of the first bills on the calendar. The bill reportedly may be discussed Feb. 5.
Melissa Harrington has filed a $75,000 claim for restitution against the Lincoln Nebraska and the police department, claiming officers are intimidating bar owners to keep them from hiring her for promotions.
She was sentenced in August to six
months' probation for violating a public decency ordinance. Harrington had hosted a wet T-shirt contest at a Lincoln bar in March. Officers charged her with being topless. But Harrington claims she wasn't, because her nipples and areolas were covered
with pink paint.
Harrington said if she wins her claim, she'll donate the money to charity.
Harrington filed a claim before the Nebraska State Claims Board Tuesday, seeking damages for what she says are lost business opportunities.
A federal judge has ruled against a strip-club owner, permanently prohibiting contact between dancers and patrons in Anchorage strip clubs that cater to people under
the age of 21.
According to a recent report, two years ago the city passed a new law restricting said clubs, including prohibiting direct contact with dancers, as well as requiring clubs that have over and under 21 sections to fully separate
them, including from view.
The owners of one of the clubs affected by the new law - Fantasies - resisted and appealed the ordinance, claiming it imposed on the first amendment rights of the dancers.
According to a KTUU report, Carol
Hartman, co-owner of Fantasies, said the ruling will put the club out of business.
A Staunton grand jury indicted a Virginia man and his company on 16 felony
obscenity charges concerning adult videos that were sold in October at After Hours Video, according to Staunton's nutter Prosecutor, Raymond Robertson.
The six-person grand jury spent a morning viewing parts of 12 videos bought at the Springhill
Road video store.
Owner Rick E. Krial is charged with eight felony and four misdemeanor counts of selling obscene videos. Krial's company, LSP of Virginia, LLC, was hit with identical charges.
Krial said he canvassed Staunton prior to opening
After Hours Video and purchased adult videos at a number of stores. I did my homework, he said. Since then, he said those same stores have yanked their adult selections in the wake of the controversy surrounding the opening of his store.
Krial, the owner of 12 adult businesses in Virginia and Maryland, said in the past he has caught flak from communities but has never been criminally charged in connection with video sales. He labeled the Staunton indictments as "ludicrous."
The opening of Krial's Staunton business on Oct. 7 has spawned the Citizens' Task Force Against Pornography and also generated a petition drive supporting After Hours Video. Krial said more than 800 people had signed the petition that's being
circulated at the Springhill Road store.
Rick Hudson, a free-speech expert and an attorney with the First Amendment Center in Nashville, said Robertson will have a tough time making the obscenity charges stick.
Update: Repression Zone
17th November 2007
The Staunton City Council unanimously passed a pair of ordinances restricting the location of adult businesses in the city and establishing the permits each must have to operate.
Adult businesses will have to locate
in areas zoned for light industry, and will have to be at least 500 feet from churches, schools, residences and day care centers.
Applicants for such businesses must pass a background check and pay a $300 application fee. The license must be
Two men charged with selling sex toys were arrested in Jackson, Mississippi.
Police conducted an
undercover sting at Adult Video and Books. James Saulters and Jayson Paige were arrested at the shop.
They don't leave here and rape nobody. They don't leave here and rob no banks, Paige said of the customers who buy the toys.
sex toys is illegal in Jackson. Police said they've gotten complaints from residents who said they heard radio ads about the sex toys. They still doing the same thing over and over again, just blatant violations; even advertising it, small minded
Sgt. William Gladney said.
Update: Persecuted by Dildos
8th November 2007
Trial has been set for Jan. 8 for two men arrested Oct. 24 at the Adult Video and Books Store in Jackson after sex toys were sold to an
undercover officer during a sting operation.
The arrest of three employees of the Orlando Weekly on charges of aiding and abetting
prostitution could have implications for escort sites and other websites that carry classified and personal ads, according to an adult industry attorney.
This case raises some significant 1st Amendment concerns, attorney Lawrence Walters
told XBIZ. We're talking about the government agency effectively shutting down a newspaper that was critical of its activities. There may be some extenuating circumstances in this case, depending on how the facts play out. But the prospect of a
special law enforcement task force taking newspaper employees into custody on racketeering charges based on the content of its advertising is antithetical to the precepts of the free speech guarantee.
Walters added that it was important to
remember that advertising is considered commercial speech, which means that it is protected under the 1st Amendment, just as the rest of the Weekly's content is covered: If the government is successful here, the implications are particularly
chilling for similar media outlets. Will newspapers across the country now be required to conduct background investigations into their advertisers, to ensure that they're not involved in any untoward activity?
The potential impact of the case
on websites like CraigsList.org also is uncertain, Walters said: While these sites enjoy greater protection against civil liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that provision does not appear to limit exposure to criminal
prosecution. So the basic approach that [Orlando's Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation] is using might be utilized in the online realm, if a conviction ensues in the Orlando Weekly case.
The arrests of the Weekly employees took place Oct. 19
at a job fair held at the Orlando Marriott Hotel. Officers from Orlando's MBI arrested the newspaper's classified ads director and two account executives following what was reportedly a two-year sting operation dubbed "Operation Weekly Shame."
the course of the sting, officers for the MBI reportedly posed as prostitutes interested in purchasing ads in the Weekly, and made it known to the representatives that fielded their advertising requests that the ads were for the purposes of furthering
Rick Schreiber, publisher of the Orlando Weekly, staunchly defended his publication and his employees, and asserted that the arrests were made as a form of payback for negative coverage of the MBI that the Orlando Weekly has carried
over the years.
New York magazine agreed to stop accepting sex ads after the nutters of the
National Organization for Women threatened protests outside the popular weekly publication.
The women's rights group had accused New York of being a "marketing arm of the organized crime world of prostitution and human trafficking"
because of classified ads at the back of the magazine with such tag lines as "Asians Gone Wild" and "Asian Dreamgirls."
Sonia Ossorio, president of the local NOW chapter, said she was "delighted" by the magazine's
The chapter has been asking other local media to stop taking the ads and said it has won agreements to do so from 14 other publications including Time Out New York and New York Press .
Court strikes down 2257 record
The Majority on a partially divided three-judge Sixth
Circuit panel strikes down as facially unconstitutional, the 2257 recordkeeping requirements on producers of images of "actual sexually explicit conduct". The 2257 records verify the ages of those depicted in the images.
federal statute at issue, the majority opinion explains, The plain text, the purpose, and the legislative history of the statute make clear that Congress was concerned with all child pornography and considered recordkeeping important in battling all
of it, without respect to the creator's motivation. The majority proceeds to hold the statute facially overbroad and then strikes down the law as unconstitutional.
Even the dissenting judge agrees that the statute is overbroad, but he
believes that judicial narrowing of the statute can save it from being unconstitutional.
This decision is a significant First Amendment ruling that directly implicates the controversial subjects of legal adult pornography and illegal child
pornography. I expect that the ruling will receive plenty of attention.
Attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ that the court's opinion, while a very significant victory, is not the final word on the question of 2257's constitutionality and cautioned that adult webmasters should not view it as the end of their 2257 concerns.
Generally, you have to be very careful with reacting too rashly to any opinion, Walters said. This is a panel ruling, and it is not final. The government could ask for an en banc rehearing by the full circuit, and they can appeal the
Walters also noted that the decision only applies to the portion of the US that is covered by the 6th Circuit – namely, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
The good news, Walters said, is that the government's
options in getting the opinion overturned are all "long shots," and he said the court's reasoning in the opinion was very sound.
Gestures to send working girls and customers to jail
Based on an article from Charleston Daily Mail
Simple body language can now send known prostitutes and their customers to jail in West Virginia's second largest city, Huntingdon.
Under the new
law, suspects can be arrested for beckoning passers-by with conversation, attempting to stop traffic by waving their arms, circling an area in a vehicle or trying to stop pedestrians. An arrest can also be made if a suspect asks if a potential prostitute
or patron is a police officer.
The offense must occur in a public place known to police as a high-crime area, and must be committed by someone who has been convicted of a prostitution offense within the past two years.
violating the law include a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail.
The ordinance, which was approved last week, is modeled after one in Seattle that was upheld by the Washington Supreme Court.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals handed a sweeping victory today to Louisville Metro government in its effort to repress adult businesses.
In an 89-page opinion, a three-judge panel upheld the constitutionality of Louisville's adult-entertainment
ordinance, which requires exotic dancers to wear pasties, prohibits dancers and patrons from touching and bars alcohol sales inside such businesses.
We're pleased the court agreed with our position that we have the right to regulate these kind
of businesses and hope that ultimately that leads to change in behavior by these businesses, said Chad Carlton, a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Abramson: The history of the efforts to regulate adult businesses has been strung along in the courts. They
have used courts to buy time and continue their behavior.
Attorney Frank Mascagni, who represents the adult businesses, said his clients are almost certain to appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court. A ruling from the high court could be a year
to 18 months away, he said.
A federal judge has ruled that three stringent Hillsborough County ordinances governing adult businesses are legal.
According to a recent report, if the judge's ruling stands, dancers at Tampa strip clubs will have to stay six
feet away from patrons, and the selling or drinking of alcohol would be prohibited at adult businesses. In addition, workers at adult video stores would have to pass background checks and private viewing booths would be completely prohibited.
There is no question from a reading of the three ordinances that they do not constitute a ban on sexually oriented businesses, but rather regulations on time, place and manner,
U.S. Judge Richard A. Lazzara wrote in his ruling.
Lazzara's ruling comes after area adult businesses sued the city, calling the new rules — which were adopted in Sept. of 2006 — unconstitutional. Those businesses plan to appeal the
ruling, according to Luke Lirot, a First Amendment attorney representing the three Tampa bikini bars that the ordinance would effect.
According to the report, Lirot said he doesn't expect county officials to start enforcing the ordinances until
after all legal challenges are exhausted. He said he found Lazzara's ruling repugnant to the First Amendment.
Penthouse is getting into the US adult-TV business, signing a 10-year, $10 million deal with New
Frontier to create a 24/7 network and a video-on-demand service.
New Frontier, which runs seven adult nets under the TEN trademark (which stands for The Erotic Networks), distributes triple-X programming on cable and satellite TV.
Penthouse will begin with the VOD pay-per-view service because it's easier to get cable operators to make room for it than for a 24/7 network.
Despite the hardcore sex, cable ops and satcasters are willing to take some or all of New Frontier's networks because the revenue split is so favorable. Instead of 50-50 for a typical mainstream PPV movie, the cable op can get 80% or more of each
subscriber dollar reflecting the relatively small cost of the programming.
New Frontier said that the suggested retail price for one PPV erotic movie is $10.99.
Attorneys for Lollipops
Gentlemen's Club in Daytona Beach said that they are prepared to take their challenge to the city's anti-nudity ordinance to the U.S. Supreme Court.
We've already prepared a jurisdictional brief for the U.S. Supreme Court, said Brett
Hartley, an attorney for Lollipops. Representatives of the city said they are ready to make their case in front of the nation's highest court, as well.
Earlier in the case, a district court struck down the city's anti-nudity ordinance, holding
that the ordinance did not further the substantial government interest in reducing negative secondary effects associated with adult theaters. A panel of judges from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned the lower court's ruling,
and earlier this week the 11th Circuit denied Lollipops' request for a rehearing in front of the full court.
As the legal battle moves on to its next step, Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said his department is prepared to begin
enforcement of the city's anti-nudity ordinance, and soon will send out a letter to local clubs warning them that enforcement is about to begin.
Under the ordinance, dancers at any club that sells alcohol — or who work at a club that is located
within 500 feet of another business that sells alcohol — must wear modest bikinis at a minimum and cannot perform topless or nude.
Regardless of how the courts eventually rule in the case, Hartley said he found the city's secondary effects
arguments less than persuasive.
The notion that the proximity of a naked breast to an alcoholic drink is somehow going to cause crime is just retarded, Hartley said.
Hassling adult industry via 2257 record keeping law
From AVN see
full article See also
Free Speech Coalition The Free Speech Coalition has released a three-pronged strategy for challenging the Department of Justice's (DOJ) proposed 2257 rules and
The FSC has submitted its own 32-page comment, drafted by First Amendment attorneys pointing out the flaws of the regulations, its logistical impossibilities, and constitutional violations as well as offering a viable record keeping
alternative to the proposed regulations. This document can also be found at www.freespeechcoalition.com in the 2257 page.
The FSC also launched a public comment campaign, suggesting that adult businesses and professionals participate in one of
FSC offered to review comments sent to them by industry professionals, or revise their comments so that the document is ready for submission and send it back to the person and/or business with instructions on how to submit the document.
compiled an industry statement to which adult industry businesses and professionals could add their name or the name of their business.
FSC provided information and support materials for industry businesses and professionals to submit their own
"We have challenged the Department of Justice from all angles," said Diane Duke, FSC Executive Director. The DOJ will have to address the issues brought to light from the economic report and the concerns raised by FSC. We can't allow the DOJ
to use its authority to harass and abuse the adult entertainment industry. We are going to hold their feet to the fire every step of the way.
If the DOJ's final rules and regulations do not change substantially, Duke said the FSC is prepared
to file an injunction immediately after the DOJ's response is released and again fight the battle in court.
Advertising in Las Vegas started a new era on Friday. For the first time ever, a legalized brothel bought a moving
billboard to drive around Las Vegas. The world famous and historic Chicken Ranch became the first brothel to advertise.
Two state laws had previously banned brothels from advertising anywhere. On July 12, a federal judge overturned those laws,
saying they were "overly broad," clearing the way for this.
The Chicken Ranch Brothel in Pahrump paid for the moving billboard. The Chicken Ranch billboard may actually seem tame for Las Vegas standards. There are no girls anywhere on
it -- although it does offer free transportation. Ads pushing Las Vegas shows reveal much more.
A spokesman for the Chicken Ranch says the brothel wants the advertisements to be done with taste and discretion. Meredith says it hit the mark.
State law allows counties in Nevada to have legal brothels if the population is under 400,000 people. That means prostitution is not legal in Clark County and Washoe County. The closest brothels to Las Vegas are 60 miles to the west in Pahrump in Nye
Strip club owners were reacting cautiously to a federal appeals court ruling
that temporarily halts enforcement of the state's ban on fully nude dancing in places where alcohol is served.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that an Inkster strip club, Bogarts Lounge, should be granted a preliminary injunction
preventing the state from bringing charges against it for having fully nude dancing and serving alcohol.
The appeals court sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. in Detroit for further proceedings. The ban on fully nude
dancing in places where alcohol is served could still be valid, but only if the state gives better reasons for such a ban, the court said.
Strip club owners in the Detroit area have long been at a competitive disadvantage with those across the
border in Windsor, where fully nude dancing is permitted.
The 6th Circuit said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled nude dancing is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.
Therefore, the state must show its ban is necessary to
serve a compelling state interest, which it has yet to do, the court said.
Do programmes that promote sexual abstinence help cut HIV rates? The question matters, because the US government says they do and directs its
But when Kristen Underhill's team at the University of Oxford, UK, examined the literature, they found that almost all the evidence suggests not.
They studied 13 trials of US-based abstinence programmes and found that none
helped to reduce the incidence of unprotected sex or cut the number of partners that young people slept with. A similar lack of success has already been found in abstinence projects in developing countries.
The paper is the second knock to US
HIV/AIDS policy in recent weeks. The government also requires that the organisations it funds sign a pledge saying they oppose prostitution. HIV/AIDS organisations say this means they stigmatise groups they are meant to be helping and point towards a
recent review which found that HIV programmes that target sex workers are effective in cutting infection rates
The Nevada Tax Commission rejected arguments that a state entertainment tax unconstitutionally targets strip
clubs and refused to refund nearly $1.8 million in such taxes collected from six Las Vegas clubs in early 2004.
Attorneys for the strip clubs appealed the imposition of the 10% entertainment tax on admissions, drinks and food, arguing that
strippers' dancing is a form of constitutionally protected freedom of expression that should be tax-exempt.
The clubs' appeal, rejected on a unanimous commission vote, was filed after the state Taxation Department denied the requested refund of
January-April 2004 taxes on grounds the dancing fit the definition of taxable entertainment.
Attorney Brad Shafer, representing the clubs, argued that commissioners could bury your head in the sand all you want, but it's clear that the tax
is invalid because it discriminates among types of live entertainment.
This was to get the adult cabarets and everything else was exempted out, Shafer added, noting the state law has more than two dozen exemptions.
Belcourt and David Pope, representing the Taxation Department called the levy "content-neutral," and said that of the more than 50 non-casino businesses and enterprises subject to the tax, only 11 were strip clubs. However, Shafer said the
strip clubs accounted for most of the non-casino entertainment tax revenue.
The State Supreme Court has struck down local laws allowing cops to seize vehicles used for drug dealing or prostitution,
affecting communities across California. The court ruled 4-3 that cities can't pass seizure ordinances without authorization from the state legislature.
Oakland was the first California city to pass a vehicle forfeiture law. Under the ordinance,
police officers could seize any car that was being driven by a suspect accused of being involved in illegal drugs or prostitution without a hearing, according to Oakland City Attorney John Russo.
The Supreme Court has ruled, and that is the
final word, so we will be back to the City Council in September, said Russo. We will ask them to repeal that ordinance .
Governor Jim Gibbons said that Nevada has outgrown legal prostitution and that, if a bill banning the
business crossed his desk, he'd sign it.
Gibbons made the comments in an interview after he addressed the Nevada Hotel and Lodging Association luncheon at Reno's Grand Sierra hotel when asked whether he agreed with the recent court ruling which
said it is unconstitutional to deny brothels the right to advertise.
I'm one of those who doesn't support the industry but I understand the First Amendment issue, he told reporters in the hallway. I don't think you can deny a legal
business the right to advertise.
He said even his mother believed legal prostitution had a place in Nevada because it was better to have them regulated, controlled and tested (for disease) than walking the streets of Reno.
That's an historical perspective but over the last half-century, we've matured,
he said. Referencing the association he just finished speaking to, he said, I don't see legal prostitution as part of the tourism base in Nevada.
As First Amendment attorney J.D. Obenberger sees it, there are "two huge things and one minor thing" about the U.S. Department of Justice's proposed changes to the §2257 record-keeping law.
The first "huge thing"
– and this is the most significant change in the regulations: The date for the records finally has been anchored to the date of production (or date the actual photography was accomplished). This actually gives the justice department a credible
reason for [the recordkeeping law and associated regulations] to exist, because the date of actual photography is the only one that's important in determining whether participants were minors at the time the images were committed to film.
second major aspect of the regulation amendments, Obenberger said, involves where the compliance statement must reside on websites. Previously, a link to the compliance statement on the homepage was considered sufficient, but the new regulations mandate
the entire compliance statement must appear on every page within a website.
This is a very literalistic reading of the Adam Walsh Law, and creates quite a burden for webmasters, Obenberger opined.
He also worried aloud it may chase
out of the industry small, independent website operators who run their businesses from their homes and maintain their records in their home offices. None of those people are going to want everyone on the Web to be able to find them with no more effort
than scrolling to the bottom of a Web page.
The minor thing: The new regulations specify that hard copies of the identification documents must be maintained.
The whole scheme remains an unreasonable burden on freedom of expression,
Obenberger said, but several previous uncertainties have been addressed. I think [the authors of the regulations] gave much attention to what the judge did in Denver.
In a surprise move, the U.S. Supreme Court has requested that the state of Alabama
file an answer brief responding to the petition for writ of certiorari filed by adult retailer Sherri Williams, as well as the "friend of the court" brief in support of the Williams petition filed by the Free Speech Coalition and the First
Amendment Lawyers Association.
Williams has spent nearly 10 years fighting for her right to sell devices that can be used for sexual stimulation to her customers in Alabama, which has an "obscene device" statute preventing her from
First Amendment attorney and Free Speech board member Reed Lee: The court has now officially requested the state to respond. That's a moderate sign that they're interested. If there were no interest in the petition at this point,
they wouldn't bother making the state respond if it didn't want to. How strong the interest is and where the interest lies is going to be an impenetrable mystery until at least the first week of the term, but it's a sign that there's some interest there.
The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to Alabama's ban on the sale of sex toys, ending a nine-year legal battle and sending a warning to store owners to clean off their
An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as an unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. But the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, leaving intact a lower court ruling that upheld the
Sherri Williams, owner of Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur, said she was disappointed, but plans to sue again on First Amendment free speech grounds.
Alabama's anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of
any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs for anything of pecuniary value.
The law does not ban the possession of sex toys. Residents may legally purchase sex toys out of state for use
Similar laws have been upheld in Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas, but struck down in Louisiana, Kansas and Colorado, said Mark Lopez, a former American Civil Liberties Union attorney in New York who worked on the Alabama case until
A Republican senator issued a humiliating apology after his telephone number
appeared in the phone records of the so-called 'DC Madam', making him the first member of Congress to become ensnared in a growing Washington sex scandal.
David Vitter, a conservative and staunch family values advocate, admitted that his
telephone details appeared on a list of 13,000 numbers posted on the internet by Deborah Jeane Palfrey.
She is accused by federal prosecutors of running a prostitution ring that catered for Washington's power elite. Ms Palfrey's decision to
release on her website all her phone records covering the seven years up to August 2006 - the list has no names - has sparked frenzied speculation in Washington about who else might be involved.
Vitter, who is married with four children, said he
used the escort service before becoming a senator. He said in a statement: This was a very serious sin for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and
marriage counselling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there - with God and them.
Vitter is a solid Louisiana conservative who opposes gay marriage and abortion.
Lap dances performed in
Salem are protected under free speech provisions of Oregon's state constitution, according to a ruling recently issued by a Marion County judge.
The ruling issued by Judge Albin Norblad came in a case that stemmed from a lap dance performed by
exotic dancer Laurel Guillen for an undercover police officer in April 2005 at Cheetah's, a club in northeast Salem.
According to court documents, the officer paid Guillen for making contact with her pelvis to his pelvis area and thigh for the
purpose of arousing sexual excitement.
Guillen was found guilty of "prohibited touching" by a Salem municipal court in November 2006, fined $250 and sentenced to a one-year probation period. Guillen then appealed her conviction, where Norblad
heard the case.
Norblad's ruling relied on an Oregon Supreme Court case in which the state's highest court deemed it legal under its free speech laws for a dancer to press and rub her breasts against a male customer's chest and to perform a live
sex show with another dancer.
Jackson police raided two adult bookstores, arresting two clerks and a store owner
for possession of sex toys with intent to distribute.
An undercover policeman had purchased sex toys at Secrets Adult Book and Video Store and Adult Video and Book earlier in the day. State law prohibits the sale of items designed to
stimulate human genitalia, according to Sgt. William Gladney.
Both businesses are now closed until further notice.
A federal appeals court called for Daytona strippers to cover up last week,
upholding strict city regulations on adult businesses and public nudity.
G-strings and pasties will not provide enough coverage, as dancers at strip clubs that serve liquor are now required to wear what the city calls "conservative
The ruling effectively reverses a previous district court decision from January 2006 which found that Daytona Beach's nudity laws were unconstitutional because they violated the right to free speech.
"I don't think it
means anything," Lollipop's lawyer, Brett Hartley: We don't see the ruling as a major setback. This is just part of the dance. Hartley and the gentlemen's club plan on taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Based on an article from
AVN see full article Bunnell near
Daytona Beach has proposed a repressive local ordinance. Club patrons would have to document their full name, birth date, address and telephone number if they wanted a lap dance. The information would go on a contract that also lists the full name of the
dancer, the cost and a description of the service.
Violators, both patrons and owners, would face steep fines and jail time.
With its hearing just one week away, AB 1551, the California adult business tax
bill authored by Assemblymember Charles Calderon, has finally been given a figure, ie 8%
That means that any video store in the state that normally sells an adult DVD for $39.95 will now be selling it for $43.15; any $20 door fee at a dance club
will now $1.60 more expensive; and any $12 hotel pay-per-view adult movie will cost an extra $0.96.
This is a "gross receipts" tax, so it applies to receipts, from whatever source, received by the adult entertainment venue, excepting
any sales taxes imposed on the transaction. An "adult entertainment venue" is defined as a retail establishment located in California with a substantial purpose that is the sale or rental of adult material, the premises of any facility
located in California that provides a public or private viewing of adult material, or the public premises of any facility located in California that offers live sexually explicit conduct that is prohibited to audiences under 18 years of age or 21 years
of age, depending on the sale of alcoholic beverages on the premises.
You might be exempt from the tax if your gross receipts from transactions involving adult material do not exceed 5% of all gross receipts of the retail establishment,
or the nudity you offer is a legitimate play, opera, ballet, or concert at a concert house, playhouse or theater, museum, or educational institution or facility on whose premises alcoholic beverages may be sold but which derives less than 20
percent of its gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages.
In other words, pretty much no adult business owner reading this article will be exempt, including the mom-and-pop video stores.
A hearing on the bill before the Assembly
Committee of Revenue & Taxation will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 9 at the state capitol. The Free Speech Coalition urges everyone who is interested in this bill to attend the hearing to voice their opposition to it. Several Free Speech
board members are expected to attend.
A circuit judge has ordered two Chicago area strip clubs and an adult video store
to close down, citing lack of proper adult business licenses.
Judge Margaret Mullen ordered Dancers, Baby Dolls and Video Magic to cease operations, ending a nine-year fight between the three businesses and the county.
Mullen has now
scheduled a hearing for Aug. 8 to decide how much to fine the businesses for staying open without a proper license.
The ongoing battle between the county and the three businesses has been raging since 1998, when the local board passed an
ordinance requiring that all adult-oriented businesses be licensed and follow certain repressive regulations. All three businesses filed lawsuits against the county in 2003, to no avail.
The disputed regulations ban nude dancing completely, and
require both strip clubs to close by midnight (neither currently serves alcohol, so they remain open until 4 a.m.). According to the report, both clubs would also have to build a stage that is at least 18 inches above the seating area, and patrons would
have to be seated at least 8 feet from the stage. The minimum age would be raised from 18 to 21, and direct contact between dancers and patrons would be illegal.
The owners of both Dancers and Baby Dolls testified during the trial, both saying
that the new ordinance would significantly hurt their businesses.
Federal prosecutors have charged a pair of Ohio businessmen with selling obscene movies via their web site.
to a complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, the FBI last year launched an undercover probe of Movies by Mail, a Cleveland business owned by brothers Sami and Michael Harb.
After placing an online order, Agent Martin Schwarz
received a package containing pornographic DVDs and fourteen condoms. As Schwarz noted in the complaint, he is a Utah resident familiar with the community standards of the ultra-conservative state. As such, the agent concluded that a trio
of DVDs he reviewed were obscene: None of the three films has a plot line. The films consist entirely of scenes of hard core sexual acts being performed by multiple men and women.
T wo of the films featured Paul Little (a/k/a Max Hardcore), who
himself was named last month in a ten-count federal obscenity indictment. One of the films was Extreme Associates' Cocktails 5.
Update: Charge Details
The two men have now been charged by a federal
grand jury in Salt Lake City with distribution of obscene materials and related offenses,
The indictment charges Cleveland residents Sami R. Harb and Michael Harb, doing business as Movies by Mail, with three counts of engaging in a
business of selling or transferring obscene DVDs, and three counts of using the mails to deliver obscene DVDs.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each count, according to a U.S. Justice Department press
release. A summons was issued ordering the defendants to appear for arraignment on July 12 in Salt Lake City before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells.
The indictment supersedes a complaint filed in federal court in Salt Lake City.
The Seattle City Council unanimously passed a new set of zoning rules, effectively
lifting an 18-year moratorium on new strip clubs in the city.
A federal judge struck down the moratorium in 2005, saying club owners must be allowed to open new businesses.
According to the report, the new laws will require the clubs to
be at least 800 feet from elementary or secondary schools, child-care centers, community centers, public parks or open space where children tend to congregate. Clubs must also maintain a 600-foot distance from other adult businesses.
the law is the provision that clubs may not serve alcohol.
Kink.com owner Peter Acworth is fighting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to
trademark his website fuckingmachines.com. Acworth's company originally applied for the trademark two years ago, but was denied on the basis of a statute dating back to 1905.
Registration is refused because the proposed mark consists of or
comprises immoral or scandalous matter, attorney Michael Engel wrote in his review of the case. The term 'fucking' is an offensive and vulgar reference to the act of sex.[...] A mark that is deemed scandalous ... is not registrable.
Acworth's attorney Marc Randazza filed an appeal June 5, which will now lead to a hearing before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
The New Jersey State Assembly has approved a pair of bills designed to repress sexually oriented businesses.
Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt proposed the legislation in response to a Union City businessman's plans to convert a vacant building
in a residential area of Cherry Hill into a store selling adult videos and sex toys.
Sexually oriented businesses may have First Amendment rights, but that doesn't give them carte blanche to exploit children or erode the property values of
nearby homeowners, Lampitt said.
Passed by a 75-1 vote, the first bill (A-3692) would allow municipalities to adopt ordinances for regulating and licensing adult businesses. The legislation would also require adult businesses to pay the cost
of stationing a mandatory crossing guard, police officer or private security guard outside any school, school bus stop or child care center within 3,000 feet of such establishments during hours when children are likely to be walking outside.
Assembly voted 77-1 to pass the second bill, A-3693, which would impose tougher zoning and "community notification" requirements on adult businesses before they open their doors.
Both measures now go to the Senate for further
Local authorities closed House of Thrills, an adult business in downtown Nashville. This was after a nine-month police investigation into supposedly "publicly lewd and unsafe sexual acts."
A criminal court ordered
the venue to be shuttered.
According to The Tennessean, House of Thrills failed a random inspection and around 80 arrests have been made there since October for various for sexual offenses.
In an effort to repress adult-oriented
businesses, Nashville authorities have also closed two area strip clubs in the last year for failing to comply with a new, more stringent adult ordinance. Among other restrictions, the 18-month-old adult entertainment law prohibits dancers from coming
within three feet of club patrons.
We're not policing morality , Metro police Sgt. Tony Blackburn told The Tennessean: ...BUT... we'll be looking at any public business that allows acts like this.
Police Dildos in Lubbock arrest store clerk for selling sex toys
A Lubbock local lingerie store clerk was arrested May 4 for having sold two adult novelties to an undercover police officer in supposed violation of a state obscenity law.
Police executed a search warrant at Somethin' Sexy.
State law views the possession of six or more sex toys as evidence of intent to sell - while "novelties" are illegal, devices sold for the purpose of sexual stimulation are criminalized as "obscene".
Store owner Gary Evans
reportedly asked to take the rap in lieu of his employee, but police refused. No court date has been set for the arrested store clerk, but if convicted, she would have to register as a sex offender.
Last chance to challenge the Alabama ban on sex toys
From Huntsville Times
Senator Tom Butler didn't set out to ban the sale of sex toys throughout the state, launching Alabama on a nine-year legal battle that last week reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
Sex toys were not even the focus of
the bill, said Tim Morgan, the district attorney in Madison County, who helped Butler compile the information for the 1998 anti-obscenity law.
Instead, Butler, who sponsored the bill, had been vocal in his attempt to quash the nude dancing
that proliferated in clubs in Madison County in the 1990s. Several statutes had been tried, but club owners had always found loopholes, recalled Morgan.
In 1998, the new law was designed to close those loopholes. The 1998 Anti-Obscenity ended
completely nude dancing. However, the act also included a line banning the distribution of any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of the human genital organs.
Last week, Sherri Williams, owner of adult toy
shops in Huntsville and Decatur, took what she says will be her final appeal, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her challenge of the state law: It's become quite an embarrassment to the state.
The Supreme Court receives hundreds of
requests each year and hears only a small fraction. If the Supreme Court declines to hear Williams case, as it did in 2005, the ban would take effect here for the first time. The sale of a sex toy in Alabama could lead to a maximum of one year in jail
and a $10,000 fine. The law does not prohibit possession.
Officials have proposed new legislation requiring exotic dancers to register for a license to entertain in the state of New York.
New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (Democrat), proposed the legislation as part of a "Dance Performer Registration Act" which would impose fines on dancers working without a permit.
The proposed law would create a database of
exotic dancers in New York State. Dancers would have to register with the state's Labor Department every three years, with strip clubs required to obtain a certificate to employ licensed dancers. Any dancer caught working without a permit would be fined
$20 for the first offense and $50 for every offense thereafter, and clubs employing unlicensed dancers would be fined $1,000 or more.
If passed, the Dance Performer Registration Act would go into effect Jan. 1, 2008.
Republican majority on the Ohio House Judiciary Committee have narrowly approved legislation that would ban physical contact between strippers and patrons inside the state's strip clubs. The new bill would also prohibit nude or semi-nude performing
between midnight and 6 a.m. and require that all clubs without liquor licenses close at midnight.
According to a recent report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, club patrons found in violation of the no-touching rule could be charged with a first or
fourth-degree misdemeanor, depending on the "intimacy" of the touch.
House Republicans also added a provision to the bill that would cover the legal costs of any lawsuits filed against townships that use the same type of legislation, in
an attempt to protect townships that pass stricter strip club regulations.
State Governor Ted Strickland had not yet reviewed the compromise bill and would evaluate its constitutionality should it pass the legislature.
The founder of the pro-censorship group Citizens for Community Values (CCV) is of
the impression that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), is working hand-in-glove with the adult industry to get Senate Bill SB 16, a bill to restrict the hours adult businesses can be open in Ohio and institute six-foot
"set-backs" for exotic dancers, killed by Gov. Ted Strickland.
CCV's problem is that the MPAA sent a letter to Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann objecting to the fact that SB 16 contains an exemption from the bill's definition of an
"adult business" for stores that sell MPAA-rated movies, and specifically mentions MPAA codes "NC-17" and "R".
In an astonishing show of good faith, the MPAA takes the position in this memo that, "The exhibition
of a motion picture to an adult may be proscribed only if the motion picture is obscene, which requires a finding that such films, 'if taken as a whole, appeal to the prurient interest in sex, which portray sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and
which taken as a whole, do not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value...'"
In other words, the MPAA has cleverly noted that until a movie – any movie – is declared obscene by a jury, that movie is legal to
sell, to rent and to watch in a viewing booth, and that therefore, attempting to draw a distinction between, say, The Tin Drum, for which stores in Kansas were prosecuted several years ago, and Deep Throat, prosecuted in several places over the decades,
is a false and misleading one ... and one that should not be immortalized by exempting mainstream stores carrying NC-17 and R products from laws regulating stores carrying products not rated by the MPAA.
Keith Dailey, a spokesperson for Gov. Ted Strickland, said on Tuesday that his boss would allow SB 16, which closes adult businesses between midnight and 6 a.m., and forbids dancers from touching anyone but spouses at their clubs, to become law in late August by, essentially, doing nothing.
Although Strickland had had questions about the clearly-unconstitutional bill's constitutionality during the bill's debate in both legislative chambers, terming such debate "silly" and "comsuming too much time and attention."
Of course, If he were persuaded it was unconstitutional, he would have vetoed the bill, Dailey said, but since large (Republican) majorities in both houses voted for it, Strickland won't stand in the way.
Buckeye Association of Club Executives (BACE) has formed Citizens for Community Standards , to oppose Ohio's recently-enacted anti-adult legislation
The name is an obvious take-off on the name of Cincinnati's ultra-conservative Citizens
for Community Values.
Even though the law is not scheduled to take effect until Sept. 4, it's already hurting the clubs and the dancers who work there. Customers think it's gone into effect, so they are afraid to patronize Ohio's adult cabarets,
BACE spokeswoman Sandy Theis told the Dayton Daily News.
The group has already secured the 1,000 voter signatures needed to place the repeal initiative on the November ballot, and has won approval from both the Secretary of State and the Ohio
Attorney General, certifying that both the text of the law appended to the petition and a required summary thereof are truthful and fair.
The group must now collect 241,366 signatures of registered voters in 44 of Ohio's 88 counties in order to place
the repeal language before the voters at the next general election. The group's deadline for collection of those signatures is Sept. 3
The projected cost of the petition drive is over $1 million. Contributions are being accepted
here on the BACE website.
An attorney representing Ohio-based nutter organization Citizens for Community Values has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Buckeye Association of Club Executives (ACE), ordering the adult entertainment trade group to stop using the
name "Citizens for Community Standards" in its fight against the anti-adult entertainment Senate Bill 16.
ACE formed Citizens for Community Standards in June as a political action committee to collect signatures needed to block the bill
from taking effect in September. The committee gathered 1,000 signatures from registered voters opposing the legislation, and is now drumming up additional support to strike down the legislation.
Your use of 'Citizens for Community Standards'
in your campaign to oppose the implementation [sic] Senate Bill 16 infringes CCV's trade name and its trademark rights, wrote attorney Charles M. Allen in his letter. Further, it is apparent that your mark was selected with the intention of
creating confusion and misleading voters.
Senate Bill 16 is unconstitutional and unnecessary, ' said ACE spokeswoman Sandy Theis. Even though the law is not scheduled to take effect until Sept. 4, it's already hurting the clubs and
the dancers who work there. Customers think it's gone into effect so they are afraid to patronize Ohio's adult cabarets.
An ACE press release points out that the new law was promoted by Citizens for Community Values, a Cincinnati-based
organization headed by self-described pornography addict Phil Burress. The law makes it a crime for customers or club employees to touch nude or semi-nude entertainers or their clothing -- even if the touching is as innocent as a hand shake or a pat on
The petition drive to repeal SB 16, the Ohio anti-adult law is on track according to activist Sandy Theis.
The adult businesses have to collect just over 241,000 signatures of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election, at
least 3% of those signatures have to be from voters in each of 44 of Ohio's 88 counties, and that's been the biggest stumbling block so far.
The next phase is, they start going door to door with lists of registered voters, she continued.
The task is all the more difficult, because large sections of rural Ohio are conservative ... but Theis has seen signs that "conservative" doesn't always mean "anti-adult."
At present, Theis is working vigorously to get her
organization's website to the point where supporters can contribute online, and she expects that by Friday, www.citizensforcommunitystandards.org.
Update: Signatures Submitted 380,000 ...
Ohio strip club restrictions now on hold
Based on an article from AVN see full
article See also www.citizensforcommunitystandards.org
New state rules restricting strip clubs will not yet go into effect after opponents submitted petitions for a statewide referendum overturning the law.
The group representing strip
club owners and dancers want a ballot measure to overturn a law that halts nude dancing after midnight and prohibits patrons from touching strippers.
Citizens for Community Standards turned in 382,508 signatures to Secretary of State Jennifer
Brunner's office, said Sandy Theis, a spokeswoman for the group. The signatures still must be validated by Brunner's office: We are very, very confident that we're going to make it on the ballot in November, Theis said.
The group needs at
least 241,366 valid signatures from registered voters — a number that equals 6% of the total vote cast in the 2006 governor's race — to place the issue on the November ballot.
Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for the secretary of state said
Brunner's office would work quickly to determine if the group collected enough valid signatures to put the issue on the ballot. If the secretary of state's office finds the group fell short, Citizens for Community Standards will have an additional ten
business days to submit more signatures, Theis said.
Update: Vote No on Issue 1
24th September 2007
Citizens for Community Standards announced that it will henceforth be known as "Vote No on Issue 1
The nutters of Citizens for Community Values (CCV) claimed that said name was deliberately selected in order to confuse voters, and filed a request for a non-emergency temporary restraining order to force the group to change it.
The new name was instituted in order to bring an end to the dispute.
The petition attempt to fight an anti-adult law from going into effect has fallen short. Vote No on Issue 1 Committee, the group fighting the strip-club law, failed to gather
the required number of signatures from at least 44 of the 88 Ohio counties.
The group had to collect just over 241,000 signatures of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election, and at least 3% of those signatures had to be from voters in
each of 44 of Ohio's 88 counties. All of the votes have not yet been tallied, but so far the group has submitted sufficient names in just 15 counties.
"With just 16 counties' reviews outstanding, it will be impossible for the petitioners to reach
the required threshold in 44 counties, leaving the petition insufficient for the issue to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot," Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner told the Ohio Dispatch.
When the final numbers are in, the anti-adult law will take
immediate effect, if a court challenge does not delay the measure.
Opponents then filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday saying that exotic dancers and adult entertainment establishments are protected by the constitution. According to a recent
report, the filing by the Buckeye Association of Club Executives said adult businesses should receive the same protection as controversial stage plays or novels.
Cleveland lawyer J. Michael Murray is leading the court challenge, saying the new
law violates the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. A temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the law was also filed, and a judge will make a decision on that after looking over written briefs both sides.
6th November 2007
An effort by strip-club owners to get a referendum on next week's ballot loosening new restrictions on adult businesses has been rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.
said that the opposition group will now challenge the Constitutionality of the anti-adult law.
Update: In Court Again
Attorneys for Ohio strip clubs tried to persuade a federal judge to overturn a new law
banning dancers from touching patrons or each other, arguing that there is no connection between adult clubs and any increase in crime.
Attorney Scott D. Bergthold, representing the state of Ohio, argued before U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver
Jr. that adult clubs with nude dancers lead to prostitution and other crimes and may cause declining property values.
The judge set aside two days for testimony on the challenge that claims the new law is vague and an unconstitutional violation
of free speech and expression.
Attorney Arturo Michel's office has ordered over 100 adult businesses in Houston, Texas to shut down or face civil and criminal penalties.
They need to close up, Capt. Steve Jett of the Houston police department's vice unit told the
Chronicle. We wanted to give them fair warning.
In the letters, the city notified owners of adult bookstores, cabarets and other sexually-oriented businesses that they are operating in violation of an ordinance that prohibits such
establishments from locating within 1,500 feet of churches, schools, parks and other designated areas of the city.
Passed by the City Council in 1997, the ordinance has been challenged in federal and appellate courts for the past decade on
Update: Appeal Fails
22nd August 2007
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the city of Houston in its ongoing effort to restrict adult businesses, upholding a law that would
force over 100 clubs and stores to close.
The ruling affirmed the 1,500 foot restrictions. The court also agreed that the city demonstrated enough alternative sites for adult businesses.
Amendment attorney John Weston, who represents two of the largest adult cabarets in the city, continues to brand the ordinance unconstitutional, and has filed a motion with the Fifth Circuit for a stay of enforcement and/or an injunction against
enforcement pending appeal.
Nothing is over, Weston declared. We think there are very, very major issues to be raised, including some matters that the district court just rendered decisions on that are the only ones in the history of
the country that have ever been rendered in this fashion, and in the Fifth Circuit, the standard for getting a stay is basically, you just have to show that there are serious questions that you're raising, that the balance of hardships tips in favor of
the party asking for relief, and that there's no serious hardship that would result to the other side in granting the motion.
Palestine city attorney Steve Routon recently introduced an ordinance to the Palestine City Council that allows the city to declare a business selling pornography inside the city limits a "nuisance," giving them legal reason to
take them to court.
Routon told the council last night that he was asked to draw up the ordinance by Mayor Becky Dunn, but was unsure if the measure would overstep the city's authority and expressed doubts if it would hold up in court.
The ordinance states that
No business shall hereafter be established or located in Palestine...which sells pornographic materials, pictures or videos.
It states that any business selling these materials are a nuisance, stated Routon. That is not a criminal
offense because I don't believe that you can make it a crime to sell it inside the city. It may or may not stick, but it gives the city the right to go to court to enforce the ordinance.