The history of advocacy, litigation and legislation around adult entertainment and sexual rights is as old as the medium itself. Over the organization’s twenty five year history, it has fought for the rights of producers, distributors, performers and consumers of adult entertainment and pleasure products through battles in the legislature, the courts, regulatory agencies, at the ballot box and in the press. Although FSC views litigation as a last resort, it has not hesitated to take serious, swift action when required, in order to defend the rights of its members.
Our own organization’s roots date back to March 1968, to an early convention of theater owners held at the Sheraton Universal Hotel, in Los Angeles. Back then, adult entertainment was largely illegal, and sexual speech was heavily prosecuted. Those who defied the ban were arrested, and imprisoned for years. The organization’s first iteration grew out of a national group called the Adult Film Association of America (AFAA) made up mostly of theater owners. But with the advent of inexpensive home video, the AFAA morphed into the Adult Film and Video Association of America (AFVAA)
When producer Hal Freeman successfully fought his 1987 arrest all the way to the California Supreme Court, it opened the doors to making adult film production legal in California, establishing the need for an organized group to advocate for adult entertainment workers.
Despite the Supreme Court victory, producers and distributors faced large-scale arrests and harassment during the Reagan/Bush administrations, as moralists took to the legislature to crackdown on adult film. The federal government attacked most of the major manufacturers of adult films and products with a sting operation designed to destroy the industry. Search warrants against approximately 30 manufacturers of adult product were executed.
The legislative climate gave birth to the Free Speech Legal Defense Fund (FSLDF), later named the Free Speech Coalition, formed by industry leaders to protect the rights of members in all areas of adult entertainment.
In 1994, the retention of a lobbyist in Sacramento was necessary to combat an excise tax on adult products and services, in the guise of funding programs to aid victims of domestic abuse and rape. In fact, most of the money was earmarked for tax collection and law enforcement. FSC leads businesses and industry groups in defeating SB1013, a bill to tax adult products and services, declaring it unconstitutional and detrimental to the economy. The bill was defeated at its first committee hearing, without a single vote in favor.
Purportedly aimed at detecting and deterring child pornography, the so-called Federal Labeling Law (also known as 18 U.S.C. § 2257) eliminated all privacy in the creation of sexual images. Any producers of, and performers in, such materials were ordered to comply with detailed disclosure requirements.
In order for the industry to comply, the FSC was essential. FSC conducted training seminars, prepared compliance documents and uniform exemption labels and negotiated with the Justice Department for relief from some of the more burdensome and unreasonable components of the law.
FSC co-sponsors a “World Pornography Conference” which included talks from industry legends.
FSC successfully strikes down two overbroad provisions of the misleading Federal Child Pornography Prevention Act on the grounds that “the freedom to engage in a substantial amount of lawful speech” was abridged.
FSC files a complaint against the Department of Justice and Attorney General (Alberto Gonzales), citing that 18 U.S.C. § 2257 regulations endangered the privacy and safety of performers by allowing private information to be accessed.
FSC successfully blocks anti-adult film bills AB 332, AB 640, and AB 1576.
FSC and the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) plea with CalOSHA to vote against proposed regulations that would endanger the lives and livelihoods of workers. The Board voted 3 to 2 to dismiss the regulations and restart the process with direct involvement by industry stakeholders.
FSC successfully defeats Proposition 60 – a proposition that would have allowed any resident of the state to sue and profit off of adult film workers. Though the #NoProp60 campaign was outspent 10 to 1, the FSC was able to defeat the proposition by over on million votes, winning in 54 of California’s 58 counties.
A federal judge, siding with the FSC, declared key portions of 18 U.S.C. § 2257 unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.