We are now 42 days from November 6th and the vote on Los Angeles County’s Ballot Measure B – otherwise known as the “Condoms in Porn” law. In the next 42 days you are going to see many industry articles, tweets, press releases, television reports and mainstream news articles about Ballot Measure B as November 6th draws closer.

So what happens on November 7th if the measure passes – not much. Actually, it’s closer to nothing will change – yet. Here is where the real “government waste” is. This ballot measure is nothing more than an invitation for cities within Los Angeles County to vote make condoms mandatory. When, and if, Ballot Measure B passes then 85 cities within Los Angeles County are going to have to agree to it. Which means in 85 different cities and towns within Los Angeles county are going to have to waste government resources and time to vote on this law. Every single town council will be forced to discuss condoms and pornography during their sessions. This is exactly what AHF wants. A county wide discussion about condoms. It has nothing to do with performer safety. It has to do with their message of safe sex and they want as many cities, towns, municipalities and government officials discussing this issue as they can force to. Every mayor, town council member and governmental employee should know that AHF and Weinstein are trying to force an open public discussion on condoms, sex and porn in each of their towns.

On November 7th there will be no “condom police” roaming the streets looking to make busts. Actually, they may be roaming the deserts, hills and forests because that’s the only place the law will take effect immediately.

Here is the important information about the “Condoms in Porn” Ordinance – it will ONLY apply to UNINCORPORATED areas of Los Angeles County. Almost all of the populated areas of Los Angeles County fall outside those areas. Here is a quote from John Krattli, Los Angeles County Counsel from a Memo prepared for the County Board of Supervisors on July 23, 2012; (Please click here to download LA County Counsel Recommendations)

Which means that each and every individual city within the County of Los Angeles has to independently adopt and ratify the condom law before it will become enforceable within that city. Here is a list of the 85 cities that the condom law will not apply to until each city individually adopts the law;

Agoura Hills, Alhambra, Arcadia, Artesia, Avalon, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bell, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Bradbury, Burbank, Calabasas, Carson, Cerritos, Claremont, Commerce, Compton, Covina, Cudahy, Culver City, Diamond Bar, Downey, Duarte, El Monte, El Segundo, Gardena, Glendale, Glendora, Hawaiian Gardens, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Huntington Park, Industry, Inglewood, Irwindale, La Cañada Flintridge, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, La Verne, Lakewood, Lancaster, Lawndale, Lomita, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Lynwood, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Maywood, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Norwalk, Palmdale, Palos Verdes Estates, Paramount, Pasadena, Pico Rivera, Pomona, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Rosemead, San Dimas, San Fernando, San Gabriel, San Marino, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Monica, Sierra Madre, Signal Hill, South El Monte, South Gate, South Pasadena, Temple City, Torrance, Vernon, Walnut, West Covina, West Hollywood, Westlake Village and Whittier

Therefore, even if the Los Angeles County voters decide to make condoms mandatory it will not take affect in any of the cities listed above UNTIL each city has its own City Council meeting and independently adopts the Los Angeles County Ordinance. Further, it could never be adopted by Vernon, Long Beach and Pasadena, unless each one of those cities draft and adopted their own condom laws.

Which means that not only can the industry fight the condom law at the Los Angeles County level, we can also fight condoms in each and every city mentioned above. For example, if the industry lost the Ballot election in November we could still chose several cities to “target” and hopefully approach those cities to become the new “home” for the industry. Perhaps cities such as Glendale, Santa Monica, Burbank, Malibu or Santa Clarita, all relatively close to the Valley, might welcome the tax dollars, permit fees and the general business revenue the industry would bring.

With the current state of the economy the industry’s representatives should also be seeking out a “Plan B” just in case the Ballot Measure does pass. Now is the perfect time to reach out to small cities in Los Angeles County that might be interested in developing a business relationship with the industry who’s City Council would not pass or adopt any restrictive condom ordinances. The industry needs a new home. Perhaps we do not need to travel that far to find one.

None the less, we should still strive to fight the condom law based on its unconstitutionality. No government or ordinance should mandate condoms but rather condoms should be a choice between performers and producers !

Footnote: FYI- where where will Ballot Measure B take effect if it passes ? On the map below the UNINCORPORATED areas are shown in WHITE. As you can see the unincorporated areas are mostly found in the Angeles Crest Forest, the Santa Monica Mountains, on Santa Catalina Island or in the desert areas outside Palmdale/Lancaster. Those areas in yellow it will not take effect in.

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Of UFC Fighters, Comedians, Poetry & Porn…

On September 1, 2012, in Life, by adultbizlaw

Last night Vanessa and I had the distinct pleasure of being able to spend some time over a dinner with a group of interesting and varied people. We were in Las Vegas and were able to catch Bryan Callen’s comedy show at the Paris Hotel. Afterwards, he invited us to join him, a writer and another comedian and two UFC fighters for dinner. It is always interesting being the “porn people” in a group of mainstream people. Usually, we are inundated with questions about the industry. Last night was no different, however it does give me/us a chance to ask some questions of them as well. It is always a learning experience.

Of course the Mr. Marcus and syphilis topic did come up. However, interestingly only two of the mainstream people were even aware of the situation – one of the UFC fighters and the writer. Which I suppose means that our dirty laundry so to speak hasn’t penetrated the mainstream news as far I as previously believed. However, this subject led us to a more important discussion – testing.

Performers have often compared themselves to athletes and even UFC fighters as far as their job description is involved and how performers are akin to those who fight and exchange bodily fluids in close “hand to hand,” so to speak, proximity. When I told the UFC fighters that as a practice the industry does NOT require full panel testing they were somewhat surprised since they indicated that they have to under go full panel testing as a fighter and could not imagine stepping into the Octagon without both parties being fully testing for all potential diseases that could be passed. They basically indicated they simply would not fight someone unless they were completely tested.

Then the issue of MRSA was raised. If you are unfamiliar with MRSA, that is basically a staph infection that enters the body through the exchange of bodily fluids such as mere sweat through a break in the skin, cut or abrasion. The staph bacteria is quite deadly if it enters one’s blood and difficult to treat with antibiotics. It plagues not only UFC fighters but also porn performers and any other sport where there is body to body contact. We often refer to MRSA or staph infections as a “spider bite.” Apparently there is a special spider that only lives in Chatsworth, California that specifically targets performers and always seems to bite on their victim’s ass region. We do not talk about MRSA that much in the adult industry but it is certainly a topic for discussion on its own. I have personally know numerous performers that contracted it, with one even requiring hospitalization to treat it.

We then moved on from syphilis, testing and MRSA to racism. One of the fighters asked if it were true that some of the women in the industry charged more to perform with a black man than a white one. They were shocked by the answer. Both fighters could not fathom the idea of asking for a higher fight fee because he was fighting someone of a particular race. This notion was so foreign to them it appeared we as an industry were still operating in the dark ages, no pun intended. While they noted there is some racism in the UFC, they for the most part, treat each other like family.

They had to admit that while they are fierce and combative in the Octagon and during practice, for the most part they all have an extreme amount of respect for themselves, each other and the UFC. I got the impression that the both of them truly loved what they did and felt blessed to be apart of it. They are what we used to be – a family. They cared so much for each other they had to admit it was difficult to watch their friend’s fights.

I also got that impression from the comedians and writers in the group. The writer, who has written several movies and TV series, said that whenever he has a chance he always try to write parts into his projects for his friends. The main characters are always cast by the production company but for the lesser parts he has the ability to cast and clearly write for. The other comedian in the group indicated that she has opened up numerous times for Bryan through-out his career. Knowing other comedians I can say that is true amongst most of them. If you ever watch a comedy movie you will always see several comedians in the same movie. Once one comic makes it he/she tries to take his/her friends with them.

To a large extent, that is how the adult industry use to be. A small group of people that knew each other, cared for each other and helped each other when we could. They might not have always liked one another but they stood together. Whether it was against governmental intrusion or attack from the mainstream. I have only been in adult for 8 years and I only caught the tail-end of that period. Vanessa who has been in adult for 16 years remembers it well. It was a much different industry then.

Porn has turned from mom & pop producers to “big international business” with much of the control of the Los Angeles based industry  coming from outside the United States. We are no longer a local industry but instead a part of a global movement. A movement that wants to vertically integrate all aspects of porn, from talent to production to distribution, including hosting, traffic, bandwith and advertising. A one stop shop that some might call a monopoly. Los Angeles may become nothing more than a cog in the wheel of a much larger global “porn” machine.

Perhaps Mr. Marcus’s decision to alter his test was more then just a lesson in paper vs. database or APHSS vs. TTS. Perhaps it was a lesson in what the future holds for porn in the United States. I guess the time has come when people have to decide for themselves which road they want to go down. Jessica Drake probably said it best when she blamed greed as the cause of this situation. It is easy to choose a fast money over long money. It is more difficult to choose money over health. If the those in the industry do not respect themselves, their co-workers and their health there simply will not be an industry in Los Angeles to work in. The hardest decision is to chose family over personal financial interests. I suggest the road not taken…

The Road Not Taken.. By Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

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Adult Performer Safety Needs Re-Evaluation by Don Fernando

On August 30, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various contributors on this web site does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of AdultBizLaw.com and Michael Fattorosi nor should they be considered legal advice.

Reposted with Permission Written by: Don Fernando as first published on  August 29, 2012 at

http://donfernandoxxx.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/adult-performer-safety-needs-re-evaluation/

Presumption at hand: The FSC (Free Speech Coalition); who proclaims to be the spokesperson for the Adult Industry in the USA, has declared a moratorium on partner scenes (2 or more performers engaging in sexual activity either with condoms or without) until September 4, 2012. The announcement by FSC and Manwin Media has basically instructed the American industry talent that under the presumption that all talent that has been performing this year are presumed to have been exposed to Syphilis and to control the spread of said disease that “in order to start work, all performers should go to Cutting Edge Testing (administered by Dr. Peter Miao) or to their physician and receive a large dose of injectable Penicillin or a substitute injection of Ceftriaxone for those allergic to Penicillin as a prophylactic (prophylactic is defined as a preventive medicine or course of action) measure.

Talent treated with the injected antibiotic will then be allowed to resume booking work (in the approximately 90% non-condom USA industry) to start 10 days after their prophylactic treatment. NOTE: “Prophylactic medicine is that which is administered to a patient as said patient is presumed to be exposed to an infection or disease.”

Manwin is onboard with this protocol and is helping with the implementation as the majority of their recent productions are of the “non-condom” variety and are expressing the “Let’s get back to work, folks!” posture. They also seem to feel that all performers based in the USA are presumed to be exposed to some degree to Syphilis hence their support of the prophylactic injection.

I googled “When can one resume sex after treatment to cure Primary Syphilis?” – here is an excerpt of what came up on Google from a government STD website covering both Primary Syphilis and Secondary Syphilis.: “However you will usually have to avoid sexual activity for at least two months after ‘treatment’ begins. Then you should use condoms. You should be checked regularly for some years after your treatment to check for any recurrence.”

Note the words in the first sentence “avoid sexual activity for at least two months (60 days) after ‘treatment’ begins.”

There is a huge difference between a 10 day and 60 day recommended abstinence of sexual activity. The FSC and Manwin Media plan to allow “presumed exposed and’or infected” performers to “resume sexual activity 10 days after receiving the prophylactic injection” seems to be going against LA County Health, US-CDC and US Dept. of Health and Human Services recommendations to prevent re-exposure and/or re-infection of the highly contagious bacterial infection that is Syphilis.

Is this really a well thought out policy? I do not think so…wrap you head around it and think it all the way through.

Best To All My Fellow Performers.

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Porn- The New Political War Grounds? by Alia Janine

On August 29, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various contributors on this web site does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of AdultBizLaw.com and Michael Fattorosi nor should they be considered legal advice.

 

Reposted with Permission Written by: Alia Janine as first published on  August 28, 2012 at

http://aliajanine.com/2012/08/28/porn-the-new-political-war-grounds/

Since I’ve been on a roll with blog posts this past week, with the current issue(s) at hand in the industry, and Im obviously not working like the rest of you (or at least SHOULDN’T be), so I thought I might as well throw my 2¢ in. I like to crack jokes and all but that doesn’t mean I don’t care, Im not paying attention, or doing my homework. People have seriously gotten out of control, did some of you forget that most of you used to be friends or were at least civil to each other, and slightly respected each others idiosyncrasies? Geesh. People need to focus on the bigger picture and start coming up with solutions instead of adding more problems. It is an election year and porn is not a winning candidate right now.

Some people must realize that this is EXACTLY what Michael Weintstein wanted to happen. Him and his little army took out AIM because it was the ONE place that prevent outbreaks and unnecessary damaging PR. He KNEW that it would cause total chaos. Sadly, he was right. Although Im sure he was thinking it was going to be an actual HIV scare, Im sure he’s probably thrilled nonetheless. Because his plan is working, you fools! Am I the only one that’s ever read The Art of War? Seriously. And I don’t give a FUCK (sorry for swearing) if people didn’t like AIM, AIMs purpose was to PREVENT things like this from happening. Yes, people should have the right to choose where they want to get tested, but those testing facilities need to have a ONE common data base (having all the facilities give out that information is much more scary then one, think about it) where all performer’s test results are held so agents and production companies can look and prevent this from happening. It will also prevent an entire industry from having to shut down and 1000s of people being out of work. Just saying.

Before anyone gets in my face about the “privacy” of medical records, let me clue you in on a some legal shit (sorry for swearing) that you may not know, and if you do know and don’t like it, too bad- it’s the LAW. I’ll make it simple and use examples though so the ignorant people hear me (little edited Lauryn Hill for ya). When people have to get drug tested, vaccinations, full medical exams, or whatever for certain jobs because they’re either working with heavy machinery, in the medical field, or acting in a mainstream movie; the people that are going to hire them have the right to see those results because seeing those results is a requirement to obtain that position. Why do they have that right? Because under (most) state laws when someone is injured at their place of work, their employer is completely liable. If their employer is paying them to do something that requires a drug free mind, or to not be acceptable to certain diseases, or to perform acts that could cause an injury, and If the employer didn’t take any of the precautions to prevent things that could’ve been avoidable; they will be sued, their business possibly shut down, and so on.

WE ARE NO DIFFERENT. Remember Cal/OSHA and all their talk about haz-mat suits and dental damns, they weren’t kidding. We are knowingly and willingly exchanging bodily fluids, that can possibly harm us, with complete strangers sometimes, and people are worried about the people they work for/with seeing their test results? Are you skull fucking me with this shit (sorry for swearing)?!?! We are Cal/OSHA’s wet dream, and it would be a total nightmare for the industry if they got their overly, creepy clean hands in it. Like it or not, the companies that hire us have EVERY right to see those test results because if a performer is to contract something on a set, that company is liable for that person’s care, workman’s comp., and so on. Which is GOOD for performers.

Thus why the APHSS system is needed. Regardless if you like the FSC or not, they’re the only ones I saw step up to the plate like Sharon Mitchell did to do something to protect us. And yes, people have every right to be nervous about having your “real name” in a data base like that. But let’s keep real, performer’s real names are EVERYWHERE online. If someone wants to find it, they’re not going to hack into a data base to do it (unless they’re a psycho like the name we do not speak of). The internet, lube, and some time is much easier. Although I do believe the FSC needs to focus more on the whole picture and stop trying to control everything. But look at it this way, if Manwin and a few other companies are forking out all this money for medical equipment, testing reimbursements, and treatments, Im fairly certain they will make sure the APHSS data base is secure. Specially if we ask him nicely about it on Twitter. lol If you don’t like the system or the way it works, come up with something that will work better, and change it.

November is not that far away and this is not going to help the issue with condoms in any way. With everyone in the industry fighting each other, the general public is going to see that, think we’re all incompetent, and they’re going to vote yes. I say we beat them at their own game. They’re going to be voting on our Constitutional Rights on us having control over our own bodies, that is so not cool with me. I say we let the performer’s decide If they want to wear condoms or not. Not that I’ve ever seen anyone say no before but let’s really make it a point. And the WHOLE POINT is that we have the RIGHT TO CHOOSE. Let’s make a big fucking (sorry for swearing) deal out of it. Title- Porn Cleans Up It’s Act, “After a small syphilis outbreak in the Porn Industry, companies are letting performers chose to wear condoms or not on top of regular testing to ensure the safety of all performers….” and “porn companies ungraded and invested it medical grade cleaning products and equipment…” Blah, blah, blah. If some of us are already wearing condoms and playing along with the other side, people aren’t going to vote yes, and Michael fuck-face Weintstein (Im not sorry for swearing) will have to go back to the drawing board. (Plus we know damn well most performers are not going to use them anyways.) Get it together people, we’re worse than the Democrat and Republican party’s right now. We’re supposed to be fighting the system, not turning into it. Duh.

As for the infamous “shot” in the ass…. For one, if some of you don’t know you’re allergic to penicillin by now, you had horrible parents and are an idiot, I actual fear for your survival in this world. Secondly, it isn’t healthy to get a shot like that when you don’t need it but, at the same time it’s not going to kill you. Considering when the whole syphilis thing came out no one (really) knew who was “patient zero,” who they worked with, who those people worked with, and so on. Having everyone get a shot was definitely a panic move, but at the same time without everyone in one system there was no real way to tell who had what when, and people needed to react. Talk to your doctor, only they can tell you what’s best for your health. If you have to wait or want to wait the 90 days so be it. We are talking people LIVES here. Dumdums. I whined and talked shit (sorry for swearing) about it but I got it done because of the “what if” factor. Stock up on probiotics, ladies they have special supplements just for you too, and quit yer bitchin’. Be a part of a solution not the problem.

I also think some people could use a little refresher course in Sex Ed, the STI part that is. STIs are something every person needs to worry about in the jizz biz or not. For the fact that they are our only real job hazards- I can’t say Im not surprised certain people don’t know about them, but it is very bothersome. And it’s not that they don’t know what they are or at least their names, but they obviously don’t know about them and obviously not what some look like. Knowing about something and actually comprehending it can be two completely different things. So I took the initiative and went to Wikipedia for you. Remember, knowing is half the battle. ;)

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Is There a Hole in APHSS ?

On August 27, 2012, in Legal, by adultbizlaw

The syphilis outbreak in the adult industry has brought to the forefront a highly contested debate as to testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Currently there is a debate as to whether there should be one testing facility or multiple facilities. There is also a debate as to what the proper protocols should be for informing performers and their sex partners of a possible outbreak. There is yet another debate as to whether what exactly should a performer know about his/her costar on set in regards to their medical history.

Background…

The main players in this debate are the testing facilities under the umbrella known as the Adult Production Health & Safety Service (APHSS https://aphss.org/ ). APHSS is the brainchild of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC http://www.freespeechcoalition.com/ ) and several major content production studios that openly support the FSC, most notably Manwin, Evil Angel, Kink.com, Girlfriend Films, Gamma Entertainment and Vivid Entertainment. One of those APHSS testing facilities is Cutting Edge Testing, which is owned and operated by Dr. Miao, and is one of the main testing facilities in Los Angeles for the industry. (CET http://cuttingedgetesting.com/ ).

On the other side of the equation is Talent Testing Services (TTS http://www.talenttestingservice.com/ ), a testing laboratory not a medical clinic, which appears to be supported by LATATA ( http://latata.org/ ). The Licensed Adult Talent Agency Trade Association is comprised of several of the licensed and bonded adult talent agents within the United States. Further, TTS is not part of the APHSS system and it appears does not wish to be. TTS is not a medical facility it is a laboratory that performs testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

APHSS’s inception is rather recent, only occurring after Adult Industry Medical (AIM) closed and filed for bankruptcy within the last year. TTS has been in operation for several years.

As for adult performers, they seem to be split as to which testing facility they prefer. Some prefer CET and the APHSS system while others prefer TTS.

Medical History within the APHSS Database…

Without getting into extreme detail as to either service or all that either service offers, since that would require pages of analysis, I would like to confine my discussion to one potential problem with the APHSS database I have been made aware of by seasoned veteran performers.

Since I prefaced this article with the words “hotly debated” let me state this for my readers. I do not have a financial interest in either testing facility. I do not have a preference as to either testing facility. I am not a performer nor a producer and therefore do not have a “dog in this hunt” so to speak. I am neutral as to both facilities so please do not attack me believing this article is merely an attack on APHSS. It is not. It is merely meant to inform and educate based on a potential issue I see with the way medical history is handled in the APHSS system. My goal is that this issue can be resolved and the database improved for the health, safety and knowledge of the talent.

After a discussion on Twitter with Fabian Thylmann it became apparent to this writer that there is a potential hole in the APHSS database as to the past medical history of performers. I have come to this understanding after the conversation with Fabian Thylmann as well as personally attending the APHSS presentation in July conducted by the FSC and Dr. Maio. I will limit my discussion to just one issue. That issue is how past medical history is handled by APHSS.

From my understanding the performers in the APHSS database will be either “cleared” or “not cleared” to work under the APHSS database and call in system. Which means that only the most recent test results will be available to be reported and only in the way proscribed. Which, for legal purposes, is a good idea with the issue of medical privacy being important to so many. As a lawyer, I like the APHSS database. It leaves little room for violation of medical privacy.

However, from my discussions with some veteran performers it appears that there are a contingent of them that would like to know more about their on-screen partner’s medical history, including whether they have tested for syphilis in the past. While normally I would disagree with that position as for chlamydia and gonorrhea I do see that information as being important for syphilis. Syphilis is an infection that can be easily cured but may always result in some level of a positive finding on a sexual transmitted disease test result, depending on the test used. (Please see http://www2a.cdc.gov/stdtraining/self-study/syphilis/syphilis10.asp ). Therefore, I can certainly see a performer’s right to make an informed decision. While medically it may be impossible to transmit the disease once a performer as undergone treatment some performers feel as though that they would like to know that information prior to performing in a scene with previously positive performer. A balance between privacy and informed decisions must be made.

From what I was told by Fabian Thylmann of Manwin, a performer who has tested positive for syphilis will be cleared for work within the APHSS database once they have been examined and cleared by an APHSS physician. Therefore, while we do not know at this time who besides Mr. Marcus may have it,  based on Fabian Thylmann’s statement it is possible that at some future point a performer that had syphilis and received treatment will be actively performing again. With this potential hole in the APHSS system anyone working with that performer would not even know about the past positive history for syphilis.

While this might not present much stress for some performers it may for others. I discussed this issue with a male performer that indicated that he did not believe that working with a performer who had previously tested positive for syphilis but is now cured posed much of a risk. However, he did indicate that information would be desirable in order to make an informed decision. Performers should be able to assess risk and balance such concerns themselves.

I had suggested to Fabian Thylmann of Manwin that the APHSS database be changed so that it would instead read “cleared for work” however with a notation. That notation in the database could be an indication that the other performer may have tested positive for syphilis within the last 30, 60, 90 or 180 days depending on long ago the past the positive test occurred. That may allow a performer to make a more informed decision as to who their screen partners will be.

This hole in the database may also become more important in the future if testing is going to expand past the basic HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and now syphilis panel. If the industry adds herpes, hepatitis and human papillomavirus to the regular testing panel how is the APHSS database set up to handle those types of results. Are all performers that test positive for herpes going to be “cleared to work” without a notation that they carry the virus ? As with syphilis is an APHSS doctor going to examine them for the presence of an outbreak before clearing the performer to work ? How often will this exam be necessary ?

Will there be a notation in the APHSS database for those performers that have had a hepatitis B vaccination ? Will a performer know if they are working with someone else who has been vaccinated ?

Since this database is being touted as the database for the entire industry, lets not forget the gay side of production as well. There are gay production companies that allow HIV positive performers to work with other HIV positive performers as well as HIV negative performers ( See http://www.insidesocal.com/outinthe562/2010/11/hiv-positive-gay-porn-actor-signs-exclusive-contract.html ). Some of those studios even match performers with different strains of HIV together. How would this particular situation be handled by the APHSS database and call in system ? Would an HIV positive performer working for a gay production studio “not be cleared for work” or would they. Would a notation be required on that performer’s database file ? Or is APHSS simply not going to allow gay performers and production companies into their database ? That cannot be possible since APHSS has under it’s umbrella of testing facilities a clinic located in San Francisco. There are also straight porn production companies such as Naughty America that are now also producing gay content ( See http://queermenow.net/blog/naughty-america-presents-3-new-gay-porn-sites/ )

Needless to say, the syphilis outbreak has caused numerous questions to be asked in regards to the current state of testing and performer health and safety as well as the mandatory use of condoms now required by state law and Los Angeles city ordinance. Without doubt this issue will continue to be debated, lines will be drawn and sides will be taken. Let us not forget those in the middle of the fire, the performers who risk their health every time they step on set to perform.

Knowledge is power. If you believe I am mistaken in the way medical history will be handled by the APHSS database I invite you to post a comment. Any inaccuracies will be corrected.

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Syphilis & You – Part 2

On August 27, 2012, in Legal, by adultbizlaw

(Note: This article may be considered basic information for some in the industry) I suspect that this work stoppage may continue for more than the 10 days then most people are expecting. If the United States’ outbreak is anything like the outbreak in Europe, the industry might have to close for another 60-90 days. Also, some performers that have refused the penicillin shot will certainly have to wait 90 days to resume work. Most people I have talked to are in a relative panic already do to the downturn. How can talent and producers survive an extended period of not producing content ?

New business models will have to be explored and boundaries might have to be expanded for both producers and performers. I have numerous clients in the fetish side of the market, however, many hardcore sex performers and producers rarely try out these other avenues of revenues. Clips4Sale.com ( http://clips4sale.com/do/list ) is one site that can be easily mined for revenue, even with existing content including boy-girl. They have more categories of different types of fetishes then I can possibly cover many of which do not require any type of sexual interaction between performers. There are other downloadable clips sites other then Clips4Sale as well. I have known producers and models that have earned several thousand dollars a month from a successful store on Clips4Sale.

If you are “sitting” on scenes, now would be the time to edit those and start making money from that content. As a performer or producer you can easily have a store up and running in as little as a day. Promoting that content on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites would naturally drive traffic to your store.

Now is also an excellent time to learn and understand affiliate marketing in porn. As a performer you probably have appeared in dozens of scenes. It is time that you earn affiliate referral income from those scenes. Most large pornsites, including Manwin, BangBros and Naughty America will let you sign up and promote your own scenes. Once you sign up as an affiliate you will be provided a link code. You can use that link code on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media sites to push traffic to your scenes. If one of those people that click on your link signs up for the website you are promoting you will receive a cut of the membership fee. You can usually choose a larger one time payment or up to 50% of the total membership price paid for each month the person you referred remains a member. Most choose the one time payment since it is a larger amount and many people unsubscribe from a pornsite within the first 30 days and few actually rebill and continue their membership.

Another way to harness the power of your fan base is to link your Twitter page to an Amazon Wish List. I am not really sure why expensive gifts are necessary during a work stoppage however one producer suggested that performers should ask their fans to buy them Target or Ralph’s gift cards in order to buy food and basically necessities. (Note: Personally I do not like the idea of Amazon Wish Lists but I would be remiss not to mention them in this article.)

If you are a performer you may also want to finally consider starting your own membership website. However, that is a long range project that can be expensive to begin so it might not be within everyone’s budget right now. However, those performer’s and content producers that do have their own websites will have a much easier time during a period of work stoppage.

As a female, it is much easier to survive a lengthy work stoppage then male talent or even a small producer. For women, there are numerous opportunities to earn income without having to perform in a sex scene with a partner. The obvious is that a female performer can still shoot solo scenes. As discussed earlier this might also be a good time to explore possibilities as a fetish performer. Many fetish shoots do not require sex or even nudity. Not every fetish producer is Kink.com. Some fetish producers will shoot foot, leg, smoking or even small penis humiliation videos.

Another possible source of income for female (and male) talent is webcamming. If you aren’t webcamming yet I strongly suggest that you try it. Sites such as Streamate.com, ImLive.com, Naked.com and MyFreeCams.com seem to be the most popular now but there are dozens of others. Some webcam models can earn thousands per week on webcam. Even earning a few hundred a day should keep the rent and utilities paid each month if this shut down extends beyond 10 days. You will need an Internet connection, a computer with a webcam and a room where you can webcam and not be disturbed during the show. You can literally sign up in the morning and be approved by that night and start earning money. You might want to sign up for several sites and log in to different ones to test the traffic and earning opportunities. Again Twitter can be a way to announce your shows and to drive traffic to your camshows.

Of course there is the old pornstar standby – dancing at a strip club. Depending on where you live there might even be one close to your house. As a performer/pornstar it might be easy to get hired. You would be a natural “draw” for the club since they might not have any other performers/pornstars dancing there already. You can usually complete all the necessary paperwork within a few hours and be on stage as quickly as the same night. Las Vegas is always a favorite destination of most pornstars to dance. There is usually more money to be earned in Las Vegas as a dancer then almost every other city. Even in Los Angeles, it is often better to travel to Las Vegas to dance then try to dance in a local club. However, in Las Vegas your expenses including stage fees will be higher especially if you also have to pay to get there and for a place to stay once you do. However, with football season returning and summer ending Las Vegas should get busy again once the seminar and conference season starts in late September. Again, using Twitter and Facebook may draw fans to your performances.

For male performers it is a much different situation, unless of course you are comfortable with webcamming for other men (there might be some female clients but not likely) and/or doing fetish shoots. Usually, though in fetish shoots, the male talent tend to be submissive to the women when the scene does not involve sex. If male talent doesn’t mind being tied up and whipped, for example, there is still money to earned as a submissive model in fetish shoots.

If male talent has the body and can dance, he can try to join a male review. However, I suspect it is much more difficult for a man to break into that particular industry. There are less male shows, even in Las Vegas, then female only strip bars and the number of performances is also greatly reduced.

A male talent does have numerous contacts with female performers though, as do producers. It might be an opportune time to start a webcam studio for solo girls. If you have the equipment for production you then also have the equipment to set up a small webcam studio and begin broadcasting through one of the many camsites list above. How you set up paying talent is your choice. Most pay the female performers a percentage of what they earn during the show while others pay the female performers a flat rate or even hourly. Managing a webcam solo girl webcam studio may not be terribly exciting for male talent but it is a way to earn income during a work stoppage. Please also be aware of possible film permit laws in regards to operating a webcam studio though.

Whichever path you choose you can earn income during any period of work stoppage. It is time to stop depending solely on getting booked for shoots and take responsibility for generating your own income. Many performers spend hours on Twitter developing followers that far exceed even movie and television stars. It is time you harness that “star power” and generate your own income and be independent. If you can survive a work stoppage in the industry you can not only extend your career, you can become more “picky” about your scenes as well as take time off for your own personal reasons.

 

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Syphilis and You – Part I

On August 26, 2012, in Legal, by adultbizlaw

I usually try to remove my personal thoughts and prejudices from this blog and desire it to be more legal and factual in nature. However, in light of what is happening not only in the United States but also Europe in regards to syphilis I do not believe that I can. Too many of my friends, not just clients, are caught up in what could end up ruining their lives, businesses and careers.

I had a conversation two nights ago with a client and friend that perhaps I was too difficult on since I held a bright-line approach with him as to when he should return to performing as well as producing. It is always much easier to play quarterback from the sidelines then it is from the actual game. And I am not IN this actual game. I do not sacrifice my body on camera nor do I have to worry about my hired talent on set contracting syphilis or any STD for that matter. I am not a producer nor talent.

He was gracious in explaining the everyday situations he finds himself in a much diminished industry trying to do what he feels is the “right thing” while being able to pay his bills. I certainly cannot fault him for such. It is a difficult decision that producers and talent have to make as to when to resume shooting.

It appeared, at least to most, that the most turbulent part of the storm had blown over when the FSC ( http://www.freespeechcoalition.com ) had made the announcement that Manwin and several other producers would provide a prophylactic antibiotic shot to talent for free so they could return to work 10 days after receiving the injection. Hundreds of performers lined up to get the miracle drug called penicillin. Then two days later Rocco Siffredi dropped a bombshell interview on XBiz Magazine, wherein, he claimed that 89-100 performers through-out Europe now have syphilis and the number may be rising. ( http://www.xbiz.com/news/153188 ) He also went on to state that Europe is now under a 60 day moratorium and production has ceased. Cases have been reported in Budapest, Prague and St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg may have had the earliest reported cases starting in as early as May 2012. (Note: This information was provided by Fabian Thylmann of Manwin) His comments left most of the US industry wondering how and why this happened.

It appears for all intents and purposes that the European performers were also receiving antibiotics as well. Therefore, how could 16 cases explode into 100 cases in a short 2-3 weeks. I do not know if anyone has the answer to that particular question nor do we in the US know that there is a confirmed count of 100 cases in Europe. I have no reason to doubt Siffredi, but his comments cannot be viewed in a vacuum. He might be incorrect. However, he seemed to blame performers that also escort as a reason for the increase in cases, at least outside the industry. He also discussed that fact that some talent in Europe also altered their tests to allow them to continue to work as Mr. Marcus did here in Los Angeles. However, he did not seem to have an answer as to how the number of cases had risen in Europe so dramatically in a few short weeks.

In the United States, an accurate count of the number of positive cases remains a mystery. It could be 2, 5 or even as high as 9 as reported by the Los Angeles County Health Department (LA County Health receives all reports of STDs within the county as required by law). Which of those cases are from within the industry and how many are outside of it. The simple answer is that no one knows for certain at this point.

Unfortunately, many performers within the Los Angeles industry continue to work despite the moratorium. I even heard that one male talent has said that the syphilis outbreak has been a “goldmine” for him since he was one of the few male performers still willing to work. I have also heard reports of agents continuing to book talent for scenes and even charging them “kill fees” for refusing to perform. Which obviously means there are at least a handful of companies that are still producing. As my friend and client indicated, people have to eat and pay bills. Many performers and producers do not have a cash reserve that will allow them to survive even a 10 day stoppage no less the 60 days that is now affecting our European counterparts. Further, producers for some large internet websites and tubesites do not have enough content in reserve to allow them to stop producing. Websites must be continually updated for the members so they continue to rebill.

This has left me wondering whether the US, and more specifically the Los Angeles, market is about to experience a dramatic rise in the number of cases or has this outbreak been contained by the prophylactic antibiotic shot provided to some performers for free. Some performers have opted not to take the shot and would rather wait 90 days for three clean syphilis tests to continue working. Either way, we are, without question, in a wait and see period. The latency for a positive finding on a syphilis test can indeed be as long as 90 days though it usually shows up on a test within 20-30 days. I am unaware of any tests that can show whether a performer is positive or negative for syphilis in as little as 10 days. (Note: Fabian Thylmann of Manwin provided that there is no test that can accurately detect syphilis at the 10 day mark however it is his opinion that if treated and caught early a performer should be allowed to return to work.)

So where does that leave the US talent pool as well as the producers ? At this point, in my opinion, lost and confused. I have received numerous calls in regards to when production should resume. No one seems to have a clear answer to this question since the answer would depend on your ability to handle risk. Obviously, the sooner you return to production the higher risk you might have of contracting and spreading syphilis. The longer you wait the more the risk diminishes – or does it ? Perhaps not, if some talent and producers continued to work during the moratorium. What it really comes down to is how many first generation cases did we start with and how many second generation cases were there, as well as how many of those cases were cured with the antibiotic shot. I do not think we will ever know since prior to giving the antibiotic shot, the FSC and APHSS did not specifically test the performer base for syphilis, they merely injected them. However numerous performers did in fact test prior to receiving the injection. Therefore, the industry may never know how exactly far this disease had spread. We, like the Europeans may have had 75+ cases. We may have none now thanks to the shot. We may still have several cases floating around the industry. We do not know. However, we will soon find out though.

The real question is what else can a performer and or producer do in the interim to pay the bills and survive a 10 day or longer shut down of production. That will be discussed in my next installment – Part II.

 

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Who Should Pay for Performer Testing ?

On August 8, 2012, in Legal, by adultbizlaw

On July 24, 2012, Manwin the owner of membership websites known as Brazzers and Mofos and tubesites such as YouPorn, PornHub, and Tube8 made an announcement that they would donate $50,000.00 per month to create a “Performer Subsidy Fund” to reimburse performers for the cost of testing in the adult industry (See story here).

This fund would be administered by the Free Speech Coalition through their APHSS program. Basically, Manwin stated that they would reimburse all performers the costs of their tests within a given month up to $50,000.00, whether those tests were for Manwin productions or not. Manwin also called for other production companies to join with them in their generosity and also donate to the fund. They further donated a total of $35,000.00 to FSC/APHSS to administer the fund. However, they did place a time limit on the program indicating that the program would only run through the end of 2012. At which point it would be re-evaluated to determine if it would be continued into 2013.

Many people within the industry pointed out that this was a very generous, albeit suspicious offer from Manwin. There is a general opinion within the industry that Manwin, through their tubesites, was a direct contributor to the economic downfall of porn production. Why now would they voluntarily come forward and support performers to reimburse testing costs ? Some people even opined that they believed this was Manwin’s attempt to take over medical testing procedures in the industry.

However I think the answer can be found in California Labor Code section 222.5 which reads in relevant part;

“No person shall withhold or deduct from the compensation of any employee, or require any prospective employee or applicant for employment to pay, any fee for, or cost of, any pre-employment medical or physical examination taken as a condition of employment, nor shall any person withhold or deduct from the compensation of any employee, or require any employee to pay any fee for, or costs of, medical or physical examinations required by any law or regulation of federal, state or local governments or agencies thereof.”

In short, employees in California cannot be made to pay for pre-employment medical testing, which is exactly what the STD testing is within the adult content production business – a pre-employment test. Without a clean test no production company will or should hire a performer to perform in an adult production.

I realize that many performers in adult do not and refuse to consider themselves employees. Rather they wish, for whatever reason, to be called independent contractors. I can assure anyone reading this article that performers, for purposes of worker safety laws, are indeed employees and not independent contractors. Perhaps for tax purposes they may be independent contractors. It is possible to be an employee for worker safety laws but yet be an independent contractor for tax purposes.

Further, on January 1, 2012 additional laws went into effect in California making the “willfull misclassification” of employees as independent contractors even more dangerous for employers. Labor Code Section 226.8 imposes significant penalties ranging from a minimum of $5,000 to $25,000 for “each violation.” The civil penalties for one misclassified individual could be tens of thousands of dollars depending on the interpretation of “each violation” and the penalty imposed. Obviously, if Manwin does not take remedial steps to comply with California law in regards to the classification of employees they may face significant penalties as well as potential lawsuits under California’s Private Attorney General Act, which allows individuals to file lawsuits to enforce California law.

It is this author’s opinion that Manwin is starting to realize that the performers are indeed employees and are taking steps to comply with California law. Obviously, they are trying to set a precedent with the reimbursement of testing costs, however they still fall short of actual compliance with Labor Code section 222.5. Since the “Performer Subsidy Fund” requires a performer to sign up for the program instead of Manwin paying for the pre-employment testing outright.

None-the-less, Manwin is taking a step in the right direction when it comes to the treatment of performers, however, it is only a half step. At some point all production companies will have to address not only peformers’ testing costs but also the issue of workers’ compensation for on-set injuries.

If you would like to read more on the issue of workers’ compensation and porn production here is a two part interview I did for XBiz Magazine in 2007 … Part I and Part II

In future posts I will be covering the issue of workers’ compensation insurance and its application to porn production sets further.

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