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April 02, 2016

FSC Weighs In on Day 3 of The Phoenix Forum

TEMPE, Ariz.—Eric Paul Leue made the most of his platform at The Phoenix Forum, summarizing the direction of the Free Speech Coalition in no uncertain terms.    “As an industry I want us to play offense, not defense,” Leue said Saturday during a seminar titled “2016: Make or Break of the Adult Industry” at the Tempe Mission Palms. Wearing a white shirt and black tie on a warm afternoon in the desert, the new FSC executive director gave an overview of several pressing matters facing the adult industry as the three-day conference neared its conclusion. “We want to be directing the wave rather than being crushed by it,” added Leue, who took the reins of the FSC on Feb. 1.   He was joined on the panel by attorneys Karen Tynan and Corey Silverstein, who along with Leue conveyed their passion about helping the adult industry overcome its ongoing challenges through diligent activism. Among those challenges are various health policy issues, data privacy concerns and censorship battles.  Leue noted that FSC recently joined the National Coalition Against Censorship and is now one of 56 organizations representing the artistic, educational, religious and labor communities that all share the same interest of protecting First Amendment rights. The former director of sexual health and advocacy for Kink.com stepped into the job previously held by Diane Duke on Feb. 1, but he was far from a newbie on the lobbying scene. Leue had been a fixture at Cal-OSHA hearings, legislative events, rallies and producer meetings during the past two years, working closely with Duke, whom he lauded for her service.  The Detroit-based Silverstein noted that FSC, the non-profit industry trade group in its 25th year, has “withstood the test of time.” He urged audience members and everyone in the industry to become members of the FSC—annual dues are tax deductible as a “business expense”—and to get involved. Silverstein called Tynan “an employment law warrior” who does a lot of pro bono work for FSC in the areas of regulatory compliance. She estimated 60-70 percent of her work is adult-oriented, while she also has clients in the construction and winery industries.   The panel brought up the importance of preparing for potential visits from Cal-OSHA inspectors looking for areas of non-compliance. “It’s a bad idea to ignore Cal-OSHA. It’s a bad idea to give Cal-OSHA the finger,” Tynan said, suggesting producers retain an attorney and keep a letter from that attorney easily accessible should a visit ever come about. “Be prepared. Be nice…” “If you get a call from Cal-OSHA let us know,” Leue added. “Let us help. Let us guide you through the process.” On Feb. 18, Leue led an adult industry contingent to Oakland, Calif., where the state’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board voted against proposed new rules for adult film production. The proposed regulation known as § 5193.1 would have mandated condom use in sex scenes as well as barrier protection such as goggles and dental dams to protect against potential infection, which could have been devastating to the future of adult productions in California. The vote marked a huge victory for adult in a six-year fight, but doesn’t mean it will never come up again. Tynan likened the breakthrough to “kicking the can down the road.” Meanwhile, Silverstein pointed to the “privacy policies” on websites being a target for the Federal Trade Commission. “If you misrepresent things in your privacy policies they can be criminal offenses,” Silverstein said. The panel also discussed FSC’s announcement Friday that it is forming several industry sector-specific committees to monitor, address and recommend action on multiple issues, including retail zoning laws, lubricant manufacture, piracy, counterfeit products, and adult film regulation.  The day started with a presentation by Joey Gabra, the managing director of Affil4you, and the CEO Laurent Baquiast, about their new optimization tool, Khepri.  “We decided some time ago that we needed a better way to optimize, a better way to A/B test and we took it upon ourself to get out there to see what options we had,” Gabra explained. “We needed something that was a bit more state-of-the-art in terms of algorithms and used with tools that are on the market today, those algorithms were not state-of-the-art.  “We consider ourselves more of a performance network and that relies on so many different variables of performance that were beyond the capabilities of the majority of the programs and tools that are out there today. So with Khepri, we fixed it.” Designed by Baquiast to help companies “make better decisions with data,” Khepri originally was meant for in-house use but the company decided to share it with the world. Gabra said he’d even arrange for companies to try out Khepri at no charge. “It can apply to every single company here, every business. We encourage everyone to try it, challenge it,” Gabra said.  But the last day was mostly about leisure and social activities, such as Beer Pong by the Pool and a Wet Underwear Contest hosted by Flirt4Free and Mr. Skin/Mr. Man; the return of JuicyDodgeBall, which featured all-girl teams repping JuicyAds and Affil4you squaring off in a friendly game that involved public nudity; and the closing party, "Casino Secrets," presented by ImLive and CCBill.  For additional coverage of TPF, click here.

 
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