Federal judge upholds adult film condom law; but adds constraints to enforcement (full ruling PDF)

Los Angeles adult film performers may soon be required to use condoms for some film shoots.
Los Angeles adult film performers may soon be required to use condoms for some film shoots. peachy92/Flickr/Creative Commons

A federal judge has upheld a Los Angeles County law requiring performers in adult films to wear condoms on set on Friday - but added new hurdles before investigators can issue fines.

The "Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act," or Measure B, was approved by voters in November. It seeks to reduce the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases. 

A group of adult film producers and actors had called for an preliminary injunction and argued that the measure limited free speech.

"The exercise of 1st Amendment freedoms cannot be limited by referendum," the lawsuit said. The ordinance stands "as an unconstitutional prior restraint upon protected expression."

The judge agreed that the measure imposed a limit on speech, but found that the imperative to protect public health trumped the immediate risks to free speech demonstrated by the porn industry. The Associated Press reported: 

In the ruling, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson wrote that the AIDS Healthcare Foundation presented sufficient evidence of the health risks the measure seeks to reduce. He said the law seeks to alleviate those harmed in a direct and material way.

Industry magazine Adult Video News reported that the judge's ruling holds that film crews must use condoms in sex scenes, but makes it more difficult for investigators to levy fines or shut down productions. According to AVN: 

Fines and other sanctions can still be levied against producers, but only after judicial review, which means that enforcing the law will now be more complex and expensive for city and county officials because of this ruling.

In essence, investigators would need to obtain a search warrant before visiting a set and any fines would have to be reviewed by a court. Adult industry attorney Michael Fattorosi wrote on his blog that the ruling adds new hurdles for the county: 

[...] the County of Los Angeles will not be able to conduct warrantless searches of producers. And once a warrant is obtained, if a violation is found, a fine or criminal penalties could not be imposed without a judicial hearing.

The AP reported the decision was welcomed by the nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which helped sponsor the measure and defend it in court.

You can read the full ruling below. 

Vivid v Fielding Ruling

blog comments powered by Disqus