Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Only in Los Angeles?

Well, I don't know if he's the only one in Los Angeles, or even elsewhere, but if there's a porn industry I guess it stands to reason there's a legal practice that specialises in representing those in the adult industry. It's a kind of parallel example of another phenomenon I came across recently, Rule 34 ('if there is a social phenomenon, there will be a porn version of it'). Maybe Rule 34a states that 'if there is a social phenomenon there will be at least one lawyer who specialises in it'.

And there is, as I found out purely by accident via Twitter. aka Michael W Fattorosi of Woodland Hills, California.

Since I don't live in the US it's somewhat unlikely I'll ever need his services. He's represented a bunch of well-known production companies, performers and others including sex bloggers, and was most recently in the news for his opposition to the Low Angeles 'Measure B' in the election, which on the face of it simply required male adult film actors shooting in Los Angeles to wear condoms during on-screen vaginal or anal intercourse - but on closer reading required producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which would only be granted if the producers completed a training course on blood-borne pathogens, and apparently also (I haven't directly confirmed this myself) would have required every single piece of kit used in a BDSM scene to be disposed of after the shoot.

That's a bit extreme, but understandable, I thought to myself. And surely it's about protecting performers from HIV? But the more I dug at it, the more complex the arguments about HIV transmission became, the less obvious it was that it would do any good (especially since there is already a regime in place to prevent HIV) and the stranger the motivations behind the legislation seemed to be.

In any event, Measure B is now passed into law - with arguments raging about whether it passed only because most voters were uninformed about what the measure actually mandated and what its practical implications were. But since it only applies to unincorporated areas of Los Angeles county anyway (says Adultbizlaw) the likely impact is probably going to be tiny. A few adult businesses will probably relocate a mile or two down the road to where Measure B doesn't apply, and that will be that. If you want to read more about the measure yourself, there's an NBC report, and an initial assessment of the implications from Adultbizlaw itself.


  1. Interesting and thought provoking as always Fulani! The U.S. seems a crazy place -- great to visit, but I certainly wouldn't want to live there.

    The notion of legal representation seems particularly daft, when you consider that no-one has really decided what pornography is. I believe our own legislation defines porn as;"that will corrupt and deprave." That probably goes back to the Penguin books/Lady Chatterley trial -- somewhere in the 1960's I believe.

    Have we come up with anything since? You know this stuff better than I do. Have the Americans come up with anything like sophisticated thought when defining porn? Probably not.

  2. I don't think anyone's come up with anything 'sophisticated' in terms of defining pornography. And ironically, despite supporting feminism in general terms, current debates I've read from within the feminist movement about this, which are at least a step ahead of the wider debates, are nonetheless utterly divisive and short-sighted. I still think Angela Carter has a lot to offer us in terms of how we think about morality, pornography, sexual relations and identities, etc. because she was, in the 60s, 70s and 80s so far ahead of her time...

    The LA legislation related to 'adult' films and their actors if I remember rightly, which is probably a concept more easily applied in practice. Though these days I'm not even sure what constitutes a 'film'. Some of the stuff that Adultbizlaw seems to be readying itself to deal with is stuff like: if some porn actors/actresses in, say, New York did a live webcam session that was recorded, edited and subsequently released as a recording by an LA-based company using a server in some other part of the US, under what circumstances would the LA Measure B be held to apply to the company?