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article imageLos Angeles law now requires porn actors wear condoms

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 5, 2012 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - A law that took effect in Los Angeles on Monday requires that porn movie actors use condoms. But city officials in Los Angeles, where companies producing 90 percent of U.S. porn films are based, are not yet clear how the new regulation will be enforced.
Digital Journal reports that Los Angeles city council voted 9-1 in favor of the mandatory condom ordinance last year. CBS reports Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed an ordinance in January requiring that porn movie actors in the city must use condoms in order for producers to get a permit.
AP reports that Ged Kenslea, spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, a group that lobbied for years for the new measure, said: "Today really is a milestone in the advance of health and safety for these adult filmmakers."
When the Los Angeles City Council first passed the ordinance in January, it allowed police, the city attorney and the porn industry six months to come up with recommendations of the best way to enforce the measure. It was proposed that health care professionals be present during shooting of porn films to enforce use of condoms. Kenslea said his organization is proposing that health care professionals, possibly from nursing agencies, make spot checks and film makers caught violating the regulations refused permits in the future.
But AP reports that Steve Hirsch, chief executive and co-founder of Vivid Entertainment Group, one of the biggest companies in the porn movie production industry, said Los Angeles authorities have not approached them on how the new measure will be enforced. He said: "We assumed we would be approached but we have not been."
The new law, according to AP, requires that film makers obtain a film permit and that they must use condom during film shoots outside a studio. The big companies that make movies on studio soundstages do not need to obtain permits and are exempt from the condom use requirement. If, however, they shoot a movie in a house in the neighbourhood, they would need a permit and condom use would be required.
Evidence that the new law on condom use is largely cosmetic and merely a sop to groups agitating for the law emerges. The big companies have a way around the requirement: Most of the film sets are in the west San Fernando Valley just outside LA county limits, which means they do not have to comply with the ordinance. Hirsch, for instance, explained that 90 percent of movies produced by his company are made in its studios or outside the city of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, so it is not expected that the new law would significantly affect the operations of his company, but he said all the same, that his company would comply and require actors use condoms on film shoots taking place outside a studio in Los Angeles.
But then, many industry leaders still consider the law an "annoyance," and are hoping that it would not be extended beyond Los Angeles. Hirsch, says: “It’s more of a nuisance than anything else."
AP reports that players in the industry say the law is not needed and that their audience find condom use in porn movies a turn off. They say that rather than impose a condom use regulation on the industry, their actors should be tested for STDs every 30 days. According to Hirsch and his colleagues in the porn movie production industry, their hasn't been a case of HIV directly linked to porn movie production since 2004.
Forbes spoke to a porn star, Stoya, who expressed her views on the condom regulation:
"Personally, outside of a long-term monogamous relationship where both partners have been tested, I’ve generally used condoms in my personal life. However, sex at home usually involves 7-15 minutes of penetration, whereas the penetrative sex part of a performance for an adult production usually requires 45-60 minutes to capture the necessary shots and angles. That extra half an hour or more can turn a mild irritation from the condom into a very painful experience, and cause abrasions that actually make transmission of an STI more likely in the event of condom failure.
"Also; It’s my body. I decide what goes in and on it."
Condom use advocates, however, say there have been nine reported cases involving porn actors since 2004. They say there is always the risk that an actor could acquire infection in his private life and then infect others on set.
But Forbes reports Hirsch has given warning, saying: "Ultimately, if the law is extended to make shooting porn in Los Angeles too difficult. We’ll look for other areas that are more welcoming. And we’ll take the thousands of jobs we create along with us. If we leave the state, those dollars and the tax dollars will go along with us.”
Hirsch said the porn industry, already under severe economic pressures, does not need unnecessary regulations adding to its problems. He said: “I call it the perfect storm. We’re dealing with free porn everywhere, there’s an immense amount of piracy, and a difficult economy that seems to be getting better but is still difficult.”
Los Angeles porn filmakers boast that their industry is a $8 billion-a-year industry. It is unlikely that the Los Angeles authorities would want to see the industry take its "tax dollars" elsewhere.
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