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Wall Street Journal
Law Vexes Porn Industry
<p>Erica E. Phillips</p>
November 9, 2012

LOS ANGELES - The adult-movie industry is weighing its next steps, including shifting more productions out of state, after Los Angeles County voters approved a law that requires pornographic actors to wear condoms while filming.

The law requires that adult-film productions obtain licenses from the county's health department and allows officials to conduct spot inspections of sets. Put forward by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the law is intended, in part, to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Opponents say the measure will be expensive to implement and could drive productions to other states. Some states have already begun wooing productions with incentives, said James Lee, a spokesman for No on Government Waste Committee, a coalition of adult-entertainment producers and other groups that opposed the measure.

"We're seriously going to take a look at those offers now," Mr. Lee said. He declined to name the states but said moving to another state would be more practical than going elsewhere in California.

Passage of the law follows a long fight by health-care interests after a performer infected three other actors with HIV in 2004. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation decided to appeal directly to voters after attempts to find a legislative sponsor in the state capital failed. The measure passed in Tuesday's general election with 56% of the vote.

Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, pointed to a recent study that found 28% of adult-industry performers in Los Angeles had tested positive for either gonorrhea or chlamydia or both over a four-month period.

Industry representatives say performers are tested every two or four weeks, depending on the studio, and that producers pay for half of the medical costs of testing.

The industry group said the measure could cost Los Angeles County, home to an estimated three-quarters of the heterosexual-porn industry, a combined $1 billion in economic activity and tax revenue and as many as 10,000 jobs, ranging from performers to caterers. Mr. Lee said the jobs estimate is based on the number of employees at production companies and contractors.

Not everyone in the industry was against the new law. On her website, porn actress Aurora Snow wrote last month, "Safety isn't sexy, condoms aren't sexy, but they are safe."

California's state occupational safety and health agency now conducts worksite inspections only in cases where it receives a complaint. Those regulations cover employees in the adult-film industry from workplace exposure to "bloodborne pathogens," such as HIV, but don't include some other sexually transmitted diseases.

Write to Erica E. Phillips at erica.phillips@dowjones.com



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