This California Law Could Change The Way You View Porn Forever

California’s San Fernando Valley is considered the porn capital of the world—but for how much longer?

This upcoming November, California residents will head to the polls to vote on Prop 60, a new measure sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation that seeks to increase regulation within the porn industry. The new law mandates that porn performers must wear condoms and that the companies producing the films pay for their employees’ work-related health costs, which include STD testing, vaccinations and health examinations. Companies are also required to obtain state health licenses and post notices regarding the mandatory condom requirement.

Supporters of Prop 60 claim the law is intended to protect performers, but industry insiders disagree. They argue that one specific section of the proposed law would make adult performers susceptible to lawsuits by California residents who are fundamentally anti-porn.

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tweet1The rise of the internet and the subsequent increase in pirated content has made it difficult for actors in adult films to make a living strictly through performance. Nowadays, most porn actors supplement their income with gigs as web-cam performers or by touring strip clubs as featured dancers. They also chip in behind-the-scenes: a large share of porn performers either serve as producers or have financial stakes in their movies. And therein lies the problem.

According to section 6720.6 of California’s Prop 60, any California resident who witnesses a violation of the proposed law would be able to file a complaint with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. And if the complaint was not pursued within 21 days, that same private citizen could theoretically go out and sue the producers of that film. And some of those producers would be the performers themselves.

Technically, adult films in California have required the use of condoms since 1992, but that law was rarely enforced. Back in 2012, the Los Angeles County passed Measure B, which has a similar condom requirement, and everything began to change. Measure B had an immediate effect on the industry, with many performers and productions electing to move to other areas of the state or country. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of film permits filed dropped from 500 to 24. There is a very real possibility that if Prop 60 were to pass, the entire porn industry, with all the jobs it creates and tax revenue it brings in, could potentially move elsewhere.

Which is not to say that Prop 60 is evil or even anti-sex work. The majority of the legislation is, in fact, very well-intended. Many pre-teens receive their first exposure to sex through porn (especially if they live in a state with abstinence-only education) and mandating condom usage in porn can help normalize sexual safeguards. But regulating condom usage can be tricky, especially for an industry that caters to niche sexual preferences. How exactly does one shoot a porn about barebacking (anal sex performed sans condom) when the condom is legally mandated? What options are there for performers with latex allergies or those who are highly susceptible to yeast infections?

And there’s still the issue of private citizens being given legal recourse to tie up performer/producers in potential lawsuits. The Republican Party has been very vocal about what they believe to be the “public health crisis” that is internet pornography. If the law were to pass with its current wording, it’s very possible that a California resident could exploit the measure at the expense of sex workers. And with their livelihoods threatened, it’s not surprising that the entire industry may just choose to pull out.

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