Dirty Sexy Policy brought together prominent scholars, attorneys, activists, regulators, and journalists to explore current challenges to media policy. Participants on three panels engaged in a lively discussion and debate through a moderated Q&A to explore content regulation of obscenity and indecency, structural regulation of broadband technologies, and the broader stakes that policy critics share.
Keynote: “Communications Evolution, Revolution, and the Role of the Academy” by Nicholas Johnson, former FCC Commissioner
Nicholas Johnson was born in Iowa and holds B.A. and law degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served as co-director of a public health public policy institute; network television host and NPR commentator; congressional candidate; author of books, articles and a nationally syndicated column, FCC Commissioner; school board member; corporate attorney; U.S. Maritime Administrator; consumer advocate and chair of the National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting; and law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black. He’s included in The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law as one of 700 “leading figures in the history of American law, from the colonial era to the present day.” He attended IBM’s Executives Computer Concepts Course in 1967, and was a Presidential Advisor, White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services, 1979. He began law teaching at UC Berkeley and now teaches cyberlaw at Iowa. You can learn more about Mr. Johnson from his website and blog.
Full text of Mr. Johnson’s talk is available here.
Keynote: “Media Policy Fetishism” by Des Freedman, Goldsmiths, University of London
Des Freedman is the author of The Politics of Media Policy, co-author (with James Curran and Natalie Fenton) of Misunderstanding the Internet and co-editor (with Daya Thussu) of Media and Terrorism: Global Perspectives. He is interested in the relationship between media and power together with the political and economic contexts of media policymaking and regulation. He is an editor of the Sage journal Global Media and Communication and was previously on the management committee of the EU COST program investigating “The Impact of the Internet on the Mass Media in Europe.” He was a participant in the “Spaces of the News” project in the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre, co-editor of the “Universities and Capitalism” section of openDemocracy, a member of the National Council of the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and is currently the chair of the Media Reform Coalition that campaigns for media accountability and democracy in the UK. He is writing a book on The Contradictions of Media Power for Bloomsbury.
Panel 1: Obscenity and Indecency
Constance Penley, Moderator
Constance Penley is Professor of Film and Media Studies and Founding Director and Co-Director Emeritus of the Carsey-Wolf Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and studied at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Her major areas of research interest are film history and theory, feminist theory, cultural studies, contemporary art, and science and technology studies. She is a founding editor of Camera Obscura: Feminism, Media, Cultural Studies and editor or co-editor of the influential collections Feminism and Film Theory, Male Trouble, Technoculture, The Visible Woman: Imaging Technologies, Science and Gender, and The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure (with Tristan Taormino, Mireille Miller-Young, and Celine Parreñas Shimizu). Her books include The Future of an Illusion: Film, Feminism, and Psychoanalysis, NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America, and the forthcoming Teaching Pornography. She is co-producer of Porn 101 with Katie Morgan for HBO Documentaries. Her collaborative art projects are “MELROSE SPACE: Primetime Art by the GALA Committee” and “Biospheria: An Environmental Opera,” on which she was co-librettist. Penley is a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Award and the Kenneth Burke Society Prize in Rhetorical Criticism.
Peter Alilunas conducts his primary research on the history of the adult film industry as it transitioned from celluloid to videotape in the late 1970s, which he examines from a variety of industrial, cultural, legal, and political perspectives. His monograph, Smutty Little Movies: The Creation and Regulation of Adult Video, 1976-1986, is forthcoming from the University of California Press. His other interests include copyright law, histories of media technology, media regulation, and industry studies. He is currently creating an online adult film history archive for scholars and historians.
Cynthia Chris researches media history, the regulation of “decency” in film and television, gender and sexuality, media authorship, and critical animal studies. She is the author of Watching Wildlife (University of Minnesota Press, 2006), and co-editor of Cable Visions: Television Beyond Broadcasting (New York University Press, 2007) and, with David Gerstner, Media Authorship (Routledge, 2013). Dr. Chris has published on contemporary television in Television and New Media, The Communication Review, and Feminist Media Studies; her “Boys Gone Wild: The Animal and the Abject” appears in Animals and the Human Imagination: A Companion to Animal Studies(Columbia University Press, 2012), and “Subjunctive Desires: Becoming Animal in Green Porno and Seduce Me” is forthcoming in Animals and the Moving Image (BFI, 2015).
Jeffrey J. Douglas
Jeffrey J. Douglas is a Santa Monica-based criminal defense lawyer, representing all segments of the adult entertainment industry since 1982. Douglas is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Free Speech Coalition, the trade association of the adult entertainment industry, and Chairman Emeritus of the First Amendment Lawyers Association. He is also a Director of the Board of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. A nationally recognized spokesperson for the adult entertainment industry, as well as an expert witness, Mr. Douglas appears regularly as a media commentator, and on invitation has testified before Congress. Douglas is the author of numerous articles on free speech issues. He is the owner of Jeffrey J. Douglas law office. He is a member of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, California Public Defenders Association and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Diane Duke was the Chief Executive Officer of the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), the trade association of the adult entertainment industry. She has a background of nearly 30 years of working with nonprofits, including the YMCA and the American Heart Association and Planned Parenthood. Her lists of community service efforts have included Fundraising Committee Chair and Board member for the Oregon Social Learning Center, United Way Women in Philanthropy Steering Committee Member, Eugene Human Rights Commissioner.
A “red diaper” baby, Mark Kernes was born in 1948 to Communist parents who successfully indoctrinated him in socialism, but he saw the light of libertarianism in his junior year as an English major at New York University in 1970. After college, he became a court reporter (public stenographer) and remained one for 19 years, gradually gaining the respect of his fellow reporters in the Philadelphia and Media, PA areas. He joined the ranks of U.S. political prisoners first in 1969 for possession of marijuana and again in 1984 for “willful failure to file tax returns,” the latter charge resulting in a three-month incarceration at Allenwood Federal Prison Camp, where Kernes gained a healthy disrespect for the power of government. His first review for Adult Video News (AVN) appeared in its fourth issue (May, 1983), and he joined the staff full time in 1991. His forté is legal news as it affects both the adult industry and any person or institution targeted by religio-reactionary groups. He essayed the starring role in The Secret Life of Herbert Dingle, a 1996 XXX video feature.
Daniel Linz received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He shares a joint appointment in the Department of Communication and the Law and Society program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research involves empirically testing assumptions made by the law and legal actors in the area of the First Amendment. His research spans the topics of media violence, pornography and sexual depictions and pretrial publicity, news and race.
Panel 2: The Politics of Infrastructure
Jennifer Holt, Moderator
Jennifer Holt specializes in the areas of media industry studies, policy and regulation, and digital media. Holt’s current research looks at digital distribution and policies related to cloud storage and digital media infrastructure. She has published articles in various journals and anthologies including Cinema Journal, Journal of Information Policy, Moving Data, and Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures. She is the co-editor of Media Industries: History, Theory, and Method (Blackwell, 2009); Connected Viewing (Routledge, 2014); and Distribution Revolution (UC Press, 2014). Holt is also author of Empires of Entertainment (Rutgers UP, 2011), which examines deregulation and media conglomeration from the Reagan era through the Comcast-NBC Universal merger. She is former Director of the Carsey-Wolf Center’s Media Industries Project and a founding member of the editorial collective for the Media Industries Journal.
Harold Feld is Senior Vice President of Public Knowledge. Before coming to Public Knowledge in 2009, Feld worked as Senior Vice President of Media Access Project, advocating for the public interest in media, telecommunications and technology policy for almost ten years. Prior to joining MAP, Feld was an associate at Covington & Burling, and clerked for the D.C. Court of Appeals. Feld also writes Tales of the Sausage Factory, a progressive blog on media and telecom policy (available here). In 2007, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin praised Feld and his blog for “[doing] a lot of great work helping people understand how FCC decisions affect people and communities on the ground.”
Zachary Katz is a Senior Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy. Mr. Katz most recently served as Chief of Staff of the Federal Communications Commission, overseeing its policymaking activities and operations on behalf of Chairman Julius Genachowski. He was previously Chief Counsel to the Chairman, leading a number of high-priority initiatives at the Commission including protecting Internet openness and creating the Connect America Fund. He joined the FCC in 2009 from the White House Counsel’s Office and previously practiced law at Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles. Mr. Katz served as a law clerk for Judge Kim Wardlaw of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after receiving his law degree from Yale, where he was Editor-in-Chief of The Yale Law Journal and a leader of the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization. Before law school he worked with technology companies at a strategy consulting and investment firm in Silicon Valley.
Danny Kimball is a PhD candidate of Media & Cultural Studies in the Communication Arts department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research concentrates on media and telecommunications policy, digital media technologies, and the cultural politics of the Internet. He is particularly interested in the regulation of emergent media infrastructures and its influence on the shape of the public sphere. His dissertation— Policies, Pipes, and Publics: The Politics of Net Neutrality Regulation and Open Internet Infrastructures— explores network neutrality as principle, policy, and practice in the US with a focus on its implications for access and participation online. His work has been published in the anthology Regulating the Web and presented at international academic conferences.
Becky Lenz is an Assistant Professor of Communication in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University in Montreal. Her research and teaching focus on social change expertise: the nature and types of ‘necessary knowledge’ that activists and public interest advocates acquire, mobilize, and pass on in order to influence policymaking about communication and information technology and infrastructure. Her work has been featured inTelecommunications Policy, Info, The Oxford Handbook of Civil Society, the Blackwell Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy, the Sage Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media, Communication, Culture & Critique, and FlowTV. She has also co-edited special issues of The Information Society Journal and the Canadian Journal of Communication as well as the book, Inequity in the Technopolis: Race, Class, Gender, and the Digital Divide in Austin. Becky is currently writing a book manuscript introducing a comparative framework for the study of policy advocacy labor and its impact.
Victor Pickard is an Assistant Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His research explores the intersections of U.S. and global media activism and politics, the history and political economy of media institutions, and the normative foundations of media policy. Before coming to ASC, he was an assistant professor in the media, culture, and communication department at New York University. Previously he worked on media policy in Washington, D.C. as a senior research fellow at the media reform organization Free Press and the public policy think tank the New America Foundation, where he continues to advise their Open Technology and Media Policy Initiatives. Pickard’s work has been published in numerous anthologies and scholarly journals. He co-edited Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights, and his book on 1940s media reform activism is being published next year with Cambridge University Press.
Sharon Strover Philip G. Warner Regents Professor in Communication and former Chair of the Radio-TV-Film Department at the University of Texas, teaches communications and telecommunications courses and directs the Telecommunications and Information Policy Institute. Some of her research projects examine local and statewide networks and broadband services; the relationship between economic outcomes and investments in digital media programs in higher education; social media; the digital divide; rural broadband deployment; e-government; telecommunications infrastructure deployment and economic development in rural regions; and market structure and policy issues for international audio-visual industries. She worked in Washington, D.C. at the Dept. of Agriculture on some of the stimulus-funded broadband programs, and currently directs a five-year research and education development program for Portugal around various topics related to digital media.
Panel 3: Content and Conduits
Karen Petruska, Moderator
Karen Petruska focuses her research on television, in particular upon the business models that drive the industry. Karen has published in Creative Industries, Spectator, Popular Communication, and The Velvet Light Trap. She co-edited a special issue of Convergence, contributed to four anthologies, and published online through In Media Res, Flow, Antenna, and MIP Research.
Bill Kirkpatrick teaches Media Studies in the Communication Department at Denison University in Ohio. He is currently working on a book about cultural approaches to media policy in everyday life. His publications include articles in Radio Journal, Journal of Popular Culture, the Journal of the Society for American Music, Critical Studies in Media Communication, and several anthologies. His ongoing research and teaching interests include media history and cultural policy; impacts of popular culture on American public life; theories, practices, and future of citizen-produced media; and media and disability.
Philip Napoli (Ph.D., Northwestern University) is Professor of Journalism & Media Studies in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. He is also a Media Policy Fellow with the New America Foundation. His books include: Audience Evolution: New Technologies and the Transformation of Media Audiences (Columbia University Press, 2011); Audience Economics: Media Institutions and the Audience Marketplace (Columbia University Press, 2003); and Foundations of Communications Policy: Principles and Process in the Regulation of Electronic Media (Hampton Press, 2001). He has provided formal and informal testimony on media policy issues to the U.S. Senate, the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the Congressional Research Service. He has been featured in media outlets such as the NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times, Consumer Reports, Billboard, and Politico.
Jaclyn Selby is a PhD candidate and Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School. She conducts research at the intersection of technology policy and strategic management with interest in the interplay between innovation, regulatory shock, and competitive dynamics in the high tech and media industries. She is writing a book, The Internet Middlemen, on Internet intermediary platforms. Her work has been published in Communications & Strategies, Foreign Policy Digest and Intellibridge Asia Weekly. Prior to PhD life, Jaclyn worked as a marketing and tech strategist and held a senior research position at Imaging Science and Information Systems.
Thomas Streeter is Chair of Sociology at the University of Vermont. The Net Effect: Romanticism, Capitalism, and the Internet (NYU Press, 2011) is a study of the role of culture in the social construction of internet technology. His award-winning Selling the Air, a study of the cultural underpinnings of the creation of the US broadcast industry and its regulatory apparatus, was published in 1996. He edited, with Zephyr Teachout, a volume about the use of the internet in Howard Dean’s run for President, called Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope, published in 2007. Streeter’s favorite quote about policy comes from Kjolseth: “When an issue is raised in society, the first (and often most momentous) move is the one which defines it as ‘policy’ or ‘politics,’ for once done, the rules of the game, including who can play, are set.”
Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine, a nationally syndicated columnist, and a drug policy blogger at Forbes. He is the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use (Tarcher/Penguin) and For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health (Free Press). Sullum’s weekly syndicated column, distributed by Creators Syndicate, is carried by newspapers across the country, including the New York Post, the Omaha World-Herald, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His work also has appeared in Cigar Aficionado, Seed, National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and many other publications. Sullum is a graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in economics and psychology.
Stephen Yagielowicz has been a working webmaster since 1994 with experience in both mainstream Internet marketing and amateur niche adult websites, he has a diverse background in photography, video production and communications. He has been part of XBIZ since its inception and actively serves as an advocate and analyst covering the evolving business, political and social factors affecting today’s adult entertainment industry. Yagielowicz is an experienced seminar moderator, panelist and speaker, participating in numerous sessions, at events ranging from multiple XBIZ Digital Media Conferences and XBIZ Summit events, to past Internext Expo, Cybernet Expo, Mobile Adult Congress, Adult Entertainment Virtual Convention, and other adult and mainstream events. As a veteran operator and observer of the creation and evolution of the adult Internet, Yagielowicz represents a blend of old-school webmastering, forward-looking innovation, and social responsibility.