Roles of Trade Associations Discussed at FSC Summit

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - An organized trade association could help the adult entertainment industry as a whole by fighting for the issues its members deem important, by tackling litigation on a broader level and by taking the brunt of bad publicity.

That was the message shared by members of various trade associations in other areas of the entertainment world during Tuesday's "How to Survive and Thrive in the Digital Environment" summit, presented by the Free Speech Coalition.

Panelists on "The Role of the Trade Association: A Solid Investment" were Steven B. Fabrizio, a partner in the Jenner & Block law firm; Russell J. Frackman, a partner in the Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp law firm; Dean C. Garfield, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of the Motion Picture Association of America; Michael J. Huppe, general counsel for SoundExchange Inc.; and Jennifer L. Pariser, senior vice president and associate general counsel of litigation and anti-piracy for Sony Music Entertainment. Diane Duke, executive director of the FSC served as moderator.

Pariser noted that one of the strengths of any trade association is that it belongs to and can only serve its members.

"It can be a very powerful tool if you use it properly," she said.

Using it properly, as defined by the panelists, is having a trade association allow members of the same industry who share similar concerns to band together on pressing issues: in the case of the entertainment world, a big issue is piracy, they said.

Huppe noted that a good trade organization also can "serve as a flak jacket" when an industry receives bad press.

Pariser said she heard comments throughout the day from adult industry veterans that a trade organization similar to the MPAA or the Recording Industry Association of America could never work because "there are too many companies with too many disparate concerns and too many maverick-like personalities." But she doesn't buy that, she said.

"You all have common enemies in pirates," she said. "These are just cockroaches that need to be stamped out. Might as well do it together."