SAN FERNANDO—'Porno Dan' Leal walked out of San Fernando Superior Court a happy man this morning, as all charges relating to the webcam shoot that had taken place at his Chatsworth studio on May 10 were dropped.
"We negotiated with the city attorney's office," stated Leal's attorney Michael Fattorosi. "It was actually a very easy situation. I pointed out the fact that they had actually cited the wrong person, that Travis was an employee of Dan's, and that it would be unfair to prosecute him, and then I showed them the fact that we are permitted now, and asked them nicely to dismiss all charges against Travis, and they were reasonable and did that."
"I would like to tell you that it was an excellent piece of lawyering," he continued, "but what it came down to was the fact that Dan came into compliance with the law, and I pointed out to the city attorney's office that the police officers had cited the wrong individual—and that's really what it came down to, also, is the fact that he was a mere employee and not the owner of the studio, so that weighed heavily on the city attorney's mind, because they didn't want to prosecute someone who wasn't the decision-maker, the one who was responsible."
As Fattorosi had pointed out at the last two meetings of the "Working Group on the Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Ordinance," although most of the adult content in the United States is shot in the Los Angeles area, the actual producers of that content may not even reside in the United States, much less California or the Los Angeles area, so situations like Leal's could easily happen again.
And while FilmLA, the city agency tasked with overseeing the issuance of filming permits in the city, has taken the position that every webcam operator, including cam girls who webcast shows from their own homes, needs a shooting permit, the Leal case points out how expensive this can be, potentially pricing many would-be entrepreneurs out of the market.
"A permit costs $810," Fattorosi said. "It needs to be renewed every two weeks. And in order to get the permit, you need to get production insurance, which I think was $2500 for the year, and it's really based upon your production budgets. If you're Wicked or Vivid and you're doing hundred-thousand-dollar productions every month, it's going to be way more, so it really depends on what your production budgets are. $2500 is the minimum. And that's the problem with the law, is that it hasn't caught up with technology."
Apparently, permit renewals can be negotiated for a lower price, but the total expenditure can easily be beyond the budgets of many potential participants.
But all that aside, for now, Porno Dan is one happy dude.
"Immoral Productions is in complete compliance with all legal filming requirements in the city of Los Angeles, and we could not be happier," Leal told AVN. "We are permitted now; we are the first studio to have a permit for webcam and we are in complete compliance in using condoms per the city law. As we heard at the previous meeting, anybody that does webcam for profit, for commercial interests, which is anyone doing it for profit or gain, which is everyone that does webcam, does need that permit. At this time, they have not chosen to come after or prosecute anyone else who's doing it; we are the first ones, and we want to let everyone know that we have permits for webcam. That does not mean the city has decided to come after more people and basically make them be in compliance by getting all the permits."