Suit Challenges `Erotic Music' Law

The American Civil Liberties Union and a group of music-industry people yesterday filed a lawsuit challenging Washington's "erotic music" law, which took effect this month.

"We plan to pursue this lawsuit to its end," said Barbara Dollarhide, president of the Washington Music Industry Coalition, a group of local musicians, record-label representatives and retailers formed to oppose the new law. "Several record stores pulled albums before the law went into effect. They denied our access to those albums."

Paul Lawrence, president of the ACLU and cooperating attorney in this case, said that the law, which prohibits the sale to minors of recordings deemed "erotic" by a judge, violates constitutional guarantees of free speech, due process and trial by jury.

The King County Superior Court suit seeks an injunction against HB 2554, which became law June 11, before any album can be found "erotic" under its authority. Lawrence did not have a date for a hearing, but said it would be "well before the end of the year."

Plaintiffs in the suit include the Recording Industry Association of America, several major and independent record manufacturers and retailers, and such local music stars as rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot, jazz singer Diane Schuur, Chris Novoselic of Nirvana and members of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains.