I have a bad feeling about this.
My homage to my favorite films of all time (Star Wars Eps. I – VI) aside, I think the Title 18, Section 2257 laws will hold up in court. Despite the feeling by many adult webmasters that the law is oppressive, unconstitutional, and merely another ploy by the government to harass the adult industry.
If you dont know, the current statute Title 18 U.S.C. ?2257 – in a nutshell – requires that primary producers of pornographic material (those studios and production companies who actually hire the adult talent and film them, and also those entities who run affiliate programs and provide content for resale by porn webmasters) keep detailed and accurate records of all models depicted in an adult manner (read, either nudity or sexual activity is involved). These records should ascertain, most importantly but not solely, that the adult performer is indeed old enough to perform adult work. Up till now, like I said, the onus to retain those records rested only with primary producers.
Enter late June, 2005: this statute shall extend to secondary producers, as well. That is, it will soon become incumbent on all porn webmasters to keep such records.
Porn, by its very nature, is a visual medium. Its very difficult (as Ive found out time and time again) to promote the material without photographs, because words can only take you so far. In porn – as the advertising clich? goes – you sell the sizzle, not the steak. What Im trying to do is make a case for the necessity of graphic displays.
Where do I begin to nitpick at this law? We (and Im including myself in this group) as porn webmasters are expected to keep records on all models portrayed. Including the ones that weve never seen before and the ones with barely a body part contained in an image and/or video. The only way we can keep accurate records in such circumstances is if we obtain them directly from the manufacturer of said photos and videos. As much as primary producers need us to sell their wares, I dont think that theyre ready just yet to share those private adult performer files and make them public. Ive always maintained that porn studio and production execs are a rather secretive lot.
And to tell you the truth, I think I might be getting off easy (no pun intended, I assure you). I do not host web cams at my site. The reason I mention that is, get this: owner-operators of web cam sites are now required to record and retain, as a file, all live sessions in the spirit of keeping with the law. Were talking terabytes (and no, thats not the name of a new porn star) of information storage within the scope of one or two months for the proto-typical site. That web cam site is going to cost a small fortune in extra hosting quotas.
Now a lot of rational-minded legal folk think that theres no way that this new interpretation of the law will weather judiciary appeal.
That being said, my gripe with the law, is not the source of my uneasiness. The bad feeling stems from the fact that I dont expect this statute, as it pertains to the average webmaster, to be thrown out or even reasonably modified. Lately, there just seems to be a rash of adult-unfriendly (and Free Speech-assaulting, mind you) bills and decisions that have passed in state and local legislatures all around the country; decisions you wouldnt have expected to have gone the way that they eventually did:
1. The decision to uphold the ban on the sale of sextoys in the states of Alabama, Texas, and Georgia.
2. The passing of the watered-down-yet-still-onerous version of the original Missouri bill SB 32: a statute that makes it very difficult for porn shops and cabarets to operate within the law across the entire state.
3. The sudden closing of a legal loophole by a New York Appellate Division court; an act that will imminently and without warning shut down a ton of Big Apple adult businesses unless it is repealed.
It seems the Bush administration, with U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales prominently in the foreground, is truly waging a war on pornography. Lets hope that this war comes to a better resolution than the one in Iraq, so far (Im sorry, I couldnt resist. :-))