Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Online Anti-(Child) Pornography Rules to Take Effect

Next Thursday Title 18, Section 2257 of the U.S. Code created under the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act will take effect. That is, unless the Free Speech Coalition, a trade organisation of the adult entertainment industry, is heard in its complaint and motion seeking a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining enforcement of the Title 18, Section 2257.

The section in question sets out rules for the registration of the identity and age of performers in adult (read porn) magazines and movies, which should be handed over to federal inspectors on demand. Not jus producers of the content are covered, but also so-called "secondary producers" like websites that distribute it. While aiming to battle child porn, the regulation is said to be part of a politically motivated crack down on porn in general. As an anonymous technology provider said in this August 2004 Wired article:
"Unlike enforcement of obscenity laws, which require vetting of community standards, this is 'yes or no, do you have the documents?' for webmasters," said one technology provider close to the matter who requested anonymity. "This is a much more efficient way to wipe out online porn, a goal Ashcroft has already stated."
Ashcroft has now been replaced by Gonzales as Attorney General, but the goal stays the same. As do the concerns and emotions. Says Will Doherty of the Online Policy Group:
"Unilaterally changing interpretation of the law to require that every Web site owner check and record IDs from all those who appear in explicit images is an outrageous attempt by a repressive administration to effectively halt the publication and exchange of many images of adults -- including those of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons -- engaged in consensual explicit activity."
Both the scope of the proposed rules and the likeliness of an anti-pornography agenda using such an important and delicate subject as anti-child pornography regulation, is troubling. By pushing pornography in the realm of child-pornography the needed subtlety for an effective, constitutional enforcement gets lost in the crudeness of generalization.
- - -
See also Little-Known Anti-Pornography Statute Threatens Free Speech by Ernest Miller (Aug 26, 2004)


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home