Monday, July 04, 2005

Chilling Effect of Anti-(Child) Pornography Rules

On June 24th title 18, Section 2257 of the U.S. Code, created under the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act, took effect. For a background on this section, that threatens to swap pornography and other (explicit) sexual depictions into the realm of child pornography, see this earlier post. Section 2257 will not be enforced until September 7th due to a stipulation between the US Department of Justice and the Free Speech Coalition, which challenges the regulations in court.

The Body Modification Ezine (BME) decided not to wait for the outcome of the challenge and moved all its servers "back into Canada which has far broader protection of speech and the press, as well as the required privacy protections". In this letter the publisher explains his motivation:

The specific laws in question are the "18 USC 2257" regulations, a set of record-keeping rules which the US government claims have been put in place to combat child porn. They stipulate that for all photos published, copies of ID and other information must be kept and that these must be made available to the US Department of Justice for at least twenty hours a week, without warning or warrant required for inspection of the records or our place of business (ie. our home).

This doesn't affect only photos or video directly produced by BME; this would also affect content produced by BME members - so every photo on BME and every photo on IAM could have these requirements applied to it. Any photo that is "sexual" in nature or of a "sadistic" or "masochistic" subject matter (even if the photo is blurred or behind a password wall) is affected - this would certainly include suspension, play piercing, nipple piercing, genital piercing, and of course everything in BME/HARD and BME/extreme.

Whatever one might think of the likelihood that BME' s site will be eyed by the US Department of Justice, the effect of the regulation is clear: its broad scope chills speech that should not be covered and is more than likely protected under the First Amedment. It shows how not just mainstream pornography can be a target, but speech that's on the periphery of what's socially accepted. Section 2257 may be another tool to cut off the edges of the market place of ideas and create a clean, air-conditioned shopping mall. Something the architects of this legislation may have intended all along.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote this letter to you asking for some help. We are against CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. Dozens of letters like this — responding to the subtle yet aggressive rise in our culture’s permissiveness with regard to pornography — have arrived from around the country. Some letters have brought me to tears; others have filled me with anger at the pornography industry and sorrow at our own human condition, so prone to sin, with the result that we unfortunately even tolerate this evil.

Jesus taught in the Temple as a young man, and in the following excerpted letters, you will hear the voices of our youth and young adults teaching us today. Their words — at once humbling, shocking, and hopeful — merit our attention.

We are looking forward for you to help us in our mission against CHILD PORNOGRAPHY. If you can still access the site its not yet blocked. Children are being forced to do XXX Pornography pictures and images. Most of these children and adult don’t have any legal contranct and documentation. Therefore they end up exploited. Check the following links below:
its your choice, check the site account and be a judged to yourself to blocked it.
Thanks and Godbless!

9/2/09 09:47  

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