Friday, July 21, 2006

here comes the christiban

the christiban is at work again, attempting, through legislation, to decide what is right for you to view. now, they can't outright ban my work yet, but they are trying to make it extraordinarily difficult and dangerous.

that's right. dangerous.



here's how it works.

taking pictures of persons under the age of 18 years of age, engaged in sexually explicit conduct, is against the law. we call it "child pornography." it is a visual record of the sexual abuse of a child as it's happening. Production, possession, and distribution of child pornography are all against the law, and these laws are vigorously enforced.

as part of its supposed duty to protect children (ah, protect the children!) from being forced into rings of child pornography-producing monsters who will mercilessly exploit them until they're discarded at age 18, broken and useless forever, our congresscritters gave us, and king george the second (contrasted to president george the first) signed 18 U.S.C. 2257.

this law regulates record-keeping requirements that producers of sexually explicit materials must keep. this includes typical stuff like identity records, dates of birth, dates of production, that kind of thing.

as with many laws, 2257 is vague and incomplete. it was left to the 28 c.f.r. 75.

the newest version of the regulations, published in 2005, reinvigorated a part of the rule that was thrown out by the 10th circuit court of appeals in 1998: the "secondary producer" rule.

under the new rules, not only must the people who hire the actors keep identity records (along with insane cross-referencing, indexing, labeling, and record-keeping requirements), now those records must be given to "secondary producers." included in this definition is anybody who puts together web pages, does retail distribution, does photo editing, even masters dvds in preproduction, even if they don't have any role in camera work or hiring or selecting actors.

in the adult industry, lots of people handle material other than just the people who run the cameras. rights to content is frequently bought, sold, rebranded and rereleased. a long chain of people might handle an item long before cecily watches it.

under the new rules, copies of the identity papers and related records must be released to everyone in this chain. mind you, not just photos with birth dates. no, complete, unexpurgated identity documents, complete with information like real names and addresses.

aside from the tremendous paper chase that this presents, for no rational gain, it also raises the specter of both identity theft and stalking. now, if the stalking of an actor sounds crazy to you, don't forget that it's happened times before. the idea of a fan coming into contact with identity information on an adult actor and using it for some unpleasant deed is, sadly, not mere fantasy.

another problem with this regulation and record-keeping stuff, of course, is that it addresses a problem that does not exist. that is, legitimate producers of adult material do not engage minors as a matter of business policy already. the instances where under-age actors have appeared in otherwise legal adult products number fewer than 10 since the 1970s (the most famous of these being traci lords, and every one of them involved an actor who had fake identification (lords herself being the inspiration for 2257).

think about it for a second: why require mountains of record-keeping upon businesses that are a) already legal and b) not intending to do stuff that's not legal? after all, a) child pornography is already illegal, and b) child pornographers wouldn't keep records anyway! the mere existance of the records, regardless of requiring that they be distributed willy nilly to everyone who comes in contact with the product, suggests an effort to be legal.

there are other aspects that are insanely stupid.

the rules require that the custodian of records -- the person who actually has the records -- be available to have the records inspected at least 20 hours a week. the rules don't say which 20 hours, and the entity to whom you're supposed to disclose which 20 hours you'll be on hand for an inspection is a secret. likewise, the rules for how these inspections actually take place -- who does them, what their credentials might be, how they proceed -- is also a secret. nobody knows who these inspectors are, what credentials they might present, how they can be expected to behave. of course, refusing to permit an inspection is a felony, but if you don't know who is authorized to inspect and who is not, there's no way to know when someone shows up demanding to see your records if he's legitimate or if he's a stalker looking for information.

of course, the inspections themselves are problematic. essentially, the inspection idea is that an inspector will appear at your place of record-keeping and want to see your stuff. no warrant is required, and refusal, as i say, can get you a prison term. this means that a government officer may, upon demand, enter your place of business and go snooping through your records without a warrant. and record-keeping errors, in the complicated regime that is 2257, are also felonies.

now, generally, searches through business records of this type require a warrant. you know, that whole annoying fourth amendment crap that we apparently don't need to worry about anymore.

the list goes on and on and on with these regulations.

so we go through this again.

of course, the real point is to legislate us out of existence through expensive rule-making because they can't yet ban pornography directly.

your tax dollars, and the christiban at work. will no one save me from these lowborn wackos?

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