Home > Features > 2257 Regulations Update • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


2257 Regulations Update

2257 Regulations Update

November 16, 2004
Text size: 
Get XBIZ News
XBIZ Research
Will virtual reality boost the paysite market?
Yes, it will soon
Yes, but in a few years
Out of 179 votes. Results based on votes submitted by members of XBIZ.net social network.

" The Regulators stand to learn that it is one thing to regulate commerce in tomatoes and quite another thing to regulate communication about social, moral, and sexual ideas.  "

In June, 2004 the US Department of Justice published a comprehensive proposal for the amendment of the regulations implementing Section 2257; These regulations paid special attention to the Adult Internet. The proposal was open for comments from the public until August 24, 2004 under the informal rulemaking procedure employed by Justice. Since then, we have heard nothing from any official source. The proposals remain proposals and are not the law. They may never become the law. We hope not.

All of this came about, we suspect, because of the obligation Congress imposed on the Attorney General to report back to Congress within one year about the history of inspections and enforcement under Section 2257. When John Ashcroft got around to brining in the report, a couple of months late, the brief document admitted that his department had never conducted a single inspection but noted five prosecutions around the country (in New York and Texas) for violation of Section 2257 which arose in other contexts, as for probable example, discovery of a violation during the course of the execution of a search warrant.

A poorly copied and partially illegible copy of the Report of the Attorney General was obtained from one of the wire services and is floating around. My office was retained by AVN to secure a wholly legible copy from DOJ under the Freedom of Information Act. I have had a steady stream of correspondence and phone calls with Justice about the two-page document, and at last report, two weeks ago, Justice was in the process of reviewing whether this public document, a report to Congress under the mandate of Congress, contained any sensitive material that could be exempted from disclosure.

The proposed regulations, we suspect, were written by folks who really don't have a clue as to the Draconian, impossible burden they impose upon adult erotic expression in the real world. The proposed provisions are costly, cumbersome, time-consuming, and almost wholly ineffective to achieve the articulated aim of the Statute. I suspect that all of this will come as a surprise to the regulators when they get around to reading the comments, that they will be disinclined to believe what they read in the comments. It may come as quite a surprise to the Regulators to learn the real world consequences of the provisions they have abstractly dreamed up in the corridors of the Justice Department: The Regulators stand to learn that it is one thing to regulate commerce in tomatoes and quite another thing to regulate communication about social, moral, and sexual ideas.

My office submitted comments to CEOS on behalf of several clients, comments which attacked the proposals on many grounds including the constitutionally impermissible tax they impose on sexual speech. What I've been able to learn from CEOS by phone is that it has no plans to publish any of the the public comments - which we have reason to believe violates the procedure laid down for such informal rulemaking in law, and that it had no ready access to even a ballpark estimate of how many comments have come in. Nor could an estimate be given as to when the final regulation will be published. It seems obvious that the new regulations, afflicted as they are with infirmities of a constitutional dimension, are on the back burner at DOJ. Meanwhile, several groups and law firms have openly expressed their intentions of filing lawsuits to enjoin enforcement of the regulations if and when they are published.

J. D. Obenberger will take part in the Webmaster Access Legal Seminar, Saturday, November 20 at 2:30 p.m., PST at the The Santa Monica Doubletree, 1707 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA, where legal issues including those surrounding the proposed amendments to 18 USC 2257 will be discussed.


Preventing Legal Problems Before They Start

Dentists typically recommend that a person’s teeth be cleaned every six months and that oral X-rays be taken at least once every year. Internists recommend that a person receive a physical examination... More »

Could Adult Content Be Banned?

Earlier this month, I met with the Free Speech Coalition’s board of directors for our annual review. Despite the headwinds our industry faces, politically and economically, we are, as an organization,... More »

Porn ‘Public Health Crisis’ Is False, Dangerous

We are witnessing the early stages of a moral panic, the likes of which we have not seen since the Reagan Administration. As I write this, there are 27 states in the process of passing mandatory porn... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Subscribe to XBIZ World magazine, the industry's leading e-commerce trade publication, delivering in-depth coverage of the online, mobile and ancillary digital markets.


XBIZ Retreat

May 30 - Jun 03
Miami, Florida

XBIZ Miami 2017

May 30 - Jun 02
Miami, Florida

XShow 18+ 2017

Jun 01 - Jun 03
Moscow, Russia

Cam Summit

Jun 02 - Jun 04
Lloret de Mar, Spain
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!