opinion

2 practical reasons 4 complying with 2257

FightThePatent
The subject of 2257 has been beaten around many times from how it doesn't really protect children, to the burdensomeness of compliance, etc, etc.

The fact is that 2257 is on the books as a law, but complying with 2257 just for that reason isn't enough for most webmasters. I would like to suggest two reasons why you should look at 2257 compliance from a different perspective.

The intent of 2257 is that if a child was found to be used in production, that distributors of that content would be able locate those images and videos and take them down. By being able to locate the bad content, you remove yourself from the cross hairs of possession and distribution of child porn.

The problem is that most websites don't track where their images came from. Their idea of 2257 compliance is creating a 2257.html page and either copying the content producer's address from some other website, or they did record which content producers they used.

This form of 2257 documentation does nothing to resolve the problem of locating and removing the bad content.

You would need to know where those images and videos were used on your website. This is what the "record keeping" part of the 2257 statue speaks towards.

There are many ways to keep track of digital content, from paper filing to databases. The simplest methods could include:

- embeding some kind of ID of the content producer in the filename or folder

- use an excel spreadsheet with the following fields:

filename
content producer
directory location

More advanced methods of inventory tracking is to use a CMS.

If you point at any image/video on your website and you can't identify which content producer that it came from, then you just failed one of the 2257 tests.

2257 became more convoluted when they tried to say all website operators should have the ID's and do all the cross referencing responsibilities that the primary producer is supposed to do. I won't be getting into those issues.

By keeping track of the porn inventory, you go along way in complying with the spirit of 2257.

In the event there is a child found and the news story breaks, every webmaster who licensed content from that content producer would need to be scrambling to remove those images and videos.

If those images and videos are still up, you are now in possession of child porn, and also a distributor of child porn.

Your surfers and members who think they are accessing legal content, are now in possession of child porn.

At that point, who knows what ramifications there might be from surfers and members suing paysites for endangering them with illegal content, let alone the federal prosecutions.

The other practical reason for going through the "record keeping" exercise is on the issue of copyright infringements.

There are content producers out there who are looking to find their images on websites, using spidering technology to let the computer do the sniffing.

One real possibility is a content producer thinks he has found your website to be a copyright infringer, where in reality you licensed the content, but didn't notify them of the website the content was on. Many content producers have it in their licensing agreement that you must identify what website the content is being used. Many will fail to update them.

When you get slapped with the copyright infringement charge, if you knew where the image in question came from you could then look it up in your records to show to the copyright infringement cop that you had licensed the images, but did not update their records for the website. At this point, its not copyright infringement, its more of a licensing issue that can easily be resolved by complying with the terms of the content license.

So many are just sticking their heads in the sand on 2257 because they disagree with the law. You can't do that as a business owner when there are civil and criminal ramifications to your (in)actions.

The bottom line is know where your images come from my doing some form of documentation that allows you to be able to take down known CP images as well as protect yourself from a false copyright infringement claim.

Fight the bookkeeping!

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