Tube Sites Likely Liable Under Revised 2257 Provisions, Attorney Says

Slav Kandyba
LOS ANGELES — The newly released 2257 revisions may make tube sites legally liable if the content they promote is being distributed for commercial gain.

“If it's user-generated material in which the site doesn’t control the content, the site nevertheless is a distributor,” noted adult industry attorney Gregory Piccionelli told XBIZ.

Separately, Piccionelli questioned how the small text on mobile-based adult sites would be affected by the new 2257 rules. With the revised legislation requiring, at the minimum, a hyperlink to a disclosure statement, it may create problems for businesses operating in the mobile market, Piccionelli said.

But BustBox.com founder Harvey Kaplan said his mobile-optimized site, BustBox.mobi, already contains a hyperlink at the bottom of each page that leads to a third page that contains the necessary label.

With respect to the user-generated content, Kaplan said he generally avoids it to prevent running afoul of the rules.

“There’s no way to track the user-generated content backwards to the original producer and get 2257 data from them,” Kaplan said.

Although 2257 revisions introduced this week are expected to become policy on the day President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in, whether they will be enforced — and how — is a matter of speculation across the industry.

Piccionelli said he expects very little obscenity prosecution resulting out of 2257 violations will occur under the Obama administration, because the officials in it are more likely to focus on child pornography and legislation for filtering content.

Who fills the top position at the Justice Department will determine the effect on the adult industry, according to Piccionelli. Obama’s choice to fill that slot, Eric Holder, “seemed comfortable with the idea of prosecuting obscenity” when he worked at the Justice Department toward the end of the Clinton administration.

“A lot of people in the blogosphere have opined that Holder may not be very friendly to the adult industry,” Piccionelli said. “I don’t think there’s any great cause for concern that Holder will prosecute obscenity cases.”