New 2257-Related Bill Could Spell Big Trouble for Industry

Matt O'Conner
WASHINGTON — Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., this week introduced a bill before Congress that would strengthen the recently amended 2257 record-keeping requirements and heap even more restrictive provisions on the adult entertainment industry.

The bill authorizes forfeiture of assets related to both child pornography and obscenity cases, expands administrative subpoena power in obscenity cases and broadly prohibits the production, transport, distribution and sale of obscene materials.

One area of potential impact is Section 3 of the bill, titled “Strengthening Section 2257 to Ensure that Children Are Not Exploited in the Production of Pornography.”

Language in that section extends enforcement of 2257 to “mere distribution or any other activity that does not involve hiring, contracting for managing or otherwise arranging for the participation of the performers depicted” in pornographic materials. In other words, 2257 would apply to retail stores that previously were exempt from the law.

Pence is linking the bill as an amendment to the Child Safety Act of 2005 to speed its passage and avoid a lengthy committee process.

The bill, said Pence, is designed to “crack down on child pornographers, specifically so-called ‘home pornographers.’”

“We specifically, in my bill, close a loophole that exists in federal law today that allows pornographers who produce child pornography at home with digital cameras, Polaroid cameras, or video cameras, [or who download child pornography] on their home computers, to actually escape prosecution,” Pence said.

Pence, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and a rising star in the Republican party, is no stranger to the anti-adult agenda. In May, XBiz reported that Pence organized a “summit” of Right Wing politicians and lobbyists to discuss strategies for forcibly migrating all sites containing sexually explicit material to a .porn top-level domain.

Conservative groups have hailed the legislation.

“It tightens up the record-keeping requirements of it for sure, and it broadens the kind of material that record-keeping requirements are applied to,” said Benjamin Bull of the Alliance Defense Fund.

Daniel Weiss of Focus on the Family Action added that the bill will give the Justice Department a large hammer to wield against the industry.

“Any one of [the bill’s provisions] may not have immediate large impact, but when you take them together, you’re seeing a significant strengthening of obscenity and child pornography laws,” Weiss said. “I think it’s going to pass Congress, I think the President will sign it into law, and I think it will immediately be challenged in the courts.”