FSC Releases Report on ‘Final’ §2257 Regulations

Nikki Tang
CANOGA PARK, Calif. — The Free Speech Coalition has issued a report clarifying “final” §2257 regulations and what they mean for the adult industry.

The revisions, originally released by the Justice Department on Dec. 18, are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 20.

The FSC report goes into detail about the new regulations and mentions several related “major steps forward” for the adult entertainment industry.

The first bit of good news, said the report, is that the Justice Department has “shown sensitivity” to its previous regulations, which were written “so broadly that half a dozen people could qualify as a primary producer for a single production of a single image.”

The department has taken steps to correct the problem, the FSC said.

The idea of third-party record keepers, which “will very, very substantially reduce your compliance burdens,” according to the report, also has been adopted after facing rejection upon its original proposal by the FSC four-and-a-half years ago.

According to the report, third-party record keeping is highly beneficial because it “allows for the pooling of record-keeping costs, the elimination of costs connected with copying, transporting and verifying records, the avoidance of burdens associated with public disclosure of address and the consolidation of the costs associated with staffing tens or hundreds of thousands of record locations for at least 20 hours per week.”

Secondary producers will see an improvement, as well, since record-keeping obligations will not be enforced on content that dates prior to July 27, 2006.

“This change will save the industry millions of dollars and prevent the restriction, curtailment and in some cases, the outright suppression of decades of adult entertainment,” the report said.

The department also has taken a step forward in that it is no longer silent or inconsistent about the lines that need to be drawn when it comes to adult content. It now recognizes that “record-keeping obligations do not reach the production of every image, no matter how privately created or no matter where it was created,” according to the report.

Although when it comes to the new regulations, the FSC finds itself “in the unusual position of not having to flat-out oppose everything [the regulations] contain,” according to its report, it also notes that several questions regarding constitutional rights remain.

It cites the harsher treatment of the adult entertainment industry in comparison to the treatment of mainstream entertainment, and whether or not the government has the right under the First Amendment to force those in the industry to prove that their form of expression is protected under the First Amendment as examples of “fundamental constitutional questions” that are still unanswered.

The FSC now plans to work to eliminate or at least lessen the remaining confusions associated with the regulations, as well as argue such questions, which, according to its report, “will need to be argued to the end unless a more reasonable Congress and a more reasonable new administration realize the existing problems with §2257 and consider replacing it with legislation imposing much more reasonable and dramatically less far-reaching rules to help ensure what we all want: that no children are involved in our productions in any way.”