Justice Department Releases 2257 FAQs

Tod Hunter
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department and its Obscenity Prosecution Task Force has posted a list of frequently asked questions and answers pertaining to the most recent revisions for 18 U.S.C. § 2257 regulations, which were issued in December.

The 18 U.S.C. § 2257 regulations govern "name- and age-verification, record-keeping and labeling requirements on producers of visual depictions of actual human beings engaged in actual sexually explicit conduct," as the introduction to the FAQs puts it.

"This is a useful tool for people who have questions about some of the basic operations. It also is valuable as it binds the government to specific positions," said attorney Jeffrey Douglas, Free Speech Coalition board chair. "As always, if you are unsure about or have questions regarding 2257 compliance, make sure to contact an attorney familiar with 18 U.S.C. § 2257."

The Justice Department’s FAQs attempt to define terms including "lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area" and "simulated sexually explicit conduct." The FAQs also include information about which parts of a performer's ID can be redacted, whether records can be kept electronically and the appropriate dating of content.

Adult industry trade group the Free Speech Coalition has announced plans to challenge the revised 2257 regulations. In ongoing litigation against the Justice Department and the 2257 regulations, FSC has asserted that the regulations are burdensome for producers of sexually explicit content and a violation of content producers' First Amendment rights.

"FSC will continue to fight for adult entertainment producers, both primary and secondary, as we move forward in our suit against the federal government," FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. "In the meantime, we will do all we can to make sure that our members and the industry have the most up-to-date information so that they can do their best to comply with this onerous law."