Ashcroft Wants to Tighten 2257 Rules

Rhett Pardon
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kat Sunlove of the Free Speech Coalition said her group probably won’t oppose proposed porn regulations that Attorney General John Ashcroft announced on Monday.

Ashcroft’s proposed rule for porn, which will be finalized after a public comment period, tightens the list of acceptable forms of identification for performers in sexually explicit videos, books, magazines and websites. It also requires that forms of identification be accessible to government agencies to ensure they are legitimate.

Sunlove, the executive director the Free Speech Coaltion, said the organization supports efforts to protect children from sexual abuse. And she maintained that underage actors are not used in adult entertainment.

"We don't need to," Sunlove said. "There are too many 18-year-olds that knock on the door on their birthday."

Ashcroft proposed tougher records inspections Monday for the porn industry to ensure that no minors are being used in sexually explicit videos, books, magazines and websites.

The industry, for the most part, observes Section 2257 of federal law, which requires keeping actors’ identifiable records.

Ashcroft’s proposed regulation is based on the Protect Act, which calls for stiffer federal penalties for crimes against children and gives prosecutors new tools to fight child pornography.

The Protect Act, signed into law last year, bumped up first offense sentencing to 15 to 30 years for child pornographers. It also established or expanded other child protective services, such as the Amber alert program.

"These changes will put teeth into our efforts to ensure that children are not being used as performers in the sexually explicit productions of the media," Ashcroft said. "There will be no excuses for anyone who takes part in abusing children for sexually explicit productions.”