FSC Addresses Child Protection, 2257

Matt O'Conner
WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. — Increasingly, adult entertainment is being grouped with and blamed for illegal activities such as sex slavery, prostitution and child pornography, Joan Irvine, executive director of ASACP, told an audience of adult filmmakers, webmasters and attorneys Thursday night at Free Speech Coalition’s quarterly General Membership Meeting.

The danger, said Irvine, is that conservative lawmakers and special interest groups are using a false association with child pornography and other criminal behaviors to sway public sentiment against legitimate, legally protected adult entertainment.

“In Senate hearings… these terms get tossed around,” Irvine said. “We’re educating people about what [these terms] really mean. Adult entertainment is not child pornography.”

Irvine said the best way to show the government and the public that adult filmmakers and webmasters are not involved in child pornography is to lead the battle against it.

Toward that end, Irvine detailed the ASACP’s latest efforts to stamp out child porn, from conducting extensive forensic investigations of sites and affiliate programs to working with the FBI and international hotline agencies to issuing alerts warning members of sites found to contain illegal material.

ASACP receives 5,000 to 6,000 reports of suspected child pornography each month. The organization spiders each suspected site for about 100 terms to determine if the claim is valid.

Despite the challenges of keeping up with that kind of volume, Irvine said the greatest challenge isn’t catching purveyors of child pornography, but educating the public about the steps her organization is taking to protect children.

“We want the government to know what we’re doing; we want industry to know what we’re doing,” she said.

Irvine was followed by First Amendment attorney Clyde DeWitt, who discussed proposed changes to section 2257 of U.S. code, which would place stricter record-keeping requirements on adult companies.

DeWitt said he believes the new regulations, as they are currently written, will be struck down and pointed out some of the more questionable changes, including the fact that they would require Playboy to run disclaimers in 144-point type and force some sites to create ridiculously long front pages.

“You’re going to be scrolling down all your life to get to the bottom of the front page,” DeWitt said. Still, DeWitt noted that 2257 compliance is not to be taken lightly and that adult companies must be rigorous in verifying the ages of performers.

“Even if the person was 17 years and 11 months old, it’s a really long automatic sentence,” he said.

Michelle Freridge, executive director of the FSC, closed the meeting by reiterated that the FSC plans to file suit on behalf of its members to prevent prosecutions if and when the new 2257 regulations are issued, as reported by XBiz in December.