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HR 4472 Expands Congress’ War on the Adult Entertainment Industry
July 28, 2006 – The Free Speech Coalition notes with mixed emotion the passage into law of HR 4472 – the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. While 4472 certainly deserves credit for expanding much needed protections for minors against the scourge of sexual predators, it also contains the erroneously named “Title V – Child Pornography Prevention,” an unconstitutional, mean spirited and dangerous provision whose only purpose is to make criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Title V is particularly egregious because it equates the legitimate adult entertainment industry with child pornography, a common accusation that is blatantly false. In doing so, it attempts to justify extremely burdensome measures that are conspicuous in their over-inclusiveness and potential for abuse.
In particular, Title V of HR 4472 amends 18 USC § 2257 – the federal labeling and record keeping law – so that “secondary” producers now have the same onerous record-keeping burdens as primary producers, and adds mere nudity to the list of content that comes under the reach of 2257. These two provisions alone greatly expand the scope of potential 2257 violations to include content that is not sexually explicit, and in doing so notably increases the exposure of performers to the very real dangers of identity theft, stalking, and worse. These changes will likely result in a chilling affect upon the industry that could lead to many people closing their businesses and losing their livelihoods.
“It is especially galling to see the passage of a law whose only purpose is to use federal resources to harass law-abiding citizens,” said FSC Executive Director Michelle L. Freridge. “This is an industry that has proven time and again that it is opposed to child sexual abuse, it does not create or market depictions of child sexual abuse, and it has fought effectively and valiantly for years against child sexual abusers. Instead of targeting us, instead of labeling us with lies, we want to see Congress work with us to help solve the problem of child sexual abuse. We are committed to this fight, and remain optimistic that Congress will come to its senses regarding this very important issue.”