THE SKIN GAME
Filmmaker has been on press the last week so that has meant that we’ve been slacking on the blog. But one of the things I’ve been meaning to post about is the government’s new “2257” regulations which, on the sheer basis of their audacity, should be provoking outrage in the independent world. Strangely, though, our indie sector has been quiet on this government intrusion on content creators, probably because it specifically targets adult entertainment.
Anyway, this Newsday editorial does a far better job than I could have explaining why you should care about these new regulations. Here’s an excerpt:
“Regardless of one’s feelings about adult entertainment, the situation is a disturbing illustration of a larger trend in the Bush administration: the use of regulatory powers to advance a conservative moral agenda.
Part of a revision to the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988, the new regulations were quietly published last year and target a seemingly mundane part of the porn business – record keeping. While huge corporations such as Time Warner make a hefty profit broadcasting adult entertainment, porn is largely produced by smaller entities, often operating without even an office.
Individuals and small companies producing adult entertainment will be devastated by new regulations requiring them to provide copies of government-issued IDs for performers retroactive to 1995. In addition, these small producers, perhaps operating out of a garage or second bedroom, will need to have a public office, open at least 20 hours a week, where their records are available for inspection….
By focusing on regulatory enforcement, the Department of Justice cannily avoids repressing adult entertainment on the basis of content, knowing that the First Amendment presents a challenge that probably cannot be overcome. But the effect – suppression of protected speech, whether or not it is deemed obscene – is achieved outside the normal checks and balances of American government.
The Bush administration has a track record of attempting to regulate morality behind a smoke screen of law enforcement, bureaucratic rules and scientific research. These efforts are often focused on unpopular issues, where the administration is fairly certain that public opinion will provide protection, regardless of the ethics involved. Few citizens in an increasingly conservative America will fight to protect the constitutional rights of pornographers.”