Hey Sexters; Here’s a Very Good Reason to Care About Porn Laws

Most of us tend to think of pornographers, and porn law, as being about one very specific set of people: namely, those who make a living recording people fucking and selling or freely distributing the resulting photos and video.

Sexting

 But in the eyes of the law, it’s not quite that simple. As technology has made it easier for anyone to create and distribute dirty pictures and videos, it’s become harder to see where the pornographers end and the rest of us pervs begin—and that could mean that the aggressive laws designed to crack down on “evil” pornographers could potentially spill over into the lives of ordinary citizens.

Take, for instance, 18 U.S.C. § 2257 and § 2257A, the federal statutes that govern adult industry record keeping and reporting. Ostensibly designed to prevent the distribution of child porn, these regulations—which are much more about maintaining proper paperwork than they are about not exploiting minors—aren’t just for people who actually create porn. They also outline strict regulations for anyone who distributes sexual media to the masses, no matter how far that person is from the actual creation of the original media.

If you’ve ever tweeted a dirty photo, or posted a porn photo on Reddit, or curated your very own XXX Tumblr, or even published a celebrity’s sex tape on your news blog, you could potentially be considered a “secondary producer.” And as a secondary producer, you’re legally required to not just maintain extensive records, but have links to information about those records, formatted in a very specific way, on your site.

As the laws are written, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t create the images, or if you don’t even know their original source: if you’re publishing XXX pictures, not having your 2257 records publicly listed in exactly the right way could, technically, lead to jail time, even if everyone in the content you’ve distributed is above the age of eighteen. Yet that’s something few of the people bringing adult content to Tumblr actually seem to be aware of.

And as more porn regulation laws get proposed, the disconnect between legal regulations and actual life threatens to get even wider. This November, Californians will vote on Proposition 60, a ballot initiative that requires producers to provide condoms to their performers, and threatens severe consequences for producers who create condom-free content in California. But Proposition 60 isn’t just about powerful producers pressuring talent into unprotected sex: as the law is written, a California-based married couple that gets off on recording their sex life and uploading it to a site like MakeLoveNotPorn.tv could face dire consequences if they don’t use condoms.

And if this all seems like so much paranoia, consider that some states have slapped consensually sexting teens with child porn charges. The more digital and documented our sex lives become, the more “ordinary” sex begins to look like commercial porn–particularly as more and more of that porn for profit gets distributed online for free.

Read the full Motherboard article: http://goo.gl/8qUX0n