Vice Looks at How Porn Laws, Prop 60 Affect Consumers

Aug 22, 2016 11:00 AM PST

LOS ANGELES — Generational and technological shifts are changing the face of adult entertainment, both for professionals, and for today’s average consumers, while culture and legalities are clashing over the boundaries of acceptable usage — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

In a recent article for Vice’s by Lux Alptraum, “Hey Sexters, Here’s a Very Good Reason to Care About Porn Laws,” the popular author highlighted how technology has made everyone into a potential pornographer — and subject to today’s complicated maze of pornography laws.

“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,” Alptraum wrote, “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.”

Alptraum cites as an easy example the problematic 18 U.S.C. § 2257 and § 2257A federal recordkeeping requirements that mandate specific details about how a depicted person’s age is recorded and verified at the time of production, how and where those records are kept, and much more — and which provide felony charges and the potential for substantial jail time for even minor infractions.

To many consumers that may seem like a lot of mumbo-jumbo that doesn’t apply to them, but if you have ever taken a sexy selfie, then under the law, you are considered a porn producer.

If you then sent (emailed, texted, posted to social media, etc.) that picture to a friend, then you are a porn distributor — and if you are underage, then that friend of yours is now guilty of felony child porn possession...

“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,’” Alptraum warns. “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.”

It is an example of the law’s inability to keep pace with technological advancements and cultural shifts.

Alptraum also cites new anti-porn regulations such as California’s Proposition 60 ballot initiative that requires visible condoms in porn, and allows any state resident to personally sue individual performers that do not use protective gear during sex — including married couples performing together on camera.

Other action areas include the recent takedown of veteran escort site, growing restrictions on the content that can be posted on mainstream social media sites, and more.

“The more digital and documented our sex lives become, the more ‘ordinary’ sex begins to look like commercial porn,” Alptraum notes. “Particularly as more and more of that porn for profit gets distributed online for free.”

As for what can be done about it, Alptraum offers some simple advice, and a call to action for California voters to say no to Prop 60 this November.

“Stop seeing pornographers as some discrete, pervy part of the population and recognize that, in many ways, the internet has made smut purveyors of us all,” Alptraum concludes. “And then start advocating for more sensible, enforceable adult industry regulations that take into consideration the realities of what porn and adult entertainment look like today.”

Alptraum’s full article can be read here.

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