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Porn Industry Balks at Law Mandating Minimum Age for “Performers”

LifeSiteNews.com

By Terry Vanderheyden

WASHINGTON, February 14, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The US Department of Justice is in court to defend its mandate that internet pornography sites maintain records ensuring their “performers” comply with minimum age laws in the country. In order to fight the exploitation of children, women who appear in x-rated pictures or videos must be at least 18 years old in the US.

The Justice Department justified the reporting when they announced the new rules, saying that minors are “often forced to engage in sexually explicit conduct.” Web site operators are opposed to the measure, since many purveyors argue that they are simply re-sellers of material produced by other companies, and that the requirements impose an undue burden on them. The rules are retroactive to 1995; first-time violators face prison sentences of up to five years.

The regulations are a Congress-mandated update of the 1988 criminal code law mandating minimum age requirements for sexually-explicit materials. A pornography advocacy group, the Free Speech Coalition, has filed a lawsuit claiming the requirements violate the First Amendment.

Denver District Court Judge Walker D. Miller issued an injunction in December blocking the Justice Department from implementing the policy against producers who re-issue materials produced by other companies, but allowed the policy to proceed for primary pornography producers.

The Coalition has appealed the decision, set to be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

The 1988 law mandated that all producers of photographs and video maintain records ensuring that women meet the minimum age requirement. The new policy applies the law to digital and computer-generated images and video – a subsection of the pornography market that has grown “exponentially,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Judge Miller also threw out a Justice Department requirement that internet chat site operators store a log of all chats.

See Wall Street Journal coverage:
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB113979639540872097.html?mod=todays_free_feature

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