Section 2257 Background
Federal District Court Judge Michael M. Baylson issued a ruling today in connection with a case challenging certain recent changes to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 2257 (“Section 2257”). By way of background, Section 2257 sets forth the requirements for age verification, record keeping and public reporting of information relating to persons appearing in sexually explicit depictions such as photographs, films, videos and other graphic media. The status of Section 2257 is of the utmost importance to the adult industry, as well as the online dating industry (where explicit images and other depictions are sometimes permitted).
In particular, Judge Baylson ruled that unannounced, warrantless inspections of private homes for Section 2257 compliance purposes were unconstitutional. One of the plaintiffs in the underlying action, the Free Speech Coalition, also took note of Judge Baylson’s Fourth Amendment analysis:
We are pleased by much of his Fourth Amendment analysis, where he acknowledges the structural incompatibility of the statute and regulations with Americans’ rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
While many issues remain to be decided, the plaintiffs are prepared to appeal any negative rulings. Please note that Judge Baylson’s prior decision was reversed by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The progress of this case will be worth keeping an eye on for those that work in the adult industry, the online dating industry and those interested in free speech law in general.