Free Speech Endangered

Sexually explicit expression is under attack, warned a Dragon*Con Electronic Frontiers Forums (“EFF”) panel Friday night.  What can happen if you don’t copy records which prove the age of everyone baring all, etc., etc., in your webcam streaming video?  You can go to jail.  For a long time.  And this doesn’t involve passing go or collecting $200 in Monopoly bucks.

The panel included self-styled “webcam girls” and a professional dominatrix, as well as representatives from EFF and a news website:  According to panelists, free speech has been burdened by recently enacted Federal laws.  These laws require the producer and any secondary publisher of film and print materials which include sexual acts, cruelty/torture, or suggestive nudity to keep a record of each person appearing in their materials.  Actual government documents revealing real names and actual addresses must be made available for inspection by law enforcement officers for a minimum of 20 hours weekly.

The law also threatens the privacy and safety of anyone practicing sexual expression on the Internet.  A potential stalker can pose as a secondary publisher and legally request identifying records in order to comply with the new law.   This risk has chilled the owners of amateur webcam sites into dressing online, restricting what they depict, or closing down their sites.

If you think the new laws may apply to your mode of sexual expression, Attorney J. D. Obenberger in “Every Webmaster’s Primer on 2257 Compliance” (AVN Online, September, 2004) recommends that you get in touch with an attorney and retain him or her

Author of the article

Amy L. Herring (Louise Herring-Jones) writes speculative fiction, with a preference for historical fantasy and alternate mystery. Her stories, appearing in fourteen anthologies, include “The Poulterer’s Tale” in God Bless Us, Every One—Christmas Carols beyond Dickens (Voodoo Rumors Media, 2019). Amy is a NaNoWriMo co-municipal liaison. She also coordinates the Huntsville (Alabama) Literary Association’s writers’ group. Visit her online at