Media Record Keeping

In the 109th Congress, a proposed bill would have extended the age verification and record-keeping requirements used in the production of pornography to include models and performers in simulated sexual content. Working with sponsors of the bill and the Department of Justice, a broad coalition of media companies and associations worked to exempt mainstream film and television producers from record-keeping rules.

AAF Position
As written, the proposed legislation would have done far more harm than good. Because of the difficulty of defining simulated content, proposed changes could have cause many examples of currently acceptable practices, including advertisements, to be considered and treated as pornography. This effort is harmful to legitimate producers but will not help prevent child exploitation. The proposed changes might have placed the entire law into questionable constitutional stature, with challenges that could result in laws that prevent child exploitation being stricken.

Supporters of the bills say the intent is to prevent the sexual exploitation of children by targeting home pornographers. They contend the law is required in order to provide law enforcement with the necessary tools to fight child pornography, as well as to close legal loopholes. It is important to note that since age-verification requirements were first introduced in 1988, no law enforcement inquiry has ever sought to examine a distributor's files on model and actor ages.

H.R. 3726: Child Pornography Prevention Act of 2005. Introduced by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. This bill would have significantly expanded the types and categories of conduct that would trigger existing record-keeping rules to include simulated sexual conduct and would require age-verification disclosure of all models and performers who appear to be 25 years old or younger.

Most provisions of Pence's bill were merged into H.R. 4472: Children's Safety and Violent Crime Reduction Act of 2005, introduced by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, which passed the House on March 8, 2006. The final version of the bill included a stipulation for mainstream film and television producers exempting them from strict record-keeping rules required of pornography distributors. President Bush signed H.R. 4472 into law. The AAF considers the matter settled.

Last updated: April 2007

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