Porn Again

Gapingmaw This doesn't concern you. You didn't wake up this morning and find your favorite porndog site shuttered. But those magnetized by such places of enlightenment as and had to be disappointed by a new law aimed at ensuring children are not used in the pornographic industry. U.S. Code: Title 18: Section 2257 took effect at midnight.  From now on, such Web sites must keep records documenting that every performer depicted in explicit conduct is over 18. The Those who can't comply are taking down their material, like the folks, who maintain the above two sites, so I'm told.

But this does concern you. Karl Martino, over at Philly, runs an aggregator - what that does is assemble fresh posts from selected blogs in one place. It's a vivid snapshot of the talk-of-the-moment on a wealth of subjects. And it's in peril, Karl writes:

If I understand correctly, sites that feature RSS aggregators like Philly Future could be at risk. Publishers of other sites post pictures in their feeds. We feature feeds direct from Flickr as well.

If Philly Future is required to keep track of the ages of every picture we display from feed publishers we are going to have to disallow pictures - we just don't have the resources for keeping records on every picture shown.

Read more about it at the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy's blog, in the article titled, "Cracking Down on Porn: Protecting Children or Naked Censorship?"

The industry contends the new regs will do little to stop child pornography, which is already illegal, but the paperwork could put as many as half of all online pornography companies out of business. The adult-film industry's trade group  tried blocking the law.

Ron Coleman, at Likelihood of Confusion, is not shedding any tears. "I thought we were all for bureaucratization of "victimless crimes" such as prostitution and recreational drug use?,' the Jersey lawyer/blogger wrote.

Glenn Reynolds, at Instapundit, is less enthused. Writes the law prof, "I think that it's a first amendment violation, as well as a waste of government resources."

Among the benefits? This might mean fewer U.S. companies have problem porndogs. Survey says: Half the companies in the past year have had to deal with employees using the Internet for prurient personal reasons. Only half?

Posted 06/23/2005 11:28:02 AM

Dan, If Philly Future, or any other aggregator, simply makes a statement that it does not want to link to sites with adult content and that by asking to be linked the site is stating it won't have adult content, then aren't they covered? I browse the Philly Future feed list daily and have, at times, clicked on an interesting title only to have someone's soft core porn fantasy, complete with pictures, pop up. It wasn't really what I was after. Sites that contain adult material shouldn't have images of children on them. Period. I was really upset when you recently touted a local blog that contains adult material as well as information on the blogger's children, including pictures. I could not for the life of me understand what you were thinking, other than perhaps you did not look at the blog very well or were doing a favor for a friend. I have no problen with adult material on the web, but I'd like to have some warning before it pops up on my screen. I'd like to know that if I click on a headline on Philly Future it will contain information and not a photo of someone in their underwear (or less).

daniel rubin
Posted 06/23/2005 11:37:55 AM

Julie - that blogger, who I do not know (I wouldn't tout a friend without telling you he or she is my friend) has taken the soft-core writing and photos off her main site, and created another, so the material doesn't appear on PhillyFuture's aggregator. these were not pictures of her children in a sexualized context. were you upset that the site even showed her family on the same blog that showcased her fantasy writing?

Posted 06/23/2005 12:01:43 PM

Dan, At the time you recommended that blog I think the adult writings were still on the mail blog. Now the adult writings are on a separate link from the main site And yes, I do think it is inappropriate to involve your children, either by posting their photos or discussing them, on the same site that contains adult materials. It comes home to me in ways that it does not to you. The blogger announced when and where her elementary aged child was going on a school field trip BEFORE the trip was taken. As it happens my children go to that school and my child is in the same grade and I was an adult chaperone on that trip. Would you want your children to be on a school field trip that had been advertised on a website wiht adult content? I didn't see that posting until after the trip but I can't help but wonder if some of the blogger's readers, perhaps some of the more unsavory ones, might not have been hanging around that area hoping to meet her. I was reponsible for not only my child but others as well. The blogger posted photos of her child, ones from several years ago but the child still looks much the same -- I know, I've served her cupcakes at school parties. It wouldn't have been hard for a kooky fan of the blogger's to stake out the field trip, and identify her child. It just completely boggles my mind that you don't see a problem with this.

daniel rubin
Posted 06/23/2005 12:14:51 PM

Don't be boggled. Thanks for clarifying. Helps me understand what bothers you about this, and that helps me do my job.

Posted 06/23/2005 05:16:30 PM

"If Philly Future, or any other aggregator, simply makes a statement that it does not want to link to sites with adult content and that by asking to be linked the site is stating it won't have adult content, then aren't they covered?" Julie, I wish it were that simple for us. We can make requests like that of bloggers, indeed I've made one to a prominent one, but long term, there is nothing to stop a non-porn blogger from posting an item, that flows thru their feed, that reaches you thru our aggregator, that has porn material in it. We don't have the resources to check every post that comes to us. When that happens - are we liable? A poster in American Constitution Society for Law and Policy's blog thinks we may. I hate thinking along these lines. I hated asking that blogger to change posting habits for our site. What to do? We need advice. I have no money for a lawyer.

Posted 06/23/2005 07:35:40 PM

Karl, Let me reply to you off-list so as not to clog up Dan's blog comments. I have some thoughts on this. As an aside, I am glad the blogger put adult material in a separate blog. You werent' telling her she had to, only that she should if she wanted to be on Philly Future, yes? That's a choice.

Posted 06/23/2005 08:04:47 PM

That's correct Julie. I suggested she move the writing to a non-Philly Future aggregated blog. I urged her not to let our constraints stop her from doing what she loves to do. I felt conflicted even voicing the concern since I have no issue with the writing myself - but being a host I need to think more broadly. Would you mind discussing this in a public forum? This way we can invite others to the conversation and work together on a solution. Would you mind discussing this in a Philly Future thread? I can start one and we can continue there if you'd like. I don't want to mention the blogger's name in question - but the subject itself is very important to the site and community. This regulation sounds real frightening.

Posted 06/23/2005 10:47:05 PM

Karl, I can't find an email for you and I don't think you want to go into the details of setting this up on Philly Future without discussing some details (I find it odd that you are very concerned about censoring people but you will remove comments from Philly Future and people can't email you without registering on Philly Future). Can you email me? My email is on the comments (mouse over my name).

Posted 06/24/2005 06:51:26 AM

I'm sorry Julie - I will contact you directly. But not to let two false statements stand - the contact email is listed in a couple places - just not organized that well. Anyone can contact us. We need a contact us/feedback page to centralize that. Additionally I have only deleted one comment - ever - from the site. It was clearly spam. And I mentioned to that fellow that he can repost it in his blog - that PF provides him. Something to keep in mind about PF is it is an all volunteer effort - without sponsor - without employees devoted to it. It's both a tribute to the team volunteering there that it has gotten as far as it has and a bit of a detriment since much of what we want to do - better help for example - takes some resources to put together. Now *I'm* growing conscious of our conversation here in Dan's thread, so lets continue in email. I will keep my fingers crossed that you will agree to an open forum. Thanks.

Posted 07/02/2005 06:58:22 PM