Before we begin, we remind you that Adult Site Broker is not a law firm. In fact, far from it.
While we have done our best to make sure that all this information is properly sourced from vetted sources, it should not be viewed as legal advice. Any advice you require should be delivered to you by a licensed attorney who specializes in 18 U.S. Code 2257 compliance.
Check out our list of the top adult industry attorneys.
Adult businesses, especially production companies and brands that generate original content, are required to comply with US federal law for recordkeeping.
Though many of you may already have a general idea of 18 U.S. Code 2257, or simply referred to as 2257, it’s important to remember why this law is so important and how ensuring compliance with it ensures that adult content is legal and consensual.
18 U.S. Code 2257 is the benchmark law that establishes legal requirements to keep and retain records that verify that all performers in an adult production are of 18-years-old or older.
2257 was first added to federal law in 1988 so that the U.S. Department of Justice can define and enforce laws that govern the efforts taken by producers of sexually explicit material and media to obtain valid proof of age documentation for the models they work with and retain those documents. Inspections could happen at any time, forcing producers to always have available and maintain a custodian of records to facilitate the surrender of those records.
And, being that 2257 is a law meant to protect minors from sexual exploitation, a misstep in recordkeeping could mean that infractions would face criminal or civil penalties.
For you adult entertainment industry newbies, this may seem harsh. But, the law is intended to not only protect minors but also those who are transparent and voluntarily follow regulations.
More recently, the law was amended to enforce the recordkeeping of records for content depicting actual and simulated sexually explicit content. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, this falls under 18 U.S. Code 2257, 2257A, and its derived regulations 28 C.F.R. 75.
“This means that producers of pornography, or depictions of any sexual activity using actual people, are required to verify that the performers are of legal age (18-years-old or older) by maintaining records of the performers’ names and ages. They also are required to disclose the location of these records. Under the law, all records are subject to inspection.” As we already mentioned, any failure to meet these 2257 requirements could mean criminal or civil penalties.
18 U.S. Code 2257 is a very dynamic law. Due to this, it is crucial to understand definitions in the law so that you as a content producer could have a better idea of what is what when conducting recordkeeping actions and ensuring that your work in the eyes of the federal government is legit.
The regulation’s definitions also transfer to the actual use and practice of it. Adult companies of all types, shapes, and sizes are likely to deal with the 2257 regulation at some point, either as a primary producer of content and its original publisher or a secondary producer of content and, essentially, a distributor of the content across web platforms, VOD, DVD, magazine, and others.
One factor that is consistent with producers of adult sex content is having models or performers sign recordkeeping documents attesting to their age, legality, and identity. Before a production, it is common practice to obtain a copy of a government-issued identification like a passport or state driver’s license. The performer should be photographed holding the issued document, and then a copy of the identification should be attached to a generated Section 2257 compliance form.
The compliance form should feature the performer’s legal name, stage name, birth date, and age. Also include the name of the project and the original production date. In addition, the performer should sign the compliance form affirming to the facts that the performer provided in and accepting a sworn performer’s statement confirming that all information, including the age of the performer, is correct under penalties of perjury under the applicable laws and regulations.
Producers should provide a copy to the 2257 form to the model for their records, and be sure to retain the studio’s copy and secure it in a safe place that can be accessed by federal inspectors.
2257 regulation and age recordkeeping should be done by a lawyer or under the supervision of a lawyer or compliance officer. However, given the vast expansion of homemade adult content and independent studios distributing content through platforms like OnlyFans and LoyalFans, there are tools to help with 2257 recordkeeping. For starters, there are online legal services and open source documentation repositories that offer 2257 release forms that can be filled out, printed, shared by email, text, document cloud services, and provide e-signature functionality.
Try using these solutions to ease 18 U.S. Code 2257 compliance for your next adult shoot:
PDFfiller.com provides a free and downloadable 2257 form (.pdf) and an e-signature field.
The Walters Law Group, an adult industry law firm, developed and released Quick2257 — a mobile app released on iOS and Android that creates a simple form generator experience. All you need to do is input the information required, advance through the prompts, and generate the form. After that, you can share the generated form via an email or SMS text messaging.
You can share both documents to your custodian of records and generate forms quickly.
One more item to cover is the publication of 2257 compliance statements on adult websites. You can find 2257 statements on websites like PornHub, xHamster, AdultTime, Brazzers, and more.
Adult websites that feature original or distributed content are legally required to feature a 2257 compliance statement on their website. The statement should be prominently displayed and easy to locate. The compliance statement should attest to the producer’s efforts to ensure that all of the performers in the adult content are 18-years-old or older and that the content is legal.
Compliance statements also feature the contact information for the custodian or custodians of the records. This information should include the address of the owner of the site or adult studio. These should be completed by an attorney.
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