September 14, 2007 02:06am
DOJ Gets Word From the Trenches
Source: Letters to the Editor
by: Dave Cummings
Dave Cummings' open letter to the Department of Justice:
Mr. Andrew Oosterbaan
Chief, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section
Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice
Washington, DC 20530
Attn: "Docket No. CRM 104"
Dear Mr. Oosterbaan:
These comments and proposals are my own personal opinions, and are meant in the best interests of America; they are not meant as hostile or confrontational speech.
I am a Primary Producer who has minimum computer skills and, as a one-man operation out of a bedroom in my private home, own a small business self- proprietorship known as Dave Cummings Productions. I own the copyrights to only 42 adult releases, hence I am a small producer. I am also the registered owner of some adult Internet domains, and might possibly also become a Secondary Producer sometime in the future.
I am a performer who needs to earn a living by traveling to/from Los Angeles and elsewhere to do business and to appear in shoots/productions, and to attend important Industry conferences/conventions/meetings/etc. But, being sort of "captured" in my own home/office for the DOJ-mandated posted 20-hours a week has felt like an UnAmerican imprisonment-type burden, and a form of political terrorism against me professionally, medically, family-wise, etc. I also feel like it's burdening my free speech expressions.
As a Primary Producer and American small business owner, I have already endured significant financial expense to comply with the present DOJ 2257 regulations (and will suffer additional expenses supplying Secondary Producers with documentation under the new 2257 pending regulations), and I have unavoidably had to devote significant and continuing unrecoverable personal work-hours dedicated to what I consider unnecessary and political hassle type record keeping (e.g., cross-referencing requirements), and to the DOJ-required availability 20-hours per week in case of Custodian of Records inspections. I am 67 years old, have medical appointments, and medical needs for outdoor exercise. My personal, professional, health, and family life are adversely affected by the DOJ 20-hours-in-the-office mandated manning. The law, and the way the new 2257 regulations includes Secondary Producers will further cost me more time, expense and effort to supply Secondary Producers with redacted copies of my 2257 records.
In order for my personal thoughts/comments/recommendations to have appropriate meaning to you and your authors of the new/amended 2257 regulations now available for public comment like mine, I herewith also provide you with my following opinions and thoughts, along with appropriate recommendations - again, these are not meant to be hostile/accusatory/confrontational/etc:
A. The legitimate Adult Film/Internet Industry absolutely detests child pornography, or the use of models under the age of 18. It's my understanding that much of the Internet's child pornography originates in Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia, not in America, and definitely not from the legitimate American Adult Film Industry or American Adult Internet Industry. Surely, you and DOJ are well aware of this Industry's enthusiastic support for the fine work done to protect children by the legitimate Adult Industry via www.ASACP.com. It's time for this Administration to stop attacking and hassling the legitimate American Adult Industry. Please cease falsely aligning the legitimate American Adult Industry with child porn, and please correct those who err in doing so.
B. In my opinion, besides the White House, Congress, and legislators at all levels needing to immediately and completely stop all politically misleading legislation that falsely relates child porn to the legitimate American Adult Industry, the line between Church and State needs to be respected, not constantly assaulted just to appease anti-Adult Entertainment people. In my opinion, Everyone at any and all levels of government has a Constitutional responsibility not to let their specific religious beliefs or subjectivity trample on American rights and freedoms. Instead, government "punishment" resources (such as regulations like the new 2257 being readied by DOJ?) should instead be targeted elsewhere, no matter how politically "cunning" it might seem to attack us as a false target in order to appease right-wing radical and hypocritical religious freedom-robbing vile loud mouths, just to garner their campaign contributions, influences over parishioners, and pulpit votes. Please reread the preceding, and cease the inappropriate subjectivity that 2257 does to American citizens.
C. Normal Americans like and want "their" porn, and will seek it out even if the pending 2257 actions put American Adult Industry personnel on trial for clerical cross-referencing errors or mistakes, and/or admin hassles that burdens some companies in an Unamerican way to the point that they will close down or cut back their output. The Internet has changed the playing field, and no matter how much the radical religious hypocrites try to eliminate porn in America, Americans will import and access it from Non-American countries and the Internet---such porn that fills the void caused by 2257 and other legislation might well be the kind that is relatively harsh and distasteful. Please keep in mind that many Americans who want their access to porn are indeed voters, possibly voters who will remember the government's violation against the line separating Church and State, and might remember the individual government people/Administration who hindered access to citizen-voter's Adult Entertainment! Just my opinion! Please take the aforementioned into serious consideration as it relates to the pending new 2257 regulations.
D. The American Adult Film Industry, with the exception of only a few underage performers over the past 20+ years who had false identification documents (which, I understand, even fooled law enforcement and passport issuing folks), has a plethora of legal age performers and hence does not need to use underage performers, does not want to have to recall distributed product if it's subsequently found that a performer was not at least 18 years of age, and presently has well over 1,000 absolutely consenting adult performers of legal age with proper Id documents. I opined the aforementioned because it seems like 2257 is a waste of taxpayer assets, assets that taxpaying voters might feel should instead to added to the crucial fight against terrorism and crime!
E. Perhaps the writers of the pending 2257 regulations should seriously consult with the present FBI Officer-in-Charge of past 2257 inspections to get a sense of reality? It might show the folly of the inspections, and the lack of meaningful violations (how many underage performers have been identified or weeded-out by the 2257 inspections? Zero?!). If I were part of those FBI teams headed by Special Agent Joyner (who is very well respected, and totally professional, incidentally), I think I'd feel like I'm involved with a waste of time and efforts that would be better used pursuing terrorists and criminals. Let's face it, even if there was child porn being filmed in America, do you really think such despicable people will keep Dob documents and have all kinds of unnecessary-but-hassling cross-referencing records sitting in their offices for the 2257-mandated minimum of 20-hours each week just in case the FBI came by to inspect them? Be real, such people would be underground and unknown! Thus, 2257 hassling of the legitimate Adult Industry is utterly without merit and in my opinion is a waste of taxpayer and voter money. Because Dob violations have been so few, almost nonexistent, and so long ago, the "new" 2257 should erase All past Primary Producer record requirements and instead begin a fresh start of mandated record keeping as of the release date of the finalized new 2257 regulations. Such would allow Primary Producers to accumulate and file documentation as new productions happen, instead of having to endure the expense of maintaining and redacting records from many years ago. Such an effective date would also assist Secondary Producers to begin compliance with the new 2257 regulations. I recommend the aforementioned.
F. Once a performer's DOB is documented and compared to the date of production via one inspection, it would seem appropriate for the inspectors/government to maintain some type of data base of that performer's DOB so that it can easily be compared to other production dates for age validation without the need to physically conduct another on-site inspection; such would also further negate the 2257-mandated need for 20-hour minimum weekly availability of Custodians of Records, or the requirement for continued records availability for the present 2257 requirement of 5-7 years after a production, or a company goes out of business (does the United States of America really want to impose office-manning for adult companies who no longer exist - is it required for other Industries, or is it selective "punishment" only for the Adult Industry?). Also, cross-referencing seems like merely a hassling device, one that should immediately be removed from the 2257 requirements-please remove it!
G. In my opinion, the element of a surprise inspection accomplishes nothing other than a Custodian possibly being able to have 2257 records and extra coffee cups on a work table awaiting the FBI---if a Dob document is missing or is unreadable, it's that way whether or not the Custodian was surprised by the inspection, or whether it was coordinated a day or week or month earlier. I think and strongly recommend that the 2257 regulations should mandate no more than a Non-inspection system to centrally garner Dob documentation via fax, mail, scanning-email, on each performer of "age-interest" to DOJ engaged in actual sexual activity being filmed, along with the date of production(s) and the "Stage Name" used for the productions. Part of the FBI teams could be deactivated (and/or reassigned to fighting real crime and preventing terrorism?) in favor of a cost-saving non-government administrative contract; and, Custodians should no longer have to show the actual place of business (in many cases, their actual private homes) address for inspections of records-instead, Post Offices Boxes and Postal Plus type addresses should be authorized. One DOJ individual would monitor the contract and take action if an Adult Film producer is tardy or unresponsive to providing requested Dob Documentation, Stage Name (the legal name is already/innately provided by the Dob document), and Dates of Production to the government contractor assembling the central database; that same DOJ individual would act as DOJ Point-of-Contact for any needed legal actions if a performer is found to be underage (something, per paragraph d. above, which seems quite unlikely). I recommend not only the elimination of "surprise" inspections, but also the elimination of any kind of on-site inspections-instead, once it's determined that a performer "looks" underage, require fax/mail/scan-email Dob documentation and date of production certification from the Primary Producer or Custodian of 2257 records. I also recommend that Custodians be able to cite and use addresses other than their private homes or place of business.
H. I question how legislators or 2257-writers can contend that the purpose of 2257 is to prevent underage performers (and to catch and prosecute violators?). Past experience (and FBI inspections) shows that no producer knowingly uses underage performers. 2257 seems like an after-the-fact tool, not a prevention tool. 2257 overly burdens producers, and is extremely far from being the least restrictive means of enforcing the Adam Walsh Law.
I. Our great United States of America says that people are innocent until proven guilty, but 2257 seems to be unconstitutionally forcing records-keeping and Significant unnecessary burdens, and making producers have to prove that they didn't use an underage performer; doesn't our American Constitution require prosecutors to have to prove that the producer did indeed knowingly and intentionally commit the crime of illegally filming someone under 18 years of age? What will a Judge say about this Constitutional affront? What will a Judge decree about the over-burdening and inappropriate requirements of 2257? What might the American electorate do at the ballot box about the people and the Administration behind 2257 and the deterioration of their access to legal Adult films, Internet sites, and entertainment? I recommend that you consider the aforementioned before finalizing the pending 2257 regulations
J. I hope that there weren't any political or government shenanigans involved with the way the Adam Walsh law provided for the inclusion of Secondary Producers. Again, the Courts might frown on such an insult to our Constitution, the citizens and voters might be upset with the cow towing to campaign contributors and religious freedom-robbing radicals who want State to genuflect to the hypocritical Church, and with the government individuals who foster such subjective "punishments" as 2257 doles out to American citizens, fans of Adult entertainment, and voters! Like everything in this letter, this is just my personal opinion!
K. Please understand that Secondary Producers have nothing to do with the talent that appear in the products they use; they don't meet the person on set; they are not able to personally check the Dob documentation prior to the filming; and, to make Secondary Producers maintain the same bureaucratic, political hassling, "punishment" records as Primary Producers are presently required to do accomplishes nothing worthwhile, least of all any form of "protecting the children under 18 years of age". Further, many Secondary Producers are small businesses, often only one-person or part-time operations, who can't afford the expense or time to obtain and maintain copies of records that are best initiated and maintained by the Primary Producers who actually see and copy the Original documents provided by the performers presenting their Dob documentation. Hassling and pressuring Secondary Producers via 2257 record keeping mandates might cause some to go out of business, an Unamerican shame that will only open the floodgates to foreign websites that have content which will still rile the religious radicals-why "punish" or violate the rights of American fans/viewers/ Voters who want to give their business to American websites; so, why subject American Secondary Producers to unnecessary 2257 regulations which might put some of them out of business, and subject Americans to patronize foreign web sites??? In my opinion, the pending 2257 regulations seem like a politically- inspired boomerang that will cause voter discontent against government writers and supervisors of 2257 and the federal government, will hurt small American businesses, worsen the Balance of Payments due to out-flow of dollars by Americans who will have to "get their porn" from foreign sources, cause unemployment, and create further distrust of the subjective government officials who seem to ignore the line between Church and State. Bottom line----for Secondary Producer record keeping, 2257 can satisfy the Adam Walsh law by merely requiring only an email or letter from the Primary Producer attesting to the Dob documentation availability at the Primary Producer's place of business. Of course, in those instances where a Secondary Producer is also a Primary Producer filming content, any Primary Producer filming must include the same record keeping as required of Adult Film companies. Again, to me, only legal name, Dob documentation, stage name and date of production is all that is comprehensively necessary-2257 should not mandate more, or cross-referencing, or a listing of other productions, or Secondary Producer records keeping as required by the pending new regulations. I strongly recommend the above to DOJ. Besides the comments in this paragraph that connote my recommendations, I also recommend that the pending 2257 requirement for 2257 Disclosures to be on every page of adult websites be eliminated as not contributing to the purpose of 2257 to "prevent the filming of underage persons".
L. I understand that Adult Industry comments to the previous pending 2257 regulations seemed to ignore expert input. I'm appalled if this is true. I think the people and their supervisors writing the "new" 2257 regulations should work cooperatively with the Free Speech Coalition and others, This Time! This should be a workable regulation, not one that ends up in many court battles or seems political or submissive to campaign contributors or the religious hypocritical radicals who "pressure" officials into inappropriate rulemaking.
M. I wonder if Free Speech and freedom of expression is being overly burdened by the "hassling-portions" of 2257. Will it require extensive court cases to get the 2257 amended to the least restrictive way of enforcing a way to insure that performers are of legal age? Rather than a 2257 regulation, why shouldn't the government maintain a centralized set of records instead of forcing a decentralized and burdensome requirement upon the producers of adult free speech expressions?
N. Contrary to what DOJ might erroneously think, most Adult Entertainment Producers are not awash in money. The glut of footage from the advent of digital camcorders in the hands of wannabe producers, and the availability of free Internet adult materials and overseas competition has significantly decreased revenues. Indeed, this 2257 is a Huge financial burden, especially when viewed in relationship to present-day decreasing revenues!
Please carefully and fully digest everything in this letter, and to fully follow my opinions-comments-recommendations.
Please do the right thing concerning the new 2257 regulations. Do it for America, our time-tested Constitution, and the American People who want you to act favorably upon my comments/opinions/recommendations.
Again, this letter/opinions is meant to be helpful and useful to you, Americans, and the United States of America.
David C. Conners/D. Charles Conners/"Dave Cummings"
CC: President of the United States; Attorney General; Chief, Criminal Div, DOJ; FBI Special Agent Joyner (by email); DOJ Inspector General; Free Speech Coalition; et.al