US Court of Appeal rules warrantless searches for 2257 cases are unconstitutional

The Free Speech Coalition (FSC, an adult industry advocacy organization) has secured a major victory in its years-long battle against the 18 U.S.C. §§2257 record-keeping law. The United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit issued a ruling that essentially guts the 2257 law, which was passed in 1988 and has a history of being used to harass adult businesses. The FSC began its legal battle with the government over 2257 record keeping in 2009, following years of warrantless searches and felony prosecutions over minor violations that did not include any underage performers but instead mistakes in paperwork and filing systems.

What does this ruling mean for independent performers?

At the moment, not much. The court restricted its ruling to the plaintiffs in the suit, and did not apply the ruling to all adult producers/performers. However, this ruling sets a legal precedent, and that makes it extremely unlikely that the government would be able to successfully prosecute a 2257 record-keeping case. The use of warrantless searches when investigating 2257-related crimes is also now banned. It is important to continue keeping adequate ID records and model releases for performers who appear in your content, though, to ensure that you can prove you are not working with underage performers and have the legal rights to the content.

To read more about the FSC’s battle against 2257, and how the law has been used to harass adult businesses, visit the FSC website.

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