To publish or not to publish…?

manga @ dooffy.com

With the current ‘Cartoon situation’ rapidly becoming a worldwide hot news issue, as well as the planned launch of the Indonesian Playboy, I was wondering how the regular visitors of Asian-Sirens feel about the whole censorship issue? What is more important: freedom of speech or protecting (and respecting) religious values?

The reason why I am posting this is that I just read on Asiansweethearts blog that she does not place nude pictures (or link to them) because of the strict laws in Thailand. Now I already knew about the current situation of strict anti-pornographic laws in Thailand, but I did not realize that people really were obliging to it.

I know Asian-Sirens is not a political blog, but I have been also wondering about the ‘Great Firewall of China’ and if we are still available in China (and Thailand) and if so, how long we will be…. Now that even Google is helping to enforce it…On a personal note: I think AsianSexGazette is really doing a great job covering the whole sex and religion situation.

And if you like the Manga cartoon above and want to see it without the censored stamp, then download it at Dooffy.com

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0 thoughts on “To publish or not to publish…?”

  1. freedom of speech is paramount with respect to all if and only if truth is told. lying to hurt anyone for political purposes is not freedom of speech and in the US is punishable.

    the US is the only country in the world that protects speech (written and verbal) through its constitution — and we as americans accept and tolerate this daily in our lives. (i served my country for 30 years to protect this right — though at times my stomache turns.)

    respect for any religion should be an unwritten law, however it is not. christian, jewish, buddist and hindu religions are constantly under attack by far worse than some silly cartoon.

    religious respect is a two way street and all peoples of the world should respect others faith without the shadow of death looming over their heads.

    i find it very disturbing and disgusting the current ‘do as i say not as i do’ attitude in the world today. as is shown in these two sites:

    http://michellemalkin.com/
    http://dog-pundit.blogspot.com/

    and the only way to stop this insane attitudes is to stand up and point the truth out — which is protected under the US bill of rights 1st admendment.

    divermike

  2. Well as of this moment, I can still access Asian-Sirens. Wikipedia worked a few months ago but then it went down.

    I’m able to access Wikipedia through my corporate VPN, but if Asian-Sirens got blocked in China, the administrators might breath down my neck if they saw that I was surfing for naked chicks on the VPN. Haha.

    As mentioned, if you type in the wrong spelling in Google, you can get to most things… ie info about that big massacre that happend in the late 80s in Beijing.

    Religion… locals aren’t allowed to go to the same Catholic services that foreigners are allowed to go to. I don’t really understand why.

  3. What is more important: freedom of speech or protecting (and respecting) religious values?

    I don’t think it’s a question of choosing between the two. Freedom of speech should always be protected (from that springs freedom of other things). Freedom OF religion (and not “from”) should also be protected, but no law can guarantee that anyone respects anyone or anything else.

    As far as the Islamists are concerned: Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

  4. This whole thing is terribly complicated. Right now it seems as if porn is getting attacked the most, why? I’m not sure actually I think its seen as the biggest, weakest point of attack. I say this simply because it seems as most people haven’t thought this through yet to the fullest extent of whats being forcedly ushered in. There are some religions that don’t like others, there are some that don’t like women to be free, to have an opinion to be more than child breeders, there are some that don’t like anything but their own race, are some that don’t like technology. If we start to Religiously Correct ourselves now then before we are through everything will have to respect everything. In short there would be little or nothing to be said about anything, there would be a global dictatorship on information not to mention what could be said, done, seen or heard. This power would be put in the hands of anyone that ‘interprets’ religion.

    We can not go backwards into this decapitation of progress. If you’ve never head it stated: You can please All of the people, some of the time, You can please Some of the People all of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time, this is still true and i think will forever hold true. The fact is no matter what you do you’ll always end up ticking someone off. While one can try to fine tune their efforts to make sure they aren’t as abrasive you will still scratch the glassy surface of anger long before your message is lost.

    In short most of this is something that some organizations are trying to do in order to slip their agenda into everyone’s lives, some, like the linked article might have merit, however it is still an opinion and should have the right to be viewed. Could it be askew and incorrect yes, just like the stereotypical cartoons of old, however to ignore this, to hide it and never let it see light is to give cover to a problem and keep it faceless until it is overcoming.

  5. The bottom line is almost everyone has very thin skin these days. Forget religion – think about driving – if you see someone do something stupid in a car near you and tap your horn, you run the risk of getting shot.
    In the old days, people did live by ‘sticks and stones…’ – they ignored people making ignorant comments. Now everyone demands respect. I blame the Liberals. Sorry divermike but the Liberals have created this sense of Entitlement in the country and the when upset ‘sue somebody’ mentality.

    So back to the original question: I think any picture (as long as it’s not minors or beastiality) should be posted if the owner of this site wants to. Those who don’t agree can go to another website – last time I counted there were millions.

  6. lmao westcoast!!

    i agree with you whole heatedly!! never said i was a bleeding liberal….tried to be ‘pc’ without hurting ‘them’ with what Robin offered! and do know…though tried to allude to…that our liberal friends are the architects of our current position!

    however you are so true with your statement…and i would love to go further and bash more — but isn’t that what our liberal and islam friends do>>>??? blame someone else instead of the real source! i won’t do that…will just stand up and state the truth!

    and i agree with the ‘picture’ thing — post all but those.

    and however again….to those that are hypocrites check out the sites above that i listed and this one: http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/2/3/113616.shtml?s=ic

    to all those — quit the “better than thou” and as Curtis G said “Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke” because us americans do this numerous times a day without cutting someones head off!

    DiverMike

  7. As a practical matter, it is a real pain when one day you go to visit a website and instead you get the screen from the Royal Thai Police saying the site has been closed. There is a screenshot here. Although it says the site has been closed of course it hasn’t. It has just been blocked from being viewed from within Thailand. Nevertheless, I would hate to have that show up when I try to visit my own website.

    BTW DiverMike, the US is not the only country with consitutional guarantee of free speech. Thailand also has it. But of course it is subject to limits, just as in the US. So you can say mostly what you want. But that doesn’t mean you get to use the airways, print media or the internet to broadcast it. And another BTW is that the US is moving steadily to less freedom, isn’t it. For example, the current DOJ demand for search engine data that Google is fighting. That fishing expedition is an effort to block porn so kids can’t get to it.

  8. sorry asiansweety….i don’t have to worry about my government censoring my web site or anything i say. and you prove that through what you say here and on your web site how your goverment censors.

    please google as your basis for americans freedom of speech???? please give me a break!!! look at their track history in china and europe….please! don’t make me laugh! they were asked for legal reasons like all other major search engines (msn, aol, yahoo) and declined (unlike the three mentioned) – as is their right here in america.

    and proof of the US is the only country in the world that protects freedom of speech is very evident on our news programs….and even web sites — as long as they don’t have pedo crap and threaten to overthrow our country. (and btw….i can give you so many names that prove this point it would spin your head….cindy, michael, louis, pat….add the last names….we tolerate them because that is their god given american right.)

    my wife is indonesian and she is dumbfounded about those that speak out in our country….she says they would be ‘locked away or disposed of’ in indonesia — same with thailand! (i have a sister-in-law from there…says the same thing!)

    i feel for you asiansweety…..but please…we americans fought for our freedom against a tyrannical/royalty system years ago…..can you say that???

    DiverMike

    ps: I like your web sites and what you do…please continue and i hope and pray that you and your friends find happiness.

  9. The Dutch (and as I think of it: most of Europe) also have freedom of speech very high on the agenda. I don’t think the USofA can claim it’s the only country that protects freedom of speech DriverMike.

  10. I used to live in America and am very familiar with life there. A debate on how “great America is” is off-topic for this forum. But I must say that American is great. It just isn’t as great as many Americans think, especially those who haven’t lived elsewhere and don’t really have experience to compare. Even the news – I compare what I see on American news channels with the news I get from Europe, Australia and Asia (I get them all) and American news is very narrow and colloquial compared to news from many other countries. It not government censorship, it’s corporate censorship that keeps you from seeing the full story.

    As for me and my friends in Thailand, thank you for your concern. But this is a great place. That’s why I moved back here after living in America for many years.

    And for freedom of speech, may your sister-in-law should watch the coverage of Sonthi’s gathering that is happening right now. The prime minister of Thailand may end up being forced out of office by public opinion.

  11. What asiansweetheart says is absolutely true – Australia has far more coverage of what’s going in the rest of the world than the US does. I think the problem is that the US media is all commercially driven. I think you need strong publically owned media to keep the corporate media honest (and vice versa), such as we have here in Australia (and in the UK and Canada, for example).

    And DiverMike’s comments are, I’m sorry to say, a classic example of how blinkered the US media has made many Americans. The US is far from the only country to have freedom of speech, nor is it the only country to have fought for it. Those of us in the rest of the world know this, but many people in the US don’t. It’s not that Americans are stupid, it’s just that the US media keeps ramming this “America is the greatest country in the world” stuff down their throats, without telling them anything about the rest of the world.

  12. I think it is the same in many countries. In Thailand we are also told since we were kids that we are the greatest. It is good to be proud of your country but too much of this leads to nationalism and looking down on every body else. And also being blind to the rest of the world.

    The saying that I heard in America the most was “the system isn’t perfect but it is the best there is in the world” whenever there was some argument about the courts or government. Sometimes I asked people “The best, really? How does it compare to any other country? Can you give me one example?”. Nobody ever could give one example, not once. Nobody knows anything about any other country’s goverment. How come they don’t know the difference between the U.S. 3-branch system and the U.K. parliamentary system? Which one is better? I am not expert, but I know a little bit about some of the differences. I can’t say one is really the best.

    One thing I notice is that it isn’t just the government system, it is the culture that makes the difference. In Thailand we have constitution similar to many western countries. But we have an old culture that runs the country stronger than the constitution. Example: Everybody loves and respects the King and doesn’t say anything bad about him. We have a law that makes it illegal to insult the King. But to us that is not censorship, that is what we want, because we love the King and want to protect him from being disrespected. Americans think this is bad because they want to be able to say any awful thing they want about anybody. Our culture is different. We value respect for those who are worthy of respect.

    Sorry for such long post. I never get to discuss these things with Thai people. Most of them never lived in the west and don’t know anything except Thai ways.

  13. Dr. Lee and asiansweetheart, please don’t use divermike as a representative example of Americans – that would be as fair as the Brits thinking all American households are like The Simpsons. Not all Americans solely count on the big 5 networks for their news. Believe it or not, some of us watch BBC’s news telecasts and use the Internet extensively – I have 25 news websites from 6 of the 7 continents that I visit on an almost daily basis.

    I think if you consider the fact that the US is the country the majority of people from around the world would come to if our borders were wide open, then it must be the best – or at least perceived to be the best. Sure, like asiansweetheart, some would choose to go back – but not that many.

  14. Hi everybody! I’ve been a “sort” of close reader for this web-site for some time now (usually I just see the pictures and read the editorial reviews). It seems when you mix freedom of speech and nationalism people get excited. We have an interesting mix right here that kind of translates the state of things right now.

    The American guy defends that in is country he has “real” freedom of speech (but the NSA has been listening to everybody’s phone and reading everybody’s mail for years, look up echelon project in the EU web site too see some evidence). The other representatives for the other 1st world nations (embodied by a dutch, an autralian and a brit) say that their country have “the real smart and free media (did I heard public service tv ? In my opinion it’s not all that…)” The thai person “defends” the governmental system …

    I’m so sorry to disappoint but neither the European or American are right. The European media is clearly anti-american (read a book called The anti-american obsession for proof) (and in many cases either anti-semit or anti-islamic). The American media has it all, from paranoid to infotainment but generally with bad quality.
    The only worth wordy shows are the DailyShow (America) and those puppets shows that run in all European countries that ridicule politicians and situations (sorry each country has a name for it…). The only good new are the news we make ourselves, right here on the web. Blogs and such. Forget the rest, the world will be a much better place when the tv is finally replaced by the net. What is happening right now is an attempt to control the web! If that happens the net will just has boring and “controlled” as the other media.

    About porn! Is porn (and this site is not porno-graphic might I add) censurable? Is porn morally reprovable and, for that, it should be prohibited? The problem with banning a determinate content with basis on morality is on who decides what is moral! I don’t think comfortable with the US or the Muslim or the Comunist sense of morality! Is religion morally reprovable, is pornography morally reprovable, are some cartoons worth another bombing?

  15. I think WestCoast’s last point is the key: America is perceived to be the best. I used to think so too when I lived in Taiwan. But after studying in America for a few years I came to Australia, and I realised America isn’t the greatest conutry in the world, at least for me. But if I never came to Australia, I would never have known. The fact is, the US media is the most powerful throughout the world, not just within the US. They tell the whole world that America is the greatest, and given the positive images that they present in their media, most people believe it.

  16. Actually, since the Bush administration imposed its conservative Christian values on the entire American population, many other countries actually have greater freedom of speech than the US when it comes to matters sexual. See here:

    Censored Words

    This is yet another reason why we don’t use CCBill as the payment processor at Sachiko’s site – if we did, she wouldn’t be able to talk about why she doesn’t want to have children in her FAQ! Instead we use Verotel, which is based in the Netherlands and has no such restrictions.

    And let’s not forget about 2257 – it is fortunate that I am in Australia and Marco and Robin are in the Netherelands, otherwise we would have to be much more careful about what we publish here.

  17. good thread with lots of great points from many sides!

    BUT for once i’m in disagreement with Doc. i won’t comment on how media work down under, for i know little. i read aussie blogs religiously though. US media is extremely parochial, but then they cater to population that has embarassingly little interest in outside world (so much for American imperialism,hehe).

    i’ve lived half my life in US and as much as i love Europe, i’d never return there. it’s not the best country in the world, but with the least gov’t interference i ever saw. just pay your taxes & they don’t care what you do or say, so i’ve no idea where that list of “censored’ words came from. disgruntled members of some S&M club?

    in italy, muslims sued a writer for a libel, a french politician was recently fined for uttering derogatory remarks about gays & some years ago german chancellor sued a newspaper that had claimed, he had dyed his hair. none of those is even imaginable in US & anyone who’d try, would be laughed out of court.

    nobody was killed in US for voicing his opinions & ideas ( pim & theo), needs police protection (ali hirsi), went into hiding (danish cartoonists), while enemies of freedom & free expression, let’s call them “french youths” are allowed to rampage for days or left free to call for murder.

    i voted for W , because beside his opponents inanity, i like low taxes & free speech. liberals keep imposing “speech codes” & punish for use of particular words as offensive. if they had their way, glancing at some in certain way would be classified as “hate speech”, hehe.

    DiverMike, should we nominate MM to be a political Asian Siren? she’s pretty, asian & ferocious?

  18. The censored words are a real restriction if you use an American payment processor, resulting from 2257. And as we all know, more people are sued for doing or saying almost anything in the US than any other country in the world – this isn’t a free speech issue per se, it’s a legal issue. The French riots are a law and order issue also. Plus the Danish cartoon is an example of just how free speech is there: they’ve gone into hiding because they’re country allows them to say things that can create a threat to their lives from extremists. And many people have been killed in the US for voicing their opinions (e.g. Martin Luther King). Once again, this isn’t about free speech as such, it’s about law and order.

    The fact of the matter is, since 2257 the US has more restrictions on what you can say about sex on the internet than probably any other western country.

  19. Please explain 2257 – I live in the US and have no clue what you’re talking about – I know Paypal and other virtual banking sites won’t allow payments for sex related activities but that has NOTHING to do with the government or politics. And what you mean by ‘say about sex’ – I think you’re getting bad information. There are workplace rules about offending women – but as long as you don’t break a law – kids or animals – you can pretty much do whatever ‘floats your boat’ in the US. Religious leaders might not like it but they can’t do anything about it.

    Nik2 really nailed it – as long as you pay your taxes and don’t flaunt anything, you
    can pretty much do what you please here in the US. I’m afraid some of you are getting your info from the Liberal “the sky is falling, we’re being Censored” press.

  20. WestCoast, perhaps you should try clicking on the links in my post above. The Censored Words link lists all the words CCBill (and other US payment processors) will not allow on web sites it processes for, due to 2257. And there is a discussion of 2257 here at Asian Sirens. Perhaps you might even want to try doing your own research on this (just do a quick search in Google) before jumping to conclusions.

  21. Dr Lee, there are no links in your post directly above mine. Thanks for including them this time.
    And I stand by my statement – maybe you need to read things a little more clearly – as long as you don’t do anything illegal – that word list is related to sex with the underaged – I am HAPPY my government has those laws and enforces them. Sex should be between consenting adults. While I think 16 might be the right age, I can understand the government setting it a little higher at 18.
    And again, try getting some US news from sources other than the Left.

  22. There are these links in one of my posts above – I suggest you read the entire thread if you really do want to learn about this. Also, read through the list of words that are banned – many of them are absolutely ridiculous (e.g. kids and child!). What’s more, I am not a pedophile, but in a country that has true freedom of speech, I should be allowed to talk about it without worrying about my payment processor censoring my words. And a muslim might say they are happy that their country enforces sharia law – is that freedom of speech?

  23. I DO NOT want to enter the “my country is better than your country” debate, but I have some words on this 2557 deal.

    Maybe we can more explicitly link to what 2257 is? In reading here I couldn’t figure out what you guys meant by it (at first assuming it must be some website). A little googling found me that you mean US Code 2257. Here it is on Cornell’s site:

    http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002257—-000-.html

    That code only applies to *record keeping* that must be done regarding the production of “sexually explicit” material. It does not restrict it’s production.

    Now CCBill’s restriction of censored words is *CCBill’s restriction*. It isn’t the law of the United States. It is the right of that company to not do business with websites that use those words. I agree with the description of their policy as ridiculous, but it has nothing to do with the law.

    US law does not prohibit speech about pedophilia, only possession or production of child porn. In fact, it has been explicitly held up in court that “virtual” child porn is still legal (unless further laws are passed, many of which are in the works, but those not only have to pass, they have to hold up in court).

    I can give a simple counter example. PayPal, a rather large online payment company quite popular with online auctioners and more recently, retailers, has a policy that their service cannot be used for the sale of firearms or firearms related products. In general, firearms and related products are not banned by the US law, but this company has chosen a policy not to allow their service to be used for this purpose. It’s their right.

  24. What you say is technically correct madtrader. However, in practice, the onerous record keeping requirements of 2257 are forcing censorship of porn in the US. It is being used by the Bush administration to supress pornography on the interent without appearing to break the first ammendment, and it will only get worse if the American people don’t vote them out.

  25. On voting the Bush administration out. We don’t have to. Bush is on his last term and can’t get re-elected. There are only three ways to get him out of office right now:

    Death
    Resignation
    Impeachment

    I don’t really see any of those happening, but you never know.

    I don’t see how 2257 can be used to suppress pornography unless people don’t wish to keep records of production. It seems to me people producing pornography would want to keep these records anyway in case they might need to prove the performers were of legal age at the time of production. I agree the Bush administration probably wants to get rid of pornography on the internet, but 2257 isn’t going to do it.

    Now, with regards to the idea of what is being done in practice vs what is technically correct; technically correct is what stands up in court. If someone feels they are being bullied by the US government and are told they are in violation of 2257, they are or they aren’t. Police around the world use bullying tactics to make people feel they are in violation of some law and must do what the enforcer wants to stay out of trouble. You stay within the law and you’re fine. If you are further hassled take it to court and the press.

    Rights are only rights if people stand up for them. Government — all government — will usurp every bit of power from the people if given the opportunity. It is a natural struggle. The government will always push for more power, so the people must push back.

    Being here in the United States and watching the state of porn, I don’t see it going anywhere. There have been several attempts throughout the entire history of the country to remove porn, prostitution, alcohol (or drugs in general), gambling, and many other “pleasures of sin”, but none have been truely effective. The internet produces a new paradigm for many of these struggles and so it continues anew.

    So, if the Bush administration is using 2257 to suppress pornography on the internet, I would certainly like to see some case of this to evaluate the situation for myself. Rumors that get passed around have no purpose other than to become propoganda and we have too much of that already.

  26. I have already given you one case: the ridiculous censorship of words by CCBill. Another spectacular example is Picka Asian, and all the other ‘picka’ sites. Most of them focus on various parts of the female anatomy, but since 2257 they only allow headshots! There are many similar examples.

    As for voting out the Bush administration, note that I said the administration, not Bush himself. He can’t be re-elected, but his administration can be.

  27. I guess we aren’t going to move forward on this then. We clearly have a difference of opinion, but try as I might, I don’t see the connection you claim is perfectly evident in your CCBill example. To me, CCBill’s decision is CCBill’s decision. I see no posting of a letter from the attorney general’s office (or any other such prosecutorial authority) or hint of it on CCBill’s site. Also, on Picka Asian (never seen that site before), the only sign of 2257 I see there is their link to a notice stating that they comply with the law and who their custodian of records is.

    Again, the law is that they must keep records.

    So, to me, there is no example here. A more concrete example would be like something else I’ve been following. Our laws on Eminent Domain (where the government forces you off your property, compensates you for what they think is fair, and does something else with the land) have been a matter of great debate lately, especially regarding a recent ruling by our supreme court. Examples one would point out there include legal notices from the afflicted parties that are a matter of public record and openly attainable. I’ve been following several cases in my local area and they are quite concrete examples, not conjecture. Even without access to public notices, you will at minimum find accusations by the people being forced off their land.

    My example about PayPal could be construed similarly to your pointing to CCBill. One could say that PayPal was threatened by the California attorney general utilizing California’s laws regarding the controlled sales of firearms (PayPal is based in California, and California has some of the strongest state gun control laws in the country), and as such have declined to allow their service to be used in transactions involving firearms or firearms related products. It’s conjecture. If it’s true, there should be at least acusatory statements by the offended party, something we can go to and hear/read their words stating that they have chosen this course of action due to interference from the Bush administration. Until the point where they publically accuse the state government of California I have to assume that the company just made that decision and not float off in to conspiracy theory land.

  28. Also, an administration isn’t elected, it’s appointed. Only the president and vice president are elected. The president then appoints his administration (many of which have to be confirmed by congress). When Bush’s term runs out, so does theirs, and they will never be put back together again. The history of the country shows this. Sure, a few stick around, a few get reappointed down the line, but it’s never the same. The most recent example where one might have assumed that would be is when Bush 41 succeeded Reagan. Bush 41 had already been in the White house for 8 years with Regan and upon his election as President everything changed. It was quite dramatic. It was also a failure in many respects, which helped to get Clinton elected.

  29. I can see I’m going to have to explain this to you. 2257 requires that any model shown engaged in any sexual activity to make all her details – including age and real name – available on request, at whatever web site she appears on. It is obviously very difficult for a site like Picka Asian, for example, to collect this information, so they play it safe and just show the model’s face. CCBill doesn’t have access to these records for all the models on all the sites they process for either, so they censor any word remotely related to pedophilia so as to try and avoid any possibility that one of their sites hosts underaged models, which is to avoid falling afoul of 2257.

    With regards to re-electing an administration, what you are arguing is just a technicality, as I’m sure you know. If people vote republican at the next US election, the policies of the current administration will more than likely continue.

  30. That explanation does not justify your assertion that 2257 is being used by the Bush administration to suppress pornography or is being used for censorship. In fact, it’s a far cry from it. What you are saying is that these companies are unwilling to maintain the record keeping required by law. They are then putting into place policies that *might* limit them to any 2257 requirements. If one of their customer’s sites were to post material that requires 2257 information in violation of their policies, they would be in the same situation that would exist if they maintained policies to collect 2557 specific records and still allowed the content. So, no argument can be made regarding what they *might* be exposed to without a very authoritarian posting approval system. The fact is that they are then simply not wanting to collect records. That is not harrassment or censorship by the government. That’s a company making a choice.

    And I’m not arguing a technicality on the administration remaining in place should the Republicans get re-elected in 2008. The Republican and Democrat parties are not cohesive units that maintain some domineering structure such that if a party is re-elected that the same people will wind up in control. For example, if Senator McCain (another Republican) were to get elected there would be a vast difference in the Presidential administration and the executive policies. It’s just not going to happen.

  31. You contradict yourslef in your last paragraph – first you say we could have a very different republican administration the next time around, then you say it isn’t going to happen. We all know what sort of administration we’ll actually get.

    The Bush administration knows it just isn’t feesible for most small adult sites to maintain the record keeping required by 2257, so it is a convenient way to suppress these sites. And that’s to say nothing of all the adult models who (understandably) don’t want their real name and address to be publically accesssible.

  32. By my last sentence I meant that it’s not going to happen that we’ll wind up with the same administration. Historically, despite any continuity in parties (even with similar positions), the administration never stays the same. And by this I don’t intend to argue the technicality of a single person changing in the administration results a different administration, but that the cabinet is usually completely different and with a new cabinet comes and entire new array of staff.

  33. My understanding of 2257 as it’s written is that the records must be kept, but that they are only availabe to a requesting government authority acting under direction or approval of the attorney general. That’s quite a bit different than being publically accessible. Also, I don’t see how the record keeping is infeasible to even the smallest of sites (run by a single individual). Any business must keep records for, at a minimum, tax purposes. In the United States, I believe all financial business records must be kept for a minimum of 3 years (it used to be 7 years). It’s done every day from the most basic mom and pop shop to the largest of multinational corporations. I don’t buy it not being feasible. I agree that it will increase the cost of doing business, but by how much?

    Now, after some further reading by me I have found a few things. The base regulations have existed since 1988. The amendments to 2257 (and related sections of the Title 18 code) that occured during the Bush administration extend the cases in which the records must be kept (to basically everything), narrow the proof of identification that performers may use, and makes the laws retroactive.

    I abhoar regulation like this. Retroactive legislation is worse than pure legislation, and I agree that this is further restriction on freedom of speech on the grounds that it puts the burden of proof on the legality of produced sexual works on the producer, *but* I still hold that this is not government censorship and that complying with the regulation is feasibly possible. All the driving records for anyone that has ever had a drivers license issued in my state fits on 2 CD-ROM’s (I know due to a project I was consulted on). That’s MILLIONS of people. There is no way that keeping track of the required information for hundreds or maybe thousands of performers featured on a site is going to be more space intensive.

    Also, the passing of the legislation is not a shut case. There appear to be challenges to this legislation working their way through the court system. An injunction on the enforcement of the laws has not (as far as I can find) been issued due to the fact that the previous form of the legislation has NEVER been used. The court provides for a fast track for injunction should situations change while the legal challenge to the legislation is being adjudicated. It hasn’t been because it still is not being used.

  34. So again I ask, where is the case of some site or production group being harrassed by the Bush administration under the guise of 2257 (much less for the purposes of censorship)?

  35. If you seriously believe it is feasible for a site like Picka Asian to maintain these sorts of records for every model featured on it, then I don’t know how I can have a meaningful discussion with you on this issue. If you talk to anyone who actually works in this industry about 2257, they’ll tell you exactly the same thing I have.

  36. I’m with Dr. Lee on this one, and I speak as someone who agrees that the US does in fact have some pretty good laws.

    Madtrader, you are now just arguing for argument’s sake. Due to the 1st Amendment, a direct ban on most pornography (as long as it is not obscene) is very difficult to achieve in the US. Thus, the preferred legislative policy is to not ban pornography outright but to make it expensive and onerous so that only fairly large commercial operators can do it (so that it’s easy to regulate). 2257 is one among many laws that have this goal, COPA (which has been blocked by the courts temporarily) — is another (by requiring age verification mechanisms). None of these laws directly do anything to limit pornography, but they all incrementally make it harder and harder to do pornography.

    As a real example of the impact of this law, it’s difficult for sites to post pictures of overseas prostitutes they encounter, as many of them are underage and there’s no way to keep records to indicate that they are not underage. It is infeasible for small sites to keep records in many cases when they are more of a hobby than a business, and the Internet is what allows many of these hobby sites to find an audience in the first place.

    Censorship comes in many forms and shapes, hard and soft (much like pornography, I guess). The US has a fairly low censorship level, and it’s only applied in a few very very sensitive areas (examples: race — but only when it’s blacks, Latinos, and Jews — Asians have not been politically powerful enough to leave much of a censorship imprint; pedophilia (for understandable reasons); nazi/communist speech (again, for understandable reasons)). In the area of pornography it’s pretty light, and often it’s imposed in the form of “protect the children”. But it does no good to just deny that some censorship does apply in the US or that it’s all “done by the companies” — so what?

  37. [continuing comment from above]

    Leaving aside for a moment the reality of the society we live in, perhaps we can agree that even though sex with an underage girl is a crime, it’s okay to talk about it and fantasize about it — but we have decided that that’s not really okay either. Other countries and cultures feels quite differently about what sex with a 14-year old girl means (including, evidently, old Europe that you so ridicule — Dante’s Beatrice was not even a teenager). And that decision to not allow any depiction or ficticious portrayal of such sex is a decision to censor and to apply your values onto others. It makes no sense to see censorship everywhere and then be blind to the fact that it does occur at home as well. It’s just a matter of how much you are willing to live with.

    I happen to think the US has got it pretty much right (so madtrader, again, note what I have said). but i don’t think Dr. Lee’s criticism should be brushed off or attacked. He’s right to point out that there’s some censorship here in the US, though it appears to be a compromise we are willing to live with. We just can’t treat it like it’s unblemished, that’s all.

  38. A very well balanced and informed argument Aimee. Of course the US does still have relatively light censorship, but the idea that it has none, or always has the least in the world, is just untrue. And the fact of the matter is, if the American people keep voting republican this censorship is likely to become worse.

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