Free Speech Coalition to File Lawsuit Challenging New 2257 Regulations

As soon as the new, more severe federal 2257 regulations are released by the government, the Free Speech Coalition plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of its membership, seeking an injunction prohibiting any prosecutions under them, FSC Executive Director Michelle Freridge announced at Thursday evening’s FSC meeting.

The new Federal Labeling & Recordkeeping Law regulations could be released by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office as soon as next month, Freridge said, but they could also be delayed for several months. Federal prosecutors have already released a copy of the proposed new regulations, inviting comment from interested parties such as the FSC, which has done so in a formal reply.

“Many of the new regulations are just ridiculous, and they would create a huge burden on the business, and they would be impossible to comply with,” Freridge told after the meeting at the Warner Center Marriott. “So as soon as the new regs are released, we will file a lawsuit to get an injunction to prevent prosecutions while we fight it in court. It’s unconstitutional, and it’s a huge burden on the business. Those are the grounds” for the expected lawsuit.

One glaring example of how the new regulations will be more severe than the existing ones, she said, is that secondary producers will have to meet the same record keeping obligations as primary producers. “So if I produce a movie, and I’ve met all the 2257’s, and I sell it to someone who distributes it, every 2257 obligation that I have is transferred to them,” she said. “And that’s ridiculous.”

Freridge said the FSC will take a pro-active approach, not waiting for any prosecutions under the new regulations to be initiated before it files its lawsuit.

“We don’t have to wait for a prosecution,” she said. “We can do it as soon as the new regs are released.”

Freridge said the FSC is seeking financial support from the industry to fund the expected litigation. “We’ve raised over $50,000 and we have enough for now to do our initial push,” she said. “When the regs come out, we’re going to start soliciting again. And those funds will be earmarked. So if you want to make a donation, we’ll set it in a special fund just for this litigation.”

Earlier in the evening, guest speakers Joan Irvine, executive director of the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP), gave an overview of her group’s efforts in combating child pornography, while First Amendment attorney and AVN legal columnist Clyde DeWitt discussed the 2257 regulations.

The meeting’s big draw, the unveiling of the FSC’s 2005 Strategic Plan, was postponed. Freridge said the plan will instead soon be posted on the FSC’s website,