The Book Standard reports that the House of Representatives have added a clause to the Children’s Safety and Violent Crime Reduction Act of 2005 in which books which offer “any visual depiction of simulated or sexually explicit conduct” or are “produced in whole or in part with materials which have been mailed or shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, or is shipped or transported or is intended for shipment or transportation in interstate or foreign commerce” must, as with pornography, report every performer portrayed in a visual depiction. In other words, if a photograph appears in a book depicting anything considered “sexually explicit” (a term that isn’t even defined by H.R. 4472, which suggests that this could apply to an innocuous image of two men kissing), the government wants to track your participation.
Of course, such a Stalinistic tactic does not, in fact, run directly counter to the First Amendment, but this does raise serious questions about whether certain performers might be audited or “investigated” simply because their work is considered “sexually explicit” by the U.S. government. Consider an author like William T. Vollmann, who regularly features provactive photographs by Ken Miller in his work, in an effort to chronicle the poor and the prostitutes. Will future editions of The Royal Family now have to be eviscerated of these photos?