Dos and Don’t from the DOJ

Matt Munzanreder, President Universal Filmworks posts on the XBIZ forum: “Anyway, I had the opportunity to talk with various officials from the Department of Justice. A few things you should know when talking to them. Give them VAGUE information about yourself. They tape most phone calls. Use a cell phone. They have caller ID and my cell phone didn’t appear on their ID network.

They asked me no less then five times for the “call back” number. I explained I bought a prepaid cell phone so I could call them as I had no long distance and once it was used up I wouldn’t be using it again. They finally got the idea and quit asking me for my number. Make sure you get the full name of the person that you are talking too. They hedge at giving this out, But I explained that I need this documentation so I could give it to my attorney in case I ran afoul of the law later on. They did give me their names at that point.

TAPE the conversations like they do. BUT, you have to let them know that you are doing so. Otherwise it is illegalwiretapping. I taped some of the conversations, but after the first person, the second person gave me nearly the same advice so I quit at that point. At least they have their stories straight.

Call more then once. Ask for different people and ask the SAME questions! This will give you a broader informational base. And you can see if they really do know what they are talking about or if they have been instructed to give double talk to those that call in. Be VERY VERY polite. They do not hold with rude callers. The first time I was on hold for about 15 minutes and I was a little testy. They hung up on me. Lesson learned.

So after all that I voiced concerns about this new ruling. Here are some of the things they told me. They have received MANY calls regarding this issue and they are looking into it. (right!) Many groups have approached them wanting to discuss this issue and some “people” are looking into the feasibility of setting up a commission to investigate thisruling and verify if first it is indeed constitutional, and secondly if it in any way violates any other rights of American citizens or Foreign Nationals that are able to work in the United States. (sure they are). But for now to comply with the ruling until it can all be straightened out. (meaning, just do it and maybe it will change in the future.)

Next I asked them about an easy template of instructions so that smaller companies could easily convert themselvesover to being compliant. They said that the ruling was worded very concisely and shouldn’t create any confusion. I explained that it was not and it was creating a lot of confusion. So they told me the following. Make sure that you have the Proper ID for all Models. Being a state or federally issued Id with photo. I asked if two were needed they said you can have two but only one is needed to be compliant. Make sure you make a copy of this either in hard copy,digital or both.

Make sure you have The DOB and Age of Models. Make sure you have as many names as possible for each model. This is their responsibility to give you so you won’t be held liable if you don’t have them all. Make sure you have that information in a database with a copy of the models ID. And there is a link, if this will be content shown on the web to an HTML page showing the same Database. (I asked if this database had to be on the actual web and got twodifferent answers so I have a secure folder on our website using SSL where only our custodians and an investigator can get into it. And I created a folder on our server system so all custodians can access is from any computer as well) They said this was fine. I asked about second ID’s, STD tests, Etc, they said it’s good to have all that but definitely keep it in a separate database. I asked what a separate database construed and they said digitally if you use Excel, it can just be a separate page in a workbook for the production. Hard copy it can be in another filing cabinet drawer labeled “Secondary Information”. And you can put a small notation in the primary information drawer to cross referenceit. Then I asked about URLS to images of the model. And they responded that in your database for EACH DAY OF SHOOTING, meaning you have to have a DATABASE for EACH DAY of a production. Not the production as a whole. You must list all stills, where they are located at, even if on just your computer. And which model or models are in each still.

Then in turn, you must list for each model which stills they are in. This is a redundant cross reference they said. Ithas to be done in both hard copy and digital as well as on the HTML page of information. If you use a sequential listing of images on a single web page, you can list those images as x001 through x099 on all the databases.

I asked about naming the images. They said that the best way to do it is with the initials of the model or production andthe date the actual images were taken with a sequential number at the end. For thumbnails to add a th at the beginning to denote a thumbnail. I asked about copies of the images in hardcopy of the model explaining that it would create a filing nightmare for any company to keep that many hard copies for every model especially if the images had more then one model in them. They said that proof sheets or thumb sheets were fine. Making a thumb of the image, using the actual name of the full size image as the thumbs name for THAT PURPOSE ONLY, other wise thumbnails have to have their own unique name and have to be documented like full size images. But you have tohave a thumb sheet for EACH model. You also have to have a thumb sheet for your thumbnails if you use them. So essentially a redundant copy again.

I asked about other places where images of the model could be seen at that our company did NOT take. They said that is information that should be given to you by the model and you just have to make the best effort possible to list all the possible locations. You do NOT have to list images at other sites, periodical etc UNLESS YOU TOOK THEM, but you do need to have on record that the model has performed other adult ventures besides with your company. So asimple link to other websites, or listing of magazines, Volume, Issue and Date will suffice.

I then asked about flash presentations. Since we do most of our galleries in those, there are No “Images” on thewebsites but a single flash presentation. They said that we will have to list the flash presentation and use “Consisting of Images x001 through x099” on the url listing as a foot note.

I asked about storing images on the website even once they were rotated out of circulation. They said that you haveto have a working URL to the images. So they have to be stored on your website even once they are removed from the main galleries. In the case of our flash presentations we have to keep those in a folder with a working URL. NOW…These can be kept also in a secure location either Using SSL or inside your members area so that hackers and rapists cannot come through at a later date and take the images that have been archived. It only has to be a working URL for you and investigators. NOT the general public.

I then asked about video footage. And they said for a full length video. You need to reference it in all your databases by model. And then create a third form of database that lists all your videos an cross reference all the models in that video.(Now remember you can use ONE excel workbook for all these databases, especially for your digital version and just name the tabs. They said this was acceptable) In the hard copy folders of the models, it is best they said to keep a copy of the DVD and a print sheet of the front and back cover of any wrappings the DVD is in. (That’s not too bad.)

They also explained that on the covers of all full length videos needed to be the Custodian information and a USC2257compliancy statement. That it also had to have it during the video one place or another. They said for surety, it would be best to put the whole thing at the beginning and end of each full length video.

I then asked them about Vid CLIPS. These have to be logged exactly the same way as stills. They need distinct names,who is in them, this needs to be cross referenced in all databases or each model as well as one for the clips themselves. They also want approximate length in the database. Or a time stamp from 01 to 3:45 for example. Apparently there is a certain amount of time that is allotted before a clip becomes a video short, and then turns into afull length video. They said to be safe keep all your clips under five minutes. I then asked if a company can have MORE then one custodian of records. Since we do. They said this was fine as long as ALL the individuals were listed on each and every publication, production, or 2257 html page.

I then asked about business hours. They said that, You need to send a mailing to the DOJ explaining your hours ofoperation. Since many small businesses are based out of peoples homes, in many locations it is illegal according to that community to list hours of operation on the structure itself. But to send this information through snail mail. And TO REQUEST A RETURN CONFIRMATION showing that the DOJ received it. That way if someone shows up to audityou and it is not during the normal hours of operation, then you can protect yourself by showing that you sent off the material and the DOJ received it. That it is their error.

I asked if I did any work outside the normal business hours would I have to notify the DOJ. They said no. That thenormal business hours were for the investigators. Normal construing the times that people are actively on site or in the “office” every day. They understand that shoots and productions can take place at all times of the day. But hey are concerned with only those times that someone is located on the site.

I asked What f they showed up and there was a sign on the door saying that the person was out, and would return at aspecific time. They said that during the course of a normal business day, there are aspects that would take a person away from the office. Whether it be general Hygiene or errands in order to keep the business functioning. Things that have to be done during normal working hours. If there is a sign saying the person it out and will return at a specific time, the investigator will return at that time. I asked what if the office had a sign that said “closed to the general public please call to make an appointment.”That this was something that happened in many privately owned businesses. Mainly to keep solicitors and such away. They said that the DOJ should have your phone number and at that point they are there they will call. Someone will need to be available immediately for the appointment.

I asked what if the person they called said they were in a meeting could they meet them etc and show them digitaldatabases that mirror the ones in the office that were backed up on their laptop for every thing. They said that since digital databases were considered fine, that the investigator did not need to be on the premises. But the back up needed to have every bit of information that the office had. That the company would have to be able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they had everything in their company compliant with just the laptop at that point. So it would be better to have someone accessible in the office for the main server and hard copy information.

I then asked about secondary producers. They said it is the responsibility of the Primary producer to make surethe secondary producer has all the information and original database information on the models and images they are allowing the Secondary producer to use. The URLS for the images are then the responsibility of the secondary producer to fill in for the images they use. BUT, both companies MUST trade the URL information back and forth and keep their databases up to date as to where all the images are being used, whether on the web or in print. So if you have a secondary producer you will be using, you must send them regular updates of the urls and print items for each image you are giving them, and in return they must also send you this information to update your database. (We have a contract for secondary producers that gives them the right to use images, but does not allow them the right to pass them along to yet a secondary producer to them. That would mean I would have to be in contact with two companies at that point and updating records etc and it would get very out of hand if they passed them along as well.)

I asked about free services as well such as yahoo groups, msn communities, etc. And they told me, that it would beup to the companies that offer those services to decide how best to comply with the ruling. BUT, for people who are termed the “owners” of those sites, to be safe, they should have all the information for each person that is posted in their group. I.E. if you have 50 photo albums and in those are 50 people some with others comprising say 75 individuals, you would need to have all the proper documentation and databases for EVERY picture that is posted in those photo albums.

THAT IS NOT WORTH IT. More then likely they said, these companies, to stay out of it, will remove online public storage areas, and in that case only sending it through email will be the only choice of sharing those images then.

I asked about free websites rather then pay sites.They said if it had any form of what is considered sexually explicitmaterial on it. Then it had to comply fully with the regulations. I asked what if a Husband and wife were the ownersof the site and the only people they shows were each other, and there was a free and pay area. They said that both husband and wife, would have to have the information. Who ever took the photos was the primary producer and the other the secondary. I asked what if they used a tripod and both were in them and they said then they would needa joint database at that point as the primary producer. (so even a husband and wife would have to have THREE databases set up….crazy!)

I asked about linking sites. Where they just linked to, but showed NO Images what so ever. They said since they werepromoting the site, which would in turn increase sales and revenues of the images on the site they were linking to, then they also had to have the information. They were providing advertising and marketing in order to increase traffic to, and increased exposure or sales. So they fell under the secondary producer role and the primary sites would have to make sure they had all the information and kept it updated for them. So finally I asked AS to when each company couldexpect to have it’s first investigator at their door. This caused a long moment of silence. Then the Young lady at the DOJ asked if I’d like to schedule one, is that what I was asking? After taking a second to clean my ear I said no, I was wondering how soon each company in the US would start seeing the FBI at it’s door to inspect the records and such. Or should we all expect them on June 24th outside our companies. She laughed and said, “Oh that’s not going to happen.” Then went on to say, that while this ruling is very in depth and invasive at times. The logistics of them investigating EVERY company that is in the US any time soon just isn’t feasible. That investigators will first and foremost go after companies that have had complaints gainst them. Companies that the DOJ has been watching in the past. And companies where individuals set up a company, then close it a couple of months later to just set up a new one. Etc. But for really large companies, it will take time to assemble a team of investigators, and for all the myriad of hundreds if not thousand so of other companies out there, unless something brings them to theforefront, makes them stand out, or appear that they are not complying with the regulations.

The odds of actually seeing an investigator at their door are minimal.

So after all that. I am confidant that Universal Filmworks will be fully compliant. We have already redesigned out mainwebsite to show the new statements and such as required by law. We already have our html databases in affect. Al our other databases are set up how they want etc. We have to redesign one website but will have it done in the next week or so. So I’m very comfortable now with knowing how all this works.

I realize I didn’t ask them any questions about people from outside the US, whether they be models or companies and for that I am sorry. I plan on calling them again here real soon and I will hit them up with those questions then.

But I hope the breakdown of my conversations with them have helped some of you.

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