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  1. #1
    JT04 is offline Junior Member
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    What is considered Child Porn?

    I am writing a paper for my sociology class on child porn. The thing I am having an issue understanding is the law 18 U.S.C. § 2252A. In 1996, this law was amended to say that visual depictions that “appears to be” or “conveys the impression” of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct were illegal. Then in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002), the Supreme court struck down the “appears to be” and “conveys the impression” portions of the law.

    What confuses me is what exactly is the law about now for child porn. I looked up 18 U.S.C. § 2252A and in it I still see "or appears to be" in part (6) of the law.

    So, what is the correct answer to this law. Are images of people, who are or above the age of 18, who may appear to be seen as underage to some, illegal? Or is it just images of minors that are illegal?

    Also, I read somewhere else that the community you live in can make a decision as to what is seen as child porn or offensive and whats not, even if the person in the picture is 18 years old age or above?

    Could someone clear this up, its very confusing. Thanks.

    Also, the state this pertains to is Utah, if that makes a difference.
  2. #2
    ErinGoBragh is offline Senior Member
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    I'll be brief, but this is my understanding of the law:

    ANY underage visual depictions are considered to be pornography. This includes real child pornography- where the person is under the age of 18- or say 3d porn/hentai where there are sexual depictions of those under 18, is illegal.

    Also, making a pornographic movie/image with an 18 year old but saying it's a 16 year old in the plot is illegal. Just having a younger looking girl (like someone who's 18 years old but looks say 15 or 16) is not in and of itself illegal.

    I'm not sure about individual jurisdictions; although it would make sense that certain municipalities can make their own laws and ban what they want.
  3. #3
    JT04 is offline Junior Member
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    Yeah, but the thingy is, if the Supreme court strikes down a law, I would assume the states can't go making a law that goes right in the face of that judgment. Right?

    Also, if she took out the words “appears to be” and “conveys the impression”, or at least said they did (because the Supreme Court ruled it to be unconstitutional), wouldn't that basically mean that only pictures or porno of people under the age of 18 would be illegal? I would assume this law would be more straight forward than a vague pick and choose.
  4. #4
    Ozark_Sophist is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by JT04 View Post
    Yeah, but the thingy is, if the Supreme court strikes down a law, I would assume the states can't go making a law that goes right in the face of that judgment. Right?

    Also, if she took out the words “appears to be” and “conveys the impression”, or at least said they did (because the Supreme Court ruled it to be unconstitutional), wouldn't that basically mean that only pictures or porno of people under the age of 18 would be illegal? I would assume this law would be more straight forward than a vague pick and choose.
    The answer to your first question is states do that frequently. It is part of the reason the SC is not decided big issues that effect large populations. This session the Court heard one case that would only effect one person. States redraft a law that has been struck down in an attempt to make it pass constitutional muster.

    The legislature drafts the law. Courts interpret, and in some cases, strikes down the law. This is why reading only the statute is complicated and fails to give an accurate description of the working of the law. I believe your second assumption is more in line with the current status of child pornography laws.
  5. #5
    ErinGoBragh is offline Senior Member
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    I revoke my previous statement.

    It says at [url]http://www.cyber-rights.org/reports/uscases.htm:[/url]

    "Pseudo-Photographs

    None of the US federal or state laws deal with so called pseudo-photographs. It is not illegal to create or possess pornographic images of children by means of computers. Child Pornography Prevention Act 1995 (HR n.a., section 1237) sponsored by Sen. Hatch (R-UT), Abraham (R-MI), Grassley (R-IA), and Thurmond (R-SC) was introduced to criminalize material that depicts children engaging in sexually-explicit conduct whether or not the material was produced with children or entirely without computer. The Bill is in the judiciary committee (September 1995).

    Pseudo-photographs will be subject to the Miller obscenity test and other federal laws dealing with obscenity but not child pornography. It will be up to the defendant to prove that the creation of the pictures did not involve minors. "

    and
    "The US Supreme Court has overthrown a congressional ban on virtual paedophilia. It ruled the First Amendment protects pornography or other sexual images that only appear to depict real children engaged in sex. The judgment is a victory for both pornographers and legitimate artists such as filmmakers. They argued that a broad ban on simulated child sex could make it a crime to depict a sex scene like those in the recent movies Traffic or Lolita. The law was challenged by a trade association for pornographers.

    It barred sexually explicit material that "appear(s) to be a minor" or that is advertised in a way that "conveys the impression" that a minor was involved in its creation. The law was Congress' answer to then-emerging computer technology that allowed the computer alteration of innocent images of real children, or the creation from scratch of simulated children posed in sexual acts. The law was an expansion of existing bans on child pornography. Congress had justified the wider ban on grounds that while no real children were harmed in creating the material, real children could be harmed by feeding the prurient appetites of paedophiles or child molesters. The Free Speech Coalition, the pornographers' trade group, said it opposes child pornography but that the law could snare legitimate, if unsavoury, films and photos produced by its members. The group did not challenge a section of the law that banned the use of identifiable children in computer-altered sexual images. The Clinton and Bush administrations defended the law in court."

    Lots more great info at that site, I apologize for my inaccuracy before.

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