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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » What constitutes as child pornography?

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Author Topic: What constitutes as child pornography?
Atonement
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A discussion on another forum sparked my curiosity, and I figured you guys would be the best people to ask.

The person asked if it still applied if it was fictional written erotica.

I wondered if this was true, because I have in the past come across some erotic fanfiction (just words, no photos or illustrations) involving characters in the 16-17 age range. It never before occured to me that these could be considered that.

So, are these stories wrong/illegal in the US?

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Atonement
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Also, another question I forgot to add:

What about all those naked baby pictures that parents (used to?) take? Are they illegal?

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JamsessionVT
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The definition of child pornography is almost always (in my experience) visually based. The freedom of the press and freedom of written expression laws in the United States prevents erotic fiction sans illustrations from being prosecutable.

I highly, highly doubt any family-owned pictures of young nude children are prosecutable or illegal. Generally speaking, these aren't sexual in any way, the children are not posed in sexual positions or shown in inappropriate situations, and the photos aren't being used to arouse or elicit a sexual response.

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Abbie
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Felixosaurus
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A little OT, but a good exploration of the issues raised above, and how a community can reactis the Documentary "Capturing the Freidmans"

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Green iPod
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This is something I'm curious about. Someone on another forum I visited posted something about a music album called 'The Virgin Killer' the cover art is a prepubescent girl with an image like broken glass covering her genitals. From what I read about it the girl and her mother agreed to do the photo and the mother was present the whole time. A friend of mine said the circumstances didn't matter that it was wrong. I disagree. It wasn't really sexual and if no one was forced or made uncomfortable I don't see the problem.

If there is a picture of a child naked and it isn't sexual, why is it wrong? It goes into my ponderings of why TV censors naked children. So many say children aren't sexual, but if it needs to be censored doesn't that mean it sexual? Aren't they saying a naked child is sexual? Even if they are just running around the yard or playing in the kiddie pool? Maybe this all just goes into society saying nudity is bad and you should be ashamed.

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Heather
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Talking about whether something is legal is different from talking about whether something is wrong. Wrong is arbitrary, and about opinion. Legality is not arbitrary.

We can't really speak to what is wrong or right here in general, because that's opinion. If you're asking me, personally, nudity being considered pornography or automatically sexual is deeply problematic. However, when we start talking about someone else making a profit or distributing an image -- the album cover vs. home photos of kids in the pool, that gets trickier, esp. since a child or prepubescent likely can't make sound decisions per knowing how a nude image of them distributed widely could impact their whole life.

But we certainly can discuss the law if you like.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Green iPod
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The law is very vague. Like the OP mentioned what is and isn't legally? Sexual images of course it mentions, but stories? Cartoon images? Drawings? Some people think that the drawings/cartoons/stories should be illegal (unsure if they are) because it promotes pedophilia or means its okay and even sometimes that its harmful to children even though it doesn't involve children.

And legally, as I've seen in the news teens sending each other naked pictures and getting charged with child pornography possession, I don't see how those two are related at all or are anywhere near the same thing?

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Heather
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I wouldn't say the law is vague, but it's certainly broad.

And there are very different standards for illustrations as there are for photographs.

In short, in the US, the law when it comes to child pornography and photographs is effectively this: if someone is a legal minor, and there is an image or film created and possessed distributed in any way that depicts sexually explicit activities (people are having sex or masturbating, or genitals are shown) involving them it's child pornography and child sexual abuse.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00002256----000-.html

With the naked pics by phone, of those images are sexually explicit, that would fall under those statutes: those people are minors, those images were made and distributed.

Per how the law is constructed, it has a lot to do with if a real individual is potentially or actually harmed. Thus, illustrations get somewhat different treatment unless someone used a live model, or a photo of an actual minor as reference. Stories are something different altogether, and rarely fall under these laws at all.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Dusky
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Legality can also come down to context and presentation.

If you distribute your story through the internet, you'll be subject to the terms of service of whichever host you use. Most hosts have a blanket ban on erotic content including minors even in fictional form not because it's illegal, but because the people providing the service want to cover themselves as well as they can.

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Stephanie_1
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Dusky: We ask users to please answer the more recent posts. It's great to see you have some rly good things to add to conversations, but all of the posts you've replied to have been months old, and not likely something the original poster needs anymore. When we bring up old posts like this it covers new posts that may still need discussed/ answered. Thanks!

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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Dusky
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Just because the original poster doesn't "need" the information doesn't mean another member won't read and use it.

It is good forum etiquette to search for your subject before you make a new topic, so there aren't fifteen hundred topics about the same thing. It makes the forum easier to moderate, too.

I'm somewhat confused by the implication that this topic doesn't still need to be discussed. I was under the impression that this community welcomed discussion.

Your thoughts - that replying to old topics gets in the way of you seeing new topics - seem very regressive to me. Rather than putting in a little more effort to see the newer topics, you'd prefer to shut up the members of your site and prevent open discussion about these issues?

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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(Hey, Dusky. Per the guidelines, this kind of response/complaint is best managed in email. Can you use the contact link below? I'd be glad to discuss this with you.

Just another FYI, Scarleteen is intended and funded primarily for people under 25, so we ask that older adults try and make sure they're kind of playing second fiddle and not using too much of our time or energy so that we can focus on the teens and young adults here, okay?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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