Saturday, May 23, 2009

Child Pornography?

Read the news article here

What is child pornography? Is it ever acceptable to produce and/or distribute child pornography? If an image/video is not considered by authorities to be child pornography when produced, should it ever be classified as such? If an image isn't considered by LEA to be serious enough to prosecute the producer and/or distributor, should anyone be able to be prosecuted for possessing it?

These questions are just some that were raised in my mind when reading the story linked to above. So, what is child pornography? Well, it appears if you asked 50 people that question you'd get 50 different answers. To me, it's very simple. Would the image in question be considered pornographic if the person/people in it were adults? If the answer is yes, the image in question is pornography. If the answer is no, it isn't. If the image has thus been established as pornography, the next question to ask is whether any of the participants are children. If the answer to that is also yes, the image in question is child pornography. Is this approach simplistic? Possibly, but that doesn't make it wrong. It certainly helps remove many of the grey areas that currently obfuscate the issue. The blurred line that sometimes exists between art and porn remains but is much easier to deal with by taking this approach.

So, back to the article that initiated this train of thought. The footage in question was of two 13yo students performing a sex act and was filmed by another boy from their school. Would this video be considered pornographic if it were of two adults? Obviously the answer is yes. Is there a child or children participating in the video? Again, the answer is yes. Therefore, there can be no question that this is child pornography. Bear in mind there are people in the USA facing charges of producing child pornography for running a website in which the children were clothed and not involved in any sort of sexual activity, so if this is the standard being applied I don't see how the video referred to in the news article can be seen as anything but hard core child pornography.

So this then brings us to the next pertinent questions. Should the person who filmed the sex act and distributed the child pornography be charged? Or is it acceptable to produce and distribute child pornography if you're a child yourself? We charge children with murder so why not with producing and distributing kiddie porn? Is it not considered a serious enough crime to charge them? What if a 60 year old person is found with the video on his/her computer? Should that person be charged with possessing child pornography when the video in question wasn't considered serious enough to charge the person who made it? What if the boy who filmed the sex act made money out of his distribution? Does that really change things when most of the child pornography in circulation is made and distributed without anyone making a cent?

There are a lot of issues that this story raises and I don't pretend to have all of the answers. I'm certainly interested to hear what others think.

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8 comments:

WarpedOhio said...

After reading the article it seems like Australia is not as willing to ruin the lives of teens for doing inappropriate stuff as Americans do. Here in America we can label kids as young as age 6 as sexually deviant.

Lyra Silvertongue said...

Pictures are a form of communication thus pictures are protected under the first constitutional amendment in the U.S.A..

Voice of Reason said...

Thanks for your contribution WO. So what is your opinion on the questions posed? I know from previous posts that you don't agree with teenagers being charged with any sort of sex crimes but I'd be interested to read what you think about the other issues.

Voice of Reason said...

Lyra - Whilst I understand what you're saying, I can't see any courts in the USA viewing kiddie porn as protected by the constitution.

Lyra Silvertongue said...

Voice of Reason said...

Lyra - Whilst I understand what you're saying, I can't see any courts in the USA viewing kiddie porn as protected by the constitution.

That it is protected speech is a starting point whether the courts agree that it is is a different matter. How often is it said in news releases that the most recent conviction for child porn was the worst offense of them all the pictures more disturbing than ever before rather like every conviction breaks a new record in child porn filth. As to what qualifies for child porn you couldn't get more vague than lewd and lascivious. It seems the law is usually simply deemed whatever the jury thinks is sexually stimulating to the defendant is child porn. That minors are being prosecuted both as victim and victimizer in cases involving child pornography says something about the true purpose of the law.

Lyra Silvertongue said...

Had to add this. The unique nature of banned images makes it near imposable for people to know what is and what isn't being prosecuted. Those images not prosecuted maybe to borderline and thus subject to be used some other prosecutors case and those deemed child porn are illegal to share. As to the content of said images the public is often lead to believe they contain horrifying scenes and the public could know no different because they are not allowed to look. The public gets to see the type of evidence used in other cases such as blood, bones, dead, bodies, weapons, surveillance video, etc. but not the very mysterious cases of child porn.

Voice of Reason said...

I completely agree with your point about the definition of child porn being far too ambiguous. A picture is either pornographic or it isn't. To have juries trying to read the minds of the accused in order to determine their thinking when viewing an image is ludicrous and leads to the ridiculous situation we have where a photo of a fully clothed person engaged in no sexual activity can be considered pornographic.

I also appreciate your point about the level of trust we're being able asked to place in the authorities. To me, it's very similar to the secrecy around any charges in the war of terror. We're being told to put complete faith in the authorities and blindly believe everything they tell us. And, in the same way that anyone anyone who challenges the Patriot Act is accused of bordering on treason, anyone who challenges or questions the kiddie porn laws is accused of being a paedophile. It's just another tactic to stifle open debate as no-one wants to be falsely accused of being something they're not (... not that there's anything wrong with that... lol)

Torchic Maniac said...

Yeah, it is simple about what child porn is. I agree with you on that. It gets more gray when you add in nudity though since some people believe anything with nudity in it can be sexual. Some of the stuff can be artistic too, but that's subjective. That article you posted made me wonder about teen sex problem in the U.S. I mean, teens can't be jailed if they have sex with each other, but if they have videotape it, they could be sex offenders. Yeah, I heard about the stories of young sex offenders and it seems creepy that we are charging children or teens as sexually deviant. It makes a lot of gray area in this issue and I think it is cause by the fear of paedosexuals (since I guess people believe that those people are coming into future rapists/padeosexuals).