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Child Pornography

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I am definitely of the belief that child pornography is not only morally wrong, but should be illegal. However, should someone who freely obtains child porn be considered a criminal? He has not initiated force against anyone. He hasn't gotten the pornography through commercials means, so we can't say he is supplying the means for it to continue. He is merely looking at it.

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I would think the act of seeking or possessing child pornography would be considered participation. Since the production of it is a disgusting act of coercion and force, one would have an obligation to at least notify the police that this is going on if not to try and stop it oneself. I think in that respect it could be considered illegal to possess child pornography even if obtained freely. Reporting crime is as necessary in a rational society as not doing criminal acts.

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However, should someone who freely obtains child porn be considered a criminal?

The material was produced by victimizing a child, and unlike with buying or accepting stolen goods, accepting child porn is automatically a criminal act because the person accepting it does know that he's accepting the product of illegal activity (the product of child slavery, something "stolen" from a child, if you will).

Even accepting stolen goods would be considered a criminal act, if the person was aware they were stolen. One case where it shouldn't be criminal is if the age of the victim is thought to be above 18. There was a famous case with a movie of an underage porn actress (a long time ago, she became a legitimate actress since then), wish I'd remember the name. I'm not at home, so searching for it might not be the best idea.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Traci Lords. She made cameo appearances on Married with Children and Roseanne.

Normally, completed statutory rape is a strict liability crime (doesn't matter what you thought her age was), but an attempt to commit it requires a belief that the girl is underage. I'm not sure how it works with possession child pornography. It's probably strict liability with respect to the age of the child, so long as you are aware you possess the items. But different states probably have different knowledge requirements.

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Even accepting stolen goods would be considered a criminal act, if the person was aware they were stolen. One case where it shouldn't be criminal is if the age of the victim is thought to be above 18. There was a famous case with a movie of an underage porn actress (a long time ago, she became a legitimate actress since then), wish I'd remember the name. I'm not at home, so searching for it might not be the best idea.

What about teenagers who voluntarily place their nude images/videos on the internet who are not of the age of 18? If, say, they are sharing it between each other on a medium that is not secure and it gets spread around, as inevitably it does? I had friends in high school who engaged in this activity and it got spread around the net.

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What about teenagers who voluntarily place their nude images/videos on the internet who are not of the age of 18? If, say, they are sharing it between each other on a medium that is not secure and it gets spread around, as inevitably it does? I had friends in high school who engaged in this activity and it got spread around the net.

Persons under 18 aren't qualified to make those decisions. They should be stopped as much as possible, and the adults who knowingly host or download any such pictures should be charged. As I'm sure they are.

But, obviously, the whole crackdown on "sexting", where minors are being charged with distributing child pornography for what amounts to flirting with their minor boyfriends (in private text messages), is the same over reaction on the part of puritans to anything sexual. I'm sure even the word "sexting" was made up by the media, there's no way teenagers would use something that douchy. Deterring sexual content in private messages between teenagers should be left up to the parents, not the criminal justice system.

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Persons under 18 aren't qualified to make those decisions. They should be stopped as much as possible, and the adults who knowingly host or download any such pictures should be charged. As I'm sure they are.

Now wait a second. The only reason child pornography should be made illegal under objective law is if a minor was involved in sexual acts with, or coerced by adults. Age of consent laws make sense in a limited context (although the exact age is iffy) to protect minors from being preyed upon by adults.

What wouldn't make sense would be to charge two minors with statutory raping each other, because they decided to have sex.

What makes even less sense would be to charge a person with a crime because they viewed or downloaded a file that was made without predation or coercion just because it involved a minor.

If you think I'm wrong then you need to outline whose rights are being violated, who's violating them, and the means by which they're being violated.

As it stands, pornography (regardless of age) should only be illegal if it involves an adult and a child or if there was coercion involved. Sexuality is a natural function that humans of all ages practice and explore. The problem is that social conservatives (and lawmakers) ignore that reality and think sexuality should begin at 18 -- or if they had their way, at marriage. A man should never be thrown in jail simply for looking at a picture or watching a video. Rational individuals need to challenge the social conservative's fear of sex by not supporting overly broad pornography laws and insist that any extant laws be traced to a violation of individual rights, not so called moral outrage.

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Now wait a second. The only reason child pornography should be made illegal under objective law is if a minor was involved in sexual acts with, or coerced by adults. Age of consent laws make sense in a limited context (although the exact age is iffy) to protect minors from being preyed upon by adults.

What wouldn't make sense would be to charge two minors with statutory raping each other, because they decided to have sex.

What makes even less sense would be to charge a person with a crime because they viewed or downloaded a file that was made without predation or coercion just because it involved a minor.

If you think I'm wrong then you need to outline whose rights are being violated, who's violating them, and the means by which they're being violated.

The rights of the child and of its parents are being violated, because a picture of a child is used without permission from the only people who can give that permission: the child's parents (or legal guardians). It's the same as and adult commiting statutory rape: the child's decisions don't count as consent, since it isn't able to make rational decisions.

And US government, as it stands today, isn't mandating that sexuality should begin at 18. To my knowledge, no states charge minors below their local legal age (which goes as low as 16 some places anyway) for having sex with each other, and even adults can have sex with minors under the State's legal age, as long as the minor's parents gave their consent. Obviously, without that consent, having sex with someone considered a child by objective law, is rape. Even if you somehow convince the child to not resist, without the use of threats.

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The rights of the child and of its parents are being violated, because a picture of a child is used without permission from the only people who can give that permission: the child's parents (or legal guardians). It's the same as and adult commiting statutory rape: the child's decisions don't count as consent, since it isn't able to make rational decisions.

And US government, as it stands today, isn't mandating that sexuality should begin at 18. To my knowledge, no states charge minors below their local legal age (which goes as low as 16 some places anyway) for having sex with each other, and even adults can have sex with minors under the State's legal age, as long as the minor's parents gave their consent. Obviously, without that consent, having sex with someone considered a child by objective law, is rape. Even if you somehow convince the child to not resist, without the use of threats.

What would you say if the child's parents did condone the use of the picture or movie in question? Would you still advocate for its illegality?

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What would you say if the child's parents did condone the use of the picture or movie in question? Would you still advocate for its illegality?

It depends on the picture. If it is pornography (as opposed to artistic), then yes, because it would amount to sexual abuse of a child.

On the other hand, if it's not pornography (by the narrowest definition), that's a matter of parenting, and I wouldn't know if it's right or wrong. (I have no interest in the subject, since I don't plan on becoming a parent anytime soon) It doesn't justify government intervention though, unless there's clear evidence of child abuse.

So, as a rule, child abuse should have to be proven in court (through expert testimony), but I think in the case of obvious pornography a precedent would be set pretty quickly, where it would automatically be considered child abuse.

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This issue raises the question of who has the responsibility to protect the rights of those unable to protect them themselves?

If in myself's example the parents actively (though not forcefully) encourage the child to participate in pornography for pornography's sake and even teach that sort of self-destroying sex is proper and good does anyone have the responsibility to protect the rights of the child in spite of the parents?

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