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Is a text sex story that involves kids considered child porn?
September 25, 2006 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Are stories (text) about children engaging in adult-only activities (and I don't mean paying their taxes) considered child pornography?

At risk of becoming an enabler, I stumbled onto quite a number of sites that are in plain view and unhidden, per se, that describe such events taking place, and apparently have been on the net for quite a considerable time. How can these sites be allowed to remain in existence -- foreign servers, perhaps?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Assuming you're an American, no, such stories are not illegal here. If my assumption is wrong then your mileage may vary.

In the US, the First Amendment generally protects speech and publication of all sorts. The child pornography "exception" to the First Amendment includes only pictorial material, videos, etc. - not textual fiction, which by definition is a product of the imagination and thus does not require the exploitation of an actual child to produce. In theory it is possible for textual material to be adjudged "obscene" and thus excluded from legal protection under the First Amendment, and this has happened in the past, but to the best of my knowledge no such prohibition has been upheld in at least forty years, and I doubt any textual material could be banned under the obscenity exception under current First Amendment thinking. Other First Amendment exceptions such as libel, threat, etc. don't obviously apply here.

These sites are allowed to remain in existence because what they're doing - publishing fictional stories about activities which would be illegal if they happened, and which a vast majority of people would consider immoral and disgusting if the stories were true - is not illegal.
posted by jaed at 8:40 AM on September 26, 2006


They're legal for the same reason that stories about doing drugs, stories about committing murder, and stories about robbing banks are legal. The fact that something is illegal (or immoral) to do does not mean that it's illegal (or immoral) to talk or write about doing it. In the US, such speech is protected by the First Amendment, and in many other countries, it's protected by constitution or statute.

However, if you write on your website under your real name, "I molested my son last night," and a cop or government official sees it, that's likely to be considered probable cause for a warrant to search your home, and it's very likely to result in a visit from your state's child welfare agency, who will want to interview your children (and possibly other people in your life) to determine whether your writings are fact or fiction.
posted by decathecting at 4:26 PM on September 28, 2006


UPDATE: Apparently the FBI disagrees with our definition of free speech.
posted by decathecting at 7:27 AM on September 29, 2006


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