Simulated child pornography
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Simulated child pornography is defined as child pornography depicting what appear to be minors but which is produced without the direct involvement of children being abused in the production process itself.
Types of simulated child pornography include: modified photographs of real children, non-minor teenagers made to look younger (age regression), and fully computer-generated imagery or adults made to look like children. Drawings or animations that depict sexual acts involving children but are not intended to look like photographs may also be considered by some to be simulated child pornography.
Virtual child pornography
In the United States, the PROTECT Act of 2003 made significant changes to the law regarding virtual child pornography. Any realistic appearing computer generated depiction that is indistinguishable from a depiction of an actual minor in sexual situations or engaging in sexual acts is illegal under 18 U.S.C. § 2252A. Drawings, cartoons, sculptures, and paintings of minors in sexual situations that do not pass the Miller test were made illegal under 18 U.S.C. § 1466A.
In Germany, possession of virtual images is punishable by up to five years in prison. In the Australian state of Victoria, it is illegal to publish imagery that "describes or depicts a person who is, or appears to be, a minor engaging in sexual activity or depicted in an indecent sexual manner or context". The allowance of virtual child pornography in the U.S. has had international consequences. For example, French virtual child pornography producers have moved their "'wares' to servers in the United States because of its wider free speech protection," (Eko).
The hentai subgenres known as lolicon and shotacon have been the subject of much controversy regarding impact on child sexual abuse. The reported link between the use of child pornography and child abuse has been used to justify the prohibition of sexual depictions of children, whether their production involves child abuse or not.
Pornographic parody images of popular cartoon characters, known as Rule 34 have also been challenged around the world. Images depicting The Simpsons characters have been of particular concern in Australia and in the United States.
Second Life controversy
In 2007, the virtual world online computer game Second Life banned what its operator describes as "sexual 'ageplay', i.e., depictions of or engagement in sexualized conduct with avatars that resemble children". The ban prohibits the use of childlike avatars in any sexual contexts or areas, and prohibits the placement of sexualized graphics or other objects in any "children's areas" such as virtual children's playgrounds within the game environment. Those Second Life residents who are caught ageplaying are given this warning:
“Dear Second Life Resident: Linden Lab would like to inform you that your land or business is possibly not in compliance with Second Life’s Community Standards. The depiction of sexual activity involving minors may violate real-world laws in some areas, and the Second Life community as a whole has made it clear that it views such behavior to be broadly offensive. Linden Lab chooses not to allow the advertising or promotion of age play or related activities in any public forum — including in-world textures, classified ads, the Second Life forums, or parcel descriptions. Advertisements, promotions, or descriptions of such activities must be removed to avoid account sanctions. Any account asserting an age that does not meet Second Life’s minimum age of eligibility will be closed.” (Duranske 2008).
Second Life is not the only community facing virtual child pornography allegations. In 2007, World of Warcraft banned the player organization “Abhorrent Taboo”, because the organization allowed players/characters to engage sexually with role-playing children and real children. (Duranske 2007).
- Virtueel filmpje geldt ook als porno, AD, March 11, 2008
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- "Fact Sheet PROTECT Act". Department of Justice. April 30, 2003.
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- Benjamin Duranske (May 23, 2008). "New Supreme Court Opinion Discusses Virtual Child Pornography Law; Linden Lab’s 2007 Ban Clarified".
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- Eko, Lyombe. "Regulation of Computer-generated virtual Child Pornography under American and French Jurisprudence: One Country’s Protected “Speech” is another’s Harmful Smut." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Marriott Hotel, San Diego, CA, May 27, 2003 Online <.PDF>. 2009-12-04 Retrieved from