What really is, "Child Porn"?

Bob Hubbard

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Here's a question that the story in TheRegister's got me pondering.

What really is Child Porn?

Is it that picture you took of your baby in the bathtub or naked on the rug?
Some people think so. (warning, nude baby picture on article)

Is it that outting to the nudist camp?
Some think so.

Was it a naked 12 year old Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby,?
Some say it was.

Then there was the case with Jimmy Stephans, where law enforcement thought they had a slam dunk case, only to see all charges dropped.


So, what really is Child Porn, and what are simply pictures?
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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I think an officer may be best to answer that question.

I think this defination works:

Child pornography refers to sexually explicit material that involves individuals under the age of eighteen

And

the US Department of Justice recently revised their definition of "child porn" to include any image that "is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct." This is part of an effort to crack down on what the government refers to as "-virtual child pornography."

-Source:http://www.ehow.com/how_2140124_rep...ce=yahoo&utm_medium=ssp&utm_campaign=yssp_art
 
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Bob Hubbard

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I think an officer may be best to answer that question.

I disagree. In the case of Jimmy Stephans, LEO's thought they had a cut and dried case. The DA filed 900 charges, and they were all dismissed.

I do agree with the definitions you posted though, and I think the key words there are "engaging in sexually explicit conduct."

But is a photo of a 14 yr old, nude, leaning against a tree reading a book, porn, or just a photo of a nude girl reading a book?
 

JBrainard

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Well, that's the age old question, isn't it? What is obscene and what is art? There will always be debate because what is art to some is obscenity to others.
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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When I worked as a manager in a drug store we were told when processing film that any pictures with minor naked was fine if they were not touching anyone else and were not engaged in any sexual explict conduct. However I was also told to use my judgement.

I can come to an understanding of a minor in what some would call a tasteful nude has art in fact there was a book published showing such things. I here it goes for quite alot of money.

I am sure there are sites that use the artful image as a disguise in which porn and art can be blurry and becomes the choice of a judge or a jury.
 
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Bob Hubbard

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Very true. I've skimmed through a number of art books that struck me as inappropriate. I've also seen works from people considered to be master photographers, that were very controversial when done (early days of photography).

The other part of the question is, what is "explicit"? I mean, there are people out there who get turned on by a salt shaker, so it's a bit subjective.

I can see if it was in a sexual way, ie penetration, intimate contact, fluid exchanges, bodily waste, and the like. Or "spread" shots (ala Hustler) or aroused shots. Add in the obvious toys, etc.

But is something like this art or porn?
(Warning, nude photo accompanies article. Photo was on an art magazine cover, shown here). Some in Australia think it's too far. I've used the exact same pose hundreds of times on clothed children while working at Picture People.
 

JBrainard

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The other part of the question is, what is "explicit"? I mean, there are people out there who get turned on by a salt shaker, so it's a bit subjective.
I can see if it was in a sexual way, ie penetration, intimate contact, fluid exchanges, bodily waste, and the like. Or "spread" shots (ala Hustler) or aroused shots. Add in the obvious toys, etc..

Those are good points and it reminded me of something. Have you ever seen the movie "Bastard out of South Carolina?" Near the end is a scene where a 10'sh year old girl is raped. There is no nudity, penitration, etc; but you definitely know what's going on. And even though I think that in the context of the film the director had complete artistic integrity to film that scene, you know that a pedophile would totally get off on it. So, is it all in the eye of the beholder?

But is something like this art or porn?
Some in Australia think it's too far. I've used the exact same pose hundreds of times on clothed children while working at Picture People.

I would say that's art. But as you pointed out, my stating that is purely subjective, so who is to say that I'm right or wrong? The Church? The State? My own damn self?
 

celtic_crippler

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I think art done in good taste is just that; art. The problems come in when trying to set boundries on what should be considered art because art is subject to individual interpretations.

Some pictures are undoubtablly lewd and their intent is clear; however, sometimes the line isn't that clear.

A lot of folks consider any minor unclothed to be inappropriate at the very least. For example: they may not consider a black and white photo of a 14 year old draped in a see through cloth as porn, but they definately consider it inappropriate.

Then the question is "why?" Why would that be inappropriate?

Because she's a minor and not capable of making responsible decisions?

Because even though some would consider it good taste, it could illicit a less than desirable response from others that was not intended by the artist?

Because Americans are so up-tight about nudity?

Because you live in the Bible Belt?

Probably, and then some. I'm sure there are more reasons against it just as there are several points to be made that there is nothing wrong with it.

There's no doubt that obvious child porn should be illegal and the people involved should be prosecuted. Any time a child is taken advantage of, emotionally and/or physically abused it is a haneous crime indeed.

But...is a child being taken advantage of, or hurt in any way by being nude and leaning up against a tree reading a book and having their picture taken? There's the rub.
 

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To me Child Porn is that of a child being photographed in a sexual manner with the intent of conveying sexuality. A baby or even a 3 yr. old sitting naked on the living room rug just sitting there looking happy or crying or whatever but nothing that really could be construed as sexual (except by the worse of deviants) isn't porn.
I've seen photos of a nude woman holding her nude daughter of 8 close to her body in an embrace and called it art, nothing explicit was shown even the girl's breast/nipples were covered by the mother's arm and it was all above the waist. But nothing could've been interpreted as sexual... at least as I saw it. But others will.
It is a fine line but it all boils down to, I believe, with the intent of the photograph. Was the photographer intending to elicit arousal upon whomever might view it, was the photographer intentionally trying to convey sexual overtones. That is porn.
The pictures so far, to me show only naked children, the backgrounds and props are part of the photo and thus it's art for art's sake and intended to convey whatever message the photographer wanted to say.
In the case of Pretty Baby (and soon to be released film starring Dakota Fanning in a supposedly explicit rape scene http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hounddog_(film) ) Shields was wearing a body suit and the male actor (Keith Carradine) was himself wearing a flesh colored brief which covered his genitals. Again the nudity and sexuality of that cannot IMO be interpreted as Child Porn because of the intent of the story line was not to arouse it's audience but to tell a story about child prostitution in the early 1900's. Granted, the writer(s) and director could've have written/directed/shot certain scenes to imply nudity here, sexual contact there and so on but the film might have not garnered the attention and boosted Shields to stardom. But they still couldn't been interpreted as porn.

One man art is another's porn as the saying goes.
However; when it involves children then a line must be carefully drawn. What are you trying to say with that photo, what are you trying to get your audience/viewer to feel? That makes a difference, a BIG difference.
 

Gordon Nore

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But is something like this art or porn?

Interesting legal wedge, isn't it? In order for something not to be porn, does it have to be art? Just because something is art, does that mean that pedophiles are not stimulated by it, or if they are, that it doesn't count. Is it the product, or how a given person reacts to it?
 

Sukerkin

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Now that's a good and morally tangling question, Gordon.

An elaboration of it is a hypothetical picture which shows a young teenage girl (or boy) in a definitely sexually provocative context as an exploration of the concept of emerging sexual awareness. I would argue very strongly that that is art, an examination of a facet of the human condition.

But such a picture could also give 'gratification' to that segment of the population whose 'drives' are outside the norm (to phrase this politely).

It is still art as the intent with which it was made is not connected to the 'use' to which some will put it.
 

Gordon Nore

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I have an old photo (from a film camera) of my infant son being bathed in the kitchen sink. As soon as his backside hit the water, he immediately peed, so there's funny little arc of pee coming out of the sink. I don't think the picture was porn, and I sure as Hell don't think it was art. It's merely something I keep for that day he brings home the person he wants to marry. Then I show it to the grandkids.

Now that's a good and morally tangling question, Gordon.

An elaboration of it is a hypothetical picture which shows a young teenage girl (or boy) in a definitely sexually provocative context as an exploration of the concept of emerging sexual awareness. I would argue very strongly that that is art, an examination of a facet of the human condition.

But such a picture could also give 'gratification' to that segment of the population whose 'drives' are outside the norm (to phrase this politely).

It is still art as the intent with which it was made is not connected to the 'use' to which some will put it.
 
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Bob Hubbard

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i have an old photo (from a film camera) of my infant son being bathed in the kitchen sink. As soon as his backside hit the water, he immediately peed, so there's funny little arc of pee coming out of the sink. I don't think the picture was porn, and i sure as hell don't think it was art. It's merely something i keep for that day he brings home the person he wants to marry. Then i show it to the grandkids.
rofl!!!!
 

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Interesting legal wedge, isn't it? In order for something not to be porn, does it have to be art? Just because something is art, does that mean that pedophiles are not stimulated by it, or if they are, that it doesn't count. Is it the product, or how a given person reacts to it?
Porn isn't who views it... porn is who MAKES it. Again, what is the "artist's" intent with the image? A pedo can get aroused looking at a fully dressed 9 yr. old standing in the park next to the family dog holding a balloon, because in their minds they can go where they want with it. A nude photo only creates a shortcut for them leaving nothing but the act (of pedophilia ) to the imagination. Who ever took that photo may pose the child to make the short-cut even more brief via provocatively posing the child or having them do something (sexual). That is porn... same with adults who are posed naked, is the statue of David by Michelangelo porn? His gentitals are exposed he's standing in what could be a provactive stance? But that wasn't the artist's intent was it? But who ever views that can interpret it that way if they want to. Does that make it Porn? I don't think so. Same with Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" It's considered one of the finest piece of art around... yet her bare breast are exposed, she's clearly nude... is it porn? No.

I have an old photo (from a film camera) of my infant son being bathed in the kitchen sink. As soon as his backside hit the water, he immediately peed, so there's funny little arc of pee coming out of the sink. I don't think the picture was porn, and I sure as Hell don't think it was art. It's merely something I keep for that day he brings home the person he wants to marry. Then I show it to the grandkids.
That type of photo is in the catagory of family pictures which happen to capture the moment the subject was nude. Your intent wasn't to entice people with arousal with a picture of a child being involved with watersports was it? No! Of course it wasn't!
However, a pedo could look at it and via their imagination twist it to that means. But is the photo still porn? No, not in my opinion.

Yet the real question can lie with the possiblity of someone posting that picture on a real child porn site ... now does that make the picture porn? Again I don't think so because that was not the original intent of the photo, it just got twisted around to suit.
 

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Child porn is when you look to make or look to obtain child pornography. However the pic of your butt naked baby you put online because you think its cute might end up in the collection of some perv, because he thinks its hot.

I like kittens and sometimes look at youtube videos of pets, but that does not mean i am interested in bestiality in any way.
 

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I will not post the links, but Google the works of photographer Jock Sturges, or David Hamilton, amongst others.

Although controversial, what he does is generally considered to be art and not pornography.

Others have not been so lucky.

In the USA, pornography laws vary by state, and the courts have generally held that local community standards rule, so what is legal in one place may be completely illegal in another.

So child pornography, like any pornography, exists in the mind of the viewer. The difficulty is in legislating what people feel, since at the present it is still impossible to determine what's in people's nasty little minds.
 

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No clear cut answer. Speaking with another LEO from a different jurisdiction, they busted a person who had a large collection of child porn. Among them was a photo that had been altered. The original photo was of 3-4 small boys naked on the beach playing in the sand. This guy cropped the photo and enlarged it to only focus on the genitals. So again, what might be a cute family photo for one person IS another person's fantasy.

I believe, that except for obvious exploitations of children, a photo of a small naked child at the beach, for example, should be taken in the context of where it was found etc and why.

There are some people, who market their child porn as modeling pictures and get VERY close to that legal line, but are still able to fill that "niche market" and they also make LOTS of money selling access to their website for other people to look at the pictures. It is a very hard legal battle to win in cases like that. Then it goes back to CC's argument of illegal vs. inappropriate.
 

Bill Mattocks

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No clear cut answer. Speaking with another LEO from a different jurisdiction, they busted a person who had a large collection of child porn. Among them was a photo that had been altered. The original photo was of 3-4 small boys naked on the beach playing in the sand. This guy cropped the photo and enlarged it to only focus on the genitals. So again, what might be a cute family photo for one person IS another person's fantasy.

I believe, that except for obvious exploitations of children, a photo of a small naked child at the beach, for example, should be taken in the context of where it was found etc and why.

There are some people, who market their child porn as modeling pictures and get VERY close to that legal line, but are still able to fill that "niche market" and they also make LOTS of money selling access to their website for other people to look at the pictures. It is a very hard legal battle to win in cases like that. Then it goes back to CC's argument of illegal vs. inappropriate.

Now, here's the question!

Given that the intent of the viewer is operative here, what is the purpose of prosecuting a person for what they feel when they look at a particular photo that might be perfection innocent to another?

When I've asked that question in the past, I've sometimes gotten indignant answers that we're protecting children from abuse here. But if the photo in question was taken innocently and is being used inappropriately, in what way is the child being abused?

In other words, if I'm a sick little twist and I get my jollies out of looking at the photos of child models in clothing catalogs like JC Penney, in what way are the models being harmed by my illness?

Clearly there are images that are exploitative in nature. But we also seem, as a culture, to want to not just protect children, but to punish people for having 'weird' fantasies and thoughts. These laws are often attempts to do just that. Despite protestations to the contrary, we *do* care very much what people think and feel in the privacy of their own minds, and if don't care for it, we'd like to make it criminal.

And what's really odd is that our culture pushes sexuality as an important aspect of our society; we use images of younger and younger children in sexual and sensual circumstances to sell products and entertain ourselves; then we punish anyone who admits to being attracted to what we tell them they should be attracted to. Sick.
 

punisher73

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Now, here's the question!

Given that the intent of the viewer is operative here, what is the purpose of prosecuting a person for what they feel when they look at a particular photo that might be perfection innocent to another?

When I've asked that question in the past, I've sometimes gotten indignant answers that we're protecting children from abuse here. But if the photo in question was taken innocently and is being used inappropriately, in what way is the child being abused?

In other words, if I'm a sick little twist and I get my jollies out of looking at the photos of child models in clothing catalogs like JC Penney, in what way are the models being harmed by my illness?

Clearly there are images that are exploitative in nature. But we also seem, as a culture, to want to not just protect children, but to punish people for having 'weird' fantasies and thoughts. These laws are often attempts to do just that. Despite protestations to the contrary, we *do* care very much what people think and feel in the privacy of their own minds, and if don't care for it, we'd like to make it criminal.

And what's really odd is that our culture pushes sexuality as an important aspect of our society; we use images of younger and younger children in sexual and sensual circumstances to sell products and entertain ourselves; then we punish anyone who admits to being attracted to what we tell them they should be attracted to. Sick.

Most of the time, pedophiles don't stop at just looking at catalogs of kids. They actively go out and seek more and more. So while you might find a bunch of catalog pictures in their collection, you will also find alot of other pictures of exploited children. Also, stats show that for most pictures aren't enough, they have active plans to carry out their fantasies. I think that is one of the reaons why it is such a hot topic.

As to your last paragraph, I agree. Children are being exploited as sexual objects at all levels of our society for advertising purposes. I think that is wrong as well. That one I blame the parents. Look at some of those "beauty contests" where they have the little girls in make up and how they have them act. IMO, wrong.
 

Bill Mattocks

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As to your last paragraph, I agree. Children are being exploited as sexual objects at all levels of our society for advertising purposes. I think that is wrong as well. That one I blame the parents. Look at some of those "beauty contests" where they have the little girls in make up and how they have them act. IMO, wrong.

Without an audience, such things would have no draw. We are to blame - all of us. One has only to listen to the water-cooler talk about whatever the jailbait-du-jour is and her latest wardrobe malfunction or other 'adult' act committed to know that.

We're a culture of very very sick people, judging by our response to those we catch acting out on what apparently most of us like.
 

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