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Joseph is interested in child pornography and often searches the Internet for pictures of children engaged in sexual activity. One evening, Joseph downloads a piece of "virtual child pornography," which is completely computer generated and does not involve the use of child actors. Has Joseph committed a crime? Why or why not? What if the video involved 18-year-old actors who physically appeared to be only 14 years old?
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Criminal Law (Justice Series)
Edition: 2nd
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In New York v. Ferber, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that child pornography is not protected by the First Amendment. In upholding a New York law that prohibited people from distributing materials depicting children engaged in sexual activity. Does this decision hold when the pornography is computer generated and/or the actors are adults acting as minors? In 2003, the so-called PROTECT Act (which stands for Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today) was passed. It prohibits pandering "any material or purported material in a manner that reflects the belief, or that is intended to cause another to believe" that the material is illegal child pornography. Both computer generated videos and videos of adults acting as a child meet the definition of prohibited material as they reflect the belief that the material is child pornography.
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