1997-07-15 - Re: Making Imaginary Sex Illegal

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From: Martin Janzen <janzen@idacom.hp.com>
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Message Hash: f80df3fa636526a364ce1be1078c1bc6f0a14929adad75436bb69b3280e0c8c2
Message ID: <9707151736.AA27385@sabel.idacom.hp.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1997-07-15 17:44:35 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 01:44:35 +0800

Raw message

From: Martin Janzen <janzen@idacom.hp.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 01:44:35 +0800
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Subject: Re: Making Imaginary Sex Illegal
Message-ID: <9707151736.AA27385@sabel.idacom.hp.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Alan Olsen writes:
> http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/5153.html

> Making Imaginary Sex Illegal

> by Ashley Craddock
> 12:05pm  14.Jul.97.PDT Is there such a thing as child porn which doesn't
> involve children? Logic would say no, but adherence to the rules of
> reason has never been a hallmark of the United States Congress,
> particularly when it comes to hot-button issues like child protection.
> [...]

It's even less of a hallmark of the Canadian government; we've had this
sort of thing for a while.  From the Electronic Frontier Canada archives:

>1. R. v. Pecciarich (sentencing) [1995] O.J. No. 2238
>        http://www.efc.ca/pages/law/court/R.v.Pecciarich-sentence.html
>   This summarizes the penalty (2 years probation, with various conditions)
>   given to Canada's first person convicted of computerized kiddie porn.

Apparently he was convicted on obscenity charges for scanning in and
modifying pictures from department store catalogs.  However, he was
acquitted of distribution because it couldn't be proven that he did the
actual uploading.  (The lesson being, don't digitally sign all of your
outgoing traffic automatically?)

>2. Lawyer's Weekly - Pecciarich case
>        http://www.efc.ca/pages/media/lawyers-weekly.23jun95.html
>   Here's what the lawyer's said amongst themselves about
>   the Pecciarich decision.

tzeruch@ceddec.com, or maybe nobody@mars.ceddec.com, writes:
>If "computer-simulated" images are legal, how can you tell that it is
>computer simulated?  Everyone will then claim to be a talented artist, or
>use reverse aging algorithms on adult porn photos, or [...]

That's a good point, and will almost certainly come up in someone's
defence arguments sooner or later.

The cypherpunkish answer, I believe, would be to say that images of any
sort should not be illegal, but the means by which they were produced
may be.  In other words, do what you want on your computer, as long as
you leave real kids alone.

Of course, actual laws on the subject will bear no resemblance to the
CPish solution...