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Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996

Lobbying organization for the porn industry

“…in 2002, the Free Speech Coalition (the lobbying organization for the porn industry) worked to change the 1996 Child Pornography Prevention Act that prohibited any image that ‘is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct’. Arguing that the words, ‘appear to be’ limited the free speech of the pornographers, the coalition successfully got this ‘limitation’ removed. The law was thus narrowed to cover only those images in which an actual person (rather than one who appears to be) under the age of 18 was involved in the making of the porn. Thus the path was cleared for the porn industry to use either computer-generated images of children or real porn performers who, although 18 or over, are childified to look much younger.”

Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray (EDs) Big Porn, Inc: Exposing the Harms of the Global Pornography Industry (2011) “The New Lolita: Pornography and the Sexualization of Childhood” by Gail Dines, page 3, Spinifex Press

According to WikiPedia,

The Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA) was a United States federal law to restrict child pornography on the internet, including virtual child pornography.

Before 1996, Congress defined child pornography with reference to the Ferber standard. In New York v. Ferber, 458 U.S. 747 (1982), the Supreme Court held that the government could restrict the distribution of child pornography to protect children from the child sexual abuse harm inherent in making it. In Osborne v. Ohio, 495 U.S. 103 (1990), the Ferber proscription was extended by the Court to the mere possession of child pornography.

The Child Pornography Prevention Act added two categories of speech to the definition of child pornography. The first prohibited “any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture” that “is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” In Ashcroft case, the Court observed that this provision “captures a range of depictions, sometimes called ‘virtual child pornography,’ which include computer-generated images, as well as images produced by more traditional means.”

The second prohibited “any sexually explicit image that was advertised, promoted, presented, described, or distributed in such a manner that conveys the impression it depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

The Supreme Court struck down CPPA in 2002 in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition as a violation of the First Amendment for being overly broad.

According to the author of ST3, the Supreme Court that struck down the CPPA were morally bankrupt to allow the chipping away of the CPPA “appears to be” benefiting pornographer and other perps.

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