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Monday, April 23, 2007

Can it be? The United States is more liberal than Canada on child pornography?

Terry Stein is the editor of the Sexuality Research and Social Policy Journal of the NSRC.

Well, maybe not, but at least the Supreme Court seemed to use some sensible logic when it made a distinction between simulated and real child pornography on the Internet. Remarkably, Justice Clarence Thomas, in the case Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, actually wrote the majority opinion denying the government's right to place prohibitions on virtual child pornography.

Thus, according to authors Mark McClelland and Seunghyun Yoo, "it is unconstitutional in the United States to prohibit the possession and distribution of child pornography when the images are purely fictional, because such a ban would violate an individual’s First Amendment right to free speech." Canada and some states in Australia do prohibit such portrayals.

McClelland and Yoo discuss this finding in their article in the new issue of Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC, "The International Yaoi Boys’ Love Fandom and the Regulation of Virtual Child Pornography: The Implications of Current Legislation." Yaoi is a depiction of fictional, so called beautiful boys online, which is enjoyed by a predominantly female group of fans who view this Japanese genre online. The article discusses the implications of child pornography legislation world wide on yaoi and other forms of virtual child pornography, which consists of "purely fictional images and textual representations of young people defined as minors." Check out the article's abstract here or view the whole article in volume 4 issue 1 of the journal, available for purchase here.


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