Simulated pornography is defined as a small fraction of pornography involving minors that is produced without the direct involvement of children in the production process itself. It is a significant legal issue surrounding the criminalization of child pornography.
Forms of such pornography
Forms of such pornography include: modified photographs of real children, non-minor teenagers made to look younger (age regression), and fully computer-generated imagery or adults made to look like children. Drawings or animations that depict sexual acts involving children but are not intended to look like photographs may also be considered by some to be child pornography.
An example of this is the hentai sub genre known as lolicon, which has been the subject of much controversy regarding impact on child sexual abuse  The reported link between the use of child pornography and child abuse has been used to justify the prohibition of sexual depictions of children, whether their production involves child abuse or not.
Virtual child pornography
Realistic virtual child pornography is legal in the United States unless it is also judged to be "obscene" under a Miller test: prurient, patently offensive, and lacking serious value. In Germany, it is punishable by up to five years in prison. In the Australian state of Victoria, it is illegal to publish imagery that "describes or depicts a person who is, or appears to be, a minor engaging in sexual activity or depicted in an indecent sexual manner or context". This has been recently tested with Simpsons images. The allowance of virtual child pornography in the U.S. has had international consequences. For example, French virtual child pornography producers have moved their "'wares' to servers in the United States because of its wider free speech protection," (Eko).
Arguments for simulated child pornography
1. Virtual child pornography could reduce specific child abuse.
2. Virtual child pornography could decrease the illegal child pornography market.
This argument implies that because virtual child pornography is legal it will act to substitute illegal child sexual images, because the legal costs of virtual child pornography are much lower.
3. It is a "victimless crime".
As no real children are involved in the production of Virtual child pornography, it is argued that no harm has been done.
Second Life controversy
In 2007, the virtual world online computer game Second Life banned what its operator describes as "sexual 'ageplay', i.e., depictions of or engagement in sexualized conduct with avatars that resemble children". The ban prohibits the use of child-like avatars in any sexual contexts or areas, and prohibits the placement of sexualized graphics or other objects in any "children's areas" such as virtual children's playgrounds within the game environment. Those Second Life residents who are caught ageplaying are given this warning:
“Dear Second Life Resident: Linden Lab would like to inform you that your land or business is possibly not in compliance with Second Life’s Community Standards. The depiction of sexual activity involving minors may violate real-world laws in some areas, and the Second Life community as a whole has made it clear that it views such behavior to be broadly offensive. Linden Lab chooses not to allow the advertising or promotion of age play or related activities in any public forum — including in-world textures, classified ads, the Second Life forums, or parcel descriptions. Advertisements, promotions, or descriptions of such activities must be removed to avoid account sanctions. Any account asserting an age that does not meet Second Life’s minimum age of eligibility will be closed.” (Duranske 2008).
Second Life is not the only community facing virtual child pornography allegations. In 2007, World of Warcraft banned the guild “Abhorrent Taboo”, because the guild allowed avatars to engage sexually with role-playing minors and real minors. (Duranske 2007).
- Child pornography
- Child pornography laws in Canada
- Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 of the United States
- Legal status of cartoon pornography depicting minors
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