The service Shouse California Law Group published an article describing the legality of consumption of loli-related material in the United States. It’s not However, because they are a global reference in many respects, US laws probably serve as a basis for the rest of the world. According to the legal group, possession of “loli content” illegal if two requirements are met:
- First of all, anime’s portrayal of an underage person is obscene or has no serious value.
- Second, the product was transmitted by mail, Internet or common carrier; transported across state lines; or if there are indications that the holder intends to distribute or sell it.
For the rest, simple possession of loli material is not illegal under federal law. But if someone owns a lot of loli material, prosecutors are likely to infer that they intend to sell or distribute it. And unless the defendant created the loli images themselves, it could be easy for prosecutors to prove that the defendant obtained the material over the Internet or through the mail.
Different states and countries have taken very different approaches to the subject of loli and manga. Some criminalize it as pedophilia, while others do not want to infringe on freedom of speech. In the United States, federal law prohibits the possession of child pornography. Following the passage of the Fiscal Remedies and Other Tools to End Child Labor Act of 2003, also known as the Protection Act of 2003, child pornography includes any indecent image depicting an identifiable minor.
The PROTECT Act was passed after a Supreme Court case that held that online child pornography was protected by free speech under the First Amendment, as long as it was not obscene. A key component of this sentence is that since pornography was not a visual depiction of an actual child, it was a victimless crime.
After this case, Congress passed the Protection Act to prohibit virtual child pornography that is obscene and transmitted by a common carrier, transported across state lines, or in a quantity indicating intent to distribute.
At least one person in the United States has been charged with possession of pornographic material transported in interstate commerce under the PROTECT Act. In 2008, Christopher Handley pleaded guilty to obscenity and child pornography charges after purchasing pornographic manga. He was sentenced to 6 months in prison, but was not required to register as a sex offender. He faced up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Some countries, such as the UK, have obscenity laws that make it a crime to possess pornographic images of children under the age of 18, even if they are not photographs or show real children. In other countries, such as Germany, fictional depictions of child sex acts are not a crime. Because that content is not from real life and does not show real people or real minors in overt behavior, it is protected by free speech laws.
Common law loophole
For example, California’s child pornography laws do not expressly cover lolis or manga that depict minors in sexual activity. California statutes prohibit the possession of child pornography, and the law defines child pornography as material that “depicts a person under the age of 18 personally engaging in or simulating sexual behavior.”
The California Court of Appeals ruled that this means that the representation must be of an “actual minor”. This means that anime and cartoon pictures of minors engaging in sexual acts do not violate the law as long as the law defines child pornography the same as California.
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