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From Peer-to-Peer Networks to Cloud Computing: How Technology Is Redefining Child Pornography Laws

Audrey Rogers

Pace University - School of Law

February 16, 2012

Child pornography circulating in cyberspace has ballooned into the millions. To punish this flood, the law must accurately delineate culpable conduct. Technology such as peer-to-peer networks has erased the divisions among traders of child pornography, and, therefore, the differentials in punishment have lost their underpinnings. The current sentencing controversy surrounding child pornographers is merely the tip of the iceberg of the larger need to revamp the offenses themselves.

This paper provides a framework for a normative critique of the offenses and their sentences. It suggests the law could better reflect technology by comporting with a refined harm rationale that rests on the fundamental injury to the victim’s dignity and privacy. Drawing on comparisons to diverse laws such as the Geneva Convention’s ban on photographs of prisoners of war, this paper states all traders in child pornography violate the rights of the children depicted and therefore inflict harm, albeit at different levels. Accordingly, the paper proposes three categories: producers, traders, and seekers of child pornography with base sentences varying accordingly. Starting at the same base level, the Sentencing Commission could then propose enhancements or departures to distinguish among the traders and their individual culpability.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 41

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Date posted: February 18, 2012 ; Last revised: March 13, 2014

Suggested Citation

Rogers, Audrey, From Peer-to-Peer Networks to Cloud Computing: How Technology Is Redefining Child Pornography Laws (February 16, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2006664 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2006664

Contact Information

Audrey Rogers (Contact Author)
Pace University - School of Law ( email )
78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States
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