Childless Child Porn - A ‘Victimless’ Crime? A Comparative Analysis of the Validity of the Current Restrictions in the United Kingdom and United States on Virtual Child Pornography in Relation to the Right to Free Speech
Jacqueline Helen Kingston Byberg
Durham University - Law School
July 20, 2012
This paper will comment on the current prohibition of the (arguably) victimless crime of virtual child pornography (VCP) in both the US and UK and it’s interaction with the right to free speech. This paper is limited in it’s scope and will only discuss in passing the offence of prohibited images of a child, nor will it consider in anyway images that are a product of computer morphing, in which a physical element of a child is ‘morphed’ into an indecent image. The forthcoming discourse will contend that the current prohibition of VCP is an unjustifiable violation of the right to free speech, through the consideration of the practical and theoretical validity of the justifications for this prohibition. Furthermore, it will consider the possible advantages of restricting rather than prohibiting VCP. In order to achieve this the first chapter will briefly examine the development of the law regulating actual child pornography and the current legislation governing VCP in both the US and UK. The first chapter will also succinctly make note of the parallels that become evident when comparing the individual jurisdictional responses to VCP. The second chapter considers the right of free speech operationally in the US and UK, the legislative clarity of VCP’s current categorisation as obscene or indecent and the impact both this and private consumption has on the justifiability and adjudged proportionality of the prohibition. The third chapter will consider the prevailing justifications habitually referenced when defending the contravention of the right to free speech caused by the statutory prohibition of VCP. The fourth chapter will explore the interactions of the preceding chapters justifications with the right of free speech, consider alternate motivations for enacting the current prohibition as well as recommend a possible legislative solution. Lastly, the fifth chapter will conclude this paper.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: virtual child pornography, VCP, free speech, Jacqueline Helen Byberg Kingston, Jacqueline Kingston, Jacqueline Byberg, child pornography, virtual child pornography, pseudo-photographs, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Child Pornography Prevention Act, Obscenity, Stanley v. Georgia, Free Speech
Date posted: September 30, 2012