Article: Brief Filed in Child-Porn Law Appeal

Lile Elam ((no email))
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 14:10:51 -0700 (PDT)

Hi folks,

I had heard about this law and as an artist, have been
concerned about it. I just saw this article on Wired and
thought you might be interested.


Brief Filed in Child-Porn Law Appeal

by Kaitlin Quistgaard
6:09pm 29.Sep.97.PDT Free-speech advocates
filed a federal appeals-court brief
Monday in an effort to overturn a law
that makes it a crime to publish or
transmit images that purport to portray
children involved in sexual acts.

Arguing that "sexually explicit,
non-obscene speech is protected by the
First Amendment," William Bennett Turner,
a noted First Amendment attorney, filed a
brief with the 9th US Circuit Court of
Appeals challenging the constitutionality
of the 1996 Child Pornography Protection

US District Court Judge Samuel Conti in
August ruled to uphold the law that
criminalizes images that appear to be of
children in sexually explicit poses.

The images are illegal "even if they are
adults that look young or are
computer-generated images," Turner noted.
His friend-of-the-court brief was filed
on behalf of the American Civil Liberties
Union, the American Civil Liberties Union
of Northern California, the Periodical &
Book Association of America, and
Feminists For Free Expression, in support
of the principal plaintiff in the case,
the Free Speech Coalition.

The brief argues that the basis for
Conti's decision, which takes into
consideration the secondary effects of
images that appear to be of children, is
not constitutional. "Even if no children
are involved in the production of
sexually explicit materials, the
devastating ... effect that such
materials have on society and the
well-being of children merits the
regulation of such images," Conti wrote
in his August decision.

Turner responded in his brief: "The
secondary effects rationale is extremely
hazardous to free speech, because it has
no limits and can justify any kind of
speech restriction. The government and
others who wish to suppress or restrict
certain speech can always think up
undesirable 'secondary effects' believed
to follow from the content of speech at

Related Wired Links:

Activists Down on Child Porn Act Decision

Making Imaginary Sex Illegal

Copyright 1993-97 Wired Ventures Inc. and affiliated
All rights reserved.