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Is it legal to possess child porn if the images are animated rather than real?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

It is not a crime to possess animated child pornography in California, as long as no children were used to produce it.

California’s “child pornography” laws exist to protect against the exploitation of actual children. They prohibit possession or production of any matter that:

  • Depicts actual or simulated sexual conduct,
  • By a person under 18 years of age.

Animated children are not people under 18 because they are not actual people. As long as no children were involved, possession of animated child porn is not against the law in California.

This applies equally to:

  • Cartoons,
  • Comics,
  • Manga,
  • Drawings,
  • Paintings,
  • Statues, and
  • Other material that does not feature a real child.

What if the animated porn is based on a real child?

The creation of animated pornography based on the image of a real child may violate California law.

For instance, the creator of animated pornography may have committed a crime if:

  1. The drawing is of an actual child, and 
  2. The child posed for or was involved in the material's production.

Just as importantly, a real child who is made the subject of animated pornography may be able to sue the creator for an invasion of privacy under California law.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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