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Re: Townsend

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donna Halper" <dlh@donnahalper.com>
To: <boston-radio-interest@bostonradio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2003 1:39 PM
Subject: Re: Townsend

> That is my concern too.  I am certainly not a pornographer and do not have
> a collection of pornographic videos, but as part of courses I have taught,
> I have had to watch and critique all kinds of videos; that has included
> "adult" videos, since I have taught courses about law and media
> ethics.

I wrote a paper in law school on this subject so that is why I am fairly
knowledgeable on the subject.  (I feel some disclaimer is necessary.)  It is
fairly unlikely that anyone would just stumble into a child pornography
website -- even if you were surfing the web for porn.  The people who
distribute this material know it is a crime so they use various methods to
limit access to the material.  They want to keep out the cops.  Often you
have to have someone give you a password to get to the site.  In any case,
you have to be seeking out child porn and anyone should know that such
material is illegal.

The arguments for prosecuting those that just watch the material is that the
market for the material encourages people to produce it and that each time
the images is distributed, the exploitation of the child is perpetuated.

When it comes to run of the mill obscene material that does not include
children, the Supreme Court has ruled that mere possession is not a crime.
The government may only prosecute those that produce or distribute the
materials.  So if you avoid child porn, you won't run into any legal

When it comes to prosecution for mere possession of child porn, the
government is usually prosecuting people who have hundreds of illegal
images.  I have not read of any cases where criminal charges have been
brought against someone who has accidentally obtained the material or only
had a small number of images.

-- Dan Billings, Bowdoinham, Maine