The Supreme Court of the United States has found child pornography to be " legally obscene ", a term that refers to offensive or violent forms of pornography that have been declared to be outside the protections of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The latter two categories are legally protected unless found to be obscene , whereas the first does not require a finding of obscenity. Child pornography under federal law is defined as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor someone under 18 years of age. Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor. Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law.
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This map shows legal status of child pornography. Child pornography refers to images or films also known as child abuse images and in some cases writings depicting sexually explicit activities involving a child; as such, child pornography is a record of child sexual abuse. Abuse of the child occurs during the sexual acts which are recorded in the production of child pornography, and the effects of the abuse on the child and continuing into maturity are compounded by the wide distribution and lasting availability of photographs of the abuse. Are there existing laws criminalizing child pornography? Does existing law include a legal definition of child pornography?
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