The AP reports:
The Supreme Court struck down a congressional ban on virtual child pornography Tuesday, ruling that the First Amendment protects pornography or other sexual images that only appear to depict real children engaged in sex.
The decision was 6-3, with the major issue for the dissent apparently being the problem of enforcing laws against actual child porn if virtual porn is allowed and the danger to children of feeding the desires of pedophiles.
Hooray for free speech!
Update: The case just showed up on FindLaw. Thomas’ concurrence leaves open the possibility that virtual porn could be banned if technology developed to such an extent that it was impossible to determine which child porn involved the abuse of actual minors.
I’m dubious. We wouldn’t ban sex on first dates simply due to the frequent difficulty of distinguishing between acquaintance rape and consensual sex. We wouldn’t ban giving money to strangers just because an accused mugger may be able to successfully claim that the transfer of funds was consensual. In short, we ought not ban non-rights-violations simply because it may be difficult to distinguish them from rights-violations.