The ‘cut-and-paste’ provision and federal charges for child porn

As Jessica Dye reports for Reuters Legal, a 73-year-old’s “creative” method of creating pornography – if the allegations charged by the authorities are true – got him into hot water. The man would cut the faces of children from pictures he’d taken of them in public and paste those heads onto the bodies of adults engaged in sexual activity.

He faces federal charges for possession of child pornography. In support of the charges, the government cites two cases that describe “digitally modified or altered images” as included under the statutes describing child pornography.

He faces up to a decade behind bars if convicted.

Not all jurisdictions are in agreement, however, about whether modified images are child porn, according to Dye. State courts have, in the last couple years, ruled that cutting and pasting children’s faces in pornographic images did not constitute child pornography because the children themselves were not actually engaging in sexual activity.

Needless to say, there is no uniform perspective on this, and courts will continue to grapple with the issue as it develops.