How can artists create without fear?

I realize this gets tied up in what the laws in your state or country, etc, are, and even if you follow the law to a T they may find some way to get you in legal trouble through interpretation.

I’m someone with C-PTSD who didn’t have much trouble with obsessive worry until a fake/exaggerated post circulated on Tumblr about how loli/shotacon was actually illegal in the US.
I’ve done so much research on the issue since, but it hasn’t made me feel any safer, partly because the laws are so hard to understand or trust. There is a general sense the world hates you and does not want to make you safe at all.
I want to feel safe to draw and create again, as feeling safe to draw or write about anything made me happy. It was my most important coping skill. And while I never drew loli/shota, I’d honestly had considered it and wanted to in the future but wasn’t brave enough to try.
A lot of my stories are more focused on teenage relationships and I never wanted to shy away from sex in them because I think we need to be more honest about sex in coming-of-age stories. It always bothered me growing up that it would be glossed over, ignored, or had to be censored. These stories are my life’s work, and so I feel miserable that’s being stolen from me through worry and uncertain law.
I’ve wondered if I should give up on drawing all my stories, because I’m simply not safe to, or wondered if I should draw them for myself only and never share them. I hate that my dreams are being shattered this way.

Anyone who might be able to help me figure out how to be safe without overly censoring my work, I would love the help.
I also just really want to make connections with other people in a similar boat, be it consumers or fellow artists, because I need the support emotionally.

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I’m not sure, but if your fear is being indited of USC 1466A violations because of something you drew in the past, perhaps knowing just how few USC 1466A prosecutions have taken place might put your mind at ease? Also keep in mind that a a decent portion of USC 1466A prosecutions involve REAL children. The numbers we are interested in are prosecutions for involvement in fiction.

I believe the absolute numbers for ALL 1466A violations are in the single digits (1-9), perhaps averaging 0.3-0.6 prosecutions per year in the entire nation, but I don’t know for sure. For cartoons and other fictional art alone, maybe 2-3 since this law’s inception. Perhaps someone has the actual figures? We know the federal government release stats on USC 2252 prosecutions and it’s 1000-2000 annually. (USC 2252 deals with violations involving real children)

If someone has stats on annual 1466A incitements, I’d like to see them. Inditements are a more valid measure than convictions since people can plea to 1466A and get convicted of that.

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Those stats would be helpful, but it may not put me at ease. lol

I know because of my C-PTSD I do catastrophize by worrying over how steep the consequences are if something is to happen, and after seeing how viciously people are sometimes attacked online over these things, it’s got me really scared in the future the number of people prosecuted could go up. I do think there are people who will go out of their way to hurt someone like me for my art or stories. I’ve already had minor brushes with those people, and have seen it happen to others, where they are doxxed, sent death threats, etc. Even if I were never to go to jail over my art, the idea people will hunt me and be so terrible to me is frightening on it’s own.

My personal wish is to know for certain I was safe to create and share my work, because it was my life’s dream to be able to share my stories with others, and help promote sex positivity and freedom of expression in fiction, even around difficult or icky topics. I hate needless censorship based in morality and not in factual harmfulness.

Part of me wants to champion a fight on the issue, but another part of me has C-PTSD and isn’t sure I can handle it, especially when the outcome really could be so terrible. It sucks when an intrusive worry isn’t imaginary, only exaggerated, makes it harder to combat.

I would love it if someone here could put me in touch with another activist or expert who could help me create art and fiction that helps make a change on this issue for the better in the world. Feeling alone, I think, makes the fear worse for me.

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Well, before we find a solution, may I pose a question to you? What is sex to you? That will be the first step.

This is a really bizarre leading question I find confusing and potentially rude.
What I think is sex or not doesn’t matter, because cartoons are imaginary, so what’s depicted could be rape in real life, but sex in fantasy.
If you are trying to ask me if I think rape and sexual assault are sex in real life, no. Are they sexual, yes. When I talk about sex in my stories, I mean all types of sexual things, good and bad, imaginary or not. Not just consensual sex, but that is a topic a lot of my stories talk about. One aspect of sex positivity is being able to talk about icky upsetting sexual experiences or fantasies without shame, because simply talking about, expressing and sharing about those things are not connected to hurting others.
But, as I said in the initial post, I have considered drawing purely sexual things like loli and shota, that are not concerned with morality because they’re imaginary. There is no evidence that they hurt anyone to exist.
My problem is not with my definition of sex.

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So… I’m having a great deal of trouble trying to find a number of inditements or convictions for USC 1466A. Wikipedia only list a handful of isolated cases, with only two involving fiction. (Out of a population of 320.000.000), of the ones on Wiki are the only cases that exist, than I’d say a person would have a better chance of developing the extremely rare sporadic fatal insomnia in this year than of him or her being arrested, much less convicted of what are essentially thought crimes.

Lets assume there are 1% of people who are into what you are into. That gives us 3.2M people. Since the law, 1466A has been enacted 17 years ago, there has been a total of 3 convictions for images that do not involve real minors to the best of my knowledge, 1 which was shared here on these forums, two on Wikipedia. 3/17 = 0.18 prosecutions a year.

The odds of being convicted of 1466A over fictional cartoons, assuming only 1% of people are into what you are into would give us an estimate of 0.18/3.200.000. Or 5.625/32.000.000 per year. Extremely unlikely, and we generally don’t concern ourselves with dieing from Sporadic Fatal Insomnia which has a death rate per year of ~1/1.000.000. The odds of you getting into a conviction are potentially one or two orders of magnitude lower.

I will point out that wikipedia’s list might simply not be complete, but even if the convictions were off by an order of magnitude, the odds you will get into trouble over what you drew in your past are still exceedingly unlikely.

Oh, and one more thing: 1466A and 1466 has a federal status of limitations of 5 years. I don’t know if that’s relevant or not. But if you did send anyone depictions of fictional characters that might violate 1466A across state lines or via the internet more than 5 years ago, I doubt it’s even possible for you to get indited for distribution on the federal level and on the state level(if your state uses statuses of limitations).

5 years
All crimes not otherwise provided for

Some things I don’t know about: I don’t know if it’s theoretically possible to get indited for simply drawing and keeping it to yourself or sharing it WITHIN state lines and offline though.

Is it legal on the Federal level to produce “obscene” cartoons IF you keep it to yourself AND/OR share it within statelines? If the answer is yes, the next question will be legality on the State level.

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Yeah, we depict all types of violence in art, fundamentally, I don’t see moral issues with creating horrific fictional depictions of sex. Game of Thrones does this and they aren’t violating any moral standards.

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Right? I thought the question of what I think is sex or not is so off topic. Regardless of how I define sex, fiction is fiction.
Also, that research you did does put my mind somewhat at ease, yeah. I guess an answer to my question of how artists can stay safe but still create this type of work is look into your local laws as best you can and do not share them over state lines without potentially first consulting a legal expert? Leaves publishing on the internet pretty up in the air which is sad and confusing. I really want the federal law to become more clear on this issue in the future. I don’t believe anyone should risk jail time over cartoons, and so leaving this ambiguous is still pretty shitty even if the chances of getting in trouble are, like you found, so so so small.
Thank you again for looking into that.

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Sorry if I didn’t phrase the question properly. However, I don’t believe what I asked was entirely dumbfounded. What I was trying to say was, I’m certain that in many of the decisions in courts of law in regards to sex, the deciding factors as to what is taboo or not lies largely in what they believe sex could or should be, on a theoretical or applicable level. I mean, Australia is on a witchhunt for child pornography, and they’re going so far to attack hentai, doujinshi and such, despite having insisted on knowing the context of the series beforehand, simply to push an agenda towards making sex sterilized into whatever they want it to be. Maybe I’m just being hysterical. My point is, sex is whatever people make it to be, and artists of any kind, regardless of their intent, clarity or purpose, is difficult to defend when it is either hardly defined in a legal sense or distorted to suit the socio political needs of whomever needs to enforce their will, namely those who stand on the top of the pecking order. Sorry if this seems so disorganized. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking me a fool or a nonsensical neanderthal.

I’m not sure if all artists can truly be creative without fear because the real world has violent people who have money and political agendas that go against artistic freedom if there is art that does not adhere to political agendas. There is a reason why there are starving artists that are open-minded, very imaginative, brutally honest, and unconventional who have a hard time gaining money and power because the cultures and the people who support those cultures make it hard for unconventional artists to be tolerated in the people’s societies. William Shakespeare could have written about many, many taboo subjects in his stories, but that wouldn’t let him make much money because it would make the government make sure that William doesn’t have enough money and power to influence the culture that surrounded William. An artist such as Taylor Swift makes a lot of money, but that’s because she makes conventional art that is repetitive that doesn’t require someone to have a big vocabulary to understand her music. Her music is simple, so she can make her music appeal to the masses. Also, the pop music industry’s golden age ended in the 1990’s. When the 1990’s became history and the year of 2000 started, pop music became more predictable, more conventional, more robotic because of making music digital, more laid back because mumble rappers became more popular, and the pop industry in the 2000 mainly focused on songs that were about sex, drugs, money, less politics, rock music that tries hard to hold a candle to 1980’s rock music from Pink Floyd and Queen and David Bowie and Jim Morrison and Def Leppard, and conventional feelings like love, hate, sadness, happiness, feeling hopeless, and other things. So it is more challenging for unconventional artists to become a household name now, especially when political interests exist in the real world. Online websites such as Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and most online forums have policies that promote censorship. So those platforms are not suitable for full artistic expression if pornography, transphobia, homophobia, racism, sexual abuse, criminal activities, bloody violence, cussing, brutal honesty, and spamming are part of the artistic expression. Because those platforms benefit the echo chambers of the people who control those platforms rather than letting unconventional artists express themselves artistically without censorship. Unconventional art has always been not very easy to release to the public because societies have rules, conventional thinking, and they try to do business as usual despite that change will always happen. Jack, you would have had more artistic freedom in America before the early 2000’s. Because the American governments in the states are decreasing these things: freedoms, opportunities, health benefits, education benefits, retirement benefits, quality in products at the expense of poor people who are trying to save money for retirement and their children’s futures, and other things. America became an anti-intellectual empire of oligarchical terrorism. The Americans are drowning in hypocrisy and greed because they’re spoiled because they live in a 1st world country that is protected by the terroristic American military and the cruel American international businesses that abusively exploit the poor people from poor countries because the greedy American international businessmen don’t want those poor countries to become developed countries because developed countries usually don’t have very cheap labor. Artists that want to be brutally honest about politics sometimes are silenced with bribes from governments. Artists can be creative without fear when they don’t let emotions, politicians, and people control them by making them too scared to show their artistic expression.

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Brilliant deduction, Mr. Sociopolitical detective. You have my deepest gratitude.

I wouldn’t consider my deduction to be brilliant necessarily. What I said was based on a collection of information that I learned from George Carlin, the song “War” by Edwin Starr, the song “Working Class Hero” by John Lennon, the song “Savages” by Marina Diamandis, the song “Medicate the Kids” by Gavin DeGraw, the song “I Don’t Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)” by Marilyn Manson, the song “The Fight Song” by Marilyn Manson, “Dollhouse” by Melanie Martinez, “Mr. Potato Head” by Melanie Martinez, the song “Liberation” by Christina Aguilera, “Stupid Girls” by P!nk, the song “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash, the song “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing” by Trace Adkins, the song “Lazarus” by V.V. Brown, the song “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson, “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson, Frank Zappa’s interviews that explain what Frank Zappa’s perspective was on American society in the 20th century, what Marilyn Manson’s perspective was on American society in the 21st century, and online sources. Once I gathered all of that information in my head, I started talking to thousands of people online to understand the reality of the real world that I live in. Just going to let you know I’m not a guy.

Well, it was a decent place to start. Sorry for mistaking your gender, miss? Ma’am? Pal? Friend? Whatever you’d like to be called.

Only in Japan.

As tempting as it may be, I personally stay far away from that.

I would be greatly appreciative if a certain artist (who got shamed into taking theirs down) didn’t create cartoon art explicitly linked to a real person. It puts everyone at risk, particularly those who don’t understand the context behind it.

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Sir, please call me a girl, madam, ma’am, miss, pal, friend, or woman. I accept your apology. Sorry if I have mistaken your gender by calling you sir.

About that, https://twitter.com/RageGoldenEagle/status/1252257026933002240

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Okay then, Miss. By the way, I happen to be Male. But you can call me whatever you wish. I look forward to hearing from you again.

By standing up for free speech.

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Kind of relevant to this discussion.

A German Film About A Man And His Robot Daughter’s Sexual Relationship Triggers Walkouts And Outrage

Reviewed by someone who refused to watch the film.