How Serious is the War on Fictional Content in the US?

This is a question I have been wondering about deeply. You see some people being hateful towards people who use such content as loli/shota but then you see people who proudly have that they live in the US in their bio on apps such as Twitter or that freely talk about and consume such material and nothing happens to them. Furthermore, there are artists from the US who proudly create such content. My biggest question is, would this not give an indication to someone that loli or shota is not even subject to obscenity laws? I just find it confusing, like if it’s such a big deal to people why is it seemingly something that people do not SEEM to get in trouble for? Why are almost all the instances of someone getting in trouble for such content when they were already on investigation for crimes against real children or real CSA? And even those seem to be slim. Further, why is this content not filtered/blocked (not that I would ever want it to because I feel it’s unnecessary censorship) if people want to make such a big deal about it? I would just like to hear people’s opinions or other knowledge on the topic. I myself am very confused about this, it makes little to no sense why there is such little clarity/uniformity on the subject. Even if someone were for criminalizing such content would they not want the laws to be clear enough for people to follow and abide by?

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There are constitutional limitations. But they will and do bring prosecutions in the jurisdictions that have the most conservative prosecutors. Earlier this year a man was convicted of hosting a website with text fiction, where no real child abuse of any kind was involved. His case, which we supported, is subject to appeal.

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Yup I saw that about the author. I guess my question is how common are these prosecutions/why do people seem to act like such content is completely legal/not subject to any potential liability or otherwise a big deal? Just the vibe I get. Also why does the “artistic” value of the tests get disregarded? Especially regarding drawings or paintings. I genuinely don’t understand how they aren’t considered art. My point is it seems like someone could be seemingly following the law but not know that it may not be if it is seemingly found obscene in a court.

I could write a 41-page dissertation why this is so.
But the TL;DR is basically that many people, including academics and those in law, don’t consider pornography a form of art and feel that this is a fact, rather than a mere subjective opinion. A fallacious double-standard with roots to the puritan days of England, where prudery was commonplace and vice was akin to heresy. Visual depictions of the naked form in the arts had to be distinguished from their innate ‘appeal’, thereby infusing a superficial, fallacious double-standard to satisfy this appeal without being targeted by the harsh, tortuous hand of the censors in government. These attitudes simply never left the public square and have been commonplace in things like religion and conservative ideology.

It’s changing, though. Many, many scholars and philosophers are now beginning to regard pornography as an innate form of art, with appeals to sexual desire and titillation and eroticism being regarded as valid artistic and literary subjects. It meets the most objective definition of art, but the reason why people are hesitant to do this is because of popularism and the need for scientific validation to show that pornography, in and of itself, is harmless and therefore worthy of protection. The findings on whether or not the consumption of pornography (of any kind, violent or child) has a causal relationship with real-world sexual violence, aggression, or abuse is hotly contested, with many studies noticing a correlation but are unsure of whether or not such data can be causal. There is, of course, bias from both sides of the debate.

I personally believe that there is a correlation, but it isn’t causal.
Rather, the correlation is one of mere coincidence, whereby people with a proclivity for violence, aggression, or social disorder simply gravitate to certain types of material simply because they identify with it, and that they’ll be the way they are whether or not the porn exists or doesn’t. The same correlation has been observed with other forms of violent media, such as video games, movies, music, etc. The human mind is capable of discerning between reality from fiction, the hypothetical from the actual. Pornography is perceived as a form of entertainment, not gospel or truth. Pornography, like violent media, doesn’t change or influence otherwise ‘good’ people into becoming the real-world equivalent of what the media depicts. It’s simply not how the human mind works.
But even these types of complicated questions are of hot contention, with many studies claiming that such material may “add fuel to the fire”, especially with respect to those prone to commit CSA and child pornography. But the data on this is not conclusive, with the models in question being tested in meta studies and finding differing or contradictory results.

My belief (and hope) is that the truth will validate the position and we can end the senseless, illogical, and cruel prohibition on consensual adult erotic expression. We’re not going to change very many minds and affect policy unless we have conclusive, satisfactory data on this.
We already have a justified, limited ban on child pornography, in that there is evidence that a real child is being sexually exploited or abused. We don’t need anything more.

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Personally I think it’s very serious.

I expect free expression in erotic arts to be constricted into a coma this decade.

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I sadly do somewhat agree after doing more research myself. I think if anything if things aren’t as “serious” yet they are going to become more serious at the least. Some laws and things people are calling “dormant” will not be that way forever, etc.

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well, those laws are also the same laws affecting
“normal” material too. The biggest fault of the obscenity decision was its reliance on “community standards” within state borders.

I’m banking on a successful challenge levied against the doctrine and all of its applications, in much the same way Brown v. Board of Education and Lawrence v. Texas were.
But that requires a better court.
I’m hoping to see the Supreme Court expanded and packed with liberal-minded jurists and objectivists who are receptive to the glaring faults in the decisions and are willing to destroy and discard them for the violations of our freedoms they are.

There is no way the obscenity doctrine can withstand modern-day scrutiny. It’s simply not possible to justify such a blatant exception to the First Amendment simply because the subject matter happens to be sex and sexual conduct.

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Not sure I agree with this. Aren’t there more abstract principles involved, like freedom of expression? Surely, in order to ban something, there’s a requirement to show it’s harmful. What other genre has to evade this kind of a priori condemnation and proactively demonstrate it’s utility?

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It’s been argued dozens of times, but the SCOTUS won’t budge. They cling to this repressive and unjustified doctrine like it’s ‘good law’ when it literally fits all of the markers for what they’ve considered ISN’T ‘good law’. It’s no matter, though. They’ve done this before with cases regarding sodomy laws, gay marriage, and other doctrines and legal concepts before they were ultimately overturned for being bad precedent.
The only recourse we may have is by focusing on how the doctrine has caused unjustifiable, irreparable harm that is not empirically justified, in addition to all of the prior arguments made with how it chills protected speech and encourages repression and the suppression of individuality under a fallacious and unjustified reason.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no real difference between ‘indecent’ speech and ‘obscene’ speech, outside of visible depictions of nudity or sex. Obscene speech should be free speech just like flag burning is also free speech. Like flag burning, it may be offensive, but it’s also expressive, artistic, symbolic, and its existence or utterance doesn’t cause, nor is it intrinsically related to, any actual harm.

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I’m not from the US and I don’t know which law applies there. I assume it’s of the “I know it when I see it” variety. Is that right?

There are constitutional limitations. But they will and do bring prosecutions in the jurisdictions that have the most conservative prosecutors. Earlier this year a man was convicted of hosting a website with text fiction , where no real child abuse of any kind was involved. His case, which we supported, is subject to appeal.

The Arthur/MrDouble case was preceded by the McCoy case, which undoubtedly served as precedent. McCoy’s Minnesota residence was raided by a seven-strong team of armed US Marshals, complete with battering-ram. He was convicted of transporting obscene material, the aforesaid obscene material consisting of text-ony stories that he had hosted/written/edited. He was convicted, and served close to 2-1/2 years in prison for so doing. His conviction was upheld unanimously in the Court of Appeal.

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well, those laws are also the same laws affecting “normal” material too. The biggest fault of the obscenity decision was its reliance on “community standards” within state borders.

Miller was a reasonable decision for its’ time, but it is long-obsolete in the age of the Internet. I don’t expect that this will change, given that the Chief Justice, John Roberts, doesn’t even use a computer, but instead writes his decisions in long-hand on a lined yellow legal pad.

I’m banking on a successful challenge levied against the doctrine and all of its applications, in much the same way Brown v. Board of Education and Lawrence v. Texas were.

I’d love to see this as well, but realistically, I don’t see it happening. If anything, the rightward cant of the court has become even more pronounced than it was a decade or two ago.

But that requires a better court.
I’m hoping to see the Supreme Court expanded and packed with liberal-minded jurists and objectivists who are receptive to the glaring faults in the decisions and are willing to destroy and discard them for the violations of our freedoms they are.

No chance in hell of that happening. The Republicans will see to that. The courts have been well and truly packed.

There is no way the obscenity doctrine can withstand modern-day scrutiny. It’s simply not possible to justify such a blatant exception to the First Amendment simply because the subject matter happens to be sex and sexual conduct.

I agree with you; the problem is that the Courts don’t. I expect it will be at least 3 decades before things begin to loosen-up.

Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition of 2002 was still a promising step in the right direction, and so was USA v. Stevens. Sure, they reaffirmed Miller, but at least they didn’t support expansion of the bubble of unprotected material. I am not sure about 3 decades. Obscenity is not prosecuted often, and not strictly either. Sure, it is bad when it happens. But they could prosecute as often as they do CP, and things could be worse. Now, if they strictly enforced obscenity laws, that would accelerate the coming of the day of their repeal, and I suspect they know that and are trying to avoid that to milk this cow to death.

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I saw on an article that the prosecution made the point that the stories involved real children, hence why the feds were able to shut down the website before it being officially declared obscene. I also read that several of the people involved in that website were being investigated for child pornography with real children, and that Arthur himself had raped a little girl in the past. I am not too sure about the not a real kid involved part.

Is the possession of obscene material 100% legal tho? Or can you get charged for amine even if you just possess it (based on it being deemed obscene)

I also wonder why people like OP are so afraid. Almost every Hentai site is hosted in the USA and every JP artist uses Twitter.

More than likely because some websites are overstating the case that loli is illegal, ignore the complexities of obscenity law, and how often this gets prosecuted, which is not often.
There is a lot of confusion over that law, with some people even thinking that that is the actual child porn law, when it is the chapter 110 of the US criminal code that deals with CP, and not 1466A. I made a post about it titled Two Myths about the PROTECT Act of 2003

Is the possession of obscene material 100% legal tho? Or can you get charged for amine even if you just possess it (based on it being deemed obscene)

No. Obscene material is illegal to produce and possess, much less distribute. Just look at the case of Mike Diana. He was prosecuted and convicted for creating a zine.

I also wonder why people like OP are so afraid. Almost every Hentai site is hosted in the USA and every JP artist uses Twitter.

The reason people like the OP are afraid is because the consequences of being prosecuted and convicted are life-altering. I believe the OP does not live in the United States – the laws in his country are very strict, and harshly enforced. This is also true of the country I live in.

The number of prosecutions are very low in the United States, that’s true, but that doesn’t minimize the consequences of being prosecuted/convicted, if you happen to be the one that is singled out.

About possession: I will say that that is an unsettled area of the law. The supreme court has never bothered to untangle the contradictions between Stanley v. Georgia, and all the precedents that followed and criminalized receipt of obscenity. How can you possess something without first receiving it? Receiving means you possess it. Which brings me to the next point: if they decide to revisit the issue, that could spell the end of obscenity law.
Prosecutions are low for various reasons, and I believe one of them is that, should prosecutors decide to aggressively enforce these laws as they do for CP, they will be challenged and seen as the totalitarian bullshit that they are. The government is being careful because they know they would lose this tool should people get up and protest these laws.

Really? Guess my country is better than I thought then. Our law says that only distribution could be illegal while possession, production and receiving are completely legal. However, since it needs to be pornographic only it’s impossible to enforce since a stylized drawing is, in most cases, considered art and porn at the same time. That’s also what a policeman eventually agreed on with me which explains not a single case existing.

Strictly speaking, isn’t most fetish porn “obscene”?