I have a serious question about a predicament I've recently become involved in

So, this holiday season I have acquired a very tiny ‘‘fortune’’ and I have been using some of it to commission artists to do a variety of work. When I can’t find a desirable artist on Twitter or Pixiv, I usually went to r/hungryartists on Reddit. I have never had any problems with this subreddit but today was a horrible first.

I posted a commission request in which I was looking for an artist who could do a pornographic art piece of the characters Will Parry and Lyra Belaqua from His Dark Materials, I wanted the characters in the commission to be based on their live-action versions. I made it very clear in the commission that both characters were under 18 years of age so I wanted artists who were comfortable with doing that. I’ve done this before on that subreddit and never encountered any issues.

I got a few comments from several artists willing to do the art piece, I initially went with one artist who eventually informed me that they wouldn’t do the commission because they just found out the characters were under 18 even though I made that fact clear in my post. This artist then proceeded to report me to the subreddit moderators who proceeded to ban me for ‘‘requesting child pornography’’ and calling me a ‘‘deranged psychopath’’.

The mods declared that regardless of whether or not the characters were real or fictional, it constituted as child pornography because I wanted their designs to be based on their live-action versions and both of their actors are underaged themselves according to American Law. I told the moderators that the age of consent in my region was 16, this is also the age of consent in the UK, where both the actors are from and the show is filmed in, they said that they didn’t care because ‘‘18 is the age that civilized people use’’. They refused to lift the ban and also sent notices to other art-requesting subreddits to ban me as well to ‘‘keep their communities safe from pedophiles’’ I have now been banned by 3 different subreddits and have thus been cut off from a major network.

Regardless, one of the artists who commented on my post was more than ok with doing the art piece and expressed that they didn’t care about the ban I received or the morality behind the art piece, since they do a lot of ‘‘fucked up fetish artwork’’ themselves. I ended up commissioning them and I am hoping that everything turns out well in the relatively long period of time that it will take to do the piece.

Anyway, I am wondering who was right and wrong in this scenario according to experts? Did I actually violate any laws by requesting this artpiece? I am still a bit shaken by what happened this morning, as I mentioned. I’ve commissioned artwork like this before and I’ve never had problems like this before, I really can’t wrap my head around why my commission would constitute as cp.

Thoughts?

You shouldn’t do it.

This.

Anything based on the likeness by real child actors, even if the character itself is fictional, is not worth risking. If there were designs that were made prior to those representations then use those.

I see.

Well shit, guess I’m in serious trouble now?

The only thing I can suggest is to cancel it. But, I don’t know.

Well, let’s be honest. In terms of Harry Potter, most fan art is done based on their movie representations.

I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion, it’s still only art after all.

Just cancel/revise it and you’ll be fine.

I don’t think anyone can retroactively prosecute you for possession of illegal materials before the materials are created.

Can you imagine police coming to your home, telling you you are arrested for possession of CSEM that you will obtain in year 2025?

I think the reaction you got results from miscommunication. If you wanted the arts to be based on real people instead of unrealistic version, then I think most people thought you ask about photorealistic work, drawn based on photo reference of real minors.

If your intention was to obtain such work, then your commission would constitute as CP. It would be illegal to my knowledge in the US, and definitely a cross of an ethical line in my opinion.

If you wanted it to be stylized, created purely out of artist imagination, but simply by using the same design decisions the characterization of the real actors was made with, then you should specify, that you don’t actually want the drawing to depict the actors.

There is a difference between drawing a character that references and depicts someone and drawing a character that is based on someone.

But that being said, I would never commission any erotic works based on real people. Remember that, they are real people after all. Regardless of whenever they are 16 or 20 or 50, as improbable as it might be, if they were to somehow stumble upon such art, I would certainly imagine it could cause them a lot of stress and pain.

Well as I said, in my state the AOC is 16, both the actors are 16 and are from the UK whose AOC is also 16, the show and book that they act for is a British series. Furthermore, the commission is intended to be private, never shared on any platform simply because I genuinely don’t want to risk the chance that the actors would see it, also the commission is not photorealistic, it could constitute as ‘‘realistic’’ to some degree but it is certainly stylized.

As another user pointed out, these characters are similar to the cast of Harry Potter in that most people who do art of them prefer to base it off of their live-action versions because those are the versions that people like. In this specific case, neither of these characters had an official design before the TV series.

From what I can see most if not all of Harry Potter works I have found on booru site are stylized, with a design that varies from artist to artist.

Once again, there is a difference between making a new character with its own design that references some character from a movie, and a character that has been made to resemble an actor playing out the character from a movie.

image image image

image

As you can see, there are no similarities whatsoever. The first one even has a different eye colour. People design their own characters and make stylistic choices that allow a person to recognize, that the character references some other character from a movie. You don’t usually need a lot for a person to make such connection, in these examples, curly brown hair and a costume like they wore in the movie was enough.

Doesn’t matter. Seriously, the age of consent has no application in your situation. And no one in the world will care about it. You didn’t have sex with a 16-year-old. You wanted to commission the creation of an image online. You aren’t now prosecuted by the government of the UK. You got banned on an online platform. Applying local laws in your situation has no meaning. It’s a non-argument.

But if you really want to defend yourself using laws. This work is illegal in the UK, so you go to jail, and in the US, if it were to depict a child in a way that allows recognition of that child, you go to jail as well. As you can see, it isn’t helpful.

I explained to you why you got banned. You didn’t specify what you want, and people thought you want them to draw a photorealistic work of a real child. To my knowledge, even among lolicon communities, it’s a big no-no that will give you a ban. Stop worrying and just better specify what you want next time, showing at least some degree of self-awareness while making such public orders, or better yet don’t order any works based on real people.

Peoples personal photos, nudes and even sex tapes get leaked. You might not personally intend on spreading such works, but it can happen. I know it’s extremely unlikely, but it’s possible. Not a big sin or anything like that, but something worth keeping in your mind during future commissions.

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But I did specify what I wanted in the post, I intentionally made that very clear that the artpiece was to be stylized to avoid any confusion, The mods did not care if it was stylized or not, the characters were based on their live action versions and under 18 which the mods declared to be a proper age of consent that everyone else should abide by regardless of nationality.

I don’t care if I was banned from a subreddit, I want to know if I can be prosecuted for possessing this art piece. If so, on what terms can the state declare the artpiece to be child pronography if AOC laws have no application in my situation? Are they just going to say ‘‘you committed a crime’’ with no law to back up their judgement?

I know the NSA has 24/7 surveillance over all personal electronics within the USA’s borders. The government will know if and when I have this art-piece regardless if it is somehow leaked, I want to know if they have any solid ground to prosecute me if they attempted to do so.

You don’t have this art piece yet, is that correct? Then if you are worried, just cancel the commission. I doubt anyone will be able to answer your question because a lot of depends on the state laws you are living in too to my knowledge.

From that description, I would think you wanted a photorealistic work. Can you post a link to your post (if it wasn’t removed), or maybe do you have any screenshots/saved test?

My post was removed and I have no screenshots of it.

You just said that AOC laws don’t apply in my situation and implied that there is some universal standard of ethics that the state can use to prosecute me with, now you are saying that it depends on state laws. Which is it?

I do want this artpiece, but I don’t want to attempt to cancel it until I now for certain if I am safe or not.

I never implied anything of such matter. All I said is that from an ethical standpoint making drawings of real children isn’t well looked at. I made that point to explain to you why people on Reddit reacted the way they reacted since you seemed oblivious as to why they banned you. Was it justified ban? It’s not for me to decide, since platforms have their own rules. But it was to be expected from a description of your request provided by you in the first post.

You wanted an answer to this question:

So I answered. It’s unknown who is right and wrong, but the reaction is understandable.

Again, a lot of depends on what the work will ultimately look like, and the laws of the state you live in. Without those informations, no one is going to be able to answer your question.

It’s important to remember that age of consent for sex is different than age of consent for participation in sex work (e.g. pornography). In Poland the AOC is 15, yet the AOC for pornographic acting is almost universally 18 within the EU/UK.

If I were you, I would retain a local barrister familiar with case law regarding the commission of (sexualized) likenesses of persons 16+. They could advise you on what to do next and what to remove if you’re already in possession of materials that are similar. I’d recommend someone who specializes in perhaps obscenity law.

Such things are specific to distinct legal jurisdictions. In Canada, with age of consent of 16, any depiction, whether photo or cartoon, that appears in the opinion of a judge to show someone under 18 in a sexual situation is an offense. This could even apply to stick figures if one of the stick figures said “I’m 17” in a cartoon balloon. This law is based on beliefs around controlling mental self-permissions through legislation.

There is also ongoing escalation in this area. Laws are becoming more severe. And, the usual legal prohibitions about retroactivity, meaning not charging someone for something they did before a new law was brought in, can be eroded, since popular sympathy favours this erosion. If you intend to be socially activist about these sorts of topics, it’s best not to work in isolation.