Is Lolicon illegal in the US?

There’s no way to know if you’re breaking obscenity laws because obscenity is subjective. It’s determined by the Miller Test:

  • Whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards”, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
  • Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law,
  • Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

If it passes all three of these then it’s obscene. It seems like NJ uses basically the same test for obscenity:

  • Depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, masturbation, excretory functions, or lewd exhibition of the genitals,

  • Lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value, when taken as a whole, and

  • Is a part of a work, which to the average person applying contemporary community standards, has a dominant theme taken as a whole, which appeals to the prurient interest.

In that regard wouldn’t all pornography be considered illegal? And if so why is porn so widely accepted and viewed if people can get in trouble for viewing it?

All porn has the potential to be illegal.

Because people rarely ever get charged with obscenity. I doubt many even realize that obscenity laws are a thing.

Ok thank you for the response. The thing is I attend a lot of conventions and am a part of many anime groups, fan pages and discords and from time to time you come across stuff that’s NSFW. Normally I just keep scrolling or moving because I have no interest and it’s just anime so I think nothing of it being illegal so I was concerned that I was doing something wrong if I even just saw these images. Being an anime fan it’s hard to avoid NSFW content. I just don’t want my door kicked down because of an image that I saw while surfing through forms.

I was at a convention in New Orleans, LA and there was a booth that sold imported lolicon/shotacon hentai manga and doujinshi openly, in addition to adult novelty/sex shops that sell pornographic DVDs, some of which contain licensed anime content, including overtly pedophilic (simulated with young-looking adults) and lolicon hentai anime across the US.

It’s legal in the United States, and is regarded as risky to possess/sell as any other form of alternative pornography.


If you live in the US at least, that’s not gonna happen.

UK, Australia, those places have a different policy regarding loli/shota, but even they aren’t putting time and capital into finding out who merely “looked” at those images on a forum or the like.

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I haven’t been to any conventions that have stuff to that degree but the things that I normally see are things like nsfw body pillows and figures. One year I attended a anime specific convention that had a booth that sold Hentai manga and DVD’s but if I remember correctly it was covered by a huge curtain. Like seeing hentai in these places is common since hentai isn’t illegal but as far as the loli stuff goes I’m in the dark on the subject and trying to find answers.

Yeah no I’m from the US so as far as I know it’s legal here but not in some other countries like the UK. As I mentioned I’m a huge anime nerd and see NSFW images all the time since anime and hentai pretty much go hand and hand nowadays so in my mind I just never though much of it. But after seeing some people talk about this topic I became concerned that I’m breaking the law if any of these images pop up on an anime site or like Reddit and discord.

I’ll be disappointed if I’m not on a list at least. :frowning:


This thread has become quite lengthy and informative.

It can’t hurt to know that the Ferber decision contains this text.

“The First Amendment interest is limited to […] utilizing or photographing children.”

Of course, that idea, as previously stated in this thread, was reaffirmed in Ashcroft v. FSC and in US. v. Williams.

The idea that the Burger court, created by Nixon, set the beginning of obscenity laws is mistaken.

We’ve been fighting an uphill battle since the Comstock Act of 1873. The Roth decision angered many. The Miller decision was a setback.

Don’t forget about Jenkins v. Georgia. There is, at least, a limit.

I find it amusing that soon after the Comstock Act was passed, there was push back.

The handley case is discussed towards the end of this article.

A number of concepts that some will find interesting are explained.

The mere existence of overbreadth is insufficient to neutralize a statute: There must exist a substantial amount of overbreadth.

The apparent age can be used as a factor in determining obscenity.

The idea that those inflicted with an attraction pattern have impaired volition has been proposed as a mitigating factor.

The idea that media can incite criminal conduct is a thing.

I may read this a couple more times.

I hate to dig up an old thread, but I just had to mention this because its so important for practical real life situations:

The majority of content distribution platforms, for example Patreon, Subscribestar, Pixiv and related entities, etc. make moderation policies that are constrained by their PAYMENT PROCESSORS, and less so explicitly about legal questions.

put differently:

The actual legallity of content, whether black and white legal distinctions exist or more of a grey area, is a “ceiling” to the strength of moderation.

in practice most platform moderate MORE strongly (banning content that is ostensibly legal), due to the “pressure” from their payment processors

And to be even more clear: “Payment processers” really means “the C-suite of the company” which really means that these moderation policies are being dictated by a tiny number of people, likely numbering fewer than 10 (or of a similar order of magnitude), and people who almost certainly have filtered and self selected into particular ideological groups

the OnlyFans debacle was the first time that “mainstream erotica” had been affected by this broader nonsense, but its plagued the 3d and 2g erotica communities for years.

I remember when Patreon performed that 1st big “purge” of accounts due to their switching up their corporate HQ (For a while I worked on the same block as Patreon, when they were still operating out of the 1st floor commercial space of a mixed commercial/residential building on 9th street in San Francisco and regularly spoke with the employees)

I also wanted to point out that it is by no means “safe” to consider Obscenity an issue relegated to low priority, low risk, or “unlikely to change” category of laws that belong to a type of sensibility and POV that most Americans no longer possess. This is flat out false.

This is, ultimately, a political topic.

If you don’t believe me, remember that conservatives spent 60 years trying to overturn Roe V Wade. had they not succeeded they would spend another 60 years.

In more specific terms:

In rare instances where conservatives have stated what type of legislation they want to pass if they regain control of government in the US (eg rather than politicking purely on being against Democrats), they have fallen back on many of the “old chestnuts” of the Bush Administration, including media/content obscenity legislation.

It may sound hypocritical, but conservatives have been quick to point out that “they only mean” they dont like censorship in terms of WORDS. “certain words” obviously.

Plenty of conservatives still get on stage and talk about sexuality in film and TV and violent video games.

Remember that at least 30% of the country, or if you generously concede for the sake of argument as much as 50%, of the people in the US are hostile to “objectionable” erotica of all types

this is especially important when you consider the politics:

In any Red state, and even within red communities of blue states, District Attorneys or Attorney Generals (both of which are partisan elected offices that run under D or R parties), you can be arrested or at least sued EVEN IF THE CONTENT WAS EXPLICITLY LEGAL… Again, SEE: abortion.

Thus: being in red state increases the risk for any person in possession of this type of content drastically.

Also note: Despite the extremely obvious association that the notoriously grey obscenity regulations have to the ACLU, they did not touch Handley or Williams with a 10 foot pole

the reason is simple: this is a politically radioactive topic that liberals or liberal leaning organizations do not want to have associated with them.

I mention this due to the necessity of vast quantities of money required to effective litigate

IIRC, either Williams or Handley had some support from a Comic Book industry trade group or something similar.

Who knows if this topic would even be discussed had the ACLU’s army of lawyers helped in either case.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.


Attorneys General. As in Courts Martial, Notaries Public, Sergeants Major, Heirs Apparent, etc. :laughing:

Some US states appoint the DAs and AG by the governor, with the consent of the legislative body. Less political.

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I consider this to be one of the biggest threats to freedom of expression and democracy, and as you say it goes much further than just the question whether a few “weirdos” and “pervs” are allowed to have their smut. With the state of the internet today we have basically put the power over whether any information gets seen or not in the hand of a very few people.

For instance, around half the internet is protected by Cloudflare. A couple of months ago there was a controversy because Cloudflare decided not to protect the hate platform Kiwi Farms anymore, effectively taking them offline. Now whether or not you agree with this decision, the problem is that in the end literally one person (the head of Cloudflare) got to make it without having anyone to answer to. And by the looks of it, one of the websites protected by Cloudflare is actually Prostasia. This is not meant to be a critizism of Prostasia cooperating with Cloudflare, after all there are very valid reasons to buy their protection. But what happens should the head of Cloudflare suddenly buys into all the lies and misinformation spread about the organization, and decides to pull the plug just as they did with Kiwi Farms? That is immense power in the hand of just a few individuals, who get to dictate what kind of content other people get to see (or not).

The same with Google. If you think about it, it is absolutely horrifying how much power the Google search algorithm has, while at the same time basically being a giant and intransparent black box. Effectively it decides what information people are able to be exposed to. You can suppress entire positions in a social discourse without passing any totalitarian laws, simply by making them invisible in Google’s search results.

This happened to a few colleagues and I, who are running various websites on the topic of pedophilia, focused on information, anti-stigmatization and self-help. For the longest time all our websites were blacklisted on Google for search queries mentioning pedophilia. Instead, if someone searched for “pedophilia” they got lots of wiki entries full of mistakes and stigmatizing news articles confusing pedophilia with CSA. Luckily this changed recently (though we are still only on page 2), but for reasons unknown - and it could change back at any time.

Even on YouTube comments mentioning the “P-Word” are shadow-banned, making discussions under our own videos basically impossible (death threats, insults and hateful rants still get through somehow though).

Trying to get back to the original topic - I guess what I am trying to say is that this discourse is much broader and more dangerous than just whether Lolicon is allowed on a platform or not. We desperately need to get out of this situation where a few mega-companies and their own culturally inclined ideas of morality get to dictate the public discussions, resulting in them basically having more power than any government on earth while being a lot less regulated.


I just hope the monopolies come to an end soon so that people can tell patreon, visa, mastercard etc to go fuck themselves

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