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Ban of Artistic Merit Defense for Child Pornography

April 26, 2013

I recently read an article written by Elizabeth Fortescue for The Art Newspaper on something that happened in New South Wales and, although it is news from 2010, I think it is relevant to the topic of art and crime. Most people believe that child pornography is a crime but in New South Wales, people charged with child pornography used to be able to claim an “artistic merit defense”. This allowed them to say that their work was art and there was nothing wrong, or illegal about it. If all child pornographers were able to use this defense then how would any of them ever be prosecuted? New South Wales got rid of the law that allowed people to use this defense so that there would be a distinction between pornography and art. Allowing this defense to ever be used meant that innocent children were being manipulated and exposed in the name of art. Wouldn't anyone in their right mind be able to see that the individuals who created this “art” were really creating pornography? When it comes to something as serious as child pornography, the line between art and crime should be very clear.

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