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How is child pornography defined?

Like many other terms, people often make references to child pornography without fully understanding exactly what it may mean in the eyes of the law. It is important for Minnesota residents to have an understanding of this because there may be things that could be considered child pornography that they are not aware of. 

As the United States Department of Justice explains, child pornography as defined by federal law may include a variety of things. It is also an area that is not protected by the First Amendedment. Videos and photographs, even those that are not developed, as well as files stored in electronic format may be pointed to as child pornography. Any form of image that involves a child 17 years old or younger in some sexually explicit manner may be considered pornography.

The child does not have to be actually engaged in a sexual act in the image as it is the overall level of sexual suggestion that may lead a particular image to being deemed pornographic. The law makes it illegal to possess, import, distribute or produce such materials. A person may also be charged with a crime for being given such images from someone else. Federal law considers child pornography a form of sexual exploitation and is sometimes referred to as child sexual abuse images.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give Minnesota residents an overview of the different things that may be used to define child pornography in a criminal case.

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