1

So, I was talking with a friend on Discord and they told me that digital drawings of furry cubs that display sexual/fetish content is both pedophilia and zoophilia and punishable by law, but this confused me as there are sites like InkBunny and e621 that host this type of content with servers based in the United States. For anyone unfamiliar with the furry fandom, a "furry cub" is essentially a young/adolescent animal of some sort that hasn't reached adulthood. So, is this considered legal in the United States?

  • Just because something is pedophilic does not make it illegal. It's only illegal if it falls into the realm of specific laws such as child pornography. But a drawing of an underage animal is not a human child. – forest Jan 4 at 1:54
  • @ forest 22 So-called "furry" art generally uses anthropomorphic animals which are partly human, much like classic cartoon (Yogi Bear is as much like a human as a bear, really). Such are may have an erotic theme, but most of it would not be child porn under US law. – David Siegel Jan 5 at 0:24
  • It's not child pornography as long as there aren't any nude/sexualised (human) children (-18) in it. Naked or otherwise, animal-human hybrids are only subject to child pornography laws if the "human" part depicts the body (or face) of an adolescent. – LogicalBranch Jun 22 at 14:40
3

Note that "pedophilia" is a psycological or social term, and not a legal term. What laws prohibit is the creation, distribution, and possession of child pronography Under 18 U.S.C. § 2251- Sexual Exploitation of Children:

Any person who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in, or who has a minor assist any other person to engage in, or who transports any minor in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with the intent that such minor engage in, any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct, shall be punished as provided under subsection (e), if such person knows or has reason to know that such visual depiction will be transported or transmitted using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or mailed, if that visual depiction was produced or transmitted using materials that have been mailed, shipped, or transported in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer, or if such visual depiction has actually been transported or transmitted using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce or mailed.

This means that there is no offense if no real child is involved, and this is also true of the various other US laws on child porn. Since the case of Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002) erotica which appear to depict a minor engaging in sexual activity, but which are not depictions of any actual child are protected speech under the US First Amendment and are therefor not criminal.

So called "furry cub porn" might include modified images of actual minors, in which case it would seem to be covered under US laws against child porn. But if the character is totally invented, or is based on an adult rather than a minor, then it would seem to come under the rule of Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition.

Note, the law in other countries is significantly different. In particular in the UK a realistic drawing may be considered to be a "pesudo-photograph" even if not based on an actual person, and may be punishable in the same way as an actual photo of an actual minor.

Note also, the making, distribution, or posse ion of 'child porn' is a very serious criminal offense. I am not a lawyer, and one should not rely on this post to determine what acts are and are not legally safe. If there is any question, consult a lawyer.

Note also that under the above statute (18 U.S.C. § 2251), something may be "child pornography" if the person involved is a minor, even if that person is old enough under local law to consent to sexual activity, and even if the person did in fact so consent, and even if there was no intent to distribute the image or video. So a person taking, say, a cell-phone video of him- or herself having sex with a 17-year-old, intended for personal watching only, in a state where the age of consent to sex is 16, can still be found guilty under this law, and such cases have occurred.

  • Okay, but what if the image is based off of an animal? – Eduardo Perez Jan 2 at 23:59
  • @Eduardo Perez Images of non-humans of any age or species are not legally child porn in the US, nor are images of adult humans. Only recognizable images of real humans younger than 18. Now a real under-age human's face put on an animal's body could still count as an "image of a child". – David Siegel Jan 3 at 3:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.