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There are new opportunities emerging in forgery, including digital forgery of e-documents, deep-fake technology for creating false evidence, and 3D printing of the equipment (e.g., embossing tools) for creating fake official documents. Does it constitute a crime to sell such software or equipment to someone who uses it for forgery? Even if not chargeable as forgery, would selling such things be possibly considered conspiracy or accessory to the crime? If so, what factors would make one criminally liable?

For the sake of the argument, let's say I advertise the product as "perfect for pranks, gags, and forgeries."

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  • I dare you to name anything that you can't be killed with by someone determined to do so. Oct 27, 2020 at 11:48
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    I could use a scanner and MS Paint to create a forgery, those aren't illegal. Are you talking about software specifically designed to create a forgery?
    – Ron Beyer
    Oct 27, 2020 at 13:32
  • For the sake of the argument, yes, let's say I advertise the product as "perfect for pranks, gags, and forgeries." Oct 27, 2020 at 19:13
  • I doubt you can sell a gun by advertising it can kill police officers. You can't promote crimes, although you might be able to imply it, maybe. Oct 28, 2020 at 3:21

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Possibly: remember that we have 50 different states and their laws plus the federal government. Alabama criminal code §13A-9-9 define the crime of "possession of a forgery device", which is when one

makes or possesses with knowledge of its character any plate, die or other device, appliance, apparatus, equipment or article specifically designed or adapted for use in forging written instruments with intent to use it himself, or to aid or permit another to use it for purposes of forgery.

Selling is covered under the fact of possession. Arizona has a similar law, referring to the situation when a person

  1. Makes or possesses with knowledge of its character and with intent to commit fraud any plate, die, or other device, apparatus, equipment, software, access device, article, material, good, property or supply specifically designed or adapted for use in forging written instruments.

  2. Makes or possesses any device, apparatus, equipment, software, access device, article, material, good, property or supply adaptable for use in forging written instruments with intent to use it or to aid or permit another to use it for purposes of forgery.

Federal law would be covered here: §474 covers

any plate, stone, or other thing, or any part thereof, from which has been printed, or which may be prepared by direction of the Secretary of the Treasury for the purpose of printing, any obligation or other security of the United States, uses such plate, stone, or other thing, or any part thereof, or...

but this could not be reasonably interpreted to include a printing press, and would not cover a gadget that forges passports (Dept. of State, not Treasury). There isn't a federal statute with the breadth of the Alabama law. Any such law would have to include an "intent to forge" element.

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