Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

20 Nov 2001, 13:37 p.m.

"The case has alarmed First Amendment experts, who believe Dalton…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

"The case has alarmed First Amendment experts, who believe Dalton is the first person in the United States successfully prosecuted for child pornography that involved writings, not images."

Call me crazy, but I believe that if a particular creative work does not harm anyone, either in its making or in its effects on those who experience it, then maybe, just maybe, it shouldn't be illegal. If I use crayons on paper to make a picture of youngish-looking people engaging in sex, completely out of my own head -- and I'm pretty sure I've never viewed child porn -- and keep it to myself, then that shouldn't be illegal. Nor if I wrote a story about it, nor if I made realistic-looking portrayals using graphics software. The GIMP is not the PIMP; "it might someday indirectly lead to molestation" is not sufficient cause for arrest.