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Has Aiko Been Banned?

There's an ongoing controversy in the world of digital art over whether or not we sometimes create child pornography. That is, I could create an image of a pre-teen girl engaged in an explicit sexual act, and most people would look at it and declare it to be child pornography. But is it really?

The deepest root to the societal ban on child pornography is that it is evidence of a crime being committed, i.e. that of sexual assault on a child. Certainly that would be a proper justification for punishing someone who kept photographic trophies of their crimes. But what about those unconnected to the original crime? We tend to punish them because they derive value from the crime having occurred, and in that sense, they encouraged that crime to occur and encourage other crimes to be committed in the future.

But what about the cases where there was no original crime? Consider the photographic works of David Hamilton or Jock Sturges who often photograph nude adolescents at nude beaches, most often in Europe where the nudity taboo is much less than here in the U.S. The subjects were aware the photos were being taken, and the parents had consented. They are hardly sexually suggestive. Are they child pornography?

Getting back to the world of digital art, we are generally saddled with a restriction from most of the public galleries to not post any child nudity whatsoever. Their real justification is that they don’t want the hassle of some backwater judge declaring that they’re hosting child porn on their servers. They don’t pretend to answer the underlying question of whether or not a digital image such as this could truly be child pornography. It’s their site, and I’m not going to tell what they must host.

However, to enforce their prohibition on child nudity, they have taken the stance that a “child” is any figure that they feel looks like they are under 18 years of age. This has led to a number of images being removed for the “crime” of the woman not having large enough breasts or having the wrong proportion of head to body or for being too short.

Notably, the figure pictured here has been removed many times. Her name is Aiko. She was designed specifically to achieve the anime/manga look, and I think she does a good job at it. Now, just as nudity is not uncommon in anime/manga, it shows up in the Aiko-based digital art. Is all such manga really child porn?

I posted this image to one of the larger public gallery sites. Here Aiko is unmodified. I have done nothing to make her appear younger or older. I’m waiting to see if it gets removed. If it does, then I think it would be safe to say that any Aiko-based nude image is going to be classified as child porn by them.

Comments (1)


FYI, 10 days after posting it, it has not been removed at the public gallery (Renderosity), but it did spark some discussion.

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