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Regulation of Computer-generated virtual Child Pornography under American and French Jurisprudence: One Country’s Protected “Speech” is another’s Harmful Smut.
Unformatted Document Text:  Decency Act of 1996 52 that were invalidated in Reno v. ACLU 53 were challenged by a panoply of organizations ranging from librarians to the adult entertainment industry. Similarly, the Child Pornography Protection Act 54 was invalidated in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 55 after constitutional challenges by the adult entertainment industry and others. Most free speech laws in the United States thus reflect the struggles between powerful private interests. The situation is different in France. The French government has traditionally been service provider and regulator in the mass communication and telecommunications sector. Under the French exception culturelle (cultural exception) rationale, the mass media and telecommunications are part of the cultural heritage of the country, not goods like any other marketable good. 56 The French law on child pornography of 1998 was part of a larger bill aimed at preventing sex crimes. According to the Minister of Justice, 57 it was public interest legislation designed to address issues of mental health, violent crime and the sexual abuse of children. Finally, the law was expressly designed to bring France in conformity with international law, specifically, articles 34 to 36 of the 52 Communications Decency Act, 110 Stat.133, codified as 18 U.S.C. §223 (a) and 223 (d). 53 521 U.S. 844 (1997). 54 18 U.S.C. § 2256(8)(A-D) 1996. 55 See Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S.____(2002). 56 See generally J. CROOME, RESHAPING THE WORLD TRADING SYSTEM: WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (1996). (During the Uruguay Round of the multi-lateral General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) talks, which were concluded in 1993, the European Community, led by France, insisted on, and obtained an exception that allowed audiovisual services (radio and television programs, as well as movies) to be excluded altogether from the broad General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) rules); see also SOPHIE MEUNIER, The French Exception, 79 FOREIGN AFFAIRS 104 (2000). (France’s antipathy towards globalization and its Anti-Americanism are intended to preserve French language and culture). 57 See ExposĂ© des motifs du projet de Loi relatif Ă  la prevention et Ă  la repression des infractions sexuelles ainsi qu’à la protection des mineurs. (Expose of the Reasons for the Law on the Prevention and Repression of sexual infractions as well as the Protection of Minors) at http://www.justice.gouv.fr/publicat/motif2.htm > (last visited November 1, 2002).

Authors: Eko, Lyombe.
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background image
Decency Act of 1996
52
that were invalidated in Reno v. ACLU
53
were challenged
by a panoply of organizations ranging from librarians to the adult entertainment
industry. Similarly, the Child Pornography Protection Act
54
was invalidated in
Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition,
55
after constitutional challenges by the adult
entertainment industry and others. Most free speech laws in the United States
thus reflect the struggles between powerful private interests.
The situation is different in France. The French government has traditionally
been service provider and regulator in the mass communication and
telecommunications sector. Under the French exception culturelle (cultural
exception) rationale, the mass media and telecommunications are part of the
cultural heritage of the country, not goods like any other marketable good.
56
The
French law on child pornography of 1998 was part of a larger bill aimed at
preventing sex crimes. According to the Minister of Justice,
57
it was public
interest legislation designed to address issues of mental health, violent crime and
the sexual abuse of children. Finally, the law was expressly designed to bring
France in conformity with international law, specifically, articles 34 to 36 of the
52
Communications Decency Act, 110 Stat.133, codified as 18 U.S.C. §223 (a) and 223 (d).
53
521 U.S. 844 (1997).
54
18 U.S.C. § 2256(8)(A-D) 1996.
55
See Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S.____(2002).
56
See generally J. CROOME, RESHAPING THE WORLD TRADING SYSTEM: WORLD TRADE
ORGANIZATION (1996). (During the Uruguay Round of the multi-lateral General Agreement on Tariffs
and Trade (GATT) talks, which were concluded in 1993, the European Community, led by France, insisted
on, and obtained an exception that allowed audiovisual services (radio and television programs, as well as
movies) to be excluded altogether from the broad General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) rules);
see also SOPHIE MEUNIER, The French Exception, 79 FOREIGN AFFAIRS 104 (2000). (France’s
antipathy towards globalization and its Anti-Americanism are intended to preserve French language and
culture).
57
See Exposé des motifs du projet de Loi relatif à la prevention et à la repression des infractions sexuelles
ainsi qu’à la protection des mineurs. (Expose of the Reasons for the Law on the Prevention and Repression
of sexual infractions as well as the Protection of Minors) at
http://www.justice.gouv.fr/publicat/motif2.htm
> (last visited November 1, 2002).


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