CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, January 21, 2011

MTV's "Skins" and Child Pornography Laws (Kolber)

Yesterday, the New York Times ran a story about a popular new show on MTV called "Skins."  Apparently, the show's producers "are particularly concerned about the third episode of the series, which is to be broadcast Jan. 31. In an early version, a naked 17-year-old actor is shown from behind as he runs down a street."  They are concerned that the episode may violate child pornography laws:

It is unclear when MTV first realized that the show may be vulnerable to child pornography charges. On Tuesday, a flurry of meetings took place at the network’s headquarters in New York, according to an executive who attended some of the meetings and spoke only on the condition of anonymity. In one of the meetings, the executives wondered aloud who could possibly face criminal prosecution and jail time if the episodes were broadcast without changes.

One imagines that these meetings are especially uncomfortable:  If they are worried about criminal prosecution for broadcasting the episode, then perhaps they also have to worry about the knowing possession of the media containing the episode. 


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And don't forget all that footage on the cutting-room floor- the mere production of which may have been illegal.

If the series is found to have transgressed the law in any way whatsoever, it seems to me that the parents who gave permission for their minor children to participate could be liable for child endangerment.

Legal opinions?

Posted by: Guest | Jan 22, 2011 10:31:27 PM

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