Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

1410 Posts and Counting

Skins in the Game.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | January 22, 2011

No. 570

Child pornography legislation has probably engendered more unintended consequences than intended ones. Remember sexting?  After the unintended consequence happens, there is often some kind of backtracking, as with sexting prosecutions that nobody wanted. When the police seize a computer for any purpose, they immediately look at the history of items viewed, to see if any potential child porn is there.  It seems like they usually find some.

The theory behind certain child pornography legislation is that everyone in the chain, including the consumer, shares in the guilt.  As a principle of moral philosophy this is undoubtedly true. But as a guiding principle for legislation, it leads to places we don’t want to go.

Skins, the latest MTV offering, is a case in point.  Taco Bell and other advertisers are bailing out.  It has been speculated that their attorneys are telling them that they may be held directly liable for the broadcast of child pornography.  If there was ever a case of “chilling effect” on the exercise of free speech, this is it.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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