Is Lolicon Legal in the United States?

by Ambrosio Rodriguez | Apr 01, 2024 | Child Pornography
Is Lolicon Legal in the United States?

Strict federal and state laws protect children from sexual abuse, child pornography, child molestation, and other sex crimes. Our laws severely punish individuals for a variety of sex crimes involving children. However, many people are unaware that watching cartoons could get them into trouble legally. Watching animated depictions of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct or sexual activity could result in a child pornography charge.

A particular type of animated child pornography is lolicon. What is lolicon and is lolicon legal in the United States?

What is Lolicon?

Lolicon, or loli, is a form of Japanese anime. It depicts underage cartoon characters in sexually explicit situations. The cartoons are focused on sexualized plots and characters.

Anime describes all types of animated works in Japan. To the rest of the world, anime refers to Japanese animation or a common animation style in Japan. Modern anime began around 1956. Many people are familiar with the Pokémon characters, which are a popular form of Japanese anime. Much of the early anime was directed to children.

However, films and other materials were created with plots and characters that appealed to adults. Lolicon is anime that depicts underage girls. Loli involving underage boys is called shotacon.

Loli is common in Japan. However, many people and groups are opposed to loli because of the sexual conduct involving underage characters. Questions regarding the legality of lolicon and the need to regulate the material have increased in recent years.

Manga is a broad category that refers to a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at both children and adults. Manga covers a wide range of genres and topics, including action, romance, fantasy, science fiction, and more. It’s an integral part of Japanese culture and has gained significant popularity worldwide.

While manga itself is a diverse and expansive medium, “loli” content can sometimes involve themes or imagery that may be considered inappropriate or illegal, especially if it involves the sexualization of underage characters. Loli and shotacon usually depict children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Is Lolicon Legal in the United States?

Possessing child pornography is illegal in the United States. Under the PROTECT Act of 2003, any obscene images depicting a minor is considered child pornography. The act was passed in part to make virtual child pornography illegal, even though it did not depict an actual child.

Because lolicon depicts an identifiable minor engaged in sexually explicit situations, loli violates federal law in the United States. You can be arrested and charged with a crime if you possess lolicon in any form.

Other countries have also enacted laws making lolicon and shotacon illegal. They criminalize loli as pedophilia, child pornography, or other illegal material. However, loli continues to be legal in some countries.

International laws governing lolicon vary. Loli is not illegal in Germany because it does not depict real people. However, under the obscenity laws in the United Kingdom, viewing pornographic images of minors, including anime, is illegal.

What Does California Law Say About Lolicon?

Under California Penal Code §311.3, child pornography includes material that depicts children and minors simulating or engaging in sexual conduct. However, the law does not explicitly mention loli or materials similar to loli.

In the case of People vs. Gerber, 196 Cal.App.4th 368 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011), the California Court of Appeal ruled that child pornography requires a “real child” engaged in sexual conduct or simulated sexual conduct. If you apply this ruling, loli would not be illegal in California.

However, because loli remains illegal under federal law, if you watch or possess loli in California, you could be arrested on federal pornography charges.

New Terminology for Child Porn Better Defines Child Exploitation

The terminology surrounding child pornography has evolved to better address the complexities of the issue and to ensure legal clarity and effectiveness in combating this heinous crime. One significant change involves the shift from using the term “child pornography” to “child sexual abuse material” (CSAM) or “child exploitation material” (CEM).

This change reflects a crucial understanding: that these images and videos don’t just involve children engaging in sexual activity, but rather depict instances of child abuse and sexual exploitation. The term “pornography” can mistakenly imply consent or voluntary participation, which is not the case with child victims.

By using terms like CSAM or CEM, authorities and society at large acknowledge the harm inflicted on children in the production, distribution, and consumption of these materials. It emphasizes the criminal nature of these actions and underscores the importance of protecting children from exploitation.

Proving Guilt for Child Pornography Charges in California

The state must prove two key legal elements to obtain a conviction on child pornography charges. It must prove that you knowingly possessed the material in question. It must also prove that you knew or should have reasonably known that the individuals in the material were under the age of 18 years.

Proving that you were in possession of the material is not too difficult if law enforcement officers had a valid search warrant and caught you with the material. However, proving that you knew or should have known that the individuals in the material were minors is much more difficult.

Potential Defenses for Child Pornography Charges

The potential criminal penalties for a child pornography conviction are severe. You face lifelong consequences if the state proves its case against you.

A criminal defense lawyer can help you develop a defense strategy to fight child pornography charges. Some potential defenses might include:

  • You honestly believed the individuals in the material were over 18 years of age
  • You received the material from another party and did not request the material (i.e., spam email)
  • You did not intend to access the material online (went to the wrong website) and immediately deleted any downloads, history, and cookies to prevent further access to the material

Your defense depends on the facts and circumstances of your case. A careful analysis of the facts and the law is required to determine the best way to fight the criminal charges.

One of the best ways to help yourself is to be honest with your lawyer. Tell your attorney everything about the situation. The worst time for your lawyer to hear about evidence against you for the first time is in court.

To learn more, call our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm at 213-995-6767 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.

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Contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense Law Firm of The Rodriguez Law Group Today For Help

If you or someone you know has been wrongly accused of possession of lolicon, it’s crucial to take immediate action to protect your rights and clear your name. At Rodriguez Law Group, we understand the seriousness of these accusations and are here to provide you with expert legal representation.

Our team of experienced attorneys specializes in defending individuals facing charges related to online content, including allegations of possessing lolicon. We will work to investigate the circumstances of your case, gather evidence, and build a strong defense strategy to challenge the accusations against you. Our seasoned team of defense lawyers has extensive experience with child pornography laws. We understand how California defines child pornography including virtual child pornography.

For more information please contact the Los Angeles Criminal Defense law firm of The Rodriguez Law Group for a free consultation, give us a call at (213) 995-6767 or visit our convenient location:

The Rodriguez Law Group – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
626 Wilshire Blvd Suite 460, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States