Child Erotica Followup.
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realitysquared's avatar
By realitysquared   |   
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Disclaimer For Those Who Didn't Really Read My Last Journal

Readers of my journal of Friday, 19 September seem to have fallen into two groups.

The first group being those who actually read my journal and understood what it was about; that subject being the sexual portrayal of underage fictional characters.

The second group seems to have been composed of highly dramatic individuals who seem to be under the impression that the journal was some sort of indication that I or my staff were "targeting" certain specific artists or "attacking" fan art in general.

It is unfortunate that the members of the second group were predominate and that their tactics of name calling, throwing accusations, dictionary quotes and general over-dramatization turned what could have been an enlightening and educational discussion into a quagmire which is of little use to anyone.

To clear the air and hopefully prompt a more useful discussion on the matter I will once again repeat the contents of my last journal and address those rare comments who actually had some sort of contribution to make.

Guidelines For Being Ignored During Today's Discussion

Most will notice that I did not bother to reply to specific comments in my last journal; while I did read each comment not every comment deserved a response.

This journal will attempt to serve as a response. I prefer this method to endlessly repeating myself to individuals restating information or statements already made by others.

My viewpoint is if you are truly interested in following this subject after reading the last journal you'll most likely be reading this one; if you aren't then a personal response to you probably would have been better spent elsewhere and I've saved myself the bother of repeating myself a few dozen times.

If you feel that I've ignored you or your input then this is possible. If you wish for this to continue in the future please follow on the options below;

Insult me; Type in ALL CAPS; Clearly fail to actually read the journal; Tell me that I do not understand the deviantART policy which I personally wrote and trained others to understand correctly; Provide irrelevant information such as the age of consent in feudal Japan; Spout dictionary definitions verbatim; Rant for the sake of complaining and not to advance the discussion.


Begin Part Two

The goal of any policy is to give clear guidelines, have as little grey area as possible, and be capable of being applied consistently from media to media throughout the site.

The policy concerning fictional child characters, specifically nude art and erotic art concerning these characters, springs directly from the policy which we produced to address photography of actual children. The news article announcing these changes can be found here for those who may be interested.

Photography is, of course, only a single media but the concerns motivating the policy could be applied to other areas as well so obviously research was done into how these concerns apply outside of the realm of photography.

What we discovered is currently fictional child nudity and child erotica is not legally treated in the same fashion as photographs of real children, however the United States has pushed at least twice to remove this discrepancy and treat fictional children in the same manner as real children in regards to erotica.

It was decided that while deviantART policy did not legally have to treat fictional characters in the same fashion as real children and teens we would do so nonetheless for consistancy.

Unlike photography, addressing fictional characters presents unique difficulties.

As far as photography is concerned only one factor is a concern; the age of the model at the time of the photograph. As far as nudity and erotica are concerned the minimum age is a legally proven eighteen(18).

Fictional characters however present several problems. The first is that the characters do not age "naturally"; they remain their original age regardless of the passage of time so you cannot simply wait for them to grow up.
Fictional characters can also be subjected to temporary magical or technological aging or reversal of aging according to the whims of the series plot; they can travel in time and meet their future selves, they can meet older or younger selves from alternate dimensions, and a host of other fantastic and impossible occurrences which simply do not happen to real people and that doesn't even address the fact that the same character can appear in several different series and contexts and can be presented as several different ages depending on whether or not it's television, comic book or video game or movie.

In short, a fictional character never changes age until somebody wants it to and then all bets are off and the sky is the limit.

To compound the problem character designs seldom change at all during the series; this is especially true in television where characters wear the exact same outfit day-in and day-out.

For our policy involving nude and erotic work we needed to address this with clear guidelines and as little grey area as possible.

The first decision was that we would apply policy only to characters who had been assigned a clear age or age range assigned to them. Due to differences in style and the fact that fiction does not need to obey basic anatomy this was the only realistic approach and it means that the policy most often applies specifically to fan art.

The next major problem which needed to be addressed was the fact that age of fictional characters could be changed at a whim and that many fan artists would try to claim an older age for a young character in order to show the character nude or erotically.
Our solution here was to disregard claims of "aging" in most cases. We can and do make exceptions if significant changes in the character design were made and those changes could not be dismissed as merely due to artistic style.

Lastly we needed to determine how the policy would apply to characters who might be presented as several ages. Maybe they were underage in a video game, really young in the comic but older in the TV series; or perhaps their age skips around a bit during the run of the series or any number of other situations.

The decision here is that the age of the character would be determined by the specific character design used in the fan art; this is primarily because any significant change in age or circumstances is often accompanied by a change in character design in a series.
In any situation where a character keeps a certain unchanging character design or where the work cannot be associated with a specific character design the staff will treat the work as depicting the character as underage.

This is the policy as it has been enforced for several years now and it minimizes the subjectivity and grey area from the staff determination and allows for the most consistent application of policy in those situations which come to the attention of the staff.

In Closing

To reiterate;
This policy applies to works which feature nudity, erotica, or other mild sexual themes.

It does not apply to simple swimsuit shots, romantic scenes, or other similar content.

If you truly cannot tell the difference between erotic content and other types of content then you will need to wait until I explain the difference in another journal.

For those who were able to make it through this lengthy explanation with a clear mind and understood what they read, thank you; feel free to further the discussion below.

For those who merely skimmed what I've written and who plan on simply ranting  and complaining, please apply that time and energy elsewhere where it may have a more useful purpose.

Comments357
anonymous's avatar
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ThunderSnowolf's avatar
ThunderSnowolfProfessional Filmographer
An adult character in erotica is not "child pornography". It's just pornography. 
MasterKoschei's avatar
MasterKoscheiProfessional General Artist
I think it's great that you decided to be so clear on this. I know stuff like shouta and loli is technically just this side of legal, but I personally hate it. I know that's just my preference, but it really REALLY bothers me, especially since I have a kid, and I would NOT want his cosplay pictures used as a way to reference drawing such a thing (though of course he's clothed and I'm just overprotective).

That being said, I was wondering something. About the 'aging' of characters - I do take commissions, and I do draw fanart, though it isn't all of what I draw, or even the majority, and it isn't even the only thing that can be commissioned. Still, I often have people want so-and-so from a popular series, and I will look their age up to find that they are lower than the age I am willing to draw. To keep people from spamming me with the 'it's legal though and I'm paying you' I decided to compromise, and posted on my rules that it is a hard line and will NEVER change that I will not draw underage characters, so anyone making such a request will be told that so-and-so will be aged to legal age, and that if they aren't happy with this, then they should commission someone else. I just won't do it. I don't mind doing aged versions... I know anatomy and I know the unofficial manga rules for how to age a character, but I'm wondering how this is defined as being sufficient with dA.

An example would be Naruto (you can't go anywhere without avoiding it, it seems) and in canon, they are 13 in one series, then 15 in the next. This means I'm not willing to draw them like that even though it's hugely popular. This is why the only Naruto fanart I even have on this account is one of characters that are 50+ in age except in flashback, even though that one is just fluff and not sexual. So what standards are being used to determine if the character is aged? Some examples that I use, are that I change the body anatomy to that of an adult with various things including height, musculature, and then the face has many, many things to change. The eyes are defined differently, the proportions are different, so is the spacing of certain facial items, and the face tends to be more angular. The hairstyle will normally change when someone is an adult, and etc,etc.

Sorry for the long comment/question, but you wouldn't believe how a friend of mine freaked when she got on some stupid Sasuke crush kick and I went and told her he was 12 a few years ago. It can be hard with fanart; I seriously do NOT envy you guys having to figure out things with it but appreciate that you let it be posted. I know you're also probably super-busy and don't expect you to just OMG drop everything and LIEK TALKS 2 ME NOWS. (Sorry, I had to throw that in just to be a brat; I realized I sounded too mature for a fanartist...) (Edit: That's just a joke, fellow fanartists, flames will be ignored or used to save kittens from drowning...) (2nd edit: No, you really can't edit comments. The edits here are pure sarcasm, so don't go searching or asking how to edit your comment. I just like to leave reallllllly long comments when I do comment instead of fav' ninja-ing. >_> )
Mauser712's avatar
Mauser712Hobbyist Writer
On the one hand, I can fully agree with you that someone who wants to draw, say, Penny from Inspector Gadget (Who is, what, 12?) naked has a serious problem. But if they want to post it and get the adulation they want from similarly sick individuals, there is always Hentai Foundry and 4-Chan for them.

I can agree that drawing Penny from Inspector Gadget naked, and then sticking enormous boobs on her does not count as "Making her over 18". And based on the policy, "Making her 18" is largely an impossibility anyway.

Let me see if I can summarize the policy in a "Fun with Dick and Jane" way.

The age of a character with one set age is fixed. You as an artist can't change it. If a character is occasionally aged, go with the average age across the presentation (In other words, just because Lisa Simpson was shown to be the President, and thus at least over 35 in one single episode does not outweigh 20 years of shows where she is 8.) If a character like Kagome finishes a series at 18, her average age is still less than that, so no go. And as you say, epilogues don't count.

This idea points at an edge case I'm curious about. In Totally Spies, the lead characters start as High School Juniors, and over four seasons graduate and move out on their own, so for at least half of their presentation, they are adults.

The other question is, while clearly nudity and sexual situations are out for under 18 characters, what about scenes of Bondage or Peril? Are such scenes inherently adult and thus inappropriate? Is Fetishy costumery sexual in and of itself? One could argue that the "Spy uniforms" of the Totally Spies characters are fetish inspired. They are, after all, completely covered, but it looks like a skin-tight catsuit.

Even worse, if Bondage/Peril of under-aged characters is considered inappropriate, then the very source material of the aforementioned Penny, the Inspector Gadget cartoon itself would be Inappropriate material being shown on broadcast TV! That might not pass a "Reasonable Man" test, because even though a pervert might, a reasonable man would not think a little girl tied to a chair next to a ticking time bomb is sexual in any way. I don't and I'm sure you don't either.

On a different point, I think perhaps there would be less drama (Well, slightly less anyway) if moderation was a bit more - moderate. And Consistent. Unlike some, I realize that Moderation pretty much only happens after a complaint. But from what I've observed, sometimes, possibly all too often, the response is to rubber stamp all complaints without even looking at the item in question. And this tends to result in gangs of anti-fans or individual stalkers flagging everything from someone they have a personal dislike for.

I'm tempted someday to perform a test and have someone post a picture of a flower and flag it as something horrible just to see if the Moderation is as blind as it appears sometimes.

The Moderation system should not be a device for harassment and abuse. There should be steps taken to prevent it from being used this way. For instance, if something has been flagged and determined to be okay, it should no longer be possible to flag it again for the same reason. And for another, there should be a way to contest moderation when the picture did not actually violate the rules but was nuked by an overworked Moderator.
OmNomNomNomNomNomm's avatar
[link] Have you read this? It explains that it is impossible to abuse the reporting system. :meow:

If someone makes a large amount of false reports, the Admins can block them from reporting for a while. :3
Mauser712's avatar
Mauser712Hobbyist Writer
That is basically a more formalized version of this post. And I'm not arguing with it (In fact, what you've replied to is simply a re-wording of the post in a way that is a little less wordy, and easier for the fanboys to get their heads around). Where unfair moderation comes in to play is that certain artists have stalkers who will report anything they think is a violation. Other artists do not have this problem, and their violations remain in place for years. So the essence of the problem is that it depends on snitches, jerks and a--holes to determine which posts get evaluated. And I've seen plenty of examples where an artist complains about a deletion, and puts the picture up someplace offsite, and it's pretty clear that the image isn't a violation at all.

The problem appears to be that when overwhelmed, some moderators don't do due diligence and consider the fact that a picture has been flagged to be sufficient cause.

So it's this dependence on self-appointed "Pre-Moderators" that leads to charges of uneven enforcement. And if the reports aren't considered false, the guy doing all the flagging isn't dialed back from reporting, he's considered a "Good citizen" even if what he's really doing is using the "power" the system grants him to harass someone else.

There probably should be an improved appeals process that includes evaluation by a different moderator.
OmNomNomNomNomNomm's avatar
When a picture does not break a rule, it will not be deleted. :meow: Have had invalid reports back on images I was very sure broke a rule. The Staff do check each report to make sure it breaks a rule.

If the person feels they are being stalked, perhaps they should stop submitting deviations that may break the rules? ;3
Mauser712's avatar
Mauser712Hobbyist Writer
Your absolute confidence is so charming.

Now if only they would tell the guys who have had stuff deleted that shouldn't have been (I mean, Raven in a Bikini, seriously, nothing worse than that) getting nuked why when they ask, that would be so nice.
OmNomNomNomNomNomm's avatar
Have these persons tried asking the Admins personally? The Help Desk is crammed with multiple pointless reports, so proper ones are taking a while to go through. :3

Raven is a child from the Teen Titans cartoon, yes? If she was in a state of undress or a sexually suggestive situation or pose, I could see why it would be removed.
Mauser712's avatar
Mauser712Hobbyist Writer
No, she was just on the beach, wearing a bikini.
OmNomNomNomNomNomm's avatar
That is something you would need to ask an Admin then, do not think r2 is responding to comments on this journal any moar. Would suggest the Help Desk, but they have a big backlog right now. 3:
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MrPenguinPants's avatar
I apologize in advance if this comment sounds at all rude, but I thought that I may give my input to the subject.

~First off; Cartoon are not real people. Seriously, if people think that they are, then there are some much deeper issues to be discussed there.
~Secondly; (As many other people have said already, and as you have mentioned in the journal) The age of cartoons is not set. Again, because they are not real. I am sorry to disagree with you here, but I think that if I want to draw a cartoon child as a nude adult, that does not mean that they are still a child. Where I can agree with this is if the art does, in fact, look like a child. If there is absolutely NO mistake about said character being a child, then you are perfectly correct. But if, in fact, there is question about the character being of legal age, then I see where it may be a difficult call. But before banning a person or deleting the picture, ask about it? Do something that will not cause THIS much commotion about it.
~Thirdly; (Another thing that many people have bought up) I do think that DeviantART is being a tad hypocritical, for the fact that they will allow photographs of the nude, yet some cartoon nudity will either get deleted or get you banned. Please start being more consistent.

I am not choosing either side of this argument, I am simply attempting to state my opinion and hoping that you might be more consistent in the future when judging the art.

I give you my thanks for taking the time to read my comment. And even if you did not, then that is not really my problem.
KyokoKagami's avatar
I was going to argue my point here as well, but you just did it for me. So thank you. There is no reasoning with him, though. He has a bias against Anime artists who happen to like drawing the characters from their favorite shows. Sometimes pictures get deleted from here, even if they are not nude.

I mean it's just ridiculous. :| They fail.
MrPenguinPants's avatar
Yes. He will not listen to anybody who says anything different that what he says. Quite closed-minded. =/
KyokoKagami's avatar
lol Yeah I figured that out... A few of my friends learned the hard way. I don't even submit anything to DeviantArt but I come here to look at and enjoy art... Not to see it get deleted and being being banned for their freedom of expression. :no: It's sad, really.

There are other, better sites than this anyway.
MrPenguinPants's avatar
See, in my opinion, DeviantART is the best I have found. But it is most likely due to the fact that I have been on here for years, so I am used to it. None the less, there are some changed that need to be made, but I usually do not have too much trouble. :/
KyokoKagami's avatar
Yes I agree with you. I do think that deviantart is a very good site. Not the BEST but good. The only reason it seems better than others is because there are so many people here. It gives each artist more exposure and so on. There are plenty of good things about it too. I've even praised them before for certain things. I just think they should really change their attitude, and fire a certain mod on here who has severe issues with anime. :\
sd-stock's avatar
sd-stockHobbyist Photographer
I just happened to read over this and had a question. While I don't do traditional art and don't use fictional, pre-existing characters, I think it's an important topic. (Please forgive me if someone has asked it already in the comments?)

What about fictional characters who are technically (as in, in the series) very old, like characters who are older than 100, but appear to be a child?
Bubby-Bobble's avatar
Bubby-BobbleHobbyist General Artist
I asked the help desk about the exact same question, and I got a reply back from $realitysquared just a second ago about it.
I will share his reply with you, since it doesn't seem like he saw your message in his inbox.
(The man does get an awful lot of messages, so it's no surprise that he might not have seen it)

"Situations like this tend to be best judged on a case-by-case basis; you should report works of this nature which you find so that a member of staff can review the individual details."

In other words, if an artist is trying to keep from getting into trouble by drawing an older character like Cirno 9 [link] who still looks like a child in a provocative situation (Naked, with her legs spread. ect.) it's best to report it and let the admin decide if the person in question is trying to use a loophole to keep from getting into trouble for "Child erotica".

I hope that answered your question. :)
sd-stock's avatar
sd-stockHobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much! :)
Wiimeiser's avatar
""
What we discovered is currently fictional child nudity and child erotica is not legally treated in the same fashion as photographs of real children, however the United States has pushed at least twice to remove this discrepancy and treat fictional children in the same manner as real children in regards to erotica.
""
Like I said, it's already happened in Oz.
TJSansonDesign's avatar
Fiction and reality need to be separated. A cartoon, drawing, painting, or sculpted image is NOT REAL. Regardless of the intent of the creator, there is no actual person being exploited, and to prohibit the creation of nude or erotic material that features what APPEARS TO BE an underage person is Big Brother at his finest, ladies and gents. However, dA has EVERY RIGHT to prohibit the display of such material since it is a private organization.

Just my two cents.
ELStalky's avatar
ELStalkyHobbyist Digital Artist
[Sorry about any language mistakes in advance]
You mentioned in the last journal and in this that the legal status of those disputed works was under attack so that they would be treated like actual child pornography, the reason why those appeals failed (and will always do so) is really simple: Courts only act if there is plaintiff but there is none in this case because there is no victim. Don't know think it's a good principle that an action is only a crime if there is a victim?
I don't want to insult you but your judgment is illogical, the stamp that you have there about lolicon goes to show this. It says "I support x because i support y" that can logically only work in two cases either x = y or x follows from y, neither is the case, child porn simply is not the same as lolicon.
I concede is that it could be considered immoral or disgusting and i also think that some of the borders that have been set are for the better because they keep dA on a certain level of decency and contribute by not attracting people whose only aim is to find some stimulating materials. The thing is that feelings of "immoral" and "disgusting" are not good standards for rules, homosexuality might very well seem disgusting because it's not the way things normally go but straight relationships might be perceived that way by homosexuals as well, so whose disgust bears more rights? (Also in this case we have a no victim situation again).
Since i am not interested in creating such porn anyway i don't really mind how the policies are but i'd of course appreciate any response.
BrandonSMitchell's avatar
Hey Reality, I know this journal is done and gone and you have moved onto different subjects, but I think I have a good question.

I have seen a couple Images on here of children nude with their parents, I understand this is possible because the child is under the parents right to consent to the child being used in the photo.

Does this mean in the matter of cartoon erotica, that the fan-artists base would need to collect a written or legal consent from the applying characters company giving them consent to do fan-art in that way? (I read your other posts and i know the difference in the personal and third party usage rights)

I was just thinking that people could find a loophole in said rules about if a child only needs consent from a parent to be nude in photography, they would push for it to apply in said animation. I.E. The adult of a character would need to give their permission.

I'm not saying it to do anything of the sort but to rather ask if this would cause a problem and should be an amendment to the rules? Or possibly your views on the subject.

-Z
chibibecca's avatar
FAQ #249: Are there restrictions on photographs of teenagers or children?

Parental consent or not, if those photos were breaking any of the conditions set in the above FAQ, you should report them. :)
anonymous's avatar
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