Are teen porn pictures illegal

Legal photos & child pornography: the tightening of the law should provide clarity

The Bundestag has decided to tighten the law on nude photos of children
Image: dpa Boys romp around naked through the garden, splashing themselves with water and fighting around in the paddling pool. Dubious dealers on the Internet make a lot of money with such films. The SPD politician Sebastian Edathy also ordered photos and videos of this kind from a Canadian provider online. Everything legal - he emphasized and rejected any child pornography allegation. The Edathy case sparked a heated debate over the atrocities of the child porn scene and the limits of legality. Now the Bundestag has decided to tighten the law [link removed]. The goal: to provide more legal clarity and better protect children. But there remain a lot of open legal questions and problems.

The distinction between legal images and child pornography has always been difficult. The Edathy affair brought the discussion about it new momentum. Originally, Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) wanted to make unauthorized nude photos generally a criminal offense. This was followed by an outcry from experts and right-wing politicians in the federal and state governments: Every father who photographs his naked child digging on the beach will be turned into a criminal, they warned. Other parts of the draft also met with criticism.

Maas weakened his plans in some places

The Bundestag has decided to tighten the law on nude photos of children
Image: dpa Shortly before the vote in the Bundestag, Maas changed his plans and weakened them in some places. Accordingly, you will only make yourself liable to prosecution in the future if you photograph or film children and young people naked in order to then sell the pictures or offer them on file sharing sites. Beach pictures for the family photo album are therefore excluded. But not supposedly harmless shots of raging boys in the garden - provided they are for sale in the end. If the camera zooms in noticeably close to the genitals of the children, such videos are considered child pornography and are forbidden. This, too, is now made a little clearer in the law.

But what about the less clear-cut cases? What if a 16-year-old has himself photographed naked for a youth magazine? What about a 17 year old modeling for an underwear catalog? Well, says the CSU right-wing politician Alexander Hoffmann, in his opinion a 17-year-old has no place in a lingerie catalog anyway. But if they had to, their parents could give the OK for the photos, and the matter would be legally sound. The Green legal expert Katja Keul sees it differently and says that the photographer will make himself liable to prosecution in such cases in the future. The legal conceptions differ widely.

Greens: Change in the law overshoots the target

In other places too, the change in the law is overshooting its mark, say Greens, but also leftists. It is forbidden to pass on pictures or to show them to others that are "capable" of damaging the reputation of the person concerned. Opposition politicians shake their heads at this. Even those who take an embarrassing photo of a drunken party guest and show it to friends the next day can get into trouble, they complain. In such cases, anyone can report the matter immediately, says the left-wing politician Jörn Wunderlich. "Anything can lead to criminal liability."

Keul criticizes that the law has simply been made miserable in parts. "It was all knitted at the last minute." If there had been a proper parliamentary procedure, such mistakes would not have happened, she says. Other experts are also dissatisfied with the result. Now the case law of the courts will show how practicable the new regulations are.

And with child pornography, another problem remains: the federal and state police have long complained that they do not have enough people to deal with the mass of such proceedings at all. The best example is the Edathy case: It took the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) two years to come across Edathy's name in the Canadian provider's customer files. According to the BKA, the employees were simply overloaded with other procedures. Investigators believe that anyone who really wants to do something about abuse and child pornography must above all increase the police force.