Saturday, June 01, 2013

People who share (P2P) and watch c.p. sued in Maryland

Persons who watched child pornography created by others, up to 180 of them, have been served as defendants in a civil lawsuit filed by a woman near Annapolis , MD, the Baltimore Sun reports, in a story here

 The content was produced by her children’s father and another party.

A federal law allows victims to sue persons who trade in the content.  Many or most of these persons could and may be prosecuted for possession.  But it is possible to be served in a civil suit without prosecution.

Sharing the material in a P2P network would normally constitute trafficking and possession, resulting in prosecution.  Could a party who watched the material on someone else’s computer be sued successfully?  Such a person might not be involved in what the law considers possession.  That would be an interesting legal question.    

Update: June 29:

I has been reported that the Supreme Court will take up the issue of liability for a "home user" next term.  There are already conflicting appellate decisions. Details to follow. 

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