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Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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June 19, 2004

Volokh on the Future of Virtual Pr0n

Posted by Ernest Miller

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh poses an interesting hypothetical this afternoon regarding the future of pornography (Guess who'll be in porn movies in a decade or two?):

Within about ten years, there will probably be software that can merge people's photographs and voices with movies that depict someone else. ... But, practically, the most common use of this would probably be for pornography. Consumers would buy the program; get ordinary, nonpornographic photographs of celebrities or of acquaintances; merge the photograph with a pornographic movie; and then be able to watch pornography that "stars" whomever it is they lust after. ... if I were the sort of person whom either acquaintances or strangers would like to merge into a porn movie -- even one they'd only watch by themselves -- I wouldn't be at all pleased by this technology. Even if they watch the movie in the privacy of their own homes, there'd still be something mighty icky about them watching pictures that show me having sex.

I've actually written something along the same lines back in 2002 on LawMeme (The Future of Virtual Kiddie Pr0n and Other Notes on Ashcroft v. Free Speech). I think my example of virtual child pornography is even more disturbing and icky than celebrity porn.

However, I have to disagree with Prof. Volokh. As someone who is (peripherally) involved in the Machinima community, I believe that although pornography will be quite prevalent so will many other legitimate uses. The tools available to the pornographer will be the tools available to the budding film student. I think we are going to see many more non-pornographic uses than not. Yes, people will make pornography, but they will also download comedic scripts and the images of their favorite comedians.

Heck, it may become a significant art form with those who make the script suggesting several actors (or synthespians) for a particular role, but leaving the final "casting" decisions up to the consumer. Why pay for actors if you can direct the script and have the consumers add in the actors that they want later?

In any case, there better be significant legitimate uses, otherwise you are going to have a lot of explaining to do when your spouse/significant other stumbles across the program on your converged media center.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Freedom of Expression | Machinima


1. Daren on July 12, 2004 09:13 PM writes...

First of all, I think child pornography is sick and disgusting. I love children just as much as the next person, but to find anything sexually attractive about them confuses me. Little boys are cute, little girls are pretty, but attractive, I don't think so. Children are people you latch on to and hug and cuddle with. It gives you a sense of belonging. It is way beyond be why anyone would want to have sex with them. YUCK!! We should be protecting our children, not sleeping with them. It is sickos like these that make it hard for people like me, who love kids for who they are, and are there for them to protect them and comfort them when they need you. Then the parents raise their children to hate men and not to even talk to them, which is natural, but it is sad for the men out there who aren't like that. I've heard little girls call other men perverts just because they say they are pretty because they have a cute dress on or something. I think that is just as bad as these sexual offenders doing stuff to kids. You don't raise your kids to hate all men because there are people out there like that. You just have to be more cautious I think. It's not right to blame every man for other men's fantasies. I'm not saying it's wrong not to let your kid go to someone's house you hardly know unless you trust that person, but just because a man says hi to a kid and sits and talks to her out in the open, doesn't mean he is a pervert. Parents need to think things through before they tell their kids stuff. All men aren't sick. I would help any child if they needed it. But I don't want to get a "bad" label doing it.
This is the reason I think virtual child porn should be legalized. It would be so much easier for these people to access this instead of using real children. For one, it wouldn't be illegal. They can sit and have fun all day if they wanted, and no children would be hurt. It would be safer for them, because they wouldn't go to jail for it either. It's like if you were offered $50,000 for free or rob a bank to get it. Which would you choose? I want to protect the children. I think legalizing this is much safer for everyone.

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