If the site's models/actors are actual teenagers (under the age of
18), yes, such sites are illegal.
This is covered by:
US TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 110 - Sexual Exploitation of Children
Sites whose models/actors merely *look* like minors but are actually
adults must comply with USC 18 § 2257, which requires producers of
such sites to verify that their models/actors are over the age of 18,
and requires these producers to keep records of the performers name,
address, age, and every name, nickname or stage alias ever used.
Additionally, they must prominently display a disclaimer on the site
attesting to the fact that the performers are all legally adults.
TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 110 > § 2257 Record keeping requirements
Search terms: [ teen porn law ], [ 2257 Disclaimers ]
Clarification of Answer by
23 Apr 2005 12:32 PDT
Let's take the second part of your question first:
"How can a surfer know if people have complied with USC 18 § 2257?"
Sites featuring models/actors who look underage *must* display a 2257
disclaimer on the site. The statement will be the same as or similar
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE WITH 18 USC SECTION 2257
Some sites will put the disclaimer at the bottom of the main page in
small print, others give it its own page, and use "Legal", "Legal
Information", "2257 Information", or similar language in the link
text. The disclaimer is also *required* to have the name, address and
phone number of the custodian of records. Before placing an
order/joining a site, check for the legal information and make sure
the custodian of records is listed. If it isn't, steer clear.
Now let's look at your first question:
"How about sending money to those sites or downloading photos?"
This will depend on the decency/obscenity laws in your locale. In
some communities, viewing and/or purchasing pornographic materials
(even online) is illegal. If you're not sure if viewing adult
material in your locale is legal, you can Google on [ obscenity laws
$CITY ], replacing $CITY with the name of your city, to locate the
text of your community's laws.