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Downloading Illegal Porn to Computer Is Possession, Not Shipping or Transporting
Description Appeals court held that downloading illegal pornography to one's computer results in illegal possession of the material, but not the shipping or transporting of the material, which is a more serious offense.
Topic Cyberlaw
Key Words Criminal Act; Transporting Pornography
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Mohrbacher was convicted of transporting and receiving visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit acts, a violation of federal law. He had downloaded the GIF images from a bulletin board system in Denmark. Mohrbacher appealed, contending that he did not transport or ship pornography, he had only received it, by downloading it on his computer.
Decision Reversed in part. A customer who is on the receiving end of those who make illegal pornography available on a BBS or by e-mail, is guilty of receiving or possessing such materials, but not of shipping or transporting them. Hence, Mohrbacher could not be convicted of transporting the illegal material; that offense is committed by the seller who distributes the material.
Citation U.S. v. Mohrbacher, 182 F.3d 1041 (9th Cir., 1999)

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