AMSTERDAM Virtual enactments of child
pornography may be a crime under Dutch law if it encourages
child abuse, the public prosecutor said on Wednesday.
In the virtual world of Second Life, a popular Internet
destination, everyone aged under 18 is supposed to be limited
to a "teen grid".
However, it would be relatively easy for children to get on
to the adult grid if they wished since there is no proof of age
In the adult section, some users participate in "age play",
in which adult users can create child-like characters and have
virtual sex that would be illegal in the real world.
"There are possibilities to prosecute because it possibly
incites child abuse," the spokesman for public prosecutor Kitty
Nooij, who is in charge of national vice cases, said.
With the increasing popularity of virtual worlds, there are
fears people may turn to them to carry out activities
considered illegal in the real world.
There is no Dutch case law about virtual child pornography
in writing, drawings or computer animation.
In the United States, where Second Life creator Linden Lab
is based, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law in 2002
which would ban computer-generated images that depict minors
engaged in sexual conduct.
Citizens who commit Internet crimes can be prosecuted in
the country where they commit the offence under local laws.
Second Life, where Reuters opened a bureau last year, has
several hundred thousand regular users although only a maximum
of about 30,000 are logged in at any given time.
A majority of Second Life residents are from Europe, with
about 35 percent from the United States.
(To read more about Second Life, visit the Reuters Second
Life News Centre at secondlife.reuters.com )