Ronald Clark downloaded cartoon pornography three years ago, ultimately ending up in court in Auckland, New Zealand. He was jailed for three months for possessing objectionable material, and sparking debate as to what harm is caused by digitally created pornography.
Clark's lawyer Roger Bowden described them as "pixies and trolls" that "you knew at a glance weren't human," according to Fairfax NZ News. Although the characters were elves and pixies, they were also clearly young, which sparked concern the images were linked to child sexual abuse.
Anti-child pornography group ECPAT Child Alert director Alan Bell said the images were illegal because they encouraged people "to migrate from there to the real thing." Bell acknowledged that no child was harmed in the cartoons' production but "it's all part of that spectrum."
Auckland University associate philosophy professor Tim Dare said "the justifications for punishment are likely to be worries about the tendency of the images to promote harm to real people in the future, or a concern for what the interest in the images tells you about their ‘character'."
Clark has previous convictions for indecently assaulting a teenage boy and has been through rehabilitation programs. Clark admitted he was interested in the images but said it was for "a bit of a laugh," and that he did not find them sexually arousing.
He says the videos came from an established tradition of Japanese manga and hentai (cartoon pornography), a large mainstream industry.