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Wikipedia has opened up a forum on its website where contributors are discussing whether to delete a photo of a nude adolescent that could violate federal child-pornography laws, following a WND report indicating the FBI is reviewing the image.
The photo in question, titled “Virgin Killer” from RCA’s 1976 Scorpions rock album, depicts a naked pre-pubescent girl (appearing about 10 years of age) in a provocative pose. Her chest is completely exposed and a small crack is placed over her vagina.
The album’s cover was banned in the United States due to its extremely controversial nature and was later replaced with a photo of the band. When WND brought the image to the attention of several Wikipedia representatives, they denied any knowledge of it.
The following are just a few comments from Wikipedians regarding their thoughts on whether to keep or delete the image:
- I’m unsure about this one. It’s definitely borderline child porn. However, it is also a legitimate album cover released by a notable band. I’m still trying to decide on this one.
- Receiving adverse coverage including reports of FBI investigations due to possible violation of U.S. child porn laws. It has been removed from the Virgin Killer article and is thus orphaned and I personally do not see any educational value to having this image on Wikipedia as we do not promote pedophilia on the project.
- If we don’t acquiesce to the sabres [sic] of those who wish to remove the images of Muhammad, then we should not do so for this one either.
- While tacky and tasteless are reasonable descriptions, it’s certainly not pornography. Nude torsos of prepubescent boys and girls are common, and given that the only possibly illegal portion of the original photo is missing in the finished project any description of the cover as “pornography” is dependent on the imagination of the viewer.
- Child porn is not educational, no need for this image.
- Does far more harm than good. I tried to get this deleted quietly some months ago to no luck. I am a staunch defender of the project’s right to publish whatever legal material it wants, including images including nude adults. But whether this is legally child porn or not, it is hurting our credibility with the reading public, and may in fact put the project in jeopardy legally speaking. If there’s even a chance we could be charged with distributing child porn, we must take action. Even the accusation can irrevocably damage our ability to meet our goals.
The online encyclopedia indicated it was inundated with e-mails from concerned users in the wake of WND’s initial report.
In a WND poll related to the story, the No. 1 response, at more than 47 percent, had readers saying Wikipedia is clearly violating U.S. obscenity laws and should face prosecution.