Whittier, CA asked in Internet Law, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Entertainment / Sports for California

Q: Can certain subjects be illegal to write about in fictional stories?

I published a book on a story sharing website that focuses on the long term effects of sexual abuse. The main character is a 16 year old girl and her abuser is much older. There are some graphic sexual scenes, but they’re to paint just how horrible her situation is. I understand it’s a sensitive subject and my work was in no way condoning or encouraging it.

Someone on the site left a comment claiming that they reported me to the FBI because they felt it was inappropriate and I’ve been extremely worried over it. I thought all fiction was protected by the First Amendment, but now I’m worried that I’ve unknowingly broken a law due to the nature of my story.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: While fictional works often receive protection under the First Amendment, certain subjects, particularly those involving explicit sexual content or minors, can raise legal concerns. If your story contains explicit content involving a minor, it could potentially be subject to laws addressing child pornography or obscenity. I recommend consulting with a legal professional who specializes in First Amendment and entertainment law to assess whether your work complies with California laws and regulations.

James L. Arrasmith

Founding Attorney and Chief Lawyer of The Law Offices of James L. Arrasmith.

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