You may be wondering, does that headline imply that child porn viewing was actually legal at one point in New York state?  The short answer is, yes.

Viewing child porn online, as opposed to actively downloading or distributing it was actually deemed a legal activity recently by the New York Court of Appeals.

Last month, we reported that one could freely surf the web for child pornography, as long as they do not print or save the images.

We also mentioned the proposed law to fix the child porn ruling at the time:

Via MSNBC:

Viewing child pornography online isn’t a crime, the New York Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in the case of a college professor whose work computer was found to have stored more than a hundred illegal images in its Web cache.

The court dismissed one of the two counts of promoting a sexual performance of a child and one of the dozens of counts of possession of child pornography on which James D. Kent was convicted. The court upheld the other counts against Kent, an assistant professor of public administration at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

“Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law,” Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote for a majority of four of the six judges.

“Rather, some affirmative act is required (printing, saving, downloading, etc.) to show that defendant in fact exercised dominion and control over the images that were on his screen,” Ciparick wrote. “To hold otherwise, would extend the reach of (state law) to conduct —viewing —that our Legislature has not deemed criminal.”

In other words, “the purposeful viewing of child pornography on the internet is now legal in New York,” Judge Victoria A. Graffeo wrote in one of two concurring opinions that agreed with the result but not with the majority’s reasoning.

One can now freely surf the web for child pornography, as long as they do not print or save the images.  

To be fair, it doesn’t appear that the judges ruling was incorrect regarding those charges.  Rather, the wording of the law is the culprit here.

Now, two Brooklyn lawmakers are seeking to change the law in New York, saying they will introduce a bill within the next few weeks that would prohibit “knowingly accessing” child pornography “with intent to view.” 

A day after the state’s top court found that simply viewing child pornography wasn’t a crime in New York, two legislators said Wednesday that they would soon introduce a measure to make it one.

That measure has now come to fruition…

Via the Associated Press:

New York leaders have agreed to a bill that will again make viewing all child porn online illegal under state law, a measure needed because of a high court ruling that shocked the bill’s sponsor.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and leaders of the Senate and Assembly on Sunday said they reached agreement on legislation making all viewing of child pornography online illegal. It is in response to a Court of Appeals ruling in May that said New York’s law was outdated, technologically, because it required a viewer to download or otherwise directly access child porn for it to be considered possession.

Today’s video streaming and other internet advances no longer require that action to, as the law defines it, “possess” child pornography.

“Today, just a month from the time that citizens of New York and our nation were shocked and offended by a loophole that prevented the appropriate prosecution of individuals who view child pornography, we have effectively changed the law,” said Sen. Martin Golden, a Brooklyn Republican.

Congratulations on a victory for common sense, and for updating some badly outdated laws.