"The child pornography laws would be eviscerated if a pedophile's personal opinion about the legality of sexually explicit videos was transformed into the applicable law," the court held.
In their comments on PlayToy's site, which can be viewed without registering with the company, the subscribers make clear that they are aware these are sites for pedophiles, not legitimate modeling clients.
"I think it would be awesome to have the models start off fetchingly clothed, and then strip down to tops or panties (or thongs!!)," a customer calling himself head2fat wrote on the forum.
Another client, calling himself ludwig66, instead requested that the girls appear in stockings, "ending up removing them to reveal bare feet and legs." And still another customer, calling himself littlefeet, asked the site owners to pose the girl known as Baby in bare feet with her toes pointed, "so all of those beautiful wrinkles show!!!"
While PlayToy's management and its members repeatedly assure themselves online about the legality of their images, they did not hesitate to post images from known child pornography sites. For example, when Ms. Sellinger was arrested this year for selling photos of her daughter, PlayToy members— and even the site operator— posted messages of dismay, referring to both mother and daughter by name. They also composed a photographic homage to the girl in the forum discussion, using images from the site that had been deemed illegal.
PlayToy's sites have been online since October, company records show. But in that short time, the records show, 6,000 people have subscribed to view the images of the girls. Each subscriber is paying $30 a month for each site; that means the operators have collected a minimum of $180,000 in that short time, assuming every subscriber bought only one site for one month.
The cash has been collected either by credit card— processed through a company called Advanced Internet Billing Services, or through Western Union payments— as well as through an online money system called e-gold.