(a) Base Offense Level: 10
(b) Specific Offense Characteristics
(1) (Apply the Greatest) If the offense involved:
(A) Distribution for pecuniary gain, increase by the number of levels from the table in §2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud) corresponding to the retail value of the material, but by not less than 5 levels.
(B) Distribution for the receipt, or expectation of receipt, of a thing of value, but not for pecuniary gain, increase by 5 levels.
(C) Distribution to a minor, increase by 5 levels.
(D) Distribution to a minor that was intended to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor to engage in any illegal activity, other than illegal activity covered under subdivision (E), increase by 6 levels.
(E) Distribution to a minor that was intended to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct, increase by 7 levels.
(F) Distribution other than distribution described in subdivisions (A) through (E), increase by 2 levels.
(2) If, with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material that is harmful to minors, the offense involved the use of (A) a misleading domain name on the Internet; or (B) embedded words or digital images in the source code of a website, increase by 2 levels.
(3) If the offense involved the use of a computer or an interactive computer service, increase by 2 levels.
(4) If the offense involved material that portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence, increase by 4 levels.
(c) Cross Reference
(1) If the offense involved transporting, distributing, receiving, possessing, or advertising to receive material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor, apply §2G2.2 (Trafficking in Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor; Receiving, Transporting, Shipping, or Advertising Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor; Possessing Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor with Intent to Traffic) or §2G2.4 (Possession of Materials Depicting a Minor Engaged in Sexually Explicit Conduct), as appropriate.
Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1460-1463, 1465, 1466, 1470, 2252B, 2252C. For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).
1. Definitions.—For purposes of this guideline:
"Computer" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(1).
"Distribution" means any act, including possession with intent to distribute, production, advertisement, and transportation, related to the transfer of obscene matter. Accordingly, distribution includes posting material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor on a website for public viewing but does not include the mere solicitation of such material by a defendant.
"Distribution for pecuniary gain" means distribution for profit.
"Distribution for the receipt, or expectation of receipt, of a thing of value, but not for pecuniary gain" means any transaction, including bartering or other in-kind transaction, that is conducted for a thing of value, but not for profit. "Thing of value" means anything of valuable consideration.
"Distribution to a minor" means the knowing distribution to an individual who is a minor at the time of the offense.
"Interactive computer service" has the meaning given that term in section 230(e)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(2)).
"Material that is harmful to minors" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2252B(d).
"Minor" means (A) an individual who had not attained the age of 18 years; (B) an individual, whether fictitious or not, who a law enforcement officer represented to a participant (i) had not attained the age of 18 years, and (ii) could be provided for the purposes of engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or (C) an undercover law enforcement officer who represented to a participant that the officer had not attained the age of 18 years.
"Prohibited sexual conduct" has the meaning given that term in Application Note 1 of the Commentary to §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse).
"Sexually explicit conduct" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2256(2).
2. Inapplicability of Subsection (b)(3).—If the defendant is convicted of 18 U.S.C. § 2252B or § 2252C, subsection (b)(3) shall not apply.
3. Application of Subsection (b)(4).—Subsection (b)(4) applies if the offense involved material that portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence, regardless of whether the defendant specifically intended to possess, receive, or distribute such materials.
Background: Most federal prosecutions for offenses covered in this guideline are directed to offenses involving distribution for pecuniary gain. Consequently, the offense level under this section generally will be at least 15.