By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney
An appeal judge in Australia has ruled that an animation depicting well-known cartoon characters engaging in sexual acts is child pornography.
The internet cartoon featured characters from the Simpsons TV series.
The central issue in the case was whether a cartoon character could depict a real person.
Judge Michael Adams decided that it could, and found a man from Sydney guilty of possessing child pornography on his computer.
The defence had argued that the fictional, animated characters were not real people, and clearly departed from the human form.
They therefore contested that the conviction for the possession of child pornography should be overturned.
Justice Michael Adams said the purpose of anti-child pornography legislation was to stop sexual exploitation and child abuse where images of "real" children were depicted.
But in a landmark ruling he decided that the mere fact that they were not realistic representations of human beings did not mean that they could not be considered people.
He ruled that the animated cartoon could "fuel demand for material that does involve the abuse of children," and therefore upheld the conviction for child pornography.
Rather than jail the man, however, he fined him Aus$3,000 (US$2,000).