You probably don't want to agree but these are the Good Old Days for getting things you write out to the public.
Not at all. Now, virtually anyone can get their story published. Those who only have one story to tell won't be taken very seriously, while those who refine their skills will (hopefully) do better.
However, it's changed the marketplace. With hundreds of thousands of new authors (thousands of new books are published every single day), it's becoming increasingly difficult to make a living as an author. Indie publishers drop prices, publishing houses cut pay rates and fire their quality control people, and readers have too many authors to identify the decent new authors.
Still, we'll have to work out this new system, figuring out how to make a living at it. The author of "The Martian" is the latest Indie Author to make it into the big time (he started, like us, posting for free on a public story site). His book will be a major Hollywood movie in another couple months. Sadly, most Indie authors are lucky to sell 50 copies!
He was in possession of real serious child porn.
D.S., the way these laws have been written, you can be convicted for having a single picture of someone who looks 18 but is actually only 16. There's no 'common sense' clause in ANY of these new laws. There's no '17 years is better than 3' or '1 or 5 might be a mistake, 20 or 1,000 is criminal' clause.
On your other point, like most people, he likely ended up pleading 'no contest' simply because he couldn't afford to pay qualified lawyers for the years it takes to resolve a criminal complaint. You can't assume everyone who's convicted is actually guilty of anything! (Most are, but there are gaping holes in the criminal justice system!)