The sixth, a misdemeanor statute, relates to those who "knowingly possess and intentionally retain" material that shows children younger than 16 as the subjects of sadomasochistic abuse, engaged in sexual conduct or in a state of sexual excitement.
Conviction on a misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
The statutes address a public policy issue, that of preventing the abuse of children, Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Michele Ferris Hansen said.
A child actually is being assaulted or abused in the making of the pornography and to eliminate ongoing abuse, authorities have to target the consumer, she said.
Questions of what constitutes a violation of the law arose recently because of two local situations.
Former Maryland State Police Trooper Brian H. Murphy was found guilty in December 2007 in Washington County District Court of possessing five pornographic images of a child younger than 18. He was sentenced earlier this month to a suspended one-year jail term and three years of supervised probation.
Murphy has appealed his case to Circuit Court.
On Jan. 31, investigators searched the Halfway home of former Maryland Del. Robert A. McKee, acting on allegations that child pornography was in the residence.
No charges have been filed against McKee.
A powerful federal law, tougher than state law, provides a mandatory minimum five-year prison sentence for those convicted of transporting, knowingly receiving or distributing child pornography across state lines. Child pornography can appear in books, magazines, periodicals and videotapes, or be found on the Internet.
In most cases, the use of the Internet to obtain or posses child porn violates federal law, authorities said.
The federal law is an effort to eradicate child pornography, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Wilkinson said during a telephone interview.
Exploitation happens because there's an audience for the material, she said.
Experts also believe that collecting child pornography can be a starter crime that in some cases can lead to pedophilia, Wilkinson said.