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Reuters Decides It's OK to Distribute Revealing Shot of Miley Cyrus

Miley Reuters 640

Miley Cyrus (Reuters)

Reuters news service has offered up a picture of Miley Cyrus that rivals the photo that landed blogger Perez Hilton in hot water last week. 

The photo, snapped at Sunday's Much Music Awards in Toronto, shows the 17-year-old star dancing in a white body suit draped in ribbons. The photographer snapped the shutter just as the crotch of Miley's outfit slid away to reveal, ahem, almost everything.

PHOTO: Click to see the Reuters pic.

Perez Hilton posted a similar shot last week, linking from his Twitter account to a paparazzi up-skirt photo that showed far too much skin. 

But there is one big difference between Reuters' photo and Hilton's: Reuters stands to make a bundle on its shot.

A Reuters representative speaking on background admitted that the photo had caused concern in the photo department because of Miley's age, but that was weighed against the fact that it occurred on stage in front of hundreds of people and other cameras, as well as the fact that the teen sensation is transitioning away from "Hannah Montana" and into a more grown-up performer.

VOTE: Was Reuters right or wrong to run photo?

The Reuters rep also said that the photo was “sent only to print clients and was kept from transmission to online clients and culturally sensitive areas.” But FOXNews.com, an online client, was able to purchase and download the photo, and saw no usage restrictions at all on the photo.

“The picture was not Photoshopped,” the representative added.

It also doesn't come close to meeting the definition of child porn, one expert said. 

“The picture is not prosecutable,” former Los Angeles sex crimes prosecutor Robin Sax said. “It is a question of intent, and here the picture is taken on stage, in public, and its purpose is not child pornography. It was not intended to promote pornography.”

But Sax cautioned that the photograph was inappropriate and that by selling it, Reuters was “blurring the lines between what is porn and what is not. And that it ups the ante in the future, makes it more difficult to say what is pornography and what is not.”

RELATED: Is Miley's New Crossover Album Worth Buying?

Press representatives for Cyrus and Hilton did not reply to requests for comment.

Reuters was the subject of worldwide criticism last week after it cropped a photo taken aboard a Gaza-bound ship that was the scene of a deadly confrontation between pro-Palestinian activists and Israeli commandos. A knife, visible in an activist's hand, was cropped out of the photo.

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