back to article Scotland's porn laws: Can we talk about this like grown-ups?

While England is very soon to begin the interesting experiment of sending people to jail for possession of dangerous pictures, the Scottish Government is only just getting its act together on the subject. Not to be outdone, their proposed new Law goes significantly further than the English one, creating the very real possibility …

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Paris Hilton

So if

I had Showgirls the movie on my laptop and flew from London to edinburgh then the rape scene in it would be illegal and I'd be locked up!!

Beggars belief at the lack of common sense of people in power

Pairs cos she should be a showgirl

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Dead Vulture

Baise Moi

Am I to understand that I am to become a criminal and put on the register because I own a film, Baise Moi, that I bought on the high street from HMV 5 years ago, that had been passed by the BBFC, because it contains a rape scene? Baise Moi indeed!

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Silver badge
Joke

Title here

Never mind, it's still ok to to be a drug addicted, racist ,mudering, alcholic.

But NO mucky pics!

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Stop

Law quite literally an ass

Lawyer friend tells me that sex with an animal is 2 months, possession of photographs of same is 2 years under the new legislation. I don't advocate this activity, of course, it's a revolting idea. However it's a good example of how confused and stupid they are.

These neopuritan dimwits should be put in a rubber room and fed soft food that you can eat with your hands. Never be allowed to pass laws again, never.

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puritan?

"For a country that is seen by many as much more puritan than its southern neighbour"

Huh? This is news to me.....

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MGJ

Showgirls

Actually, as the bill is framed, you would be fine if you had the whole film, but not just that scene. Likewise for A Clockwork Orange and all other BBFC rated films.

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Stop

Vive la difference.

FTA:

"Not to be outdone, their proposed new Law goes significantly further than the English one, creating the very real possibility that travellers could depart London with nothing but legal pictures on their laptop – and pull into Edinburgh Waverley facing arrest for their hard-drive smut."

And the English law goes further than French law, creating the very real possibility that travellers could depart Paris with nothing but legal pictures on their laptop – and pull into London St Pancras International facing arrest for their hard-drive smut.

Different countries, different laws. What a remarkable concept.

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Anonymous Coward

NSFW

Thanks for the heads up, almost clicked the link in a half asleep daze. Don't want to face extreme porn at work charges.

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The movie Taken..

Just watched Taken (flipping great by the way) and there are a couple of scenes with drugged women being mauled by eastern european workers absolutely without consent, as they have been kidnapped and are being forcibly addicted to heroin to make them more compliant in their new life as a sex slave (not a spoiler as its made clear very soon into the movie)

Does the law mean now that it would be illegal to watch that movie, or is it ok to watch it, but any screenshots (still images) of it would be illegal but the movie itself is fine ?

I *think* its the latter, in whch case that is just plain crazy bonkers.

If the movie is ok, and the stills from the movie are ok, then why would other pictures showing an identical scene be less legal...jeez, its madness.

Either way, I'm off to set up Truecrypt with a double container for plausible denial, I don't have much that I think would fall foul of the law to be honest, but if the definations and logic is this flakey I am locking up every single file with so much as a boob on it.

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Sounds reasonable to me...

After all I did attack several women after that time I watched 'the accused'.

Thankfully having just watched 'Bob the builder' I was able to hide their bodies under my new patio.

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No Title

"a country that is seen by many as much more puritan than its southern neighbour"

Not if they've seen Sauchiehall Street at 4am on a Saturday morning...extreme to say the least

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re: puritan?

Look up where the Presbytarians came from.

Bill Conolly doesn't have much time for them (Something along the lines of "A religion that says 'thou shall not'? We wear KILTS? We FUCKING SHALL!!!!").

"Puritan" is no longer used to denote the sect of christianity. It's used to denote a strict banning of anything rude or fun (because God didn't put us here to have FUN!!! We're only allowed to have fun in heaven, which you aren't going to because you smiled once..)

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Flame

@AC Different countries...

Last I looked, Scotland was part of the UK, France was not....

Unless of course you still belive you are your own little country, in your own little world...

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Joke

Showgirls?

Perhaps we should add an explicit clause requiring anyone with a copy of Showgirls on their laptop, or anywhere else for that matter, to be locked up. For their own good, if nobody else's.

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Anonymous Coward

Scottish Taliban

My god, the Scottish Taliban are in power. What next, banning cartoons of Mohammed ^H^H^H Lisa Simpson?

Seems to me that it only takes 1 Scottish Taliban Mullah to demand something and they get it.

The sex is consensual but the laws don't represent a consensus.

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Stop

The Accused

So the Oscar-winning "The Accused", which has a pretty unpleasant rape scene at the end, would be banned in Scotland under this?

Bonkers.

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Paris Hilton

So...

...if Satanic Slut #1 did in #2 with the full consent of #2 it wouldn't be an illegal picture? Armin Meiwes will be happy to hear that.

Alternately, as their relation does not appear to be sexual (being nekkid thegither in a tub is NOT having sexual relations, says my friend Bill C.) the picture is not illegal?

Ma head asplode...

Paris, coz she did not have sexual relations with that man/woman/comfy chair.

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@ Tony

"Thankfully having just watched 'Bob the builder' I was able to hide their bodies under my new patio"

LOL!

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Boffin

The Accused

Last time I checked, the rape scene was at the beginning.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC (Re @AC Different Countries)

> Last I looked, Scotland was part of the UK, France was not....

So? We're still different *countries*. We have different *legal systems* because we are different *countries* and different *countries* have different laws.

Heck, even the states in the US have different laws. OK, so what if I use a different analogy?

And the Utah law goes further than Nevada law, creating the very real possibility that travellers could depart Carson City with sh*gg*ng a perfectly legal prostitute in the back of the van – and pull into Salt Lake City facing arrest for having sex with an illegal wh*re.

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Unhappy

The Rape of Lucrece

Presumably it will be illegal to have a copy of this painting in my book of fine art.

Or Shakespeare's poem on my bookshelf.

Nonsense from start to finish.

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Bronze badge

Someone please explain

Everywhere we look, governments are cracking down on the sorts of people who, when faced with a violent situation, get a strong urge to go and do something else.

This makes no sense.

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Last I looked

Scotland had a different legal system. Has done for 300 years.

Sadly in this case, it a bit fucked up.

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re AC Different countries

Scotland has always had its own law that is different from England. the best example of this is the sports ground act Scotland which makes it illegal to attempt to enter a football ground under the influence of alcohol, you don’t even need to try and enter the police can arrest you if the see you coming out the pub with your match ticket as you are going to the game.

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Coat

Idiots

If the material is performance, what's the issue? If it's part of a movie or two consenting porn models had photographs taken for a website, where's the harm? Who's being hurt here? People are making material that people want to buy. The seller makes money, the buyer gets something they want. I fail to see the illegality there. Doesn't the UK have better issues to put these resources to instead of telling us what kind of porn we can look at it. I used to regret moving away from Scotland but things like this really help with the transition.

Mine's the one with the torn up ticket home in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

sex offenders

Another possible downside could be the lessening of the stigma of being a "sex offender" - at the moment it's (quite rightly too) not something you'd want to be tagged with, but if you can be classed as a sex offender for just watching the wrong film or having a few S&M pics on your laptop there could potentially be lots of "sex offenders" - it could almost become like speeding offences, everybody who is convicted of speeding is a "criminal", but does anyone really care?

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Scotland has a different Legal system

Even pre Devolution this was the case.

Now, wheter or not it is good Law can be argued, but arguing from the standpoint of "Well it's legal to do it here so why can't I do it there" is asinine.

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Paris Hilton

Oh, dear...

Usually I am taken to task for forgetting that Scotland has a different legal history to the rest of the UK. This time, as one reader has pointed out in e-mail, I have forgotten the rest.

The current position is that the law on extreme porn, coming into effect next Monday (26 January) will govern conduct in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/announcement261108a.htm

For the time being, you can fap to whatever floats your boat in Scotland without being subject to the same penalties.

Paris - because in future, that is where you may have to go to buy your stash.

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@tony

where upon he watched Thomas the tank engine and escaped by train...

Its rather stupid when photo's of an act, even i the photo is a staged setup shot, can carry a sentance longer than what is usual for th actual crime, is stupid.

surly these idiots in power, must have had people around them who grew up in the video nasty 70's, and be able to see it did not turn them into raping killing zombies, and from that be able to work out that what we see does not dictate what we do, and i bet most of the people reading this comment have grown up in those times and are law abiding, or at least not raped/killed anyone.

I'm not saying some people have not watched 'dodgy' stuff then committed crimes, just that they no doubt would have committed them anyway, blaming something else for their actions, like a book, maybe a good book, full of sex and violence, whats it called again, oh yes the bible...

the only good censorship is self censorship.

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ownership and creation?

If I was to draw a picture of a rape, would I be committing an offence only once it was finished?

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Anonymous Coward

erck

more f----g puritans. First no hardcores, then no drawings, then no loud noises, or swearing in pubs, then no dancing or alchole, then no shagging except if married, and adultury will have a prison sentance, then no sex unless there's a sheet between you.

Well last time these f---ers made it to power it only lasted a decade or two, I can't see them staying about much longer a second time.

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Anonymous Coward

@different countries

Different laws does not a country make.

If you are someone who was born in Scotland, please tell me what is on the front cover of your passport?

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

or

Scotland

I'm willing to bet that it is the former. Scotland, Wales and England are PRINCIPALITIES/STATES.

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Flame

Scotland is a different country

@AC

"Last I looked, Scotland was part of the UK, France was not....

Unless of course you still belive you are your own little country, in your own little world..."

I don't live in Scotland, but they do have their own legal system - have had for a *very long time*.

And if you look at Wikipedia (or constitutional documents starting from the Act of Union) you'll see references to things like this: "The United Kingdom is a unitary state consisting of four countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales."

Note the word "countries". The even have, like the French (or Welsh) a different language in some parts of their country.

If it was just one country with one set of laws - then places like Gretna wouldn't be so famous today. For over 200 years you had English couples eloping to Scotland (a different country with different laws) to get married.

Why oh why oh why is so difficult for some (almost always English) to stop peddling the myth that the UK is one country? It's 1 Kingdom (or unitary State) made up of 4 countries. Voila, how hard is that?

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Tim

Underground

The Scots do have strange approaches to legal issues; I was rather baffled that much of the evidence from the inquiry into the Dunblane killings had to be locked up under their

McSecrets Act for 100 years.

Hiding things & making them illegal only tends to make them go underground and become a more widespread and sinister problem.

Tim#3

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Silver badge

Who decides if an image depicts "rape"? What about bondage sex etc?

An excellent article, for an awful law.

England's law is already worrying. Including images of consenting adults role-playing rape (whether for porn, or for their own fun in the bedroom) is also worrying.

But as the article rightly points out, how do you tell if an image merely depicts rape? This risks including not just acts intended to depict rape, but all sorts of rough sex, or sex with bondage or gags. Possession of a vast range of BDSM material could be criminalised. The uncertainty of the law would also mean more chilling effects - the opinion of the police or jury as to whether an image depicts rape may be very different from the one in possession.

This also fuels the myth that rape is to do with what the scene looks like - e.g., rape with violence or when you're tied up, or by a stranger, whilst "date rape" from a friend is just fine. Nonsense. Rape is about lack of consent - and this law ignores actual consent altogether, and goes just by what an image looks like.

Some of the media coverage in Scotland is annoying - whilst some criticism has been covered, we've also got the anti-porn lobbyists crawling out of the woodwork ( http://news.scotsman.com/opinion/Linda-Thompson-Pornography-is-just.4896468.jp , http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/featuresopinon/display.var.2482934.0.Do_extreme_images_put_womens_safety_at_risk.php ).

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why?

can someone explane why pepol all of a sudden feal the need to start banning porn?

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Joke

There has been a lot of coverage...

...of this on El Reg lately. Do the authors have a stash of pics they don't want to delete?

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Pirate

Fitba bad rugby good, Hic!

@AndyScott

That law doesn't apply to rugby grounds then? Ever walked from Haymarket Station to Murrayfield on match day? The pubs do a roaring trade and nary a polis with arrest on his mind in sight.

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Stop

Whose Morality are we using here?

"...and other material deemed unsuitable..."

Deemed unsuitable by whom?

One cannot legislate morality, for no common standard exists. Allow me to give an example: Female circumcision is an abhorrent practice, isn't it? Are we all agreed thusly? (unlikely, there is no doubt a small percentage of our nations populace who think it is entirely appropriate, but anyway...) How about male circumcision? Who's ready to stand up and decry orthodox judaism then?

Morality is subjective, and thus blanket legislation is impossible, but despite this someone, somewhere is still 'setting the moral standard' under which we will all have to live. Who is this person or persons? Male? Female? Age? Race? Culture? Religion? Whoever they are, they must be a paragon of virtue, untouchable by any criticism from any part of our multi-cultural society!

How can a multi-cultural nation have a single code of morality applied to it?

Soon, this will be demonstrated to those who dare to create such laws as the very material they are decrying as 'immoral and thus illegal' will be embedded in their own systems, emails and webpages, and then the authorities that they have empowered will be notified of the crimes they commit simply by owning such material and lacking the skills to remove it. It is being made a crime to not be IT/Internet savvy, and they will be the first to suffer under their own draconic measures.

Take it as law.

- Yours, Anonymous.

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Joke

@ Scotland is a different country

Thou shalt NOT quote Wikipedia in your arguement/opinion on this website on pain of being hung on the nearest tree!!

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Coat

As a member of the US I suddenly feel like I'm in the sane country for once

Maybe not sane exactly, but a different, less insane, kind of crazy ;P

On the plus side, it'll take away some of the ammo the nuts in the Arab world use against the west. If that's actually a plus I don't really know. Maybe the nuts of the world are trying to create one world of mixed nuts who believe, in the end, it will result in world peace. Which would we prefer, a prison state, or an insane asylum state? Not really much of a choice if you ask me, which you didn't, but what can I say, I'm one of those nuts they excluded from the mixed nuts pack :P

Mine's the one made out of coconuts.

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N
Black Helicopters

Oh, er...

Anyone owning a bottle of 1993 Château Mouton Rothschild, drink it soon as the label features a print by Balthus, depicts a naked young girl.

but I bought it in Scotland, officer?

http://www.theartistlabels.com/mouton/1993.html

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Pedantically speaking...

...I had always understood the UK to consist of two countries (England and Scotland): a Principality (Wales) and a Province (Northern Ireland) - although never been entirely clear about what exact difference that makes.

As for the point about cross-border illegality: it is one thing to have different laws governing conduct in Scotland and England (the way Breach of the Peace is used differently in those two legislatures is a good case in point). Yes: I, too have played the legal debating game of imagining a train powering its way around Europe with a near-legal couple shagging whilst on-board (mucho staying power anywhere other than the Benelux triangle, but still....). It is good for a short diversion, and an interesting staple for law exams on the pros and cons of legal harmonisation.

However, different laws on possession are that bit more problematic. At least they seem so to me.

Even more so if it is possession of something accessed over a common network like the internet.

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Thumb Down

Different legal systems etc...

It doesn't really matter whether Scotland has a different legal system to England or not, because what they're going to do is to copy a law which is, frankly, an utter pig's ear and which even the Ministry of Justice now admits is incomprehensible!

They have finally agreed that "it may not be possible for an individual to have absolute certainty about which side of the line an image may fall" and so the *only* way this can be determined is for the owner of that image to be taken to Court and for our Legal System to try to sort out the complete mess of this law.

Of course the English and Scottish Courts have *so much* free time that they can waste it on trying to figure out what "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene nature" actually means and then take guesses at what was in a person's mind when they downloaded a picture to see if it is "for sexual arousal" and then they can count the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin whilst they decide if what the image shows is "life threatening" or "likely to result in serious injury"...

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Imagine yuou are someone who with a predisposition for violent sexual fantasies.

You can releive your fantasies through the use of pornography harming no-one. The law changes so that the punishment for looking at pictures is just as bad or, in some cases worse, than committing the actual offence depicted.

Logically, ou might as well just go out and do the real thing, as the consequences wouldn't be much different if you had self-control and contained your fantasies in your own head, with graphic aids.

In any case, seeing that politicians now believe that seeing a picture of something makes you likely to go and do it, how long before anyone who's watched a beheading video online is arrested for being a potential murerer?

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Coat

Thought police

We are walking into an era with the thought police. Its 1984, albeit 25 years late.

mines the one with the tin foil hat

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Flame

Scottish Perverts

<i>Does the law mean now that it would be illegal to watch that movie, or is it ok to watch it, but any screenshots (still images) of it would be illegal but the movie itself is fine ?</i>

The law will simply be framed very broadly to mean "whatever it takes for PC Plod to land you in jail". It's probably illegal to enjoy the rape scenes too much also so a little work with some brain electrodes is also in order ;-)

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Paris Hilton

The real point however is.........

That both the proposed Scottish law and the English/Welsh law is blatantly an attempt to once again force people to think as the politicians wish us to think. This is the most dangerous aspect of such a law ! Once again because pornography can be easily looked down upon, far too readily it becomes an easy target. In effect it is the bully mentality of law making! i.e. 'What easy target can we pick on today ?'. History has repeatedly proven what a slippery slope this is. The politicians are yet again the bullyboys of the nation. Instead of robbing the population to pay the bankers for the mess they and the so called financial governing bodies have gotten us all into they should be drafting laws to ensure that no such mess ever occurs again - get a grip on what is really important ! Real lives being ruined rather than fantasies !

Paris - cos at least she has more sense than many of the damn elected politicians !

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Stop

So, what if...

...I have picture of a man and women having sex on my laptop and... No, let me start again...

On my laptop I have a picture of a man and women having sex. The rozzers think the woman may not have consented, I think she did.

Then what?

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Unhappy

Why This Is Happening

Don't be so quick to blame the politicians. Everyone knows they are nothing more than attention-seeking, self-interested careerists who will nail their colours to whichever mast they feel is most expedient. Certainly do not go looking for any intellect or reasoned argument amongst our politicians. Supine, completely without scruples and almost completely bereft of any notion of what an actual 'democracy' might really look like, every last man and woman amongst them will sign away all our freedoms if they think there's a popularity vote to be won in it.

So who are the real culprits here? Who is really responsible for these endless new laws governing our sexual morality, our private thoughts and desires? I think we need look further than advocates. Advocates create an agenda, feed an idiot, unquestioning media with spurious 'reports', create news agendas and bring about an atmosphere in which clueless, heavily lobbied (and often complicit) politicians are left with little choice but to cave in to their every demand.

Of course, when it comes to children, advocates very quickly realised they'd tapped an unimaginably rich seam of emotional blackmail - here is a set of issues so emotive (and impossible to discuss in public) that it renders all the normal rules of engagement practically redundant. Look at how powerful our great child protection advocates have become under the guise of protecting our kids from all those paedos stalking chatrooms, playgrounds and MySpace (allegedly)...

And so we end up here. The 'extreme porn' laws have all but been enacted across the UK, whilst the new proposals for laws on 'indecent' drawings and cartoons will doubtless follow them into the statute books very shortly - because nobody is going to oppose them. Absolutely nobody. Of that, you can be certain. Advocates will always play the 'think of the children!' card, mugging it up before news cameras to deliver completely unsubstatiated but nevertheless snappy, memorable and highly emotionally charged soundbites. Just as the media like it.

And then they will move on, just like they always have, to their next target. It's how these things work. It's how they stay in business. They create a 'national scandal' with the help of a sensationalist media all too happy to blithely pimp their agenda (and fill their schedules), tins are rattled and dues collected from public and private purses and all reconvene to decide on their next campaign and PR spend.

Idiot politicians will always back this stuff - it's in their nature to quiver and capitulate as soon as the magic 'think of the children!' words are sprinkled into any conversation. They remain as incapable of sensible reasoning on this as the very advocates they are pandering to. We really shouldn't expect anything better.

The only ones to lose out are the ordinary voters and society in general who get no say in any of this, but are slowly but surely criminalised (I could say terrorised) by this creeping legislation.

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