back to article Put down your pens: Cartoons next on censor block

Proposals to make it a criminal offence to possess cartoons depicting certain forms of child abuse are heading back to the House of Commons, and elsewhere in the UK and across the atlantic, it's becoming clear there is an appetite in certain quarters for a much wider clampdown on freedom of expression. In the UK, debate on the …

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Anonymous Coward

the other thing

The other thing is it;s just a small leap to outlaw writing about sexual encounters of the under 18s. I mean, how fucked up is that? Just imagine how many books could fall foul of such a law, and if we're relating cartoon characters to real characters then even a fully dressed anime character could land you in jail if people believe you're sexually aroused by it (much like the man with his swim suit collection.)

Dark fucking days.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Manga List

Doubt it; the publishers Waterstones, Smiths and other such likes subscribe to rarely pick up the more interestingly "deviant" titles from japan. Case and point would be Kodomo no Jikan in America, which was withdrawn after the printers had started rolling because someone in the bookstore totem pole actually bothered to *read* it. given that Britain is usually 1-3 years behind on the release cycle, there are probably a lot more that were overlooked out of test-cased financial concerns, not so much moral.

I really don't see this changing all that much on the Fine and Upstanding British Manga Resale Industry as it exists now. Aside from the conventions and mail order, which generally cater to special interest groups (myself included; my Horihone Saizous are going in a padlocked strongbox and sent to my relatives in France unless I emigrate first) the more interesting stuff never sees the light of day here, simply because it won't sell enough to justify the print run.

What would be neat is if this is used to crack down on the (genuine) copyright infringement going on with the likes of Hongfire and other scanned manga pirates, but we know thats not the point.

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Is posh art included?

What about those classical pictures where child-like cherubs look on while naked women cavort in clearly sexual ways?

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Black Helicopters

This has nothng to do with "protecting children".

This is about useful legeslative tools to use against a demographic.

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Coat

Strange title

Put down your... what now?

Coat door cab

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I am shure I own

some annimi (sorry I can not spell it) witch might well fall foule of this but has apently been cleared by the bbfc .

descuse

o btw sara is there anyway we can make pepol read the articles and other links before commenting on them?

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Joke

Hahaha HAha a-ha ha

I'd just like to say to all the law makers, "child advocates" and miscellaneous moralizers: This law is a joke, and the joke is on you. This is your crowning achievement; now that you've made cartoons illegal what can you possibly do next? You're going to be out of a job. Meanwhile we'll be laughing behind your back, because you've become parodies of yourselves and no one can take you seriously anymore.

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WTF?

Well, at least I am safe - all my data is already encrypted.

Absolutely no reason not to.

I am thinking about leaving the UK soon and moving somewhere that is less of a fucking nanny state.

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Stop

Kill (this) Bill...

Kill Bill, the film, contains cartoon sex involving a very young Lucy Liu.

either kill this bill or destroy your copy of kill bill. !

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I agree this law is broken, however...

I agree this law is broken, however.... Actually read the link in the article, it's interesting.

"In Virginia, 20 "lolicon" cartoons led to a 20-year prison sentence."

The link points out that the guy was a genuine pedo with actual child porn digital photos. So it doesn't really help the case your making.

"He previously was sentenced to 46 months in prison for a 1999 child pornography conviction."

"receiving obscene materials, receiving obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, receiving child pornography and sending and receiving obscene e-mails describing the sexual abuse of children"

I think intent-context is important here, but it's no excuse to pursue cartoon child porn. I think in a case like his it should serve as additional evidence. The law needs to assess context. A cartoon drawing of a developing vagina in a medical book shouldn't be a problem. I'm guessing depictions of 1000 year old 'god' children who look 7 in a gangbang drawing next to your actual child porn digital photos could be aggravating, and adding to the charges.

As for artists, pushing boundaries is exactly that. Sometimes you step over, sometimes not. Deal with the consequences. I'm sure computer generated graphics is next. Real (legit) photo of some kid in a park + some photoshop and CGI animation = legal quagmire and some legitimately pissed of people.

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So this 'safe for work' image will soon be banned.

http://www.kinclobber.co.uk/acatalog/thumb_sucker_w.jpg

This bill is going too far

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Alert

What About Real Sex Before Drawn Children? Close That "Loophole"!

Thanks, John, for keeping us informed! Your work is much appreciated.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah...

"The bill, as it stands, would make it a criminal offence to possess (cartoon) pictures of children ... present whilst sexual activity took place."

So it will be a crime to possess a drawing of adults having sex in front of a child.

What about real adults actually having real sex in front of a drawing of a child? That'll still be entirely legal, won't it? I mean, indecent exposure (or whatever it might count as) before a drawing would be an utterly ridiculous offence. But if, instead, the adults and the sex are drawn, and part of the same drawing as the drawn child, then suddenly it's a real crime?????

Absolutely barking, at-moon-raving mad. Total lunacy. Now I really do understand what was meant by the term "loony left" all those years ago.

Perhaps we should campaign for the government to close this "loophole"? I mean, how can it possibly be acceptable for perverts to abuse drawn children by having sex in front of them? It's illegal when the adults and sex are drawings, but to allow it to continue when the adults and sex are real? That's an outrage! Quick, someone call the Daily Fail! This loophole must be closed! Having to turn family portraits to face the wall whenever you undress is a small price to pay for children's safety, is it not?

Please, won't someone please think of the drawings?

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Why are we pussyfooting around?

Why carry on with all this pretence? Let's just get to the point. Let's make the world a better place and outlaw Thoughtcrime.

All you perverts posting here (each a dangerous thoughtcriminal if I ever saw one) just shut the f***k up and report to your nearest Minlove recreational facility. The world will be well rid of you I say!

Love Jacqui aka Ms O'Brien.

(See you soon at Minlove. But I won't be there for Thoughtcrime, shudder. No, just a minor discrepancy - a small question of £116,000.)

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Happy

Madness

This is beautifully mad.

Our government have finally lost the distinction between stuff that is made up (or as adults call it imaginary) and the real world. Its been a long time coming, since the Iraq WMD fiasco and the sexed up dossier (or, as adults would put it stuff they made up). I can't help but wonder what Pastor Niemoller would have made of all this?

Still its going to be interesting watching them try and ban Watchmen, which features the child that will one day become Rorschach wandering in on his prostitute mum having sex with a punter. Thousands of copies of that particular graphic novel can be found at any book shop in the UK right now. The only solution will be to burn the books, lest the people reading them in Borders swarm out and start shagging kids in Mothercare in best "Brass Eye" style.

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Heart

I never quibbled, when it was ribald...

I must confess, I am a great admirer of the works of Tom Lehrer. While some of his songs ("Who's Next", "So Long Mom") have lapsed in relevance, there are others which I would really, really hope would have lapsed by now, but haven't. One is "Send the Marines", and the other one is "Smut". The first time I hard the intro to that last one, I couldn't help grinning.

"I do have a cause, though. It is obscenity. I'm for it."

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Joke

For a government that hates sex

This lot speed a staggering amout of time thinking about it. Criminalising it if it is not already. Criminalising it more if it is (Extreme Porn Vs just regular Obscene Publications). Writing position papers on it.

And you know what they say about people who spend so much time *talking* and *thinking* about it, dont you?

That is all.

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What's next?

If this happens then it will only be a matter of time before cartoons of terrorist acts become illegal....

...then cartoons of fly-tipping

...then cartoons of people smoking

...then cartoons of people eating 'unhealthy food'

I really can't fucking believe this country. We need a revolution NOW.

Let's do it Athenian style and have all of the MP's flayed with oyster shells.

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Paris Hilton

Drawings of Drawings of Children?

"The bill, as it stands, would make it a criminal offence to possess (cartoon) pictures of children participating in sexual activities, or present whilst sexual activity took place."

What about drawings of drawings of children? What if it's a drawing of, say, a paedophile masturbating while looking at a drawing of a child? Will drawing a picture frame around the child magically make an illegal drawing legal again?

I bet there's already manga along these lines. Perhaps a teenage boy draws a picture of his ideal girl, and the drawing comes alive! But it's still a drawing. And the boy falls in love, and their strange relationship develops, and becomes sexual, even though she's just a (magic) drawing.

Anyway, is this going to be a ludicrous "loophole", where all you need to do is make sure all the children are actually drawings within drawings? (You could make a whole comic about an illegal-to-own comic.) Or will it be illegal to own drawings of people performing sexual acts in front of drawings? Something you can legally do, but can't legally draw?

Either way, this law is bonkers!

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Anonymous Coward

@I agree this law is broken, however...

"I'm sure computer generated graphics is next. Real (legit) photo of some kid in a park + some photoshop and CGI animation = legal quagmire and some legitimately pissed of people."

Already illegal - re pseudophotos

I'll agree that the Virgina case was a bit of a red hearing one as the man also had CP.

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Black Helicopters

soooo

xkcd and explosm will be banned, their authors arrested, their websites taken down and all their readers investigated?

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Anonymous Coward

@ A J Stiles

Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42)

72 Offences outside the United Kingdom

(1) Subject to subsection (2), any act done by a person in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom which....would constitute a sexual offence to which this section applies if it had been done in England and Wales or in Northern Ireland....constitutes that sexual offence under the law of that part of the United Kingdom.

(2) Proceedings by virtue of this section may be brought only against a person who was on 1st September 1997, or has since become, a British citizen or resident in the United Kingdom.

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Paris Hilton

Written Material Next?

During the Commons' second reading of this Bill, a Conservative MP took the opportunity to call for possession of written material to be criminalised. I would imagine it would be more or less the written equivalent of the kinds of images - cartoons and other drawings, etc - that this current Bill would deal with.

In anticipation of such legislation, I'm already considering possible absurdities. How many adults, for example, still have diaries from their teenage years? How many of those diaries include intimate, explicit details of their owners' sexual awakenings? How many such diaries will become criminal to possess?

Oh, hang on. Maybe we don't have to wait until such legislation is introduced. It just occurred to me, just this minute, that some such diaries might also have helpful illustrations. Might this current legislation actually criminalise possession of some people's personal, teenage diaries?

I'm not even going to mention http://www.myfirsttime.com/

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Anonymous Coward

@Drawings of Drawings of Children?

No the law clearly states

"“Image” includes—

(a) a moving or still image (produced by any means), or

(b) data (stored by any means) which is capable of conversion into an

image within paragraph (a)."

and

"(5) “Child”, subject to subsection (6), means a person under the age of 18."

(6) Where an image shows a person the image is to be treated as an image of a child

if—

(a) the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is a child, or

(b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a

child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are

not those of a child."

And

"(7) References to an image of a person include references to an image of an imaginary person.

(8) References to an image of a child include references to an image of an imaginary child."

"(3) An image is “pornographic” if it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be

assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual

arousal."

This law makes the extreme pornography law look like a master piece in common sense.

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Lee
Unhappy

Well

looks like i'm up the swanny, with some of my anime, specially Urotsukidoji and Bible black.

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Lee
Unhappy

Manga Comics

Oh well looks like Unbalance x Unbalance and Girls Saurus are shafted too.

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Paris Hilton

Even the Victorians didn't go this far!

It occurs to me, that they are about to prohibit any visual representation of the everyday reality of life as a poor family in a third-world country. Where, if you haven't got it already, you are quite lucky if you have one room with a roof. I don't know how that works, but I suspect that if your parents have a loving relationship, you will know many of the facts of life from an early age, and won't be any the worse for it.

I did once know a farmer's daughter, who confirmed that when you grow up on a farm, there are very few facts of life that you haven't worked out by the time you are ten. Is it also going to be illegal to portray that, or will they go further and ban farmers from having children altogether, on the basis that what must not be portrayed on paper can't possibly be allowed in reality?

Paris, I'm sure that question mark is under age!

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how widley is this being published

cos it is interesting how a widely sweeping law like thins that could catch a lot of pepol is being slipped in with out much main stream media comment (apart form our dear el reg)

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Stop

@ @Drawings of Drawings of Children?

"(b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a

child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are

not those of a child."

So would a photo or even dawing of some fat old minger dressed up as a schoolgirl being banged hard from behind or some fat old bloke dressed as a nappy wearing baby being pleasured by his "nanny" would be construed as CP?

World gone mad!

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The line between fantasy and reality

Is very thin amongst some people with mental health problems.

So what does that make the people who drafted this piece of drivel?

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brilliant

Genuis>>>>>>>>>>>

"Bonkers

By this Posted Tuesday 17th March 2009 13:40 GMT

Presumably all cartoon characters will have to carry valid id cards to prove their age."

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Anonymous Coward

@@ @Drawings of Drawings of Children?

sounds alot like ageplay - and you know what the powers that be think of that online let alone if they found it happening in real life.

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Tom
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We know your a BAD person

"I'll agree that the Virgina case was a bit of a red hearing one as the man also had CP."

So this guy was a real perv, repeat offender who should go to jail. But they didn't have enough to lock him up for the length of time that they wanted to... so add a few years for some cartoons.

They could not get Capone for all the bad things he did, every one knew he was a bad person so just cook up the tax laws a bit and lock him up for that.

They should just pass a law against breathing. That way if you are doing something bad like protesting or asking to have your DNA removed from the database they can lock you up. Saves all the trouble of searching your house for cartoons or auditing your tax. If your not a bad person (or have power) no need to worry as there is no public interest in charging you.

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Present legislation is harmful

If you actually want to achieve something write to your MP. It can be surprisingly effective, especially if a lot of people do it. What is absolutely certain is that complaints and comments not made will be totally ignored.

Just to clarify one misconception. Photographs of children are not illegal because they are pornographic. They are illegal because a jury, or more likely one or two strong personalities on a jury, think that they offend against commonly accepted standards of propriety. The threshold for conviction is both incredibly vague and set so low that it encourage attitudes that are known to be harmful. It is not coincidence that the UK has the worst teenage pregnancy rates in Europe.

It is inherent in the nature of the offense that the public are not allowed to know what a person has actually been convicted of and that is a very dangerous situation. I have provided a statement to the police as an expert witness so I have seen some low level stuff that the police thought was illegal and I am absolutely convinced that the present law is harmful to children, harmful to families, harmful to adults and harmful to society in general.

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Save the children

Hasn't it occurred to those proposing this law that by making looking at cartoons of child abuse punishable in the same way that looking at images of real abuse is, then those who feel driven to look at child pornography will ask themselves why they should not look at the real thing? After all, they will be damned either way. Where is their much vaunted common sense now?

Even so, we have another law that ignores the prevailing evidence; increased access to porn, of all kinds, correlates strongly with a drop in sex crimes.

If they can sleep knowing that they are probably encouraging sexual assaults to adults, why should we expect that they would loose any sleep knowing that they will probably be encouraging child abuse?

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@ AC

It may be on the statute books, but it's absolutely unenforcible.

If they ever tried to enforce it, it could be seen as an attack on French sovereignty and might even Provoke An International Incident. Your first recourse would be to try to plead autrefois acquit. If that was rejected (you haven't, technically, been found not guilty by another court -- but only due to the fact that you were not actually breaking the law), you could always claim asylum in France. The French authorities would in any case be under no obligation to hand you over to the British authorities, as you had not broken any (French) law.

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Anonymous Coward

Doesn't make sense...

All this stuff just gets more and more depressing, not least because little of it is based in any kind of fact or research.

Apart from the obviously worrying growing trend of right-wing censorship not just in the UK but the rest of the Western world, there is one thing I just cannot get my head around - in regards to drawings involving 16 or 17 year olds - how can it possibly stand up that a cartoon representation, drawing or painting of a LEGAL ACT be considered illegal? There is an argument in regards to photographs and videos, but this relates to consent, so at least has some basis. But a drawing? There can be no 'consent' issue unless it would be a photo-realistic drawing in which case it would probably count as a pseudo-photograph and therefore illegal anyway

I just don't understand why no-one in a position of power isn't standing up and pointing this out - the absurdity that it would be entirely legal for a person to go out and meet a 16 or 17 year old and ACTUALLY have sex with them but it wouldn't be ok for them to stay home and imagine it, and instead make drawing of it???

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