back to article Govt uses Obscenity Law to stuff up cartoon sex loophole

New Parliament, new legislation – and time for the government’s favourite pastime of "closing loopholes". This time it's about even more dangerous pictures, or maybe less dangerous, given that the subject matter is - allegedly - cartoons. The government last week proposed, via s49 of the Coroners and Justice Bill, to make …


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  1. Lionel Baden

    when are the furries up

    i can see the furries being up on the firing line next.

    Its illegal to have sex with an animal so what about somebody dressed as an animal !

    Bloody goverment

  2. The BigYin

    Isn't this already law?

    I thought there was already law about generating sexual images of children via comouters or other mechanisms. Why do we need another law?

  3. Mark
    Thumb Down

    Oh Shit

    Does that mean that everybody who has received that spam mail that went round a while back that displayed the Simpsons shagging each other can now be arrested and put on the sex offenders registrar???

    Where will it end.......

    I await the decree from up high that means all parents that have a picture of thier kids splashing about in the bath are arrested, put on the sex offenders registrar and denied access to thier children for being filthy peados who dared to have thier kids naked in the bath and possibly may have touched an inappropriate area while they washed them.....

  4. Christoph Silver badge

    Will this be passed in time?

    Will they bring this law in before the Olympics, in time to ban the Simpsons blowjob logo?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NSFW links

    Your link to gcanimat probably needs an NSFW warning...

  6. Bruno Girin
    Thumb Down


    I'm probably not the first to comment along those lines but does it mean that possession of a copy of the London 2012 logo is now illegal?

    It also probably means that possession of French comic magazines like Fluide Glacial is now illegal in the UK, as they could be seen as being border line, even if obviously fictionnal.

    And what will be the impact of this law on child abuse? Nobody knows! So it's just passed in the off chance that it may potentially have a positive impact... maybe. At the end of the day, child abusers are already breaking the law for something far more serious so I don't think they'll have any issue with breaking that one too.

  7. Wokstation


    "This Bill will cover images where "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, StTrinians then?

    Or how about that 40yr old lass in a school uniform on

  8. Pete James

    It's this that worries me

    "It is possible that this exemplifies that category mentioned by Lord Hunt in summing up on extreme porn: people whom the police would like to "do something about", but who haven’t actually broken any laws."

    Now that really does worry me. At which point does the liberty of an individual become a line not to be crossed? I'm becoming more and more minded that this Government would dearly like to have something about every citizen's private life in order to control and govern the population. With that sort of sentiment it could move very rapidly into nothing but intrusive and unbearable monitoring.

    And, I wonder, when will the Government turn their attention to fiction? Cartoons are a visual media, so the written word will surely have to be next.

  9. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Maddona with child

    I look forward to the Queen being asked for permission to prosecute her for her extensive collection of child porn. I hope she says yes.

  10. A J Stiles

    Simpsons Movie

    Does this cover the naked Bart (and his disembodied todger) in The Simpsons Movie?

  11. Julian I-Do-Stuff


    Alas the commentary is all too reasonable, but boils down to telling the village idiot to show some common sense. However, in the absence of any "lawn-mower man" contraption I suggest that in the meantime we cover up all cherubs, putti etc. and close the galleries and churches etc. because that's where the depraved and corrupted will be heading.

    To quote Tom Lehrer

    All books can be indecent books

    Though recent books are bolder

    For filth, I'm glad to say, is in

    The mind of the beholder

    When correctly viewed

    Everything is lewd

    I could tell you things about Peter Pan

    And the Wizard of Oz, there's a dirty old man

    ...the worst thing is that none of this stuff addresses the genuine need to deal effectively with criminal abuse of real people/children.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    ok, firstly, I think child abuse is a very serious issue and dont think its right for people to distribute or make child porn.

    But my issue is with the" reinforcing potential abusers’ inappropriate feelings towards children" argument, its plain stupid. Gay pornography does not make a homosexual gayer. Porn doesnt define your sexual preference. It allows sexual relief by appealing to thinks you get turned on by. There will always be pedos, id rather a pedo was wanking to cartoons than to photographs, if they are satisfied with the cartoons or cgi then surely that means they are less likely to want real photographs and risk imprisonment. Child abusers should be punished via prison etc, but i dont think any amount of prison time would change someones sexuality.

  13. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Not the way to cut crime rates

    "The second area for concern is the way in which this proposal further embeds in English Law the idea that possession of various materials should, in and of itself, be an offence."

    That's me and several other old people who have kept thier collection of Bob Crumb stuff heading for the pokey. I'd like several copies of Oz and IT to also be taken in to consideration, me lud.

  14. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    And now for something completely different.

    Is it me or has this country become a Monty Python sketch?

    I'm waiting for the throat-ripping rabbit to turn up which I can smite with my holy hand grenade.

    Soon you won't even be able to write about this stuff, let alone have a picture.

    Won't somebody think of the pixels!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    When we're all criminals, we will have nothing to lose - then these politicians will finally realise that they are number #1 on the 'let's hunt the *unt' list.

    Flames, coz that's how living in an oppressed society makes me feel.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Missing pun

    A serious mass debate?

  16. Mycho Silver badge

    As you say

    If child porn is getting scarce enough that people resort to using cartoon images as a substitute then that is a win. We shouldn't be jeapordising it by pushing them away from cartoon images and back to child porn.

    Cartoon image of a flame, how long before it's banned under arson legislation?

  17. michael


    the raided the home of a man they thought was a child abuser (quite rightly if they had suspicion enough to convince a judge to get a search warrant) but when they found nothing to convict him of they where embarrassed and are now looking to avoid this embarrassment in future?

    nice just waiting for them to make it retroactive to they can retrospectively arrest him

  18. Ralph B
    Paris Hilton

    Olympic Ban

    Bruno Girin is absolutely right. This new law should be used directly to deal with the offensive London Olympics 2012 logo which has Lisa Simpson giving Bart a blow job.

    Will no one think of the children?

  19. Adam Rulli-Gibbs
    Black Helicopters

    An Olympean Effort For What?

    The lengths they'll go to to try and stop people pointing out what a laughing stock the 2012 logo will make us.

    How much did it cost again?

  20. Ash
    Thumb Down

    Ban Television

    "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character"

    The entirety of war or "terr'rist" attack coverage on the 6 O'Clock News, then?

    I fnid it particularly disgusting to see pictures of dead people when i'm eating my pie and chips. And don't tell me I can just turn it off; I NEED the Government to tell me to not watch it!


    I'll be glad when I have enough money to leave this country.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Manga to go all wrinkly?

    > An image will therefore be treated as an image of a child where "the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is a child".

    If impressions are what counts, the artists presumably will take due care to depict very large gonads in cartoons to avoid the impression of a child? Since without gonads, what is to distinguish the intent of the cartoon from photos of massacred Palestinian children in Gaza?

    Using a sledehammer to crack a flea is very silly, but it sure makes a lot of noise - noise to distract from the real obscenities nu labour would rather you look away from.

  22. Tawakalna
    Paris Hilton

    Britney Spears?

    "This Bill will cover images where "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 will the Hit Me Baby One More Time video be covered under the new Act of Please Won't Somebody think Of The Children 2009?

    will Bugs Bunny impersonating a female rabbit count as extreme cartoon porn? Jessica Rabbit? (well she was pretty hot) or Daphne out of Scooby-Doo? After all, the bad guys state at the end of every Scooby Show that she and the others are "kids" so there you go Osshifer, case proven, off the entire country goes to the pervs register except those miserable tw*ts like Whakki-Jakki and Gordo who've never seen Scooby Doo.

  23. alan
    Thumb Down

    Re Pete James


    "people whom the police would like to "do something about", but who haven’t actually broken any laws."

    They would be inocent people then. How about free choci bickies? Ah you mean poeple who you think must surely be guilty but either arent or its too much like hard work to get the evidence what with this pesky statistic led policing that goes on now and would be a whole lot easier and better for the statistics if it was easy to prosecute people

    I suggest we criminalise not being a MP or a friend of an MP, then we would need anymore laws as they would be able to prosecute everyone under that law.

  24. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Maddona with child

    "Maddona"? What was I thinking. Apologies to all those who were awake.

    Anyway, it has been pointed out to me that a fair bit of Her Maj's collection is actually on loan to various institutions, where it is exhibited for the tittilation of like-minded individuals. This woman must be stopped!

  25. Neil

    Shut your ******* face uncle ******

    Does this spell the end of...south park?

  26. michael

    @Sir Runcible Spoon

    I do not beleve you are alowed to right this stuff atm waas there not a story about a civle servernt wrote a story he published on a web story site and got procustaed for it?

  27. Steve Sutton


    "there is concern that these images fuel the abuse of real children by reinforcing potential abusers’ inappropriate feelings towards children" like much government policy, no actual proof then!

    Why am I not surprised.

  28. Jonathan

    Re:It's this that worries me (Pete James)

    "It is possible that this exemplifies that category mentioned by Lord Hunt in summing up on extreme porn: people whom the police would like to "do something about", but who haven’t actually broken any laws."

    I thought people "who haven’t actually broken any laws" were called innocent people.

    Is it part of the police's job to "do something about" them?

    Who else would the police like to do something about?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forgive my naivity

    But surely if there is the same risk of imprisonment and appearance on the sex offenders register the average paedo would prefer to go with the real thing (grooming, photographing and raping) rather than obtaining cartoons. If cartoons are essentially tolerated then it would be a stupid kiddie fiddler who got his rocks off to illegal real pics when they can rub one out over a picture of Lisa and Bart.

    Criminalising things that people do which do no harm is a silly idea. Prove it harms children and then I'll buy into a ban.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Damn, there goes all the Kanagi, Louise, Taiga, Shana, Lucky Star, Onegai Twins, Sailor Moon, Onegai Teacher, Nadeisco, Haruhi and well most doujin then... Hell I can finally get down to some book burning!

    Of course it isn't really a law against child obsenity, it's a law aganist flat chested girls, if a drawing has big tits it wont fall foul of the new law even if it's a 10 year old character, where as a flat chest 18 year old (Louise) will get you knicked. Beyond the fact that in either case you'd be getting investigated and your life ruined for a god damn drawing.

    But I knew it was gonna happen, it's just a matter of time with this shitty country. Wont be long before books and other writings go the same way. It's too full of idiots, dribbling zombies and power crazed fascists to ever go back to being a decent nation.

    And it's interesting to remember that we had a lot of very nasty stories in girls magazines Tammy for example, where sadism and misery ruled. for a quick look at the story lines.

    But the thing is, humans need ways to vent the darker side of their or else they become monsters, just talk to your average daily mail reader.

    The daily mail and its neofascist supporters (NuLabour and the rest of the popular media for all accounts) like to pretend the UK was once a shinning land of happiness, where nothing bad ever happend until foreign people and foreign media came to bring in the evil.

  31. John Imrie

    Re: Olimpics Logo

    It only counts as depraved if you can get your rocks of to it.


    |- "n

    I'll leave it to your own filthy minds to work out what the image is

  32. Julian I-Do-Stuff


    The gcanimat link includes the consultation document results where - among other extraordinary stuff - something I didn't know, that any defence would probably rely upon the holder being able to "prove" that they didn't know it was illegal, had it for legitimate reasons, etc. etc.

    Prove??? Whatever happened to reasonable doubt?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Solid Goverment

    Its good to see a goverment that has the currage and dedication to handle the real issues plauging the land. In stead of wasting time and resources dealing with failing economy and all such nonsence they actualy deal with something that affects the whole country and everyone in it. Good work UK-Gov... Oh waite... WHAT!!!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @As you say

    "If child porn is getting scarce enough that people resort to using cartoon images as a substitute then that is a win..."

    Now you may be closer to the mark than you think. According to the IWF themselves a ridiculously microscopic proportion of all online CP originates in the UK - that is to say home-grown CP here in the UK (and most of Western Europe) practically does not exist, instead being found on servers in Eastern Europe, Asia and North America.

    Where does this leave the 'child protection' infrastructure? Twiddling their thumbs? Or perhaps thinking up new ways (and means) to deliver their 'service'? Make NO mistake at all: behind the this latest attempt to criminalize completely harmless, totally fictious and wholly imagined images (and their owners) are to be found the likes of CEOP, who have relentlessly and agressively pushed for the penalties for mere possession of explicit cartoons (no real people, no 'victims') to carry EXACTLY THE SAME penalties as those presently applied in the posession of actual, real photographic/video CP (involving real kids, real victims).

    That will mean prison, a fine, entry on the sex offenders register and, basically, the end of your life, your family, your home, your job and your career. Because you looked at a few CARTOONS the police and the government have decided are 'indecent'.

    We are not talking about REAL children here. We are not talking about ACTUAL victims here. We are talking about drawings, paintings, comics and CG renders. About brushstrokes and zeroes and ones.

    We are talking about the victimless crime finally made real. And a complete denial of the truth of the matter. Now will you believe that 2 + 2 = 5?

  35. Jacob

    Kowai desu

    what the hell is going on with this country, first that stupid extreme porn ban and now they are mucking about with cartoon porn that contains children. the next step will no doubt be cartoon porn which depicts extreme stuff, then it will be porn in general followed by cartoon porn in general. Finally you will no longer allowed to have sex or masturbate.

    Moralistic BS.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Why not just make all pictures illegal

    After all, everything out there is someones fetish (Rule 36). Maybe we could have a list of government approved pictures that we're allowed to look at.

    Paris, because soon even this pic may be illegal.

  37. David Webb

    Free trip to Japan!

    The answer is easy, stream the hentai from servers in Japan and use that hacker case as precedence "Officer, the computer I accessed 'tentacle joy joy happy happy woo haaa!' from is based in Japan, therefore I want to be tried in Japan, now snap to it and get me my tickets man!"

  38. Dennis

    Re: Not the way to cut crime rates

    "That's me and several other old people"

    And somewhere I may still have a copy of Club International with a cartoon sequence of Lucy and Charlie Brown, it finishes with Charlie Brown refusing to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when Lucy fails to swallow and starts to choke.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    So now Anime will be banned

    I am an avid fan of Anime, and have several series bought in high street stores that could possibly fall foul of this new madness,

    Azumanga Dioh


    Divergence Eve

    Saikano (She the ultimate Weapon)

    Lucky Star

    Red Garden

    Gakuen Alice

    etc. all these series star girls between the age of 10 and 17. some of them also cover bikini shots, larger than normal breasts or love interests/ panty shots.

    All anime tends to have girls in short skirts with the odd panty shot.

    So a brilliant genre of entertainment will be made illegal and those who have purchased it legally will be tarred with the same brush as a paedophile.

    By the way I am 39 and Female so its not just Teen boys and paedophiles that like this sort of entertainment.

    Paris, because the law makers have less IQ than her

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > people whom the police would like to "do something about", but

    > who haven’t actually broken any laws

    This about sums up the current police attitude - they know who they want to work over, they just don't have the legal power to do it yet. The idea of living in a country where our incredibly tight-arsed morally talibanesque police force set the tone for right and wrong really, really terrifies me in a way nothing else even comes close to. The Menezes inquiry had that police statement to the effect of "he was acting particularly innocently, which made us more suspicious". And we know where that led.

    If anyone still hasn't woken up to what's happening, they must be dead.

  41. Dennis

    Re: hmmmm

    "reinforcing potential abusers"

    The assumption is that there are some people who are sexually attracted to children but have not performed any sexual actions with children. Presumably the idea it that if such people see cartoons of children engaging in sexual activity they will move on from merely desire to action. While this is an interesting thesis is there any evidence that such cartoons will transform fantasies into reality?

    I doubt if there is any evidence. And I doubt if there actually any people who are tipped over the edge by cartoons. If someone who is attracted to children and has not engaged in any sexual activity with children will they really change their beheviour as a result of seeing cartoons? Surely a more likely trigger is the commercial exploitation of children. Isn't there a bigger encouragement from children dressing as adults? Should shops be selling children's versions of clothes that enhance the sexuality of adults?

  42. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Do not flame here ...

    ... respond to the consultation. You have until 2007-07-22. Oops - too late.

  43. Mycho Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    @@As you say

    That's a very good point actually. Without this law being run around silly by misguided policios a lot of think tank workers would risk losing their jobs in a recession.

    Still, if anyone out there does jerk off to child cartoon porn then don't worry, Elfen Lied isn't covered by this because it's a horror anime.

    Idiots the lot of them.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    @ damn

    "... , if a drawing has big tits it wont fall foul of the new law even if it's a 10 year old character, ..."

    Well you plainly haven't been paying attention either to the actual words of the bill or the way the 'child protection' lobby has been pushing the law for a while... (The present bill directs our attention to context to discover any suggestion of sex or of minority.)

    If the promoters have a principle it is implicitly this: if any perv might be excited by some material then it is child abuse by definition, it ought to be banned, and anyone who has it labelled as an actual abuser of children - except if they are members of the elect witchfinder class.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Imrie

    > It only counts as depraved if you can get your rocks of to it.

    Incorrect. Now _you_ have to prove that _you_ cannot _ever_ get your rocks of to it.

    No rocks? That's one answer they'll accept... (but they would in fact be wrong, tho you won't get Whacky or her lesbain friends to admit it any time soon).

  46. Chris Collins

    take a step back

    How about we draw the line and go back to defining child porn as pictures or movies of people fucking children under the age of 13. If it's not that then it isn't child porn. The end.

  47. Watashi

    The seperation of State and Reality

    We should expect nothing else from a government no longer able to tell fantasy from reality. The gap in realism between cartoon images and photographs is much smaller than the gap between, say, Brown's view of the recent economic past and future, and the actual reality of the situation.

    New Labour's core tenet could well be written down thus:

    "If the emotional reaction to an invented idea is the same irrespective of whether that idea is true or false, the invented idea should be treated as though it were an actual fact."


    "If you can persuade people you're right, it must be because you ARE right."

    The rationale behind the second point is the same rationale behind the idealised evolutionary market forces philosophy underpinning so much New Labour ideology. Truth, like efficiency, arrives as a natural consequence of consumer behaviour (so the hypothesis goes). Just as the pressure placed on suppliers by consumers 'selects' only the best suppliers, so consumer pressure 'selects' only truthful governments. The logic is clear: if the electorate believes you speak the truth, then it must be because you actually ARE speaking the truth. If you are not speaking teh truth, the people will know this and so not vote for you.

    Of course, humans are often poor consumers and poor judges of the truth, which is why BT get away with Phorm and how Blair got away with the 'dodgy dossier'. Fortunately, there is a limit - as Brown will find at the next General Election.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@ damn

    Well you're plainly up on one,

    However the "authorities" wont be bothered to look up the ageas of characters and a character like errckk I can't remember the name of the anime the one with the 10 year old whose constantly trying to seduce the teacher, main girl = flat chest, her friend = shapply jubs, doesn't take a rocket scientest to figure out which image would catch the attention of the moralists. It's a rather rubbish anime btw, never got past the first two episodes.

    Sure if they did their research then maybe all things would be equal (you may have noted that the mentioned Haruhi, a girl who does possesss clevage - however I would doubt Mikaru would raise any alarms) But can you imagine civil servants hunting down ageas on the internet? Well maybe, gives the government something else to borrow money for.

    Ahh I'd forgotten about Saikano - there's a manga that you can't read vol 3 on the bus. That was an awsome manga, anime wasn't upto much though.

  49. Pierre Silver badge

    So bad I don't even know what to say

    The worst part is that other govs might follow and reproduce that nutjobbery.

    Also, I think we can now officially say that Ol' Blighty is crazyer, more hypocritical and biggot-grade prude than the USA. And that's saying something.

  50. John Ozimek
    Paris Hilton

    au revoir, Paris

    And there was I thinking that this law was targeted mainly at serious porn material. Until someone mentioned "Fluide Glaciale". FFS: they are right.

    I am a serious Francophile (no: look it up. That's not illegal ...yet). Whenever I am in France, I tend to re-kindle my love of Gallic literature by dropping into FNAC and joining the massed ranks of freeholders reading the "bd" (bande dessinnée") off the shelves. Because in France, cartoon is a universal medium, being used for adult plots as much as it is for childish ones.

    Anyway, first thought was that the only thing illegalised would be a work of satire (or cartoon vandalism, according to taste) by Dupuy. He so had it in for the Tintin series that he produced a seriously off parody which includes depictions of Tintin sodomising snowy, the Thomson twins in bed together and Tintin engaged in some rather explicit underage activity.

    Yep. Can't see that sort of parody surviving this law for a second. But then someone else reminded me of the aforementioned Fluide Glaciale. Its not porn. Its certainly not child porn. But it contains imagery that some juries would definitely consider grossly offensive, etc.

    Someone somewhere might consider such to have been created for sexual purposes. And hey presto!

    No more FG. No more Echo des Savanes for that matter. Or VSD. Or half a dozen mainstream cartoon titles. Because whilst they aren't intended to turn on, stimulate, whatsoever, I must now extend what one lawyer said of the extreme porn law. If you can't be sure, would you be prepared to go to jail over a coffee table book?

    Nope. And I sure as hell wouldn't wish to go to jail for a cartoon either.


    Paris: cause in future only Paris will allow you to browse her wares without fear of interference from les flics.


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