Loopholes? Or Laziness?
Reading the Bill, and in light of the claim that it's to help close a "loophole", I wonder if this is more about laziness. It just looks like it's intended to allow the police, CPS, etc, to go by how the images themselves appear, without having to bother with how the images were actually produced, etc. Appearances, it seems, are more important than the truth.
From Section 49: "(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."
No need to find out the truth about why that image was produced. Just go by how it appears (even if appearances are deceptive).
From Section 50, on the "Exclusion of classified film etc", there's the following subsection that means extracts from, say, BBFC classified works are not excluded from being criminal to possess:-
"(3) But such an image is not an “excluded image” if—
(a) it is contained in a recording of an extract from a classified work, and
(b) it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been extracted (whether with or without other images) solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal."
That means the police, CPS, etc, don't need to worry about whether or not an image has been extracted from something legal to own. They can just ignore the possibility.
In Section 52:-
"(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."
So the police, CPS, etc, don't need to bother with the actual age of the person shown. If they look like a "child" (someone under eighteen), then treat the image as being of a "child", even if they're actually over eighteen.
"(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."
Don't even need to worry about whether or not the people even exist!
So it seems the "loophole" might simply be that the police, CPS, etc, need to find out the truth about images they're investigating, rather than just going by how the images themselves appear. The need to investigate is a "loophole"?
Seems that truth itself has become a "loophole" to be closed. How Orwellian.
Except the result of this is that this is a fundamentally different kind of crime to possession of, say, indecent photos of children. It's criminalisation of the possession of works of expression because of the ideas that those works represent, rather than because of the role they play in the abuse of the people abused in the making of those works.
In the case of indecent photos, the photo itself effectively forms part of the abuse of the child. (Indecently exposing someone without their consent in front of an audience would seem to be abusive, wouldn't it? That doesn't cease to be the case simply because the exposure is via a photographic or videographic medium.)
In contrast, this proposed law would make it a crime to own images simply because of how those images appear, because of the ideas they represent. That is fundamentally different, as is clear in the case where the people and abuse in the images are entirely imaginary.
Or maybe the government really is trying to protect imaginary children from imaginary abuse.
Paris, because superficial appearances seem more important.