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. Mark

    Methadone

    A Heroin subsitute given to ease an addict off Heroin and reduce drug related crime.

    Apparently completely acceptable.

    But pixellated boobies? NO WAY!!!

    I agree with michael. Someone has been accused and not proven to be guilty, so the law must be wrong and needs changing so that he WOULD be guilty.

    Then retroactively apply.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    anime = jail... what's next?

    I'd laugh at this further attempt to pass a stupid law ...

    But then I'm reminded of the "kissing ban" law that passed in Guanajuato, Mexico. I kid you not, according to this law, if you're caught kissing in the street, *you go to jail*. Supposedly, this law is to "protect children" and uphold moral values.

    It is a good thing, then, that they were stupid enough to do this in an electoral year. They've proved what right-wingers can do while in power!

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    Hmmm.... "open loopholes"

    "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."

    What, because of the tearful underage shagging? So that's why the grannies are throwing dirty looks at me.

    What about reading the obligatory "bondage + underage incest" printed out from an arbitrary rapidshare download, then. I would avoid the ones which also throw in a dog or two cause one has to draw the line somewhere...

    In any case -- politicians expressing moral outrage/disgust in public to troll for a bigoted electorate are the most base creatures yet.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and

    this is the same society that doesn't really mind that much about Hostel and where you get Saw with 97 million sequels.

    Not that I care, but why is it torture and mutilation are fine and dandy while seeing a drawing of a school girl who doesn't look like any real girl I've ever seen is a bookable offense that gets you on the sex offenders register.

    Watch a real live Japanese girls have their eyes blow torched, then jump into a train - sure no problem - enjoy! It's all make believe anyway.

    Watch a drawing of a tentical monster bang a Japanese school girl - go direct to jail you filthy child raping monster!

    If you're gonna go down such a bulls--t realm of thought you should get locked up for any graphical representation of illegal acts. It's horse crap. Jesus it's all so retarded.

  5. Mr Bear
    Black Helicopters

    Next it'll be breathing...

    The Government plan to bring in another new law to stop the perverts and lead the way to a purer future where abnormal thought will be stamped out. The Extreme Breathing law is to be passed, er proposed next month in order to give the police the powers to arrest any heavy breathers who use the phone.

    Campaigners are worried that innocent people like joggers or sufferers of asthma might get caught up in this law. However the prison service is being granted extra money for running tracks so that any joggers caught by accident will be able to run for miles without the slightest loss of breath, after their 3 year incarceration is over. And provision in the law has been made so that should any deaths because by medical conditions that aren't ideal for forced exercise, then the prison service will be able to get off scot free.

    Expectations at this time are the possibility of up to 5,000 extreme breathers a year being taken off our streets. Although current records only show around 20 to 30 actual heavy breather cases are reported each year.

  6. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Pirate

    A truth

    fictional police charges have always needed some nice fictional sex pictures to spice them up

    How long before they start on the 'erotic fiction' sites?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have the perfect get out of jail card.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7838298.stm

    This guy's going to serve only three years inside, for actually luring a retard to a flat, gang raping her, pouring non soluable base all over her body and vagina, and generally disfiguring the poor lass for life.

    Thus, for possessing a photo of a cartoon character? What? Jesus the government look f*cking stupid. Roll on the election.

  8. Mycho Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Here's an idea

    How about we start dealing with real dangers to children instead of imaginary ones? Give parents-to-be tips on household cleanliness and how often to disinfect the kitchen (lots of children dead or hospitalised from kitchen germs), subsidised stair gates and pond fencing?

    Every one of those removes a danger much more dangerous than these imaginary peados.

  9. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Paging the Paedofinder General...!

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=UvsoVdvtZC4

    "She's forty three, she's from accounts..."

    "She looks like twelve and *that's* what counts!"

  10. Paul
    Joke

    Loopholes

    It has been discovered that a loophole allows minors to legally purchase beer if it containes no alcohol. That's right beer is being sold to children!!! And the police can do nothing. What if someone took beer and removed the alcohol and gave it to children? We must put a stop to this menace!

    Thank you for watching Moral Panic. Please tune in next time when we investigate the loophole that allows thieves to literally walk off with merchandise after paying for it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    I'd like to think...

    ...that the Government had more important things to worry about at the moment than imbecilic nonsense like this. Perhaps a realignment of priorities is in order.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three strikes and you're out

    So, now I can go to prison for drawing 3 lines on a piece of paper (think about it). Reminds me of a fictional country where you could disappear without trace for writing "Big Brother is ungood".

  13. blue
    Thumb Down

    Sex is Bad, M'kay?

    Personally, I'm expecting laws establishing the Junior Anti-Sex League will be in the next Queen's Speech.

  14. Martin Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Good news for makers of Napalm

    At least we won't see this sort of thing in our newspapers anymore.

    http://miscellanea.wellingtongrey.net/comics/2008-12-07-dear-internet-censors.png

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @Graham Marsden

    glad i wasn't eating or drinking when I read that, else I would have to be getting a new keyboard and monitor.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    In other news...

    How to make napalm and thermite from everyday materials, by William Powell...

    Pic related

  17. elderlybloke
    Paris Hilton

    It will soon be just as bad in NZ

    The same hysteria seems to be happening down here,

    We seem to have super sensitive people in NZ, like a female employee of Parliament who saw a rude word on a note some Politician had stuck on the door of the office of his political enemy.

    She was so shocked , she swooned (like in Queen Vic,s. time) and had to go home for the day.

    Paris seems to be the right icon.

  18. Mycho Silver badge

    Hold on, hold on

    Is this actually going to mean jail time for every schoolchild who draws a nob on a photocopy of Peter and Jane? Or whatever book they're using currently.

  19. Anonymous Scotsman

    @ Lionel Baden

    If they *do* get up onto the firing line, then it will have all been worth it, and I personally could stomach whatever fallout follows this with a smile. But until a fursuit clad goth terrorises a nursery, I doubt it's going to happen.

    Admittedly i'm intending to semi-permanently leave the country in four months (for other reasons), so my perspective is somewhat skewed.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Superbad

    Anyone seen the closing titles of Superbad with the cartoon willies?

    I'm sure some of that is now illegal - I won't buy it on DVD just in case!!!

  21. Tony

    I call your title request a silly thing. Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time.

    ( O ) ( O )

    You are all going to prison.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Outlaw the grey, guarantee more black? Bravo!

    So, if you're J. Random Proto-Paedo, factory-fitted with The Urges, you can no longer legally bung up that particular hole in ways that don't harm anyone?

    So since Mr JRP is now illegal anyway, what's to stop him upgrading to the genuine article, in which children *WERE* harmed. He'll probably have to get it from the same place now anyway.

    It's been noted that stable proto-paedo's who get treated like **** by society can throw in the towel and join the dark side. After all, they're getting treated that way anyway but not getting any of the 'perks'.

    It's not as if anyone's thanking them for wrestling with a demon, day in and day out for most of their lives in order to protect children.

  23. michael

    @tony

    thouse are clearley adult

    (.) (.)

    now we are all going to prision

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oi! Government! NOOOOOO!!!11

    Over 70 comments so far, and I'm yet to see one that actually supports this proposed law.

    That really says something. I hope the government are listening.

  25. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Oi! Government! NOOOOOO!!!11

    I know for a fact that Gordon Brown subscribes to our RSS feed. Apparently he's obsessed with the comments, and we believe he even posts under a variety of psuedonyms.

    Straight up.

  26. Rob
    Stop

    There's a film about this...

    .... it's called Equilibrium, if you haven't seen it already watch or read the synopsis if you can't be bothered.

    Either way that seems to be the way we are heading.

    @tony

    You might be able to argue yourself out of prison with that image try

    . .

    Now your all going to Prison and probably hell as well if you listen to the NuLabour Reich.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Such Laws are Obscene!

    So we will no longer be free to draw pictures of whatever we happen to imagine?

    What I really object to is the State deciding and dictating what we can and cannot draw. There is no place for laws like this in a free society.

    Of course children should be protected, but the ends do not automatically justify the means. And the way this government uses (abuses?) children (and terrorism, etc,) as a way to justify eroding and undermining our rights and freedoms is frankly disgusting.

    I myself am a former child, with something like eighteen years of experience as someone under the age of eighteen. I simply do not want the kind of "protection" that the government is trying to force on us.

    Flames, because this is another step towards book-burning.

  28. Mark

    Even images that could be seen as a 17 year old will be illegal!

    Note that the age for the "child" is 18. So sex with a 17 year old is legal, but make a drawing of the same act (or perhaps one that simply focuses on her butt, according to the law), and you're a criminal.

    It might be one thing to talk about images that are clearly intended to be things that might arouse pedophiles - i.e., prepubescent children. Even there, it is a matter of debate whether they should be illegal. But including up to 18 will criminalise a vast range of material. How do we tell if a cartoon is meant to look 17 or 18? What about all the Japanese manga where characters often have a youthful appearance, or people who like a school uniform fetish? The clause "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" means physical aspects such as having big breasts won't make an image safe.

    The point about an age of consent of 16 (or even 18) is that when you're dealing with people, it's more than their physical attributes that matter, whether or not they are still pre-pubescent. I disagree with setting the law on child porn to 18 - but the argument there was that a higher age is needed, not because of what the image depicts, but because of wanting to set a higher age limit before people can appear in porn. But there is no such person in a fictional case! Pedophilia is not about finding a 17 year old attractive - so even if a law on fictional "pedophile images" is deemed to be required, it makes no sense setting an age limit so high, especially one higher than the age of consent! There's also the point that whilst real people have an age, fictional people do not - so whilst an age of consent makes sense, it makes no sense for fictional images.

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

    Correct - this was included in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

    The scaremongering is that pedophiles were converting child porn into images of cartoons. Even if that were true (no evidence has been presented), as you say, it's already covered by law now. But the reality with this law is that really, we need a way to convert cartoons to actual people ... because a 17 year old is illegal if he or she is in a cartoon, but legal if they're a person right in front of you!

  29. Mark
    Stop

    "a school uniform fetish"

    The day you can't enjoy looking at a middle aged mum dressed as a tarty schoolgirl is the day I get off the planet...

  30. Tony

    @Sarah Bee

    'I know for a fact that Gordon Brown subscribes to our RSS feed. Apparently he's obsessed with the comments, and we believe he even posts under a variety of psuedonyms.'

    Why did I immediately think of 'amanfrommars' ?

    Nah - On reflection his posts are positively intelligible compared to what I would expect from our dour grey overlord.

  31. Rob
    Pirate

    Thanks Sarah

    We all now feel a bit better knowing Gordon Brown might actually read all our comments calling him a complete twat who noboby voted for but was still able to successfully screw our economy then continue screwing us as individuals, label us all ciminals before we've even been born and then allow his MP's to get away with pissing our money up the wall with no form of accountability, fellow posters feel free to add to my miniscule list of crimes against the people for the people.

    New icon required GB with horns please (no need for halo alternative, the devil will be skating to work when that one is needed). In the meantime, Pirate, cause he's highjacked us and raped us.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    V for Vendetta

    that is all

  33. Josh
    Stop

    @ Mark

    You make some good points, but the reason the authorities in the UK decided to set the upper age limit for 'indecent' images at 17 (whilst the sexual age of consent for males and females, gay or straight, remains 16) is a sop to the child protection industry, nothing more, nothing less. It was mandated and pushed for by the likes of the state-funded CEOP, who want to see their remit widened as far as possible, in order to guarantee work and funding as actual CP in the UK dries up and vanishes completely (see: IWF's own reporting on the actual figures for this).

    The issue of 17 year olds being seen by UK courts as 'children', whilst the same courts also give them consent at 16 for sex with whomever they please at or over the same age (gay or straight) is the elephant in the room nobody - police, courts, politicians or media - seems to want to discuss or challenge.

    Introducing completely fictional drawings, cartoons, CG imagery and the like into the indecency laws, equating them completely with actual child porn and pushing for the exact same penalties for possession, is an insult to rational thought, common sense and justice. CEOP must not be permitted to get away with this. A drawing (without any photographic content whatsoever) of a naked child, however explicit and in whatever medium, does not constitute child porn, no matter what they keep insisting - at best it could be seen as an offensive illustration, perhaps in very bad taste, but it is NOT child porn or child abuse. There is no victim involved, no child was harmed in any way and there is no defendant to appear before a court. It is a fiction cooked up by zealous advocates to further criminalise whole swathes of the population and it must be opposed all the way.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Actor versus Character?

    Here's a question that occurs to me.

    The proposed law says that "References to an image of a child include references to an image of an imaginary child."

    One way of producing an "image of an imaginary child" is to draw it. Another is to have an actor portray that "imaginary child" by acting.

    So if an "imaginary child", portrayed as clearly being under eighteen, is played by an actor who is clearly over eighteen, would the resulting image still be illegal? The resulting image is still an "image of an imaginary child", made by photographing an actor playing that role.

    The proposed law does also say, "Where an image shows a person the image is to be treated as an image of a child if the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is a child, or 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."

    A forty-year-old actor playing a four-year-old child?

    Paris, because she could pull it off.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Loopholes

    What an insidious term.

    The government always use the term 'closing a loophole in existing laws' when what they actually mean is 'passing a completely new law'. That way they can push it through with a minimum of debate.

    It was the same when they changed the law on magic mushrooms a couple of years back. They said they were closing a loophole in the existing law and so 'fast tracked' the law without any proper debate. The thing is the loophole they are referring to is that the Misuse of Drugs Act specifically stated that it was NOT illegal to pick or eat fresh magic mushrooms.. So the 'loophole' in the law they were referring to was that the original law specifically stated it was legal. So they effectively passed an entirely new law that directly contradicted the one that proceeded it and did so without following any of the proper legal process.

    By that yardstick they now seem to feel that they can pass whatever law they want as they are just 'closing a loophole' (ie if something is legal that they think shouldn't be, that automatically means it is a loophole so they should be able to close that loophole by banning it without having to go through any of the legal niceties).

    You just wait, soon they will close the legal loophole that means we dont have to carry ID cards (after all terrorists are exploiting that loophole to threaten our children). Next up will be the loophole that prevents them from keeping everyones DNA on file from birth. Then it will be the legal loophole that allows 'obviously guilty' people access to lawyers who proceed to get them off.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The clear point

    The clear point is this nation continues to stamp down on the right to fantasies, it is staggering that in this day and age We and those lands unfortanate enough to be settled by our spawn are still in awe of Puritain ideals that have never worked and never represented the masses.

    Drawings and stories are not reality, fantasy is not reality.

    If you're going to arrest people for fantasiesing about illegal sex acts then you should rightfully arrest people who fantasies about any illegal act.

    Also I have to point out that being a peadophile isnt' illegal, but being a child abuser/assisting in the abuse of children (by watching a child be harmed/abused be it video/pictures or real life) is illegal. Being a peadophile is just another sexual alignment, in this case one that can not be acted out becouse it is wrong, but a sexual alignment none the less and most peadophiles have as little control over their sexual orientation then homosexuals, hetrosexuals or people who like animals. Of course there is the kind of peadophile who was brought about by learnt behaviour (a history of abuse whilst they were a child) they tend to fall into the last 2 catagories.

    A peadophile can live a perfectly normal life, even have a sound relationship with a member of the same or opposite sex who is of a perfectly acceptable age. They get by without any problems at all, hell you probably know one guy/gal just like that, but you'd never know it.

    A peadophile that can't control their urges could probably even live normal productive lives if they weren't so terrified to get help (if help were even available - chemical castration general isn't done unless you've commited a crime, and I doubt mental health care would be fourth coming for any peadophile that seaked help.) However due to the social atmosphere such people will almost certainly end up offending or killing themselves, possibly both.

    Of course just like there are normal hetrosexuals and homosexuals who can't control themselves, who are just bad, who generally have something else wrong with them (abusive past, mental illness), there are people who have problems with reality, but they have problems whether they're gay, streight, into dogs, like teh S&M or peadophiles.

    You only ever hear about guys that abuse children or facilitate the abuse of children, becouse peadophiles who don't abuse or assit abuse tend not to ever mention it, they just go through life with this inkling in the back of their head that they leave to rest becouse they know the difference between right and wrong, they know what their thinking is incorrect and so don't act on it other then in their minds.

    Just like whenever a violent game is in the media is becouse some f----d up kid has been on a killing spree. I often want to kill every loud ass on the bus in the mornins, but I don't, it's illegal and wrong, and they'd probably get me first.

    But if you just keep oppressing people they tend to act out, like cornered rats.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Campaigners?

    Is there a campaign organisation opposing this law, yet?

    For the "extreme" porn law, there's Backlash and CAAN. Is there anything like that for this law?

    I'm thinking more along the lines of artists, etc, campaigning against this as an issue of freedom of expression, rather than the Garry Glitter fan club campaigning for their kind of sexual freedom.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Loopholes

    There's already a "loophole" built into the "extreme" porn law.

    To count as "extreme", an image has to be such that "a reasonable person looking at the image would think that any such person or animal was real." That establishes a "loophole" that allows "perverts" to possess "extreme" drawings - possibly traced from illegal "extreme" porn.

    No doubt this current proposal, if passed, will come in handy as a precedent for closing that "extreme" drawing "loophole".

    And what will happen when the government discover the "loophole" whereby sexual "deviants" are using apparently non-pornographic material as "extreme" porn?...

  39. michael

    I beleve this makes us all guilty

    and it is sold in shops

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kiddy-Grade-Vol-Iman-Nazemzadeh/dp/B00011V8BI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1232466537&sr=8-2

    if you anr not shure why watch this complation of it (MABY NSFW warning) defenlty (NSF england warning)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyvPeAkMc8c

  40. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Flame

    Go to jail forever formula

    1.Get caught with a 'deadly' picture of a carteeny

    2.Get picture printed on a t-shirt and wear it to your trial (assuming we still have them)

    3.Get the same picture tattooed on your chest for when they make you take your t-shirt off.

    That'll lern 'em.

    And if brewn is watching, I think you should take a nice long walk off a short pier, preferably one that's on fire at the time. Oh, and don't forget to get one of your bum-chums to film it so we can all laugh when he posts it on youtube.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Art

    I noticed they kept the "Art" loophole intact so they could continue to use it...

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Tattoos?

    Sir Runcible Spoon raises an interesting point. What happens when the illegally possessed image is in the form of a tattoo? How on earth would the law then be enforced?

    Perhaps someone could explore this question in a graphic novel, where the protagonist has a tattoo of...

    Oh wait. Wouldn't such a graphic novel then actually contain an illegal image as well?

    Would we be allowed to possess a drawing of an illegal drawing?

  43. Andy Bright
    Pirate

    @Sarah Bee

    Now wouldn't that be something. I know, I know, no politician wants input from their own voters, it interferes with giving lobbyists what they paid for.

    Someone commented that surely text would be next. Actually it already is and I believe The Reg recently wrote something about the Police going after a modern day Jane Austin.

    Surveillance Society + Nanny State + Thought Crimes = Glad I Don't Live in Britain Anymore.

    Obviously it still outrages me that my own country has thrown away centuries of progress towards civil rights in about a single decade, but we were well on the path towards this when Maggie started outlawing strikes, decided renters should pay property ownership taxes and created new detention laws for the IRA and hippies that wanted to go take a look at Stonehenge in the summer.

    Oh and I remember the good old days when keeping quiet after the cops nicked you didn't fuck up your own defense in court. Imagine, deciding to not say something stupid because you're nervous obviously means if you thought of why you were doing whatever it was later, that must be a lie.

    Ahh well, not long before Magna Carta starts looking as iffy to Gordon as it did to George Bush.

    Pirate because it's the nearest thing to subtly suggesting a (peaceful) revolution might be in order in some unnamed country that might seem familiar to a few of us.

  44. Angus
    Stop

    So

    this means that they will soon be legislating for laws against the depiction of ANY illegal act?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    A (relatively) famous example

    The well-known (at least to odd-balls like myself) composer Benjamin Britten was a homosexual pædophile -- he had a normal, consensual homosexual relationship with another man of similar age, and he also used to take naked swims with adolescent boys. However, he *never* sexually abused a single child.

    There. Not every pædo *has* to abuse children -- being on is not in itself a crime, only the act is. Drawing what you would perhaps like to do != actually doing it.

    Politics is getting really depressing: the only alternative to NuLab is the Tories. The Tories! Where's Obamessiah when you need him?!

  46. Mark

    @Josh

    I agree with you on the reasons for changing the age of "child" porn from 16 to 18. I see no justification for the change.

    I guess what I meant to say is that the argument about "working in porn" is the only vague attempt at an argument I've heard in favour of this change. I disagree with the logic, but even for those who accept it - it's not an argument that applies to fictional images at all.

    And I fully agree with the rest of your comment too. The worrying thing is that, like the change from 16 to 18, this law will pass unchallenged, because no one wants to be seen opposing it. (And if they could force the "extreme" porn law through, despite opposition and criticisms, they'll have no trouble with this law.)

    So a broad range of images will be criminalised; the uncertainty will result in chilling effects. And it will set the precedent that possession of drawings can be illegal - since this Government, and the police forces, think "extreme" porn between consenting adults is no different to child porn, I wouldn't be surprised to see them criminalising "extreme" non-realistic images in future...

    But opposition starts with individuals saying you oppose it. Write to your MP at least - http://www.writetothem.com/ makes this easy.

  47. Jeffrey Lane
    Flame

    HCHR, Here I Come!

    My grandad is turning in his grave right about now, you know. Given the unanimous dissent over this incredibly bad legislation, I'm sure many of you could say the same thing. I mean, he took a shot in the back at Dunkirk and they never did manage to totally remove all the shrapnel, for what exactly? So a bunch of fascists could take over the government years later and do exactly what Adolf Hitler tried to do: turn Britain into a police state.

    Even a cursory glance at the UN's league tables for such crimes as rape show that countries with these kinds of draconian laws (Australia, Canada, South Africa) have far higher levels than ones that don't. In fact, Japan has the LOWEST rates of child abuse in the industrialised world, despite the prevalence of pornography. Currently, UNICEF are waging the same irrational crusade against the Japanese Diet, except they have had the sense to ignore what amounts to no more than the ravings of a bunch of porn-hating feminists.

    This crap about protecting kids is a smokescreen and always has been. As the older brother of a physically-abused sibling, who got it in the neck from our stepdad after I left home, I can tell you the authorities are bloody clueless when it comes to helping real people; recent horrific tales in the news tell me nothing has changed either. That sort of work requires a lot of dedication and effort, not to mention money. Far better to pick on people like me, who never did anybody any harm, just because I don't happen to fit in with the current PC climate of this country.

    For the record, I actually consider myself a very upstanding person in the department of morality. I'm a pacifist; a vegetarian; I don't drink, smoke, or take drugs, and I have no intention of contributing to a world population that has already grown far too large for the Earth's limited resources to support. It's not my intention to state any of this as if it were the yardstick by which everyone else should judge themselves though. Quite the contrary, I'm not really bothered what anyone gets up to, just so long as they don't go around deliberately hurting other people.

    That said, I do have one vice: I like 2D girls very much and have done for almost 25 years now. I actually run possibly the largest hentai manga/dojinshi site in Britain, albeit from a Florida-based server, which naturally does include all manner of fictional material. In fact, I actually prefer characters like Lisa to real women of 'any' age. However, more to the point, I have ZERO interest in real children and to my knowledge, neither do any of multitude of artists/fans I've been involved with from around the world. We may be attracted to the fantasy of underage sex, but like those who play violent games like GTA, we're not stupid, and we're certainly not criminals in the making. Claire Eagle can spout whatever nonsense she wants about us, but I'll be damned if anyone is going to take my girls away from me!

    For this reason, I'm dead against censorship and feel that any sort of moral guidance must start with the parents. It's their job to see their kids don't stumble on my site and lie their way into it, not the Government's. Yes, it is clearly labelled for adults only, but I come from a broken home, so I know exactly what it's like to have to find your own way with few restrictions in your early years. No-one should really have to live like that, but due to the continual decline of society as a whole and the overwillingness of the Government to play Big Brother in everything, people just can't be bothered to do things for themselves anymore.

    Anyway, ever since I learned of CEOP's misguided attempts to brand me and my artist buddies child molesters by whatever means possible, I've been totally up in the air over this. I was never entirely convinced, like Dave of the Melon Farmers site was, that this would remain shelved indefinitely. No, they've been waging a war over this for a decade now in the States, so I can see now that it's going to take no less than a HRA court case to shoot this down over here too. Particularly, since it is nothing more than an attempt to infinge upon Articles 8 & 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, just like it was with the First Amendment.

    Incidentally, if anyone is looking a spokesman to oppose this insanity, then I would be happy to offer myself up for the challenge. For sure, I've been wondering of late if this may be my destiny: to stand up for the downtrodden artist, as it were (I mean, I've seen so many go into hiding already, scared for their lives, wherever they are in the world). Not least, because I've seen so much in my time, I'd like to think I could offer an unbiased opinion on the subject of anime/toon erotica. Ah, that and the fact that I've got little else to do at present, being off sick from work and pretty much housebound with CFS.

    Heh, and sorry this reply is so long, but I've always found it difficult to get my point across with fewer than so many words. Maybe when the time comes, this will be an asset more than a hindrance since I don't succumb to intimidation easily.

  48. ratfox Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Let me get this straight

    It is legal to create a porn movie which shows people getting raped. That's legal, so it apparently does not encourage citizens to rape everybody in sight. But it is illegal to draw teenagers screwing, because that will lead to child abuse?

    WHO is pushing these ideas now? It's not like any of this is recent...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    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.

  50. Mark

    Re: Loopholes? Or Laziness?

    A lot of the wording is taken from the "extreme" porn law (because that's obviously such a good law!), that comes into force on Monday. That law is all about criminalising based on what an image looks like, and not what actually occurred. The Government guidance even states that an image can be legal in its original context, but illegal elsewhere (e.g., in a film, or produced for an advert, it's not porn, but if found on your hard disk out of the original context, it's porn).

    "this proposed law would make it a crime to own images simply because of how those images appear"

    Indeed. Unfortunately they've managed to do that even with adult porn, so doing it for children is no trouble - the difference here is that they've extended the law to include non-realistic depictions, as opposed to just realistic images.

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