back to article Girls Aloud obscenity trial delayed

Readers expecting the long-awaited and landmark "Girls Aloud" obscenity trial to start last week in Newcastle will have to wait a little longer. Last year Darryn Walker, a 35-year-old civil servant from South Shields was charged with publishing obscene material in respect of a story he posted up on the alt sex story repository …

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  1. A J Stiles

    Manifesto Promise ?

    So ..... which political party is going to have the guts to put "Repeal the Obscene Publications Act" in their manifesto?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And does he have to pay the £15k himself?

    One might hope that there would be some organisation or individual benefactor willing to pay for this important defence of freedom of speech. Sorry, I can't volunteer myself!

  3. Neil

    £3k a day?

    How the heck does a civil servant earn enough to pay this much for an ambulance chaser? I want some of my tax back, please.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thought Crime

    Not long now before we truly get Thought Crime. I never thought I would see the UK become more restrictive than countries such as Singapore. A sad state of affairs.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    How?

    How can there even be such a thing as obscene text? Real life crime books would surely be just as illegal? Reading about Fred West's antics are no different, surely? And they're genuine, not fictional.

  6. John Smith Gold badge
    Flame

    2 things

    Freedom of speech means accepting the speaking (or writing) of things which you disaprove of. It is recognised (by lawyers if not by this government) that writing or saying things is not the same as doing them and that some things are written which are not true and not written with the intention they become true. They are some times called fiction, sometimes called policy position papers.

    I am highly suspicious of the circumstances surrounding this case. Were it found on a more general site with no warning I *might* understand the offence and shock. It is stated this story was found on the adult sex stories archive site. This site makes extensive efforts to discourage casual visitors.

    This smacks of the "I went into a sex shop and was shocked to find items of a sexual and pornographic nature on sale there." Or the real case (IIRC the 1880s) of the arrest of the publisher of a magazined called "The Adult" by the head of the Special Branch. BTW this was not a porn mag. Cop seems sympathetic and asks owner if he can buy a copy. Owner agrees. Money changes hands (from cop to owner). Cop arrests owner on charge of "Corrupting a Civil Servant." Owner was found guilty. I don't think our rules on police entrapment have changed much either.

    Are they hoping the band will turn up and say how disgusted and degraded they felt (that would imply they will have to read it, or be given a pretty graphic description of it)?

    I think this is another gross waste of public money up with the c120K spent on "protecting" the gateway reviews on ID cards and the NIR. I hope it does fail and will drive a stake through the heart of this nonsense on the internet.

    Erotic fiction is a very broad church. I think that for any particular part of modern life you care to name someone, somewhere is cracking one off to it.

    SFW? In there own home on their own time how is this *any* one else's business?

    I was going to go with a joke on this. But I realised I don't find this government's behaviour

  7. Paul
    Dead Vulture

    Send him down

    I'll feel much safer walking the streets of the freedom loving UK when this sicko is locked away.

    Can you lock up Stephen King too?

    Has anyone read the story? It's a poorly written piece of nonsense but it's not criminal (in that sense.)

    I wish I could be on the jury for the case. I hope the police have their arses handed to them by the judge for bringing a frivolous case that wastes the court's and the police's time. And I hope that the case is won on the merits, not on the fact that you can't prove who actually posted the story!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Freedom of speech

    What freedom of speech?

    Anon in case this is an obscene publication..

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The great thing about books is...

    You have to use your imagination. It's not like movies where CGI creates a realistic scene of an alien world, or exploding head, or whatever, instead you have to conjure the image in your mind and fill in the detail based on a few words.

    Which of course is why prosecutions for obscene publication in books are so rare. Because the officer or judge is really prosecuting for the image it conjures up in their mind. The more obscene they can imagine the scene in their mind, the more they have grounds for prosecution, but also the more responsible they themselves feel for having such a twisted imagination.

    And they are faced with the reality, that if the image in their mind is obscene then it is the image they are conjuring up themselves and therefore they are the one with the obscene imagination.

    And the prosecutions go up and down depending on how twisted society is at any time. When society imagines all sorts of horrors, prosecutions for WORDS go up. When society is more balanced and level headed, prosecutions go down. With the current government saying that words incite terrorism, murder, violence, rape... the hysterical leaders creates a hysterical populace that seeks to punish words.

    But they're just words.

    It's like the people who say "you can't shout FIRE in a theatre". In their head they imagine a scene of people panicking, crushing each other as they try to escape this 'fire'. But that exists in their imagination. In reality people don't panic without the smoke and flames. Shouting fire in a theatre is just a nuisance, like people who don't switch off their mobile phones.

  10. abigsmurf
    Thumb Down

    *sigh*

    We all know how this is going to turn out.

    There's no freedom of speech or expression in this country, especially when it comes to sexual matters. Not content with criminalising consenting adults filming themselves, putting 18 year olds on the sex offenders register for photographing their 17 year old girlfriends in the nude, criminalising juvenile doodles of simpsons characters, the government now has to turn to fanfics.

    Clearly writing poorly constructed ficitonal stories about your fantasies is responsible for all that is wrong with the UK! We need to ban this sick filth! Those Ron Weasley x Harry Potter stories are responsible for billions of child abuse cases every week in the UK!

    Sadly once these laws are in place, pending a EU human rights appeal, they will NEVER get overturned or repealed. What politician is going to stick their neck out and defend porn in public with our tabloids?

    Emigrating to the US looks increasingly tempting each passing day.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Good.

    I for one shall pray for a guilty verdict. This, along with the new laws restricting porn are a good start.

    By allowing these deviants to plaster their obscenities wherever they see fit, sexualise our children, push their smut on TV, and erode our moral core; we are heading towards our own destruction.

    Everyone bangs on about their freedoms and rights, no one cares one whit about their responsibilities. It's time that changed. When speech threatens the core values that all good Britons should hold dear, it is high-time that speech was silenced.

    We do not need that kind of disgusting depravity, or those who would support it, in our lands.

    I hope the reason for the purifying flames is obvious.

  12. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Good.

    See, maybe I should have nixed that comment, and said something smug about how if you like censorship so much see how *you* like it, but it's Monday, and it's probably more straightforward to just referee the inevitable scrap than get all po-mo about it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right, listen up.

    1) Would you like to have people writing fiction about you? On a newsgroup I used to read, someone started writing fiction about the regulars. I found it extremely uncomfortable to read, even though the "me" in the stories wasn't involved in rape and murder. If there had been rape and murder involved I would probably have physically vomited. (Which would have been made even less good by the fact that I was reading it on the company computer.)

    2) Celebrities routinely get stalkers. If you were to read such a story about yourself, wouldn't it worry you that there was someone thinking that sort of thing about you? Isn't it likely to cause fear and distress? And while you may argue that:

    '' It's like the people who say "you can't shout FIRE in a theatre". In their head they imagine a scene of people panicking, crushing each other as they try to escape this 'fire'. But that exists in their imagination. In reality people don't panic without the smoke and flames. Shouting fire in a theatre is just a nuisance, like people who don't switch off their mobile phones. ''

    ...consider the analogy of shouting "For the greater glory of Allah, die you infidel pigs!" and throwing fake grenades at a rally of (unarmed) Texas white supremacists.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have people tried writing to their MP's?

    Check your facts, write to your MP. Be polite. You will get a reply fobbing you off on the party's expert MP on the subject. Write to the expert MP and you will get a form letter back stating the party line. Do your research, write again, debunking the party line and you will get an incoherent response back. Send copies of you correspondence to your own MP. There are a few completely useless MP's, but most will start thinking and representing their constituents when it is clear that they are being misled by a small number of twerps from their own party.

    MP's from the smaller parties are often better at representing their constituents - they do not have so many people telling them what to think.

  15. General A. Annoying
    Pirate

    "A member of the public reported his story to the Internet Watch Foundation,"

    Surely that's got to be a prime example of utter hypocrisy by the in-duh-vidual involved.

    Just what did they expect to find on the "alt sex story repository" exactly?

    Goldilocks & the 3 Bears?

    Snow White & the 7 Dwarves (or should that be vertically challenged gem miners?) ?

    Sleeping Beauty?

    No, I'm referring to the 'traditional' versions, not the versions I imagine you WOULD find there.

  16. michael

    re:Good.

    "When speech threatens the core values that all good Britons should hold dear"

    witch core values are thouse?

  17. Mark

    First Use On The Internet Too

    There's another significant issue here, aside from the use on textual material. It is also the first time that this law has been used against material uploaded to the Internet ( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/blogger-wrote-of-murdering-girls-aloud-949711.html ). This moves the burden from publishing companies, to anyone putting material online - even on a site that is clearly marked as being for adults only.

    The OPA is still very strict in terms of what it allows, especially in areas such as BDSM ( http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/l_to_o/obscene_publications/#a05 ). Whilst people have rightly been worrying about the "extreme" porn law too, a successful prosecution here could also spark further prosecutions against anyone who's uploaded material, be it images or stories.

    It is also curious to note they go after the uploader, rather than the server (it would be like prosecuting the author, rather than the publishing company).

    AC #1 - I call poe's law.

    AC #2 - But he's not being prosecuted for any law that relates to writing about someone. If he was being prosecuted for something along the lines of inciting violence, stalking, harrassment or defamation, then that might be another matter. He's being prosecuted for obscenity - if successful, the same thing would risk being illegal even if written about people who don't exist in real life.

    And I doubt that Girls Aloud are doing badly out of this - on the contrary, they get a load of free publicity. 18 months ago, a spokesman for the band said ( http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2007/07/26/girls_aloud_murdered_by_a_sick_fantasist ) "We won't give this person the satisfaction that the girls care. They have security with them all the time, they are safe enough."

    Unfortunately, I fear the fact that it was written about a poor liddle girl band means that a jury will be more likely to convict, thus setting a worrying and broad precedent for a much wider range of material, even that which doesn't mention "real names" at all.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freeom of Speech

    Is not itself affected by any of the possible outcomes of this trial. You are still entitled to write or say whatever you want, it is just that you might have to accept the consequences of doing so.

    Whether the law is an ass or not is a completely different matter, and that is what this trial will hopefully help to clarify.

    @Sarah Bee: RE: Good

    That was just a poor trolling attempt, which it looks like you fell for. maybe some smartarse lag in your office has switched the coffee for decaf again?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Girls Aloud obscenity trial

    See, when I saw that headline I soooo hoped it was the five bimbettes being put on trial for crimes against music, talent, and the trivialisation and sexualisation of women!

    Turns out it's just a perv who dreamt of fucking and then killing them...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stalking, etc is probably irrelevant (@ AC 11:19)

    As I understand it, the guy is being prosecuted for obscenity, not for "stalking", so legally it's irrelevant that the story in question is about "celebrities". If he'd changed the names and made the story about some random fictional people it would still be just as illegal (if it is illegal), as I understand it, but I hope everything will become clearer when the case comes to court. I also hope The Register will manage to report on it accurately so that readers can understand what the actual legal issues are as opposed to random people's random emotional responses.

    If you want to make it illegal to write fiction about real people then you need a separate totally different law for that rather than an extension to the obscenity laws.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @Right, listen up.

    Maybe you should leave the internet? You've obviously not got the stomach for it.

    I'll get your coat.

  22. Sceptical Bastard

    @ 'Good'

    It's people like you who make me ashamed to be British. Unless, of course, you were taking the piss?

    Anyway, I thought the issue was "...murder of well-known girl group Girls Aloud". I realise five laryngectomies would be less draconian but we'd still have to look at these ghastly chavettes dropping their knickers for the camera.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Would you like people write fiction...

    "Would you like to have people writing fiction about you?"

    No I wouldn't, but that doesn't make it obscene. I don't like lots of things, but sadly the world doesn't revolve around me. I'm also pretty certain it doesn't revolve around Girls Aloud either.

    "2) Celebrities routinely get stalkers"

    Nor does that make what he said obscene.

    Indeed the simple fact that you can't make a case of obscenity without trying to suggest he's a really a stalker, stalking his victims to cause them fear and distress, means there is no obscenity charge to answer.... you have to pad the case with extra allegations to make your point, ergo your point is faulty.

    "...consider the analogy of shouting "For the greater glory of Allah, die you infidel pigs!" and throwing fake grenades at a rally of (unarmed) Texas white supremacists."

    What do *you* imagine would happen?

  24. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Freeom of Speech

    Yeah, I figured it was trollish - especially as I can see who that AC is - but I was kind of amused. And so.

    Coffee is the devil's sputum.

  25. Graham

    any link?

    It would be interesting to see if there was a definite and reliable link between men reading/watching rape-based pornography and violence towards women. If it turns out that the vast majority of people watching and reading this stuff are willing to carry out these acts in real life, then there may be a good case to try and limit its distribution. Until then though...

  26. Mark

    Re: Freeom of Speech

    Well by that reasoning any restriction of freedom of speech - or indeed, freedom at all - isn't actually a restriction: "You can still do what you like, it's just that you might get locked up in prison as a result".

    I don't call it _freedom_ of speech when you're locked up in prison. That's not what I think of as freedom.

    If you mean to say that the ruling isn't changing the law, only clarifying it's use - well, the thing is that often courts do decide matters, which then set precedents for future cases, or can be used as a guide when deciding what to prosecute in future. This is especially true with the OPA, which leaves it to the jury to decide whether something is covered by the law or not.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sarah Bee

    you can see who we are when we post AC???

    ur.. I did not mean it about you hoestst (unless you liked it then I did mean it)

  28. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    @Good/ @Right, listen up.

    I thought originally that the AC who posted the "Good" comment was being ironic, but reading it again, it sounds like the sort of rant that the Daily Mail likes so much.

    FYI the "core values that all good Britons should hold dear" include the rights to "go about their lawful business without let or hindrance", yet this AC thinks that any rights he doesn't like should be eliminated or that anyone who tries to exercise them should be thrown out of his "pure lands".

    I suggest that he moves to somewhere ruled by the Taliban, then he can have all the "Moral Purity" he wants...

    As for the AC from "Right, listen up", if someone writes something about me which is defamatory and untrue, I have a defence in law called Libel. That is why Private Eye gets sued on a regular basis (and sometimes loses).

    If I tried to sue for libel simply because I "didn't like" someone writing about me, I would lose.

    What you seem to be arguing for is a situation where you can *only* write something about someone if they would like it.

    I'm sure our politicians would love that...!

  29. Richard Gadsden

    Would you like someone writing fiction about you?

    Probably not, but that's not a reason to criminalise it.

    I'm sure most of Girls Aloud don't much like teenage boys jerking off over their posters, but you may be sure that teenage boys do exactly that. Does that mean we should lock the teenage boys up?

    As for "fire in a crowded theater", that's an example of incitement, not of obscenity. Incitement requires the words chosen to be appropriate to the particular situation and to lead reasonable people to act criminally. At least the basic incitement law did, before the incitement to racial hatred and incitement to religious hatred nonsenses were piled on top. [What we should have is "incitement to violent hatred against a group" - ie if you incite your followers to beat up any member of a group of people, e.g. any banker, then you've committed that offense, even though you haven't incited a specific case of assault].

    Getting back to obscenity, frankly, I'd like to abolish the general offence of obscenity and replace it with a series of very specific, narrow offences. I'd only ban a publication entirely if legalising it would create a legal market for work that can only be created by the commission of a crime (e.g. child porn with actual children in, rape porn involving actually raping people, etc). But even within the present law, this prosecution seems pretty flimsy - asstr is not somewhere that people accidentally stumble upon, and it's *very* clear about what it's about. You're not going to read that story unless you want to read a story about mutiliating and killing pop stars. I think it's hard to argue that someone who wants to read that kind of stuff is going to be further depraved and corrupted by actually reading it. Really hard to argue that, actually. I hope the jury kicks this out.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    fails the OPA test

    as i remember commenting elsewhere back in October when this all started, apart from the crime of being a shockingly bad writer there should be no case to answer here.

    according to the OPA

    "For the purposes of this Act an article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it."

    and if you consider the location of this story, i mean not just the website it was on and all the warnings that website has. but actually the fact that in order to find this story on that website you would have to put the full exact title (including brackets) into the search otherwise you wouldnt find it. (yes back in October i did that. it didnt show up at all on the first 20 pages of google (yes i really did look through that far), and even a basic search on that website didnt turn it up. you had to put in the full title to find it)

    so you would either have to be a regular visitor to that site and see it on a regular updates page, or seriously be looking for this type of story; in either such case it really is not likely to deprave and corrupt you if you did read it, which is the test necessary for the OPA.

    case dismissed. next.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Think of the children!

    It's just another attempt to create a change in the law to 'enable' all sorts of other police action against suspected paedophiles and terrorists (our two most useful 'bogeymen' since the end of the Cold War). Don't blame the Government - who do you think puts these idiot notions in their heads? Look instead to self-interested agencies, advocacy groups and all others with an agenda to create and maintain. This where so much of our bad law begins. MPs are lobbied and consultations held and, inevitably, the lobbyists, by virtue of being simply willing to put the time and effort into making their case, almost always win the day. The Government can then justify their new bad law by pointing back at the 'experts' who advised and who were 'consulted' with.

    This new law, like so many before it (and a few also in passage right now) will be justified in the usual weasel ways: Think of the children! You can hide any number of undemocratic injustices by hiding behind the children. Works every single time.

  32. Sceptical Bastard

    On reflection...

    ... I've now taken the trouble to dig out and read the 'story'.

    Its author (if that's the right word) Darryn Walker deserves opprobrium. But not for 'obscenity'. He should be publicly humiliated for paucity of imagination and linguistic ineptitude. It is truly one of the worst bits writing I've ever had to suffer. And one of the least erotic - I'd rather wank over the Highway Code. Fail, Darryn, you twat.

    *But* even though the story is risble infantile bilge, a prosecution under any law is ridiculous. What is described is on a par with the popular movie 'Scream' (which seems to be repeated on various TV channels virtually weekly) - the ritualistic sexually-motivated mutilation and murder of several young women.

    There are arguments to be made against that as entertainment: certainly few women of my acquaintance find it entertaining. But if the film's director Wes Craven can put it out to cinemas, television and DVD, why can't some fat geek with a dead-end job put his version on alt dot porn or wherever? The reason is that the geek doesn't have Hollywood and big money behind him. Utter hypocrisy.

    Presumably the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) has OK-ed this case going before a court? If so, let us fervently hope that the legal establishment and the Obscene Publication Act are made to look as foolish and irelevant as in the infamous 'Oz' Schoolkids Issue trial forty-odd years ago.

    The 'stalker' angle is just a red herring. The bloke quite evidently isn't stalking the five chavs in any sense. Nor, from everything I've read today, would he ever contemplate putting his childish fantasy into action. The authorities (and some sections of the media) are simply trying to justify their heavy-handedness.

    As Voltaire didn't say: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." In this case, what was written was puerile and meretricious - but we should all leap to the defence of Darryn Walker, even if he's a semi-illiterate sad tosser with no mates.

    BTW, Sarah - you're right to give the trolls rope to hang themselves.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sarah...

    ..I know you can see me. And I also know (hope?) that you can tell the difference between genuine comment and a wind-up.

    I'll try and stop, promise. :o)

    Perhaps I need help for trolling-addiction?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    fails OPA test?

    as i remember commenting elsewhere back in October when this all started, apart from the crime of being a shockingly bad writer there should be no case to answer here.

    according to the OPA

    "For the purposes of this Act an article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it."

    and if you consider the location of this story, i mean not just the website it was on and all the warnings that website has. but actually the fact that in order to find this story on that website you would have to put the full exact title (including brackets) into the search otherwise you wouldnt find it. (yes back in October i did that. it didnt show up at all on the first 20 pages of google (yes i really did look through that far), and even a basic search on that website didnt turn it up. you had to put in the full title to find it)

    so you would either have to be a regular visitor to that site and see it on a regular updates page, or seriously be looking for this type of story; in either such case it really is not likely to deprave and corrupt you if you did read it, which is the test necessary for the OPA.

    case dismissed. next.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re:fails the OPA test

    actuley I found it in the kresteen archives under the putrid section when I went looking for it ... did I just say that out loud?

  36. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Sarah...

    Trust me, it gets harder to tell the difference every day. Satire is dying, man.

    Perhaps we could establish Trolls Anonymous. 'My name's godsarse666, and I'm a troll.' Trouble would be getting them all to come to a physical room with actual chairs. Maybe we could ease them into it by means of a secure chatroom. I can't see any drawbacks to that plan, can you?

  37. Jess

    It should be illegal, but not for obscenity.

    If it were mickey mouse that the story were about, Disney would sue on trademark/copyright grounds.

    Does not the same apply for real people? If it doesn't the law should be changed so it would.

  38. michael

    re:Re: @Sarah...

    my name is mm1145 and I am planing a trip to Blackpool ....no wate that is my AA meatings

  39. Mark
    Coat

    Coffee.....

    I take it it's an Irish one....

  40. steogede

    Re: Re: Good

    >> See, maybe I should have nixed that comment, and said something smug about how if you like censorship so much see how *you* like it, but it's Monday...

    Is that the sort of thing you would normally censor? Seems a little extreme to censor a post that is merely expressing a view point - or more likely sarcastic (the comment about 'purifying flames' is the giveaway), although it's not entirely clear.

    Ofcourse if AC was being serious and you censored the comment, then surely your censorship would have been much more extreme than that which AC supports. AC is only showing support for the actions of the police and CPS, against something they believe to be illegal. You seem to be proposing that people who agree with the powers that be, should be silenced - as though it were some kind of double sedition (and therefore twice as bad a regular sedition).

    Personally, I think AC's post is great, whether it is sarcastic or not. It clearly shows the sort of mindset which would be needed, in order to agree with the way the CPS have decided to apply the Obscene Publications Act.

  41. Sceptical Bastard

    @ Richard Gadsen

    Richard wrote: "I'm sure most of Girls Aloud don't much like teenage boys jerking off over their posters..."

    If they want to avoid being masturbation fantasies, why do they pose like this:

    http://mcnally.dk/temp/girls_aloud_no_panties.jpg

    (Warning: link leads to visually disturbing images of underclass filth that may deprave and corrupt)

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was very disappointed with this article ...

    The headline says "Girls Aloud obscenity trial delayed" but it appears Girls Aloud won't be on trial at all and instead there's some boring stuff about freedom of speech.

    When oh when oh when can we expect them to be put on trial?

  43. John Ozimek
    Paris Hilton

    @Richard Gadsden

    Teenage boys jerk off over pictures of girls aloud?

    Oh. That is sick.

    I'm phoning the IWF!

    Paris - cause she knows about teenage boys

  44. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Re: Good

    Good grief.

  45. John Smith Gold badge
    Joke

    Just remember

    The Moderatrix knows all.

    But remains neither depraved nor corrupted

    Of course she might making an appearance in a story archive at some point.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And the crime?

    A few people have raised the question now, but what is the actual crime here? Is it because it's about real people, or is it the material involved?

    If it's the first then I can sort of understand the charge, even if I don't agree with it. I wouldn't want someone writing (no matter how badly) that sort of shit about my family and friends after all*

    If it's the latter though, then where is the crime? American Psycho (which is a brilliant book btw) contains extremely graphic scenes of explicit and gruesome violence against women with undeniable sexual connotations. I don't see the government trying to ban that though.

    This should get kicked straight out of court. If he is found guilty then let's not be hypocrites; start the book bonfires...

    * Incidentally one of my friends received a pretty sickening text message from someone threatening to mutilate her a couple of years ago. Strangely, even though a crime had actually been committed, the authorities didn't seem too interested in doing anything. Presumably because, unlike prosecuting for thought-crime, that would take some effort!

  47. Jim Carter
    Alert

    Re: Good

    You're always going to have people putting interminable tripe on the internet, whether it be about Girls Aloud or otherwise. If you don't like it, I suggest taking a hammer to your modem.

    Secondly, what on Earth was this "concerned member of the public" doing on there in the first place?

    But, we do need freedom of speech. I might not agree with what someone has to say but I will defend their right to say it.

  48. Pierre Silver badge

    Ack Ack Ack (re: @ Richard Gadsen)

    Dear Sceptical Bastard, I don't know about the sceptical part but the other is true. Make me unsee that horrid pic, at once.

  49. Maty
    Flame

    Hang on there ...

    There's a serious issue here. I don't mean some idiot fantasizing about some idiot band of semi-dressed 'singers'. I mean the blatant dissing of Coffee (note the capital letter) on a geek forum, and by none other than the moderatrix (who deserves no capital letter after her comments).

    Ma'am, are you not aware that Coffee is all that keeps thousands of sysadmins around the country hanging to sanity by the tips of their well-chewed fingernails? That geeks - who let's be honest - have trouble with social interactions anyway, should try to make conversation whilst not fussing about preparing mugs of java?

    As a character in User Friendly remarks 'Of course Coffee is not an essential like oxygen - I can hold my breath for over a minute.'

    For shame, moderatrix!

  50. Tom

    @ John Smith

    John, don't you dare. we'll all know its you, I do not need any more of an insite into the readers of elreg's minds as is already presented here...

  51. Maty

    coffee

    Curses! I've let Sarah B. troll me. I feel so used.

  52. John Smith Gold badge
    Boffin

    AC@11:19

    Not to be pedantic but I think shouting "Fire!" is illegal in British theatres as the ensuing panic is likely to result in injuries and possible deaths. It is not viewed as a practical joke.

    However I'd say this case resembles that sort situation about as much as I resemble a chicken pie. We both have meat on the inside and probably too much fat on the outside. Othe than that the two are nothing alike.

    As for people posting stories on a newsgroup. This may be against the groups charter and should be a matter for the moderator, if you have one. Better newsgroup software also has a thing called a kill file for such folk.

    I disagree with the theory that "If you don't like it here you should leave." If you don't like how something is changing, protest against it. You might find you are not alone in your opinion.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @"Right, listen up"

    {quote}...consider the analogy of shouting "For the greater glory of Allah, die you infidel pigs!" and throwing fake grenades at a rally of (unarmed) Texas white supremacists.{/quote}

    Anyone dumbass enough to do this would probably be met with the fate they deserve - unlike here in the UK where you aren't just *told* not to defend yourself or your property but are normally prosecuted if you should try to stop someone committing a crime against you and yours, in Texas I believe it is still common for citizens to actually help enforce the laws their forebears fought so hard to create?

    Besides, in Texas it would be unusual to find white supremacists going unarmed - and since 9/11, anyone who thought that such behaviour as suggested is funny richly deserves the reaction they would receive - even if they did not have a long life to consider how truly stupid they had just been

    And you, sir, for comparing these two acts, are a tw@. Publishing fiction to an internet newsgroup is nowhere near the same as throwing fake grenades in the Real World. If you seriously cannot see the difference then I, for one, hope you never breed.

  54. Andy

    Hate SF Fans much?

    About 50% of serious SF fans, in my experience, have written a story where two characters or actors in a show they like, erm, get jiggy.

    As an SF fan myself I don't have to have any sort of kink to know that these things exist or that some of them get creative with the concept of "consent". (To anybody thinking "ew", at this point: quite. But it's only fiction.)

    If this case goes to a guilty verdict, an awful lot of people are going to be looking nervously over their shoulders.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Maty

    Quite wrong. It is about time somebody stood up to the evil septic fith of coffee in society. The dangerous assumption that we should all enjoy it is increasingly irritating...and that's just in the UK. A recent trip to the US confirms their apparent belief that EVERYBODY drinks this pretentious overpriced liquid shit. Try getting a decent cup of tea in public in Maine? The woman at the ski resort I happened to find myself at almost got the back of my hand after believing it was quite acceptable to take the already woefully under-powered Lipton teabag out of the as-it-turned-out luke warm cup of water and recycle the cunt! Recycle a fucking teabag!! I ask you, Maty, is that what you'd like to see in this country? And what has brought the US to this reprehensible position? It is a belief that we should all drink 2 litre cups of "cwourfee" every half hour and completely deny the very existence of the infinite charm of a damn good cup of tea. That's what. Coffee is evil. It is overpriced. It is why I have to weait 20 minutes for a cup of coffee whilst the tosser in front of me orders their wanky-frothed lesbotino skinny fuck-knows-what because they once saw somebody on Friends or some such do it in the mistaken belief that it makes them feel important. And it just tastes like chemicalised shit. Taste it. Worse-than-shit.

    Bananas are evil too...

  56. Clint Sharp
    Paris Hilton

    Knackers...

    I hope it never makes it to trial,

    I've often fantasised about killing Girls Aloud, usually after hearing them on the radio by accident.

    Paris, She's met a sticky end in more than one of my fantasies too.

  57. John Savard Silver badge

    Threats, unlike obscenity

    Obscenity law raises many concerns about individual freedom. But making threats of violence, on the other hand, is not something that is viewed as a basic right, so it's unfortunate that apparently only this avenue has been chosen for legal action.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it's time for another try?

    I wonder if these things happen because of the natural changes , as people retire and a new generation come in.

    And the "Lord Horror" case involved a book which had a character apparently based on a former local Chief Constable.

    Something to be scared of: obscenity laws have been applied to the internet in creative ways. The penalties for _making_ child porn, rather than merely possessing it, make sense for the guy with a camera. But the law has come to the point where making an image is applied to the process of downloading.

    I've no doubt that somebody will talk about "victimising women" at some point in the likely screaming matches. Maybe I should take a well-known boy-band and have them kidnapped by the St, Trinians Fourth Form. Or maybe not. (My schooldays were not that bad.)

    Anyway, I've seen the stuff women write. No, not some internet alias for a sexually frustrated make geek. A chunk of this was from way before the internet, in garish combinations of mimeograph ink and paper. And one of those women ended up stalking the actor who played the role on TV. Not quite the arrival of the maenads, but she lost all her reputation as a fan and writer.

    Incidentally, the fan-written porn seems pretty rare once you look away from the fans of visual media. I'm not sure if it's that we need a few visual cues, or if it's that purely-written work is usually one person's work.

    Anyway, I'd rather this gets thrown out by a jury--a clear "not guilty"--than excluded on technicalities by a Judge. I don't want politicians to have an excuse to change the law.

    I think I may try to write a sex scene now; one which will make a politician's head explode.

  59. Throatwobbler Mangrove
    Coat

    yeah but

    "FYI the "core values that all good Britons should hold dear" include the rights to "go about their lawful business without let or hindrance", yet this AC thinks that any rights he doesn't like should be eliminated or that anyone who tries to exercise them should be thrown out of his "pure lands"."

    Well, that doesn't get us any further, does it? The operative word in your sentence is "lawful". This trial is about whether or not the writing business was lawful or not.

    "You're a naughty, naughty boy", said Throatwobbler Mangrove, "and you're going to be punished for such circular arguments", as he took off his PVC coat and approached the poor, weeping poster...

  60. Mark

    Re: It should be illegal, but not for obscenity.

    @Jess: Note that Disney suing would be a civil issue, not a criminal issue, so neither should be a criminal offence.

    Trademark laws aren't likely relevant here, as he's not using their name to sell a product.

    As for extending copyright laws to cover real people - perhaps there is some argument to say that you need someone's permission to write about them, but this would have far reaching consequences, such as a soap that references the Prime Minister, or satirical shows that mock famous people. There would also be the problem that the copyright would last for 70 (IIRC) years after their death, meaning you couldn't even include many historical characters of the last century! That would be a problem for a lot of WW2 films...

  61. Kanhef
    Thumb Up

    re: Fails OPA test

    Good point. It is very hard to be surprised at the content unless someone gives you a tinyURL link. The site is largely an archive of the alt.sex.stories newsgroup. There are standard codes indicating what type of events are described (genders, under/over age, violence, mind control, furries, etc). Not everyone likes everything posted, but if they have half a mind they won't read the stuff they find unpleasant. Even then, it's unlikely to 'deprave and corrupt' them (also note the use of "and", not "or"). Well, the furries might count, but you'd have to be rather depraved already to even try reading that stuff.

    I must note that some of the authors are actually quite good, and there are a number of 'clean' stories.

  62. John Smith Gold badge
    Joke

    @tom, AC@19:16, @Kanhef

    @Tom

    I strongly doubt I'm the only El Reg reader who has considered the fictional possibilities of a moderatrix. I'm fairly sure that this will not be a first time visit to this archive for other posters here either. However it's not really my thing. Words do not come quickly to me. Adjective use must be firmly restrained. Sentences stripped back to their essentials. Unnecessary dialogue flayed from the text. Extraneous background flushed from a scene. It's just too time consuming to do well.

    @AC

    "Maybe I should take a well-known boy-band and have them kidnapped by the St, Trinians Fourth Form" Not sure where your going with this, but I like to encourage creative thought.

    @Kanhef

    "the furries might count."

    I was running a Google search one day when it had one of those periodic brainf£$%ts and coughed up a totally unrelated page to my subject. Being curious and because the term had no obvious relation to my search at all I took a look.

    I was aware of this practice but under its more common names. Reading a fairly detailed account of it just before dinner was not something I had planned on. Lesson learned.

    But thinking back is Google responsible for distributing an obscenity? Who knows what other unrelated search criteria might also have got this page listed? The innocent your minds scared forever by the trauma yadda yadda yadda. TOTC!

    And in the US that means.....

    Law suit. Law suit. Law suit.

  63. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    @Throatwobbler Mangrove

    You'd better keep the coat on as there might be quite a draught from my point going over your head.

    The AC from the "Good" post said "When speech threatens the core values that all good Britons should hold dear, it is high-time that speech was silenced" but the point is that the Freedom to express that Speech *is* one of those "core values" and that includes the freedom to say things that that AC or others may not like.

    If you want to apply a logical fallacy, try "Special Pleading" because the AC seems to think that "it's different in this case".

  64. SteveMD

    Free speech not allowed?

    This is a carefully chosen case for a high profile prosecution of the written word. If the subjects of the story were unknown or even fictional there would be no prosecution. If there were no celebrities, or real people depicted for that matter, few jurors would give this prosecution the time of day, but with real and sympathetic people depicted, there is a far greater chance of gaining a conviction. This is not a case of harassment, defamation or any other personal injury to the individuals concerned, it is a case of the for the state, not the individual. The danger is that a conviction here will be used as a precedent to prosecute writings of a similar nature, even when they are about fictional characters.

    Why is this a danger, the story is abhorrent and beneath contempt, so what's the problem? The problem is that we have yet another attempt to extend laws into matters of taste. No matter how disgusting, mad or abhorrent an idea, it is merely an idea and if it does not cause direct harm, then we must allow it to exist and people to exchange it. This is the basis of freedom of speech, to allow free discussion, even of the things we find abhorrent.

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