back to article Cartoon Law goes live

If you happen to possess any cartoon images on your hard drive – or on your bookshelf – that just might depict children involved in or present at a sexual act, then you should probably have deleted them already. Today – April 6 2010 – is the day on which various sections of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 come into effect, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    orly?

    "If somebody is in the process of arousing themselves sexually by that process, it must be part of something. In a lot of cases, it will be part of something that will lead on to something else."

    I can prove that 100% of previous crimes (especially paedophilia) were committed by people that can or could breathe. It is obvious that breathing does in fact lead to disgusting criminal activity and should be either stopped completely or at the very least be grounds for total surveillance by the police.

  2. MonkeyBot
    FAIL

    "in the presence of a child"

    What if the cartoon shows a legal sexual act, but it's drawn in the presence of a child?

  3. BilstonBoy
    WTF?

    Films that are now illegal?

    Does this mean that my DVD of Kill Bill, with it's cartoon explanation of how a child Oren-Ishi kills the Yakuza boss, is now illegal?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wonder

    Wonder if any one has told Amazon they have to remove Sundome/Yubisaki Milk Tea/probably a few dozen other titles.

  5. Jerry
    Alert

    Law is the starting point

    I work in this area as an expert witness in criminal cases, mostly involving child pornography.

    I technically work for the courts, but my role is to ensure that all the facts in a prosecution are raised with a jury - as distinct to what is presented by the Police.

    With very few exceptions (*) it is up to the jury to determine if particular material is pornographic or not. It is not a matter of law, it is matter for the jury. The law is an aid but the final decision is made by the jury - they are the finders of fact.

    This new law may make constraints on juries, but in the end they represent community values. It is quite possible they will determine the law is not appropriate and acquit.

    It is moot whether the legal decision to criminalise cartoon material is significant. What matters is whether the juries convict or not.

    I expect there will be some convictions, but the pattern of conviction will show where community values lie and will certainly restrict the type and severity of cases prosecuted.

    I'm betting there will be a new standard developed which rates child manga in a range of super-mild to hard-core and the result will be a de-facto classification scheme.

    (*) - I have been involved in one case where the prosecution failed because the film ratings authority deemed the material G rated entertainment rather than criminal child abuse.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Not that simple

      The problem is the fact something is brought to trial sets a bar in the first place.

      Yes, a jury *may* decide that a certain bit of material is acceptable but all this does is legitimise the crazy situation in the first place.

      More worryingly is the effect that getting to that stage has. Once a person is prosecuted, convicted or otherwise, of a sexual related offence their life is in tatters. Juries are going to be biased by the nature of the crime and the simple fact that if it got that far, it must be bad.

      I fail to see how cartoon imagery can be considered criminal in any way, shape or form. No one is hurt in its creation and if it offends you, dont look at it. The rationale for criminalising the cartoons is insane.

      I actually agree with you on:

      "I'm betting there will be a new standard developed which rates child manga in a range of super-mild to hard-core and the result will be a de-facto classification scheme."

      But that is just wrong from the outset. More importantly people shouldnt have their lives destroyed while we find the balance of where our insane community values lie.

    2. Eddie Edwards
      FAIL

      Indeed

      Another possible grey area is if the cartoon depicts the situation where a child walks in on their parents shagging *by accident*.

      That would be a perfectly valid occurrence in a piece of comic literature, say to illustrate the past of a character.

      In fact I'm sure I've seen stuff like this before - on sale in Borders or whatever. I hope those guys are checking their stocks today.

    3. Mike Bell 2
      Happy

      Sex = Bad, Violence = Good

      No problem, Bilston. You can have as much gore-dripping sadistic violence as you like (so no reason to junk your copy of "Chainsawed Cheerleaders" yet). It's just the sex that is harmful.

      It's sex that's dirty, not violence. Violence is fun, wholesome and exciting! That's why theme-parks are introducing rides based on popular cinematic gore-fests. Take your kids for a great day out.

      Just don't draw any naughty cartoons - OK?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      however

      However the starting point is that fantasy and drawing is comparable to child abuse, which for me is an unacceptable link. The starting point should be that they're drawings and it should have been laughed off the cornoers bill in about 30 seconds.

    5. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Coat

      An expert witness?

      So just how does someone become "an expert witness in ... child pornography"? I'd have thought - given the direction that UK law has been traveling recently - that this statement alone is enough to lock you up and throw away the key.

      But it seems not . . . is there a university course somewhere that you take to become an expert child pornographer? A test to take maybe? A national licensing body or an European Standard? I wasn't advised that this was a possible career when I was at school...

      So, does it pay well - this child pornography gig? Are there any decent benefits? Do you get summers off?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        I don't think...

        Borders are checking anything much any more.

      2. mmiied

        the simpsons

        I am sure I saw it there (but it probley was not pornagraphic) but still.....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        IIRC

        This happens in the classic comic novel 'Watchmen'. Although in this case, it's one parent, and one consenting adult who isn't the child's parent. Whatever would the DM make of this I wonder?

        1. jsp

          I think you do

          It is explaining the character of Rorshach. Luckily my copy disappeared long ago. Now if only I knew who had it, I could stitch them up ...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Worse still...

          the non-parent is paying for the attentions of the parent.

      4. PT

        So, Mike Bell 2...

        ...You have not seen "Kill Bill".

        I could explain Bilston's reference, but will not until I hear from my solicitor whether a written description (a "word picture") of a cartoon drawing of a pedophile sexual act constitutes an offense under the Act.

        1. Graham Marsden

          @PT

          You do not have to wait to hear from your solicitor because Baroness O'Cathain's attempts to get a "Dangerous Writings Act" passed got short shrift from anyone with half a brain!

          See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldbills/033/amend/su033-ivb.htm

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How one becomes an expert...

        ...on pornography, in the case of the expert i used to know, is by looking at an enormous amount of porn in the British Library. I wonder if they are burning it?

        Strangely, he did not become depraved or corrupted by it.

    6. ElFatbob

      A worthy observation..

      but I was also left wondering if Donald Rumsfeld had started up some kind of 'Knowing the Known Unknowns' training seminar for politicians..

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Without this law, what crime?

      Without this new law, there's no such crime for juries to convict people of.

      Possession of mere drawings shouldn't be a crime at all. It shouldn't come down to "community values". We're not talking about publication here - for which "community values" are relevant, and for which there is already the Obscene Publications Act - but mere possession, which itself is private, and not the business of the "community".

      We now live in a society where you can commit a sex crime just by privately drawing the wrong kind of picture. Such laws, creating such thought crimes, are truly Orwellian, and have no place in a free society.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      The evils of breathing

      Well said. I await the new Governments desire to clamp down on this precursor to horrific crimes and a raft of new laws...

      In fact the list of things people who commit crimes do is very long so should the breathing one get defeated in the house, there are still eyes, hands, ears, brains etc to be removed.

    9. Leigh Smith

      RE: orly?

      "I can prove that 100% of previous crimes (especially paedophilia) were committed by people that can or could breathe. It is obvious that breathing does in fact lead to disgusting criminal activity and should be either stopped completely or at the very least be grounds for total surveillance by the police"

      Or as Judge Death would put it "The crime is life, the sentence is death!"

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There is far more to this than conviction or acquittal

      It is not the case that "whether the juries convict or not" is the only thing that matters.

      It matters a great deal if someone is arrested and detained, has his house raided and searched, all his equipment confiscated, is regarded with suspicion by social workers, is separated from his children, charged and tried. Even if he is acquitted he has still been publicly humiliated and probably lost his job and his family.

      I'm surprised that someone who claims to be involved in the justice system would think otherwise.

    11. Jerry
      Alert

      Re various comments on my 'expert witness' post

      If you are charged your life is destroyed in most cases. The cost of a defence is huge and the social cost immense.

      Most child pornography cases result in a conviction. But usually the charge is well justified and there are usually aggravating factors.

      How to become an expert witness in child pornography? It's pretty simple, become an expert in computers and the internet and security and computer forensics and then gain a good appreciation of the law, and finally get to know a good range of briefs. The child pornography is secondary to how computers and the internet are used to obtain it. The matter of pornography is determined by the jury, not the expert witness.

      Does it pay well? Yes. At least as good as a mid level silk - and the hours are good.

    12. ph0b0s

      Juries decide

      Facetious comment I know, but imaginary crime happening to an imaginary child in an imaginary world. Wish it was only imaginary police investigating. Surely the real police should be working harder to solve real case with real children rather than this...

      Anyway the point I wanted to make was about the idea of obscenity being decided by a jury. Under the idea that members of the public are able to give an assessment of what the wider society would view as obscene. The idea I don't like about this it that what people say is obscene and what they actually believe is obscene (and are looking at on their computers) are likely to be two different things.

      A way to solve the problem (but would never be practical), would be to have an anonymous database of everyone's pr0n collections and to use the average from this to inform as to what people really this is obscene or not.

      If 50% of the population had possession of illegal material it would be hard to argue it was obscene.

      Not sure if I am making myself clear...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        No, the point you make is a good one.

        The issue still remains that the crime is not absolutely defined.

        Usually the crime itself is clear and the jury weighs the evidence as to whether or not you actually did it.

        However, in this case, the jury has to determine if a crime has actually been committed which is an atrocious state of affairs.

    13. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      letters and numbers

      "It is moot whether the legal decision to criminalise cartoon material is significant. What matters is whether the juries convict or not."

      but there will be some poor sap that was dragged through the courts and the media, have his life and family destroyed because social services take his kids away... then found not guilty....

      so what really matters?

    14. Goat Jam
      Headmaster

      @orly?

      I can also guarantee that most, if not all pedos have eaten bread at some time in their lives.

      See this link for the other dangerous aspects of bread use in our society.

      http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/bread.html

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    IWF Not Blocking!

    It appears that the IWF are not adding non-photographic "prohibited images" to their block list. Instead, they're only taking reports of such images hosted in the UK, and treating them in a similar way to extreme porn.

    See item 7 (b) of their board meeting minutes from 29th September 2009: http://www.iwf.org.uk/corporate/page.215.617.htm:-

    "(b) Non-photographic images (“NPI”)

    The Funding Council has agreed to the inclusion of prohibited non-photographic images of children within the IWF’s remit, with its inclusion being subject to the same conditions which applied to extreme pornography. The Funding Council requested that the response to the Ministry of Justice (“MoJ”)should make it clear that the material would not be suitable for inclusion on the ‘block list’. The Board agreed that the response should include an option for the IWF to withdraw from including NPI within its remit if the conditions for its inclusion were not met and that MOJ attention should be given to the PR implications of the legislation.

    Action 10: A letter to be sent to the MOJ from the Chair reporting the industry and the IWF’s willingness, subject to certain conditions being met, to include prohibited non-photographic images of children hosted in the UK within its remit."

    See also the IWF report page, which now includes an item for "Non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK": http://www.iwf.org.uk/reporting.htm.

    This means we can't rely on the IWF to shield us from "prohibited images" (or extreme porn) hosted outside the UK (that's most of the world).

  7. Rocket
    Alert

    what next?

    you'll be asked to close your eyes in Toys 'R' Us when passing the pole-dancing kits

    tin foil hats at the ready for when the though crime detector vans appear

  8. sandman
    Thumb Down

    Robert Crumb is doomed

    So, possession of the famous (OK and grossly tastless but funny) "Family that lays together stays together" cartoon will be very illegal indeed. Burn your comics now folks...

  9. xyz

    Kill Bill?

    You know that bit in Kill Bill where the daughter seeking revenge gets "close" to her victim because he's a paedophile...Does that have to be edited out now or does the BBC (+watch +world + dog) get done for having a naughty DVD?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Time to store gunsmith cats in the attic

    Well, this means my copy of Gunsmiths cats has to move to a hiding spot in the attic until my children turn 18, right?

  11. Eden
    FAIL

    Head - meet desk

    That is all.

    All points have been covered numerous times on this on this forum and many others so rather than preach to the wise I'm simply going to go stand in the corner and smack my head against a wall, it's probably more productive, unlike the government.

    (oh and as for that argument, lessen the barrier to real stuff, IE, if it's just as illegal to posses a 100% fictional cartoon then people may as well get the real stuff, I imagine (haven't studied this at all), that most hentai nuts actually have little to no interest in real stuff, given the mass market for the stuff in Japan but very low child abuse/rape stats you'd assume that's the case.

    1. Jimbo 6

      unintended consequence of lessening barriers

      Slightly off-topic, but analogous :

      Several years ago the UK Gov't made steps towards having mandatory life sentences for carrying a loaded gun. IIRC this was opposed by the police on the (quite reasonable) grounds that as there would be no difference in sentencing terms, between having a weapon and committing murder, perps would have no disincentive to opening fire, rather than just waving a weapon threateningly.

    2. Dapprman

      Depends on which version s well

      Mini May Hopkins is only 16 in the original manga (from what I remember), so had to have her age raised for the US as she was sexually active, then the writer threw a big curve ball by saying she'd worked in a whore house for 4 years prior to meeting Rally, resulting in her age being increased yet again - so depending on your version, it's not just your kids you need to keep it hidden from ....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      The BBFC are your friend.

      Look at Section 63 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, and you'll find that the BBFC are your friend: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2009/ukpga_20090025_en_5#pt2-ch2-pb1-l1g63.

      Basically, there's an exemption for "classified works", such as BBFC-classified films. You can still legally own what would otherwise be "prohibited images of children", as long as they're "classified works". But an extract from such a "classified work" is not itself excluded from this law, and may still be criminal to possess.

      Yes, you can own the whole DVD, but not the clip!

      This isn't the first step down the road to a society where you can only legally own stuff properly classified by the censors. The previous step was the extreme porn law, in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (see Section 64 of that act).

  12. Ball boy
    FAIL

    Hold on, I can keep it if...

    ...the cartoonist supplies a certificate that shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that the characters they've drawn are intended to be seen as over the age of 18, right?

    Daft point - but you get the idea: how can you tell a cartoon character is under 18? In some cases, it would be clear to all - Maggie in The Simpsons for example is clearly under 18 - but I'm sure lawyers will make a tidy game out of proving that the pr0n I choose to watch contains pencil sketches of 18 year-olds.

    Abject fail for the obvious reasons. <sigh> at least we know when we get to vote the damn government out now.

  13. Winkypop Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Spend the money on offender detection

    Not on political-masturbation!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One more square...

    ...ticked on the forms of those sad and dangerous people who imagine that if enough loopholes are closed, enough forms generated, enough squares ticked, then sooner or later we are all going to be 100% safe, 100% of the time.

    No discretion needed, bureaucratic, public or judicial, because discretion and individual judgment makes the power-hungry mind uncomfortable. We need rules - hard and fast rules - for everything. Without rules people apply discretion and judgment and that simply cannot be allowed. A judicial system we might hope to balance this is so far failing.

    We've had to become accustomed to a 'Register' that fails to discriminate between sexually active teenagers and violent abusers of small children. Now people who read Manga are to be tarred with the same brush as serious serial abusers. This law is as sick as those it purports to defend us against.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      RE: Hold on, I can keep it if...

      The Simpsons debuted back in 1989. That makes Maggie at least 21 years old.

  15. Michael Nielsen
    FAIL

    you ain't seen nothing yet.

    Just you wait

    Next step.

    It is illegal to take holidays snaps, when having a holiday with family and kids on the beach.

    What-do-you-mean that's already the case ?

    Next step

    Prohibit the use of photographic equipment, except for spying on the public, by the government as it is possible some one gets turned on by pictures of clothed children, that just might be in the photo.

    Next step.

    All adults without children are required to wear a blindfold in public, because it is possible they *might* become sexually aroused by the sight of a child.

    The step afterwards.

    All parents are automatically thrown into jail, for pedofilia, as they have seen their children nude, and seen and touched their privates (how do you wipe a bottom without touching ?), therefore they all face lifetime sentences for child abuse. Quite a few parents are already scared of touching their kids.

    The step afterwards,

    Any child that comes of age is automatically thrown in jail, as they are bound to break a law at some stage in their lives, we might as well lock them up immediately.

    geez, it's a ruddy sick world we live in.

    if I draw 2 stick figures having sex, and I accidentally draw one smaller than the other - is that child porn ?

    The ruddy problem is that it's entirely up to the viewers interpretation if it is a child or not, and also - it's a ruddy drawing!!!! There is no victim nor crime, except in some legislators sick mind.

    Now they're talking about putting a minimum bust size on models, to avoid child pornography, lol my girlfriends sister, who is 32 had no bust, until she got her augmentation, lol that would by some legislation, that they're looking at in Australia, classify any pictures taken of her nude - as child porn.

    My girlfriend, who is 35 this year, is often mistaken as a minor, she does have a very youthful face, and has often been mistaken as my daughter, I'm 39. Lol, I guess it won't be long before I'll go to jail, because my girlfriend looks young, and it's a crime to be intimate with someone who looks young.

    Sigh, Yes we must protect children, but these laws are NOT protecting children, they're just criminalising people, and creating tought crimes - just like George Orwell warned in his famous novels!

  16. Wize

    @Eden

    Japan may have low child abuse/rape stats, however they do not have an age of consent.

    Anything involving an under-age girl, even with her consent is illegal here and added to our statistics but not over there.

    72% of statistics are lies.

  17. phuzz Silver badge
    FAIL

    Lost Girls

    I guess Alan Moor's 'Lost Girls' will be being burned in the street then.

    Do any commenters have anything good to say about this law, anyone? Anyone at all?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      actually

      They do have an age of consent, they also have a number of other laws that lift the effective age of consent in all districts.

      However the stats battle isn't one to meander into, it's better to refer to case studies that point towards porn reducing offending, and to discreadited studies that support the supporters of the law (the one where they asked peadophiles if it was the drawings fault they did it.)

      How the stats battle pans out btw, most sex crime is under reported in Japan that figure is very low and the conviction level is notoriously high over 90% (Japanese police convictions relying on confessions gained through weeks of harsh interigation.) Anyway due to the official under reporting people clamor to claim that rape/child abuse is everywhere (I'd certainly say teacher/student sex is way more common - however that's as much a culture thing as anything else.) However these beliefs don't seem to be supported by annoymose crime victimisation surveys where reported incidents are indeed much higher then the reported levels but still below the likes of the UK.

      However at the same time the general feeling in Japan is that it is safe for a female to go about her business far more so then the feeling in the UK. However there are bizare things that Japanese woman don't do.

      A case in point represented by friends who say they have no problem walking down a dark ally at night in Japan, however they wouldn't hang their underware up outside.

      But people feel safer over there, and that at the end of the day is likely more important then the crime statistics.

      Fear of crime is what really does us in. Fear of everything actually. We're a very fearful nation, and we and the rest of the English world are trying very hard to make everyone else as scared as us. Ahhh for an age where we laughed at fear.

    2. Eden

      No AOC

      REALLY??

      Damn...didn't know that, like I said I've not looked into this at all, I simply don't agree with this whole slippery slope argument (Cartoons != people).

      I mean I love Anime about huge robots with jepacks and guns but it doesn't mean I want to go out and get...oh wait......never mind...

  18. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Danger to society

    All these laws do is open the route for governments to frame anyone they want by planting an appropriate image (or thousands of images) on undersirables' home computers, which will make it easy to discredit them and to lock them up.

    If you are an inconvenient activist, a member of some non-PC organisation or just annoyed too many people in high places - beware.

    As for the real child molesters I postulate the following:

    - no amount of child abuse imagery will make non-paedophile a paedophile.

    - contrary to Laborast MPs views, easy availability of images is not the first step in progression to acting out but actually is a barrier to acting out. People are lazy, if they can satisfy themselves at home with no risk they will not bother to subject themselves to the risk of attacking someone in the real life (there will of course be exceptions).

    - a paedophile whose pictures been taken away means a paedophile roaming the streets.

    - a paedophile whose drawn cartoons now pose the same risk to him as images of real abuse might as well switch to the real stuff.

    Anyone is welcome to refute any/all of the above by providing evidence to the contrary.

    Conclusion: The real child abusers are the politicians and ministers promoting such laws. They are making the streets more dangerous by prompting paedophiles to revert to acting out their desires and fantasies in real life.

  19. Len Palmer

    Whats the problem?

    Whats the problem? these are cartoons aren't they? from fantasy land? so who is to say what ages are depicted in these pics, the artist can just say this is a stylised drawing of an adult, problem solved...

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Stupid beyond belief

    There is reasonable argument and evidence that people are born with attractions to children. Read the account of the ambulance man called to a child that wanted to kill himself. The child had the urge to rape and kill small boys but knew it was wrong, so wanted to commit suicide. It is all there in, "Blood, Swwat and Tea."

    Those like that teenage boy who have gone in to adulthood are going to be too scared to seek help and are likely relying on cartoons will now have nothing to fall back on ... like a tiger backed in to a corner, actual offending might be the only outlet they have left. That or suicide.

    There is a strong possibility that this law has put more children in very real danger ... but the Ministry of Justice head, Mrs Eagle, has refused to answer my letters for more than a year, even when sent va my MP. Now, I may be wrong but I believe that the MoJ have to, by law, reply to every letter received. That tells me they know exactly what can of worms they have opened and would rather break the law and not reply to letters, rather than admit that this law is a very, very bad screw up.

  21. blackcat

    Quick call the police!

    I see Amazon are still selling the lost girls.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    "Loophole" Still Open?

    This is supposed to close a "loophole", but might it not actually leave a "loophole" open?

    Old Bill: We found this drawing of a child getting raped in your possession.

    Suspect: What crime would that be?

    Old Bill: Possession of a prohibited image of a child, an offence under Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

    Suspect: But under Section 65 subsection (3) of that same Act, an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child doesn't count as a prohibited image.

    Old Bill: But this is a drawing, not a photograph, and it doesn't look like a photograph so it's not a pseudo-photograph either.

    Suspect: But under Section 7 subsection (4A) of the Protection of Children Act 1978, as amended by Section 69 subsection (3) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, an image derived from a indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph, such as a tracing, also constitutes a photograph or pseudo-photograph.

    Old Bill: Are you saying that this image is an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child?

    Suspect: No, I'm saying you don't know what kind of image it is, that you don't know what crime, if any, to charge me with.

    Old Bill: But whether this is an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child, or a prohibited image of a child, it's still a crime to possess it.

    Suspect: Yes, but which crime? I have the right to know which crime I'm accused of committing! You can't charge me with an offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978, because you don't have the evidence to show that this is an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child, and you can't charge me with an offence under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, because you don't have the evidence to show that this isn't an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph, either.

    Old Bill: But you admit you've committed a crime?

    Suspect: No, I'm just pointing out that you don't know what to charge me with. And neither will the CPS or the courts.

    I am not a lawyer, but I'd love to know how this would work for real. Have the government completely screwed this up?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Timing of this commencement?

    I wonder, why was commencement of this part (and other parts) of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 timed to coincide with the calling of the general election?

    Is it a cynical attempt to play the "think of the children" card just before the election?

    Or is it a good day to bury embarrassing legislation?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Correction...

      "Blood Sweat and Tea," by Tom Reynolds.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, no, no!

      The truth is irrelevant. Under this law, if the characters look like they're children (under 18), then they're children. It's superficial appearances that count.

      Look at Section 65, "Meaning of “image” and “child”": http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2009/ukpga_20090025_en_5#pt2-ch2-pb1-l1g65:-

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

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

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

      (b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child."

      So, all it takes is for a cartoon character to look like they're just a month short of turning 18, and they're a "child". Not that they'd look much different a couple of months later, of course.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Alert

      Report them to the IWF!

      Although the IWF aren't adding sites to their "block list", they are taking reports of prohibited images of children hosted in the UK. Would that include Amazon's UK operation?

      Here's the link: http://www.iwf.org.uk/reporting.htm

      The item you want is labelled, "Non-photographic child sexual abuse images hosted in the UK."

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits

      "There is reasonable argument and evidence that people are born with attractions to children. Read the account of the ambulance man called to a child that wanted to kill himself. The child had the urge to rape and kill small boys but knew it was wrong, so wanted to commit suicide. It is all there in, "Blood, Swwat and Tea."

      It's also on the author's excellent 'blog, here:

      http://randomreality.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2004/10/20/163041.html

      It's one of my favourite responses to the ''Hang 'em High' brigade.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      leters and numbers

      I doubt it would work in the real world....

      all the old bill would have to do is ask if you knew if the picture or drawing was derived from a photograph or not...

      then along with a statement to the court along the lines of "in the line of our investigations, we have never uncovered a photograph that has a suitable number of points of reference consistent with the image in question, we therefore decided that this image was an offence under Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009"

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Haku

    Lisa giving head

    Does this mean they'll have to scrap the 2012 olympics logo?

    I hope so, it's fricken terrible.

  26. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Quick, look busy!

    The Paedo-finder General is coming!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      i agree.... but...

      i agree with you, that logo is terrible

      what is more offensive about that logo the price tag attached to it. I could have done better bit a copy of logo creator and i would have only charged them £500..

      What is more frightening tho is if you do like the logo, does that mean you should be on some register or something,,

  27. Brian Mankin
    Troll

    Little Cherubs?

    Given recent stories about certain members of the clergy, is it time for us to re-appraise all those religious artworks that contain images of cherubs? Did exposure to these lewd figures play a factor in the corruption of these fine, upstanding pillars of the community? It must all be the fault of those decadent so-called artists.

  28. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    @BilstonBoy, @xyz

    Let's see.

    Depiction of child check

    Sexual behavior check

    Violence check

    Based on real person check

    You're so busted.

    Seriously Kill Bill is an *excellent* example for this law. It seems to meet *all* the requirements for prosecution.

    I like the "consultation" procedure where "Police were unhappy they had to hand some comics back to a guy."

    So basically "The Police. We want enough laws that we can arrest *anybody* on *something* at *anytime*."

    I'd suggest this makes senior police officers look like rather spoilt 6 year olds who need to be sent to their room without dinner. I'll refrain from suggesting *any* kind of corporal punishment of course. Given this government I'm quite sure that if there isn't a law that criminalizes the idea of senior police offices being caned, they'd introduce one ASAP.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Actually...

      I believe there IS a law, called something silly like "disaffection of a constabulary officer". Okay, it is probably intended to protect a plod on the beat, but given we're now talking about taking photos of sex acts with children being twisted into applying to cartoons... anything is possible.

  29. ph0b0s

    Not real, no victim Ahhhhh! Ok for security reasons though.... Thin end of the wedge

    Children must undergo airport body scans

    http://www.directbaggage.com/news.as...=268&type=news

    Drawings of kids bad. Strangers looking at kids bits for security reasons Ok.

    Of course dumb and would not work, but would love to see someone use the defence of need the drawings for security reasons.

    One last point on the new cartoon law. To me it is censorship even if it has been done with the best intentions. Why? Because even though things like 'watchmen' and 'lost girls' are safe. The new law means there won't be another 'watchmen' or 'lost girls' as who knows in advance whether your drawings will be considered worth while or not. Maybe you think that is a good thing.

    Does any know if any other type of drawings has ever been made illegal in the 'free world'? Are the ones of children the first?

    If so, there is now a precedent and it will be easier to ban other types of drawing for other reasons (race, religion, violence). With the argument, that since has been done to protect children why not protect other groups and against other crimes. Don't know if it is accurate, but according to wikipedia, Canada have already banned writing about child abuse as well. So the written work will be next.

    Would have prefered it if this law was only applied to convicted pedos. And for depitions of under 16 year olds, as this to me is easier to work out when looking at a drawing.

  30. Torben Mogensen

    Next will be textual depictions

    in which case the bible, quoran and other religious or historical texts depicting the marriage and implied sexual activity of underage children as well as incestuous acts (such as the daughters of Lot having their way with their dad) will have to be banned.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No they won't

      They will be given religious exemption to the law. As usual.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the

      This lunatic

      "Labour MP George Howarth who, during the committee stage of the Bill, famously observed, of a drawing scrawled on a piece of paper: "If somebody is in the process of arousing themselves sexually by that process, it must be part of something. In a lot of cases, it will be part of something that will lead on to something else.""

      Mentioned wanting to ban writing if memory serves me correctly. Never fear it'll happen and nobody will stop it. Why? Coz nobody wants to be labeled soft on Child molestation, even though very few people give a damn about protecting children and properly counseling them. Victims of child abuse are largely let down by the system time and time again during their lives, and the powers that be and do gooders and pro censorship lobbies are far too busy looking good to focus on the core issues.

      Sexual abuse in the home, and sexual abuse by friends and family.

      I'm pretty sure everything I've heard about in the past few years has been done by family friends or family, or priests. Focusing law and energies on the out skirts creates more victims as there is less time spent on the real issues.

      The front line against child abuse is teachers. Not police. Police are the sad little soldiers that stomp around in boots. Teachers, psychiatrists and, social workers are the most important tools in fighting child abuse. Also some of the most under rated and under appreciated whilst money is splashed fighting terror and wage wars in distant lands the powers that be couldn't give a damn about children.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Thumb Up

        AC@17:34

        ""Labour MP George Howarth who, during the committee stage of the Bill, famously observed, of a drawing scrawled on a piece of paper: "If somebody is in the process of arousing themselves sexually by that process, it must be part of something. In a lot of cases, it will be part of something that will lead on to something else."""

        Looked him up.

        I was struck by his remarkable resemblance to VI Lenin.

        His majority is as big as the last Speaker (26000+ in Knowsley) but with a lower profile he's likely to be re-elected.

        Likes ID cards, dislikes investigation of the Iraq invasion.

        Thumbs up for your comments.

    3. Just Thinking

      Anti terrorism

      Some drawings are certainly illegal to possess, with serious consequences - for example a diagram of how to make a bomb, or a detailed sketch of an airport.

      Presumably, an oil painting of a steam train pulling into an old Victorian station could potentially be illegal too.

      1. not'known@this.address
        Big Brother

        Well that's us up Pooh Alley then.

        Microsoft Flight Simulator X (aka FSX, Flight Sim. 10 etc) is proud of the fact that the scenery is as realistic and accurate as possible, adn there are loads of after-market addons with photographic scenery taken by real aeroplanes and satellites - and then there's Google Earth, all the online map and route-finding apps that anyone with Internet access can get at...

        I often wondered how architects and the emergency services got away with having information of use to terrorists... guess I'll never find out - I can't ask, or I'll be in possession of info etc.

        Oh, excuse me, there's a knock at the doopamju oapihju-0)&&*%^ YJG THVRRi^*tt7iu

        [CARRIER LOST]

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh look, another dumb law...

    .....to ignore.

    Like anything, they'll `catch` a handful of people for breaking it, try to make an example of them to scare all the other frightened little sheep away. Like P2P. Like Cannabis. Like any number of other dumb laws.

    If it applies to you, be mindful of it but largely just ignore it, chances are you'll be fine.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      AC@12:19

      "Oh look, another dumb law...

      .....to ignore."

      Laws like this are not *about* enforcement.

      They are about giving the Police yet *another* optional crime to charge someone with

      The more absurd and ambiguous the law, the *better* for police. Lock someone up, confiscate their computers, DVD collection etc (after all this is likely the thin end of the wedge, we hope). Know one *really* knows if a jury *would* take this BS seriously. But it works wonders at keeping the sheep in line.

      "What's that? A copy of Kill Bill Vol1? And the cartoon "Love is" in today's newspaper, provocatively displayed. You're going *down*."

      It's ironic that the Conservative party don't really *need* many policies. They could fill 90% of their manifesto with just the laws they would get rid of.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Thought for Food

    Ok, simple solution:

    Draw an extra page with the required ID certifying the displayed, possibly questionable characters to be older than 18. If you want to cover all your bases, you can cite the "Really Seven Hundred Years Old" trope, which manifested itself in various comics (blanketing manga, marvel, and related.)

    "But the ID is not real!" - and neither is the character. Fake character, fake crime.

    "But (s)he looks..." - ya, and Tom Cruise looks like your average hacker in MI, veeery believable, indeed.

    Nothing more to offer, I need to concentrate all my creativity on drawing my german scheisse pr()n epic "Oliver The Twisted".

  33. Richard 120
    Big Brother

    2000AD

    In 2000AD (the comic) a storyline that's been used a few times is that in the fictional world of Judge Dredd, sex has become an event at the olympics. There are drawings of fictional characters having sex. Obviously only certain parts are shown, the ones that are probably legal to show, so basically just the boobs, but they portray characters having sex, in front of a crowd and TV cameras broadcasting to millions.

    My bet is that at least one of those small circles depicting the crowd is under 16.

    This really does seem to depend on imagination as to whether something is legal or not.

    People have different imaginations and I would have thought that it depends on the Psyche of the person judging whether the image is legal or not.

    The person judging could be some sick twisted person (or in other words a catholic priest) who deems the material to be highly offensive purely because of their own imagination.

    Hmmmm, this is not even committing a crime in your own head, it's committing a crime in someone else's head.

    Doubleplusungood thoughtcrime?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: the green icon in your post...

      ...appears to be naked.

      Head-to-body ratio suggests this is a minor.

      Minor has his/her hand grasping for the crotch of the (invisible) person wearing the coat.

      Conclusion: You (and El-Reg, for providing the icon) are pedophiles!

      I have already alerted the relevant authorities via email (along with a screenshot) - expect a knock at the door soon :-)

      ....Aaaah! I guess since I took a screenshot (which ended up on my HD) I must be a naughty person too... Bummer!

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Joke

        Sir

        Well spotted AC.

        And what about the scenario of the thousand year old shape shifter who goes round in a schoolgirl disguise?

        She might *appear* to be 16, but in reality she's over a thousand years old and her minge is all dried up, so no use to man nor beast.

        I can't wait for postings like this to become 'seditious[sp?]' so I can be locked up with all the other naughty people.

  34. Nigel 11
    Flame

    Boggle

    Doesn't this make it illegal for a young artist and lover (legal: age 16-18) to make drawings from life of his or her partner? Boggle. You may legally have carnal knowledge, but you may not draw.

    1. ph0b0s

      There's an exception

      There is a marriage / relationship exception. So only penalises people who cannot get girlfriends. Don't know if you would have to destroy the photos / drawings if you broke up or got divorced. Ah if only laws were simple.

      1. bluest.one
        Megaphone

        Another way of looking at that 'exception'...

        Yes - I think the wording is that it's OK if you're married or in a 'stable long-term relationship'.

        Effectively, they're legislating morality and human relationships - which sexual relationships will let you evade the law and which will get you banged up (but not in the good way)

        Draw or photograph your 16 or 17 year-old lover and so long as you're married to them or can prove you're in a stable relationship with them, then the state will offer you dispensation to go about your business; but if it's a 'sordid' non-government approved relationship, then you are a dirty sex-criminal.

        Aren't we supposed to live in a liberal democracy where the state keeps it's fucking nose out of our private lives and relationships?

        Next up, the creation of the Junior Anti-Sex League.

  35. LawLessLessLaw
    Boffin

    Now no-one can watch The Watchmen

    Rorschach watching his prositute mother is now illegal.

    How about the kidnapped & raped girl being torn to pieces by the dogs.

    So many other examples, quite a few on my bookshelf.

    Fuck it, as courage wolf says : the cops are at the door, sucks to be them.

  36. ClintJCL

    b.s.

    Because of course, if you draw a kid being raped, you're a pedophile, children are exploited, and you go to jail.

    But if you draw a terrorist blowing up a school -- that's okay.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid. Tyranny of the emotional majority. Won't somebody please think of the children? Fascist thoughtcrime b.s..

  37. Sly
    Alert

    1984... that's a typo

    FYI man, alright. You could sit at home, and do like absolutely nothing, and your name goes through like 17 computers a day. 1984? Yeah right, man. That's a typo. Orwell is here now. He's livin' large. - Cereal Killer (Hackers)

    Big brother has nothing on Gubbermint these days

    1. TimeMaster T
      Flame

      Add to the list

      Neon Genisis Evangelion, Rei and Asuka are both 14 and depicted in several nude and sexual situations, including several that would be deemed child porn in some states of the US.

      Elfin Lied, one of the main characters is 13, and revealed to have been raped by her step father in a flashback that shows enough to get the point across, and in the manga its far more graphic in its retelling of the events.

      Lets not even mention all the fan art and authorized "Adults Only" publications related to just these titles.

      Plus all the other titles available.

      At what point are people going to realize that the only reason the government does crap like this is to give them power over more "average and upstanding citizens" who they could not coerce or threaten otherwise.

      Fire, because that is the most likely way this kind of action by the governments is going to end.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Watchmen

      I had a hard enough time watching Watchmen to begin with...

      1. ph0b0s
        Boffin

        Blue Shlong

        The sexual scenes did not even register to me but having to look at that blue guys schlong so much has scarred me for life....

  38. Eden

    ID

    From the wording of the law making them show ID wouldn't matter, the character is a child if they LOOK underage.

    The major problem here is many fold:

    1) The characters in most Manga/Hentai are not realistic at all, humanoid but not in proportion at all.

    The human brain is great at recognising human charactaristics and making basic judgement calls but against a non realistic drawing this kind of goes skew-wiff.

    2) Add to that the fact that people often see what they expect/want to see, when a case goes to court people will EXPECT to see an underage character so they probably will, that's something you can easily test with a few (non sexual) manga images and some friends.

    Get the same toons and ask them to guess the age of a few toons, then show them different pics of the same toons and ask which ones are the underage one (even if they didn't guess any as underage), voilla some will now appear to be children

    3) My ex was 23 but Always ALWAYS got ID'd and we got many funny looks as she is very baby faced, has the whole cute thing going on, and is an A-cup which in some tops looks totally flat.

    She LOOKS underage to many people, so I can legally date and have sex with her...but not draw a picture or take a photo of it..even for personal use? Crazy.

    3)

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Joke

      Sir

      I know, why doesn't everyone just draw a little wind-up key on the backs of the cartoon girlies?

      Now they are robots and therefore they cannot be under 18 as they are simply animated objects now, not little girls with feelings and stuff.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They Saw You Coming

        Section 65, subsections (5) to (8):-

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

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

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

        (b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child.

        (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."

        So, you've got an image of an "imaginary child", where "some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child", such as the wind-up key in the back.

        I think this actually is how this law is intended to work, crazy though that may seem. As I understand it, it's precisely because depicted children can be slightly altered, to try to turn them into something else, that the law is explicitly worded to cover those cases 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."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          But...

          I understand what they were trying to do with that statement, but I hate the way it is worded. As to my mind it would also outlaw drawn characters who have very adult attributes or proportions (you know what I mean), but have some other childish quality, either childish face or clothing. A command anime archetype.

          To me that is punishing people who are being aroused by precisely the things evolution has designed them too be aroused by. Rather than the characters with androgynous proportions that to me defines child-like apprentice. But that definition is open to debate as, I am not trying to say being attracted to petite women is unhealthy.

  39. A B 3

    Global conspiracy

    Down in Oz the same legislation was recently introduced. It looks like we're headed towards a world government.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and in Australia

      ... I'm sure I've seen a story (possibly on El Reg) about a police bust where they totally failed to find what they were looking for, so just nabbed all the computers so that they could forensically analyze for prohibited images 'just in case'.

      I'm really worried about this, as what happens if (god forbid) you get some sleazy unsolicited popup banner ad which includes questionable images, served up from a country where this is not illegal, which then gets caught up in your browser or proxy's cache. You may not know it's there, and the *file* may be deleted, but the image still exists for a skilled IT cop to find.

      And if I start acting like a conspiracy advocate, I would suggest that it would be possible to seed a suspect's internet activity using injected java with such images prior to a raid, just so that they have something to find. Sounds like it would be possible to arrange to detain pretty much *anybody*. Better than invoking terrorism legislation, if you ask me.

      I'm off to check all of my bookcases and systems now, just in case I have something questionable. Don't think I have, but my daughter and I do have quite a manga collection between us. Must check Love Hina, Chobitz, Mahoromatic, Fruits Basket, and Ah! My Goddess. All of these have child age characters, and some questionable scenarios, although none are meant to be pushing the boundaries. All were bought from reputable book sellers as well.

      Thank god I never bought the comic adaption of Neon Genesis Evangelion. I'm sure the sticky scene with Shinji and the unconscious Asuka towards the end would count as illegal.

      1. TimeMaster T
        Flame

        In the movie ...

        That scene yo mention in Evangelion is also in the theatrical release of the Death and Rebirth.

        Hell, you can get it from Netflix, is the government going to file charges against them for "distribution of child pornography" next?

        Maybe I should stop now, lest I give them ideas.

  40. John F***ing Stepp

    Well I would guess that a copy of The Legend of the Overfiend is a shooting offence.

    Oh England, the tentacle reaches for you.

    1. ph0b0s

      Has a certificate

      Not that I know the title you are refering to, cough... but it has bbfc certificatation so it is safe....

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ridiculous

    I own several Studio Ghibli movies, so inoffensive that Disney distributes them in the West. Yet even they contain scenes that under the strictest interpretation of these laws are illegal. Is this proof of Japanese perversion or Western insanity?

  42. little_redshoes

    You will never be able to make love at home again

    At least not while your kiddie is home. For what if they hear you? Or even worse, walk in on you?

    Oh Em Gee.

    I guess you'll have to take to doing it in parks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In parks...

      ...or with bicycles in a locked hotel room. Oh, wait, that's a crime too...

  43. heyrick Silver badge
    FAIL

    Using this logic...

    I expect smoking to be banned immediately. Studies have shown that smoking weed leads to harder substance abuse, and the only difference is where tobacco is sourced. In addition, smokers seem to enjoy smoking, ergo it must be bad.

    I expect alcohol to be banned immediately. What starts out as a social beer with friends will soon decline into binge drinking, rehab, and plenty of expense for the welfare system. In addition, drinkers seem to enjoy their tipple, ergo it must be bad.

    .

    FAIL because... FFS, I'm supposed to get a hardon over a sexual act depicted with a CARTOON youngster? The people that make these laws must be a right bunch of perverts to come up with an idea like this...

  44. heyrick Silver badge
    Happy

    Cat girls, here they come!

    A staple in manga is the cat girl. Expect a slew of provocative pictures featuring underage mutant kittens, vaguely human form, tail, pokey-uppy ears, whiskers...

    ...this legislation only applies to HUMAN cartoons, right? Anything else would just be confused.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    What we need..

    ...(and I am serious here!) is a mass disobedience event.

    They can't arrest everyone.

    Or can they?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nope non-human underage is banned too

      Sorry anything that looks underage is banned. That the way I read it anyway...

      (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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      Salt Protest?

      Gandhi made salt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt_Satyagraha

      Poured and sprinkled from a suitable shaker, words can be written and images drawn or "painted". And once finished, you can sweep it up with a dustpan and brush (so that you're not littering).

      Obviously, this shouldn't be used for creating prohibited images of children, since that would be illegal (probably under the Obscene Publications Act, if not the Coroners and Justice Act 2009).

      1. Eden

        HOLY CRAP YOU'RE A GENIUS!!!

        Make one of those inverted picture optical illusions so it's of..say...a cute bunny rabbit, but looked at from another way is a youngish looking anime character in the nuddy..

        Surely they can't arrest you for drawing a picture of a bunny because someone with a filthy mind thinks it looks like something different?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Pint

          No, Eden, YOU'RE the GENIUS!!!

          I love your idea of prohibited optical illusions of bunnies. I can just imagine the jurors trying to see the alternative images.

          I'd imagine it would be easier to do by preparing stencils, laying them down, and pouring/sprinkling the salt through onto the surface underneath. (Although that does entail being in possession of the stencils themselves, which could constitute possession of prohibited images.)

          But suppose you had a stencil of perfectly legal hardcore porn, two adults having (non-extreme) sex. And another stencil of a child. Individually, neither stencil is illegal to possess. But when used in quick succession, to produce a combined salt image of sex in the presence of a child...

          As a substitute for hardcore porn, you could always use a stencil of Rodin's The Lovers, just to make the point without actually creating a prohibited image (or committing an offence under the Obscene Publications Act).

    3. HollyX
      Badgers

      Or ...

      Can we create a civil action against all video and publishing retailers in the UK for distributing this filth? I mean, they have all stocked comics or movies at some time ... by the law of averages they will have sold something which is illegal under this law.

  46. blackcat
    Flame

    Obscenity?

    As I understand it the image has to be classified as pornographic/obscene for this law to apply.

    And that the sale or import of such images has been outlawed for a very long time. Thus stuff like Overfiend (which has a BBFC rating) and manga from the likes of Viz, Tokyopop etc.. (all sold with a UK price listed) is all fine and dandy.

    Lost girls seems to have caused more problems with disney and copyright than its sexual contents.

    As for popups, s64.1.c looks like it covers that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      hate to

      Hate to break this to you but

      Manga doesn't go anywhere near BBFC like all drawn/written material, there is no ratifying body, just self advisory.

      The laws make possession illegal which is the biggest *le sigh" whatever I'm tired of the whole country maybe I'll move to France.

    2. Pablo
      Headmaster

      Re: Obscenity

      If I'm not mistaken, it's a different meaning of "obscene". The old obscene publication law applied to content that "tends to deprave and corrupt", the new law directs that "obscene" should be assigned the ordinary dictionary meaning, "highly offensive".

      Clearly the latter is a much lower standard, considering it's doubtful that the former even exists.

      1. blackcat

        OPA

        "Manga doesn't go anywhere near BBFC like all drawn/written material, there is no ratifying body, just self advisory."

        It is still regulated, to a degree, by the obscene publications act. And similar 'child protection' laws exist in the USA where most of the big English language manga publishers are.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @OPA

          And all these new laws are designed to circumvent the OPA, child porn/anti-terror law/extreme porn law. All of them go around the OPA becouse it's almost impossible nowdays to have any thing proved as obscene, also OPA only governs distrobution (you can safely own something governed by the OPA)

          There is no protection from the new ammendment to the child porn act from any scheme in place.

          Not to mention no such protection should be needed, these are not real things, they are imaginings. It is no different accusing someone of potential paedophilla for enjoying filthy drawings/anime then it is accusing them of being a potential serial killer for enjoying violent games.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Much lower standard?

        The wording is similar to that used in the so-called "dangerous pictures act", and according to one government minister, it is not intended to replace the original Obscene Publications Act definition of obscenity, but rather to rephrase it in a way that is (supposedly) clearerer and also compatible with the Human Rights Act. Even if the definition were clear, there is the issue of the types of image that are now criminalised, several of which fall far below the previously-accepted threshold for "obscenity". One can only suppose that the wording has been chosen to give a jury latitude to find something obscene simply because it involves a child.

        Incidentally, on the point of human rights, the Joint Committee on Human Rights had this to say about the new law:

        "We had concerns about the potential subjectivity of the offence and whether the

        definition of the new offence is sufficiently precise and foreseeable to satisfy the

        requirement that any interference with Articles 8 (right to respect for private life) and 10

        (freedom of expression) ECHR rights be “in accordance with the law”. In addition, the

        Explanatory Notes do not make clear why the proposed new offence is necessary to meet

        the aims specified, nor how it is proportionate to those aims so as to be compatible with the

        right to respect for private life and the right to freedom of expression."

      3. Daggersedge
        Grenade

        Oui! Move to France!

        I did and I have never regretted it. My husband and I have a growing collection of manga and BD (band dessinée, that is, comic strip books). It's so widely available and popular here that I can't imagine anyone trying to ban it.

        There's even a station dedicated, among other things, to Japanese culture. I would tell you the name of its web site, but I won't in case there are any pictures of manga or even Japanese girl pop bands there (many of the girl bands dance about in school uniforms with short skirts). Even my copy of the anime Windy Tales, a mild and quirky set of tales about Japanese school girls who discover that their maths teacher has the power to control the wind, would probably be dangerous in Britain just because of the short length of the girls' skirts.

        There is no way I will give up my collection so it's goodbye to Britain forever. Which means that Britain is also missing out on the 40% rate income tax it used to collect from us, not to mention council tax, road tax, VAT, etc.

        I recommend that everyone with any brains leaves Britain. Let them have their puritain paradise and then let them figure out how the chavs and other idiots are going to fund it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Sorry not safe their either

          According the french wikipedia (beware links to Wikipedia's definition of 'lolicon');

          http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolicon&ei=lai9S4XfFoqI0wS76f2fCQ&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CBoQ7gEwBzgK&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dfrance%2Blolicon%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3D0PU%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-GB:official

          There is already a law there that does a similar thing. Which suprised the hell out of me, as I thought the French would be the one of the last coutries to put any limits on drawing in place since they have such a big comic book inustry and anime veiwership. It is because I lived there when I was young I got into anime, as the morning shows were wall to wall anime. Even with stuff like City Hunter about very skilled mercinary who keeps trying to molest his female clients.

          So if France and most other liberal European countries have gone this way I think the writing is on the wall. And the line between real and imaginary is now completly blurred... Video games next. I can probbly lie with having to be more carefull about any anime I watch. But they will have to pry my computer games from my cold dead hands.

          Please point out if Wikipedia have got this wrong though as I would be interested....

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Section 65.2.b

    Section 65 defines the meaning of an image

    “Image” includes—

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

    (b)data (stored by any means) which is capable of conversion into an image within paragraph (a).

    Surely any stored data can be manipulated into an image depending upon the "decompression" / "decryption" used?

    I can imagine the following easy

    Officer:"Ok techies, let's find an image"

    Techie:"Well, if we just take bits 0,4,6E,72B etc etc Then we have an image which is an offence"

    Officer:"Wonderful, i'll be back with a judge shortly"

    Sometime later, in court

    Defense:"But those are just bits taken at random"

    Prosecutor:"Yes, but it is data that can be converted into an image. And taking random bits is a means"

    Judge:"GUILTY AS CHARGED"

    Yet another reason why this is such a bad law.

    Needless to say, my Truecrypt partition now contains only some meaningless receipts instead of the illegal manga that used to reside on it.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    CEOP got what they wanted, then...

    ...and God knows, they were pushy enough about getting it. I remember reading early consultation reports almost two years ago in which it was noted CEOP wished to see penalties attached to the possession of 'cartoon porn' every bit as harsh as those currently attached to porn involving - you know - actual, real children (penalties which, as you might know, amount to nothing less than the total destruction of the accused's life). Like a bunch of craven cowards, it seems every person responsible for this law has bent over and willingly allowed CEOP to do what they appear to do best: shaft the legal system, skewing it horribly to suit their own private, self-serving agenda.

    Problem is, nobody really cares about any of this. It's not so bad here, but raise concerns over the implications of terrible laws like this in other forums and you can expect either idiotic insults or rank indifference to be the order of the day. Most people swallow the vile propaganda of the child salvationists and use it as a kind of permission to behave very badly to a largely imagined sub-section of society - that of the 'online predator', the 'serial abuser' and the 'organized, profiteering' child pornographer, all phantoms, all part of a totally fictitious 'world-wide industry' presumably churning this stuff out on a daily basis to meet some unimaginably huge demand.

    Well, that's what the likes of CEOP want people to think. If they just keep repeating it, in the end people will stop questioning the facts. Even better, make it illegal to investigate the truth of all and any such claims. In the end, what holds the whole shabby artifice together is cynicism and self-interest masquerading as social concern. And, of course, a heavy sprinkling of fear, just to keep the agitators in line.

    Goodnight, and good luck.

  49. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    FAIL

    Sir

    All joking aside, there is a very real threat to anyone considering any kind of disobedience to the government in the future.

    If you should become an icon around which any kind of resistance could form, then far better to discredit you with a sex against children crime before making you 'disappear'.

    This is future-proofing, pure and simple. The government may be totally crap and stupid when it comes to IT, but someone knows what they are doing regards to population control. After all, they've been doing it long enough.

    I sincerely hope the Mayans knew what they were on about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      Predicted in science fiction

      Funnyily enough, this was somewhat predicted by science fiction, at least, it was predicted in one science fiction series, Blake's Seven. Remember that the federation, wishing to end Blake's status as a rebel leader framed him for paedophilia.

      I suppose that even under the evil federation in this series, you had to actually have more than just an 'underage' cartoon on your computer to be framed, which just says how far Britain has fallen.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Been there, done that..

    ..unfortunately.

    See, I might have been somewhere been 9 and 11 years old when I lost my virginity to a headmaster/choirmaster/church organist/family friend. I mean, all four stereotypes wrapped up in one, eh?

    I don't recall him ever having any child porn, though he did rather like the movie "Blue Lagoon". Shipwrecked kids growing up on a desert island, retaining their childlike mentality as they progress into sexual maturity. Yeah, well.

    Also, the whole process of finally having the balls to tell people. Giving evidence. Crown court. Probably one of the more scary things I've ever done. Still not sure if I did the right thing, but at least I'm not keeping it a secret from immediate family and at least he's not going to be a headmaster of a primary school for the foreseeable future. I don't see how banning cartoons is going to help, though.

    Anon, for pretty damned obvious reasons.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Day trip....

    Point out if I am wrong, but due to the joys of devolution this does not affect Scotland yet....

    So I'm sure certain people will be planning day trips over the border to store or look at their dirty drawings...

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    government commissioned cartoon porn..

    Lets see, didnt they spend over £100,000 on a particularly smutty image of Lisa Simpson masquarading as an Olympic logo.. and if i was to, well, engage in myself over said image, would I be liable for prosecution under this law? if so then surely the creator would be the subject to the same laws and maybe even whoever commissioned such a piece and approved the public spending for it?

    Is 'Wank logo' to ironic?

    Evilsi..!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  53. ShaggyDoggy

    Rodin

    So let me get this straight, if I take a pic of Rodin's 'The Lovers' that's ok, but if by accident some kid gets caught at the corner of the pic then that's grossly offensive. Well done guys.

  54. Malcolm Boura 2

    Indecent photographs often not child abuse

    A perfectly ordinary photograph of a child playing on a beach, especially if they haven't bothered with a swimsuit, can be illegal. I say "can be" because the law is so incredibly vague that nobody actually knows. What we do know is that some juries, on some occasions, have deemed such photographs to be illegal. If photographs of nude children are to be illegal then the law should have the honesty to say that.

    By absolutely no stretch of the imagination do such images depict child abuse. It is just a smokescreen for people who want to make all photographs of children illegal, or are riding the child protection paranoia band wagon, or want to make cheap political capital or just enjoy the power to make ordinary inoffensive people into sexual offenders. It would be very interesting to know what proportion of family photo albums contain photographs which could result in several years on the sex offenders register, a sure route to long term unemployment.

  55. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Coat

    MP's are *ever * vigilant for perversion.

    It's amazing how these guardians of the public morality have senses finally tuned for the mearest *hint* of sexual arousal.

    I am reminded of the Checkist's of Stalin's time who used their "Revolutionary sense of justice" to decide right or wrong.

    Wouldn't it be interesting to conduct a little experiment to find out how little information has to be on a drawing before one of these moral crusaders recognizes it as porn?

    Not much I bet. They are clearly *special* people to do the job.

    Mine's the one with a copy of the Gulag archipelago in it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      with GREAT apologies to Lewis Carrol

      "It seems a shame," the Prime Minister said, "To play them such a trick Having brought them out so far And made them trot so quick!"

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a question

    If I were to be arrested for possession of a cartoon, would they send a cartoon of the police to lock me up in a cartoon jail?

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One more thing to note

    This, as is widely understood, is an exponent of the ``think of the childrun'' moral panic. In that respect the politicians and presure groups trotting it out are damaging society on the same scale as the american-fueled terrorist scare panic resulting in widespread security circus and all sorts of absurd exponents like ``photographer detained for being too long'', sundry personal and biometric databases, and general a-priori treating of everybody but the pasportless pants bomber as a criminal.

    But if we're to defuse the panic we can't just boggle over this here umpteenth absurdity writ large, or as here, writ as law. We have to smack the panickers over the head and tell them to grow the fsck up already. Or get them out of positions of responsibility they clearly are unfit to bear.

    For what are they doing? To understand the damage, understand this:

    To be a child previously was the road to maturity. A passing stage, at some point resulting in maturity, altough usually a fifty year old is regarded as more mature than a twenty year old. This is not an easy road, but where a six year old can stand exposure to material a three year old couldn't, so can a sixteen year old stand exposure to stuff you'd keep well away from a six year old.

    Now, it's permanent life in la-la land and thus a permanent ``need'' to be protected from ``bad things'', whatever they may be. Yes, including protecting teens from exploring their own budding sexuality. A ``need'' so ably fulfilled by the government, for it, or else one of its quangos, surely knows best.

    The price? Permanent coddling, big brother style, starting with fingerprinting at six. Surely a small price to pay for a lifelong sheltered life, always being taken care of, never having to do scary mature things like, oh, excercising our own good judgement and perhaps vote. Carry on government.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Trial By Jury

    For those of you who have postulated that there remains a line of defence embodied in Trial By Jury, you should be reminded that recently, after over 350 years of such defence, a trial was recently held without a jury wherein the case was decided by a lone judge. This after three attempts at trial, each dismissed on 'technicalities'. The defendants were clearly guilty and thus the law was changed sufficiently to allow them to be sentenced without defence.

    The Police State is here.

    Be ready to fight it.

    "Dress yourself my urchin one, for I hear them on the stairs. Because of all we've seen. Because of all we've said. We are the dead." - David Bowie, 1984

  59. Michael Nielsen
    WTF?

    It's seen before

    A couple in the US were home alone one evening when they both were 14 years old, and they had a camera..

    boy + girl + camera + imagination = sex video.

    And that's exactly what happened, the stored it on their computer, but it was leaked after a few years, when they'd turned 18, now they're facing charges for distribution and production of child porn..

    I never heard what the verdict was, but I hope they got off schott free, as anything else would be sick.

    Is that the kind of sick world that we really want, a world where kids playing around with a camera, may end up in jail, and a sexual offender, due to their own curiosity ?

    That's the world we're heading for, and I wish i leave at the next station, but it's rather drastic to have to die to avoid seeing the stupidity of man.

  60. Mark .

    Re: Obscenity?

    "As I understand it the image has to be classified as pornographic/obscene for this law to apply."

    There is no requirement of it being "classified" that way. All that matters if that a jury thinks, from looking at the image alone, that it appears to primarily be for sexual arousal. The image does not have to be obscene by the Obscene Publications Act definition, only by the dictionary "disgusting" definition.

    "And that the sale or import of such images has been outlawed for a very long time."

    This isn't true. The definitions in this law weren't even around before this law was thought up. Not to mention that such restrictions wouldn't protect you if you've looked at material online, or indeed, it's something you privately drew yourself.

    ---

    One of the many batshit parts of this law is that the age is set at *18*. So you can have sex with someone who's 17, but draw a picture of the same act, and it's illegal, and you're treated as a pedophile. Even if the claim that images make people do the thing for real, and we're concerned about pedophiles - surely getting them turned onto people over 16 is a good thing!

    There's also the fear of age being inferred from other things like clothes or behaviour, as you often can't tell age from a cartoon's appearnce (since, you know, they're not actually real people). So two adults sexually role-playing as children (e.g., school fantasies etc) is entirely legal; and a real photo of that is legal too. But a drawing? Three years in prison, and slapped on the SOR as a pedophile.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, crazy mismatch

      Yeah, I agree with you about the dumb difference in the age of consent and the age of child porn mismatch. According to the child porn law anyone under the age of 18 is a 'child'. But that means you are legally allowed to have sex with a child as long as they are over 16. Crazy.

      Now I understand that the law is trying to stop people when they turn 16 from running out and becoming porn stars until they are 18. And I fully support this. I just think that someone found guilty of looking at depictions of someone over 16 should not be considered and punished the same as someone look at images of younger people. The only exception to this is if it can be proven that person with the images in someway had them made and therefore was trying to turn the person in the pictures into a porn star.

      Doesn't it encourage people who like young but legal partners to actually go out and pick them up rather than fantasize at home. No wonder why the teenage pregnancy rate is so high.

      Others may disagree but I also hate this because telling whether someone is over the age of 18 or not, to me, is so much more difficult than telling if someone is over the age of 16. Even bar staff and door men cannot get it 100% right. Even more difficult for drawings.

      People who should be able to work this out were fooled by Traci Lords (according to wikipedia). They did not think twice about casting her in many hardcore movies, but instead of being the 19 she claimed, she was 15. Though it would have made me chuckle if all the male stars she had appeared with had been done for statutory rape. But in that case conman sense prevailed...

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    I'm well out of it

    I moved to the States some years ago and the laws here are many and stupid. Particularly the terrorist and sex laws. But nothing comes close to what is going on in the UK. The politicos have all gone completely insane. I will never ever move back. Never.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Out of it? I think you are in pedo craze central.

      Erm where do you think the MP's in this country and others got the idea for this law from? Yeah the US that has already had it in place since the 2003 protect act (another Bush special) . They have already had their first scalp as well. Search around for the comic collector who has already been convicted for importing some manga from Japan to the US. There was no other evidence of pedo tendancies. The judge even said that he knew the guy was not a pedo.... Thanks US of A....

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