Forget Rowling, try Pratchett
Rowling writes childrens' books.
Pratchett writes books for children.
Read his latest, "Nation" (ostensibly "for children") and see how much it has to say to adults too.
6927 posts • joined 19 Jan 2007
> Isnt' there a legal principle in the UK that the law must be understandable, and if it is misunderstood in good faith, no offense has occurred?
That may, once, have been the principle of English Common Law but (of course I'm not a lawyer!) it certainly doesn't seem to be the case any more.
To give an example from the situation I'm most familiar with, the Ministry of Justice has said of the so-called "Extreme Pornography" legisation: "it may not be possible for an individual to have absolute certainty about which side of the line an image may fall."
To justify this they carried on: "On this issue, it has been held by the Court of Appeal that “it is not necessary for an individual to be able to be sure in advance whether his conduct will be characterised by a jury as a crime” (R v O’Carroll  EWCA Crim 2338). This was in relation to an argument that the term “indecent” (in the context of images of children) was too imprecise to enable the applicant to know in advance whether this conduct was criminal."
IMO, of course, this is a thoroughly specious argument because it is being mis-applied to a situation in which it is not relevant, but still the MoJ wants to justify a ridiculous piece of vague and incomprehensible legislation by using it :-(
... having read through the site, especially the FAQ page, I'm tending towards the idea that this is a spoof, albeit a rather weak one.
I'm not really sure what the authors of the site are attempting to achieve with it, if it is being ironic and satirical they should perhaps add a few more elements such as Martin Salter MPs claims of the existence of snuff movies and a link to the Snopes page debunking the myth to make it more obvious.
PS Yesterday I saw a video clip of a young lady with very large Bulgarian Airbags, trying to ride a bicycle whilst topless.
She proceeds to lose her balance and fall off and it seems that some of the impact was taken by said Airbags.
My question is: Would this be "Extreme Porn"? Well, she's topless, so if you like over-inflated boobs, that could definitely fit the "for sexual arousal" category. I'm sure someone would find it "disgusting or otherwise of an extreme nature" and since she falls off and lands on her breasts, clearly this is "likely to result in serious injury"...
To quote Sir Terry Pratchett: Someone who goes to a Star Trek convention in a Star Trek Uniform and set of Spock ears is seen as a "nerd" or not "normal", whereas someone who wakes up from under their Manchester United duvet, drinks their coffee out of a Manchester United mug and goes out dressed in their Manchester United replica shirt is just a "dedicated fan".
You just want to define "normal" as "whatever I agree with" or "what people I like do" which, once again, is simply arrogant. And calling someone "sick" just because they do something you don't like is also arrogant and insulting. Paging Mr Pot and Mr Kettle-Black!
I don't consider this denying someone the right to hold an opinion, if you could actually *PROVE* that there was any "sickness" you might have a valid point, but since you don't, no.
I am pleased to hear you are "technically literate" but if you think this law will do *anything* to stop these images appearing on your computer than you *really* haven't understood it!
This law criminalises you for *having* them on your computer! This law says that if in someone else's opinion *you* deliberately downloaded those images or didn't delete them immediately and beyond *your* ability to retrieve, then *YOU* are guilty of a criminal offence! It will then be up to *YOU* to prove your innocence! Isn't that a wonderful thing...??
And just because these images are frequently "linked" (usually by the tabloid media or those who have an anti-porn agenda to push) to people who commit crimes is not proof. I could probably claim that virtually all of those who had committed these crimes had also drunk alcohol, would you therefore accept that there was a "link" between alcohol and such crimes? No, of course not. Yet because this spurious link has been created in the minds of the public (the rule of the mob), it seems you're willing to believe it.
If you want to do some research, try looking at the work of Professor Milton Diamond PhD of the University of Hawai'i who examined the effects of the availability of pornography (including so-called "extreme pornography") on sex crimes in the USA and Japan and concluded: "It is certainly clear from the data reviewed, and the new data and analysis presented, that a massive increase in available pornography in Japan, the United States and elsewhere has been correlated with a dramatic decrease in sexual crimes".
Why should the sex industry *not* be permitted to advertise? In any case, that is utterly irrelevant to this law, which has been created by a bunch of narrow-minded prudes who consider that it is "abhorrent" or "deviant" or "not normal" (sound familiar?!) and that we, the general public, cannot be trusted to look at it in case we do something nasty, so the Nanny State is going to lock us up if we look at it.
I don't care if anyone is "in the majority or not", Rights are there to protect EVERYONE, not just you and those who behave like you, but all of the people. Freedom of Expression doesn't just mean the Right to say things or look at things that Uncle Sid and friends enjoy and don't think are dangerous.
I do blame the politicians (who are often only interested in grabbing headlines) and the general public (who believe the tabloid media's scare story) and I also blame people like *YOU* who can't accept that others have rights too.
> Do you really hold the view that looking at pictures of Necrophilia, or bestiality or other deviation (as outlined in the act), is normal behavior? Do you really believe that a picture of somebodys anus being torn apart could be considered as something that doesn't cause harm to others?
Do you believe that *your* definition of "normal" is the only one that is valid? If so, that's arrogant.
Do you believe that a staged and faked image of an act is the same as someone actually carrying out that act? If so, that's arrogant.
You continue with your arrogance when you state: "So your civil rights and your liberties are affected by this law, well son, theres a really simple answer to that. At the risk of repeating myself, oh again, don't download Extreme porn."
Do you *really* not comprehend this issue? You are saying "if your rights are affected by this law, don't exercise these rights"!
I have the right to walk down the street and go about my lawful business "without let or hindrance". If the Government introduces compulsory ID cards, that will infringe on my rights. So your solution would be "well don't walk down the street, then!"???
> I really don't care what you or others get up to in the privacy of their own homes,
Yet this law will stop me from owning pictures *EVEN IN* the privacy of my own home! Even if they are pictures I have taken myself of two other consenting adults engaged in legal activities if, in someone else's *OPINION* they are "life threatening" or "likely to result serious injury" because I was not a "direct participant" in the acts. And even if I took the pictures with a self-timer and I was a "direct participant" in those acts, if I cannot *prove* that I was, then I am still guilty of a criminal act! (Presumed innocent? Not any more, sunshine)
> however the internet isn't just there for YOUR benefit, others, including children, use it,
Oh dear, it's the desperate "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" argument. The internet is the *world*. If you're a parent, would you let your children go wandering out anywhere without any control or supervision? No? Then why would you let them do so on the internet?
It is a *parent's* ultimate responsibility to take care of their children, not mine, nor the Government.
> and if people who upload (or download) 'Extreme' pornography, are to stupid to realise that, then Governments will act to curb these abuses, so through their own selfish stupidity these people deserve these laws to make them conform.
Oh good grief! "Make them conform"?!
Yes, Big Brother! We must all be obedient Proles who are not permitted selfthink and accept whatever blackwhite the Party tells us. We must not look at anything not approved by Pornosec in case it causes us to engage in Crimethink or Sexcrime!
Ownlife is forbidden!
Ignorance is Strength!
> Desensitisation anyone?
Just because someone may become "desensitised" to something, does not mean that it automatically follows that they're going to be inclined to *do* it!
> there are things that can be done to ensure that looking at such pornography is a very deliberate act rather than an innocent stumble upon.
Exactly! If you don't like it, don't look at it. Install blocking software, sign up to Cleanfeed etc. But don't pass laws that say "I don't want to see this, so let's ban it such that *nobody* else can see it either!"
PS @ Michael
Re: The Dictionary: The Zebra did it.
I am sorry that you have had to experience stories of people who have experienced sexual violence, but do you honestly think that this law will do *anything* to change the number of people who experience that sort of thing? How many of those abusers had actually looked at "extreme pornography" and then been "inspired" to go on and carry out their abuse?
I think that you would find that most of them did it because they "enjoyed" it and the power it gave them over the person they were abusing, not because of anything they'd seen. They might, subsequently, have looked at images which fitted in with their "preferences" (no matter how deplorable such preferences might be) but we should not reverse cause and effect, yet that is what this law does.
> And I think Graham's position is one of "special pleading". So, if there are two images depicting the same act, one of them is OK because the motivation is fine by your lights, but the other isn't? Is this position reasonable? Images carry no instrinsic information regarding the motivation behind them.
Err, no, you first miss my point then, inadvertently, agree with it!
The fact is that, yes, there is no "intrinsic information" regarding the motivation behind them, yet this law purports to be justified on the grounds of how an image *appears* to a viewer! How can two images of the same act be both criminal and not criminal simply depending on how it *looks* to someone?
You ask "Why should it be 'arrogant' to believe that anyone who wants to view 'Extreme' porn as being sick?"
Well, you answer your own question in your very next paragraph when you say: "Who ~ apart from a deviant ~ would find 'pictures' that depict "certain specific imagery, including necrophilia, bestiality, activity depicting serious harm to breast, anus or genitals or life-threatening activity" a normal situation?"
Using the word "normal" in this context (not to mention the word "deviant") shows that you consider your opinions of what is "normal" or not "deviant" to be the only ones that matter and you are demanding that I prove otherwise.
Well, sorry, but the burden of proof is on you (and the Government and those who support this law) to demonstrate that this is "abnormal" or "deviant" and not only that, but also that this will actually threaten or cause harm to others. Until you can do this, you are simply being arrogant.
You are equally as arrogant when you suggest that "it will not affect perhaps 95%* of the population" Even if it won't affects 99.9% of the population (a number that is equally made up) that would still leave some six thousand people who *will* be affected by it!
Do you think that all of those 6000 are really such a threat to the rest of us that they should be locked up in jail simply for possessing pictures because they can't be trusted to act like responsible adults? If so, that's arrogant!
> If it affects you there are a couple of things you can do, either cut and paste the above article and keep it handy, or perhaps just don't download extreme porn.
Again, you speak from arrogance (and ignorance). Neither I, nor anyone else, should be obliged to self-censor simply for having material that the Government doesn't like, nor should I be told "we think this is bad for you, so don't download it". That approach has been tried in places like China, Iran and East Germany, do you want to copy them?
PS "Uncle" Sid. It is not my *business* that is affected by the law, it is my civil rights and my liberties which are threatened! What was that comment about "being mischievous"?
Firstly you missed the full stop after "I think this is a stupid law". It doesn't matter *how* it is written, it is a stupid law, full stop.
You may "be able to live with" a return to the situation before the Lady Chatterley trial, but that doesn't mean the rest of us should be obliged to do the same thing, nor should we be required to self-censor simply because the Government doesn't think that we can't be trusted to look at this material and not act in a responsible manner.
You say "Some people may have a problem with the State being the guardian of public morality but arguably a State that does not protect the vulnerable from the moral excesses of certain individuals is a failed State." If you (or the Government) could show the slightest shred of credible *proof* that this law will "protect the vulnerable" you may have a point, but apart from the data which they cherry-picked during their biased and discredited "Rapid Evidence Assessment" (data which has very often now been discredited itself) they haven't been able to point to anything that will prove this will "protect" anyone. Besides, we already *have* laws to protect people from acts of violence, rape, murder etc, so how will this law do anything more than those?
This law is simply based on the "Precautionary Principle" that "well, we don't know it will do any good, but let's ban it anyway, just to be on the safe side" and it's clear that you support that sort of fallacious reasoning with your ridiculous assertion that if they hadn't passed this law they would have been "condoning sexual violence".
As for your comments about "psychopaths", "fruit loops" and "unpleasant motivations", it simply shows that you have *no* real clue about what you're pontificating about.. I run a business selling BDSM gear, I go to fetish parties, I have played with many people into BDSM and I can tell you for a fact that the very vast majority of BDSMers play in a way that is Safe, Sane and Consensual and they don't need you or the Government sticking their noses into their business "just in case" there may be one or two "fruit loops" out there.
Firstly, thanks to John Oz for keeping this issue in the public eye and pointing out that conviction is by no means a foregone conclusion, and also that, even were a conviction to succeed, there are strong grounds for appeal under the Human Rights Act that encodes the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.
@Sid - If you don't like it, don't look at it, but don't be so arrogant (as the Government has been) to assume that *your* personal views of what may or may not be "sick" should govern what everyone else is allowed to see or download. I'm sure there are some who would consider gay porn to be "sick", do you want to align yourself with them? (Oh, hang on, you advise the predominantly male readership of El Reg to "get a girlfriend"...)
@Back on planet earth...
"I guess that 70% of the adult male population of the UK is safe." Ok, so what about the other 30%? Should they be arrested and jailed for looking at "Dangerous Pictures"? The point is that the Government has passed a law which is so vague and ill-defined that even the Ministry of Justice doesn't know what it makes illegal!
I quote from the Ministry of Justice: "it may not be possible for an individual to have absolute certainty about which side of the line an image may fall"
Huh? The people who are supposed to tell everyone in this country what the law *IS* don't know what it will cover? How does that sound "back on Planet Earth"? (Hint: Try asking Franz Kafka!)
@ Henry Cobb
"Seriously, get a Constitution."
Unfortunately any Constitution passed today would be so loaded down with weasel phrases and exceptions that it would be worthless :-(
"Not likely to end up on the sexual offences register?"
The notes at the end of the CJIA say that you'll only get on the SOR if you're convicted and given two or more years in jail.
Of course this doesn't mean that your name won't still be splashed all over the media and you'll be treated as a Sex Offender anyway (especially if you have or want to get a job working with "vulnerable groups" because they'll ban you for "behaviour of concern involving violent pornography", see the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act)
... we'll hear lots of gloating from the "I said it was all a myth" brigade, whilst the others will be accusing him of being traitor/ being bought out/ selling out/ whatever.
In the meantime, how about we just forget about this petty BS and try using energy more efficiently then it *WON'T MATTER* who was right and who was wrong because *EVERYONE* will win!
> Surely, the country would be better served if he pushed through federal regulation that mimics California's tailpipe standards.
Unfortunately then the Republicans (which probably includes Doug Southworth) would be screaming about "Big Government " interfering in the right of States to make their own laws and the whole thing would get bogged down in partisan infighting.
Instead he's going the smart way of realising that even though it may be more expensive, it will cause the US auto industry to finally start cleaning up its act because once they've developed more efficient engines and car designs for one state, they'll roll them out across the rest of them saying "hey, look, we're saving you money on gas!"
... was sufficient that the mighty Mach-2 airliner was largely restricted to subsonic speeds when over land, and meant that the London-New York route was the only one it could routinely serve.
Or, rather, that this was allegedly used as an excuse by the US air industry who hadn't been able to build their own SST and wanted to make it as commercially unavailable as possible, so they got their Government to force it to slow to sub-sonic speeds whenever they could.
The Lib Dems came up with a "Freedom Bill" proposing to ban the "ten worst pieces of legislation" that Labour have come up with eg restrictions on protesting outside Parliament.
Of course because they're the Lib Dems, despite it being eminently sensible, it was pretty much ignored and the public barely heard about it.
... suggested that they would investigate material as they came across it
Avoiding the obvious pun, all this means is that either a) this law will be used as a Consolation Prize by the Police to charge someone with "possession of extreme porn" if they can't do them for anything else or b) someone going through a contentious divorce/ custody case can accuse their partner of "possessing extreme porn".
In either case it will probably be a simple smear tactic.
Meanwhile, of course, anyone who "lives quietly on their own, keeps themself to themselves" and doesn't come to the Police's attention, will probably not have a problem. Unfortunately those of us who have drawn attention to ourselves by contacting MPs and the Lords may well yet find ourselves the "low hanging fruit" if the Police want to up their arrest/ conviction rates.
> You think? Really?
Yes, I do think, really!
Did you ever watch the US remake of Cracker? In the UK version the police were deeply sceptical of him, in the US version they thought the sun shone out of his backside. In the UK version he was fat, smoked, drank and had a disfunctional family life, in the US version he wasn't overweight, didn't smoke, was trying to quit the booze and make up with his family. There's nothing of the tense relationship of him trying to get off with the US equivalent of Penhaligan (who, in the UK version was trying to succeed in the teeth of the police "lad culture" which was entirely omitted from the US version) and, frankly, the acting just sucked.
That's just one example of the US managing to take anything slightly "edgy" out of a UK production and, instead, making it saccharine, anodyne, let's not offend the advertisers rubbish and there are plenty more where that came from.
> A lot of American comedy is absolutely vicious. There's no reason to assume it'll all be wheatgrass and perfect teeth.
I agree, but UK comedy is *not* US comedy, nor is UK drama US drama.
> Anyway, remakes are popular because if a show's been successful then it's a proven quantity and it's more likely you can squeeze more out of it.
The trick is knowing *when* you've reached the bottom of the barrel.
Patsy won't smoke, drink or shag anything in a pair of trousers, Eddy won't be half-stoned most of the time and won't have "token gay" friends, Saffy will initially hate Patsy and vice-versa but then they'll have an episode of female bonding and realise that actually they're both really nice people underneath and Eddy's Mother will dispense sage advice to her daughter...
Yep, that sounds about right for an American remake of a British classic... :-(
"Reassure the individual that the stop is a routine part of counter-terrorist policing and it is a preventative power proven to help make London safer from a terrorist attack."
Translation: Be afraid. Be VERY afraid! Only by letting us search anyone we want, anywhere we want, any time we want will we be able to protect you from the <s>bogeyman</s> evil terrorists! You must trust us, if you don't, you're probably a terrorist because you've got something to hide...
PS @ Matt Bryant, It is interesting to see you consider it to be "reassuring" that you can be stopped and searched for "walking suspiciously in a public area late at night". Just think, how many other people out at that time could *also* be possible terrorists, so it's a good idea for a bored copper to be able to stop and search you "just in case"!
But why is this "reassuring"? Could it be that you have paranoid delusions of a terrorist on every street corner...?
.... they'll also do something about the nonsense in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act which allows someone to be blacklisted for "conduct involving sexually explicit images depicting violence against human beings (including possession of such images), if it appears to IBB [the Independant Barring Board] that the conduct is inappropriate"
I'd love to install them outside the Members' Entrance of the House of Commons! Linked up to a webcam too!
(Of course scans of certain MPs would have to be classed as Extreme Pornography, because they'd be "grossly offensive or disgusting" and "likely to result in serious injury" as inadvertent watchers try to claw their own eyes out...)
... you see, is that the Chinese are looking at England's ban on so-called "extreme porn" (and Scotland's proposed ban) and are thinking "hang on, *we* are supposed to be the draconian, authoritarian control freaks! How can we let some westerners get ahead of us in the game?!"
... since I've been off sick but still accruing holiday entitlement and didn't get to take all my holidays last year, I'm just writing to let you know that I'm taking a break and I'll see you again in June.
PS Mines the one with the "how to play the system" notes in the pocket.
It doesn't really matter whether Scotland has a different legal system to England or not, because what they're going to do is to copy a law which is, frankly, an utter pig's ear and which even the Ministry of Justice now admits is incomprehensible!
They have finally agreed that "it may not be possible for an individual to have absolute certainty about which side of the line an image may fall" and so the *only* way this can be determined is for the owner of that image to be taken to Court and for our Legal System to try to sort out the complete mess of this law.
Of course the English and Scottish Courts have *so much* free time that they can waste it on trying to figure out what "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene nature" actually means and then take guesses at what was in a person's mind when they downloaded a picture to see if it is "for sexual arousal" and then they can count the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin whilst they decide if what the image shows is "life threatening" or "likely to result in serious injury"...
> The minister rejected arguments that future censorship concerns are any reason to avoid applying a system to control access to content universally regarded as repugnant. "Child pornography is a problem issue and clearly identifiable,"
Yes, and nobody's arguing with that. But the point is that once you start establishing the principle that a "problem" issue can be blocked by Governmental fiat it is not at all difficult to find other "problem issues" that also "need" to be blocked.
"Child Pornography is narrowly defined in America in the sense that actual children have to be exploited in making it (i.e. no X-rated Simpsons parodies, for example)"
This isn't *yet* illegal in this country, but, believe me, it's coming!
See the "Coroners and Justice Bill" at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/009/09009.25-31.html#j3_100a where: "(8)References to an image of a child include references to an image of an imaginary child."
In other words, we're going to be following Australia in that cartoon images of Lisa Simpson performing sexual acts will be illegal! (Where that leaves the London Olympics 2012 logo, I'm not sure!)
Also note that the authors of the Coroners and Justice Bill have cut-and-pasted big chunks straight out of the "extreme pornography" legislation in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, presumably based on the principle that "well, we got away with it once, so let's do it again!"
That is, of course, if the Government even *lets* the Commons debate the issues!
When the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill was before Parliament, the Government deliberately guillotined (limited) the time available for debate to ensure that most of the legislation (including the so-called "extreme pornography" clauses) would never even be addressed by the people who are elected!
In other news, Pope found to be Catholic...
Of course Ministers don't want anything that's going to interfere with their All-Seeing, All Knowing, All Controlling, Big Brother Database State!
And, Fluffykins, I'd rather there be evidence that someone *was* involved in something, it's called Presumed Innocent Unless Proven Guilty, have you heard of it?
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