Ok, given that I've been involved in the campaign against this law for the last two years, let's address a few points:
1) The IWF has absolutely *NOTHING* to do with this law! The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill 2007 and the Ministry of Justice's guidance make no reference to the IWF at all. The original Consultation did, but only to say that the IWF had had no reports of this being hosted in the UK in 2003-4 and claiming that this might be due to the "deterrant effect" of the Obscene Publications Act (yeah, right...)
2) For an image to be prosecuted (as far as I understand it), firstly the Police must find it in your possession, then consider it to be an "extreme image", they then have charge you with the offence and pass the case on to the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS then have to get permission from the Director of Public Prosecutions to actually take the case to court. (In the mean time, of course, your computer has been seized, along with all your CDs, videos, DVDs etc and you're not going to see those again for a *long* time because you're not an MP!)
3) The problem (well, amongst the problems!) is that the MoJ's "guidance" is as vague and ill-defined as the law passed by Parliament. They say that "The words ‘grossly offensive’ and ‘disgusting’ are not alternatives to ‘obscene character’ but are examples of it. They are drawn from the ordinary dictionary definition of ‘obscene’" but they don't say *which* dictionary. Chambers says "Obscene [...] 3. (UK Law) Liable to corrupt and deprave", but the Government specifically excluded this by voting down an amendment brought in the law to include this definition.
The guidance also says that "Serious injury should be given its ordinary English meaning" but then specifically excludes case law regarding Grievous Bodily Harm which does refer to "serious injury" and which might have given some clue as to what is included or excluded.
The MoJ says "As with any law, once Parliament has passed it, it is for the courts to interpret and apply it." which sounds like a massive cop-out requiring that the Courts should try to sort out this abysmally incoherent law.
4) The MoJ says that "the new law will only catch material which would already be illegal under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959", but this is a blatant lie, since it criminalises images excerpted from films which are entirely *legal* to publish and sell under the OPA. It also creates a new definition of "pornographic" since it declares such an image "must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal", something which the OPA does not do.
5) The guidance says "An image must come within the terms of all three elements before it will fall foul of the offence" ie that
a) it's "pornographic" (defined as mentioned as: "must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal", ie in someone else's subjective opinion, it's to give someone their jollies),
b) its "grossly offensive, disgusting, or otherwise of an obscene character" (but it then goes on to say "The words ‘grossly offensive’ and ‘disgusting’ are not alternatives to ‘obscene character’ but are examples of it", which suggests that it should at the least say "and" not "or" or, even better, "to be considered obscene it must *also* be grossly offensive *and* disgusting", although that's still entirely subjective) and finally:
c) "An extreme act is one which threatens a person’s life, which results or is likely to result in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals" (I'll skip the necrophilia and bestiality references)
The problem is the guidance then goes on to say that "Life-threatening is not defined in the Act. It will therefore take its ordinary English meaning and will be a question of fact for the magistrate or jury", but it only suggests what it *could* (not does) include depictions of and it doesn't even say whether those depictions *are* actual examples of what the law would cover.
In other words, again, it's up to a Court to decide if an image is actually covered under all of these criteria (presumably after the Police and the DPP have decided that it is or could be). But what this means is that you or I will have no idea if an image will fall foul of the law because it's not *our* view on it that matters!
Presumably violent films (even featuring nudity) or art won't be included, except that's not necessarily the case if you take an excerpt from one and stick it in the same folder (or on the same hard drive? Or is that just on the same computer??) as your porn collection because then the Police can argue that the "context" suggests you took it "for sexual arousal", ie they'll decide if you're getting your jollies from looking at it! (So probably images of the Crucifixion aren't going to be illegal unless someone's drawn a knob on it like some kids did on the ones in the RE books at school...!)
Of course, probably, as I've mentioned in other posts on this subject, what's going to happen is that this will end up being a "Consolation Prize Law" where if the Police have nicked you for something but can't pin it on you, they'll dig through your computer and see if they can find any "extreme porn" to justify the original arrest.
In the meantime we have a "chilling effect" produced where people are forced to self-censor just in case they have something that might fall foul of this law.
There is, however, still time to do something, so, once again, I urge people to read the above, then write to their MP via http://www.writetothem.com and get their elected representatives to demand that the MoJ produce some coherent and definitive information on what this law is or isn't intended to cover instead of saying "it's not up to us, let the people self-censor and let the Police make subjective decisions and let the Courts sort it out whilst we find something new to persecute!"