Artists Condemn UK Bill To Outlaw Erotic Imagery

Artists Condemn UK Bill To Outlaw Erotic Imagery

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The Coroners and Justice Bill seeks to outlaw forms of child abuse, but campaigners are condemning it for going too far - where even something like Watchmen might be affected.

The Bill itself is based on the same Australian Law that saw a man arrested for nude Simpsons cartoons, which has received many complaints since it became law. If the Coroners and Justice Bill remains unaltered it will make it illegal to own any picture of children participating in sexual activities, or present while sexual activity took place. The real problem is that the definition of children denotes the age as under 18, so that while they could be within the legal age of consent, the images of such would be labeled illegal.

In essence, any form of imagery that may depict children coming into contact with erotic imagery can be banned, and that includes the scene in Watchmen where the young Walter Kovacks (Rorschach) sees his mother having sex. The far-reaching implications of this could easily see the possession of the Watchmen to be a criminal offense that would be registered as child pornography.

Across the UK, a coalition of MPs, writers, graphic artists and publishers have condemned the move as it fails to take into account the realities of the situation. This includes such luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Bryan Talbot, John Reppion, and - of course - Alan Moore and his daughter Leah, a graphic artist in her own right.

"We do not oppose any legislation that protects children from abuse, we understand the need for it, but some parts of the Coroners Bill do need rewording and clarifying," said a spokesperson. "This new legislation could be used for the wrong reason and if used incorrectly thousands of people could become criminals overnight. The Government refused to impose minimum tariffs on cheap alcohol because it was unfair to punish the majority for the crimes of a minority; yet this legislation does exactly the same."

One of the main MPs to speak out about it is Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff, Jenny Willott. "The problem I have is that the definition of what constitutes an image and a child is incredibly broad," she said. "The Government considers almost anything to be an image, from a painting to a private scribble on a piece of paper. At the same time they have defined a child as something that looks like a child even if it isn't."

The Ministry of Justice has denied such accusations though, saying "The clauses in the Bill are to tackle pornographic and obscene images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society. It is not our intention to criminalize the possession of material that does not fall foul of the Obscene Publications Act or to criminalize the legal entertainment industry, the art industry or pornographic cartoons."

While the Bill seeks to tackle a growing problem within society, it's perhaps more worrying to know that the ban could also easily extend to things like "woohoo" in The Sims if there are child Sims present. Not to mention potentially "borderline" cases like The Little Mermaid, Batman, South Park, Family Guy or Futurama.

Source: The Independent
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knowing society today, people would try and sue at the slightest chance. They really shouldn't bring this in as pedophilia is still illegal

Bah, typical "New Labour" plan to completely muck up the law with their attempts to nanny society to death. The law itself would probably be fine, but the implementation of it would see any and everything beaten around the head.

If this law passes I could be arrested right now. There is no way that I would get rid of my copy of Watchmen, Fun Home, The Girl from HOPPERS, etc.

I....I...*sigh* this is ridiculous, if their definition of child pornography stretches to things like that scene in Watchmen something is wrong.

Ugh, this is way too far-reaching. Watchmen and South Park counting as child pornography? New Labour has a bad habit of making completely banal policies when the UK has many social and ecomomic issues to take care of.

It's sad that people need so many laws to define what's right and wrong, as well as make sure everyone can't just do as they please of course. Kind of shows that there're a lot of types out there who can't be bothered to teach their children right and wrong... or who haven't even learned, themselves. I'm not saying it's an easy thing to do, but it would be extremely worthwhile, wouldn't it...?

This is why I love Canada, our politicians are too busy fighting tooth and claw for power to pass many annoying laws.

/facepalm

The_root_of_all_evil:

In essence, any form of imagery that may depict children coming into contact with erotic imagery can be banned, and that includes the scene in Watchmen where the young Walter Kovacks (Rorschach) sees his mother having sex. The far-reaching implications of this could easily see the possession of the Watchmen to be a criminal offense that would be registered as child pornography.

Don't forget the scene where Jon is remembering kissing a 16 year old Laurie.

America! Fuck Ye...wait, what?

This is the UK? ...sigh...stupidity on this level seems to go by many countries these days

they won't stop me from watching what I want, whatever law they pass. It still makes me quite angry when I hear about things like this though.

I'm going to step out on a limb here, and be in agreement with Chris Morris and the Bullshit episode on stranger danger, that paedophilia isn't nearly the widespread crime that it's made out to be, and that the media overblow it ridiculously.

I refer you to the papers outcry over the Brass Eye episode satirising media reactions to paedophilia, then on the opposite page, lusting after 15 year old Charlotte Church's fledgling cleavage, or a young british princess's bikini photos.

I put it to them that there's not a pervert lurking in every bush in the park, and looking a bit shifty or wanting to work with kids isn't quite enough evidence to lynch them.

We don't need new laws, just need the old laws to be applied sensibly, just like we don't need racial or sexual harassment laws, why not just a harassment law? That would protect everyone!

If there's art made depicting small children having sex, then that may be where we need to consider censorship, but it seems wherever a law comes into play that can be stretched beyond its original intent, it will be, and I'm damned if I'm giving up Watchmen, Preacher, and all the more fun animated series on TV.

Hell, Brass Eye could never have been made under these new laws, and anything that angers the Daily Mail that much has to be worthwhile.

Also does this mean if I scrawl a stick figure on a piece of paper, then a smaller one near it, then add an upwards line from the waist of the first one, I'm now officially registered as a sex case and imprisoned for my obscene art?

The answer may well be, if they think I'm worth getting out of the way.

/paranoia

Also look at the picture of Alan Moore, ask most people in the street if that photo is of a pervert and a lot of them would say yes, the public are idiots and believe anyone looking a bit strange must be a bad person.

There are a few things going on here, but my main concern is that this is another law that could be used to prosecute almost anyone, but which the government promise will only be applied appropriately.

Firstly, we know that's crap. They've abused every other such law so far, and I don't trust them as far as I can throw them.

Second, it's kind of the point of having laws that people who are doing things which are wrong should be the only ones breaking them. It should never be the case that EVERYONE is breaking the law, just so that you can go after the ones you decide you want to lock up. That's how totalitarian police states work.

Doug:
Bah, typical "New Labour" plan to completely muck up the law with their attempts to nanny society to death. The law itself would probably be fine, but the implementation of it would see any and everything beaten around the head.

Good thing Labour isnt big on ENFORCING the new laws it passes.

Every law that they pass seems to cause some kind of controversy, then when the time comes to put the law into place, they shy away and people carry on like nothing happened.

SenseOfTumour:

Also look at the picture of Alan Moore, ask most people in the street if that photo is of a pervert and a lot of them would say yes, the public are idiots and believe anyone looking a bit strange must be a bad person.

We are a country that, after being told by the Daily Mail that there was a sex offender on every street, proceeded to burn down a PEDIATRICAIN, because the people were so paranoid.

God I love this country...
/sarcasm.

nova18:

Doug:
Bah, typical "New Labour" plan to completely muck up the law with their attempts to nanny society to death. The law itself would probably be fine, but the implementation of it would see any and everything beaten around the head.

Good thing Labour isnt big on ENFORCING the new laws it passes.

Every law that they pass seems to cause some kind of controversy, then when the time comes to put the law into place, they shy away and people carry on like nothing happened.

Mainly because they want to keep power, and hence don't actually want to go through with anything that stirred the pot too much.

SenseOfTumour:

Also look at the picture of Alan Moore, ask most people in the street if that photo is of a pervert and a lot of them would say yes, the public are idiots and believe anyone looking a bit strange must be a bad person.

We are a country that, after being told by the Daily Mail that there was a sex offender on every street, proceeded to burn down a PEDIATRICAIN, because the people were so paranoid.

God I love this country...
/sarcasm.

Indeed - its a pity our culture is so crap these days. Celebrate this, that, and the other, 'stars' from those programs, and then of course the ridiculous levels of binge drinking people do because they are too afraid to face their own lives and improve them.

Brotherofwill:
America! Fuck Ye...wait, what?

This is the UK? ...sigh...stupidity on this level seems to go by many countries these days

Oh, not to worry. Just yesterday, in my state, a girl got arrested for posting naked pictures of a 14yo on myspace. Pictures of herself.

We still got plenty of stoopid.

orannis62:

The_root_of_all_evil:

In essence, any form of imagery that may depict children coming into contact with erotic imagery can be banned, and that includes the scene in Watchmen where the young Walter Kovacks (Rorschach) sees his mother having sex. The far-reaching implications of this could easily see the possession of the Watchmen to be a criminal offense that would be registered as child pornography.

Don't forget the scene where Jon is remembering kissing a 16 year old Laurie.

oh noes, not 16!!!
argh, i'm melting from the eroticism of a kiss.

Between this news, and the thread about how a 14 year old girl is now a sex offender for taking nude photos of herself, I'm starting to believe we're better off just nuking the world.

Rezfon:
knowing society today, people would try and sue at the slightest chance. They really shouldn't bring this in as pedophilia is still illegal

"Sue" refers to an action in civil court. This is a criminal law statute. This is about the fact that you can't trust a prosecutor to apply laws narrowly -- it's just not in their job description. It has nothing to do with people filing frivolous lawsuits.

-- Alex

Alex_P:

Rezfon:
knowing society today, people would try and sue at the slightest chance. They really shouldn't bring this in as pedophilia is still illegal

"Sue" refers to an action in civil court. This is a criminal law statute. This is about the fact that you can't trust a prosecutor to apply laws narrowly -- it's just not in their job description. It has nothing to do with people filing frivolous lawsuits.

-- Alex

ah k, my mistake

"The clauses in the Bill are to tackle pornographic and obscene images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society. It is not our intention to criminalize the possession of material that does not fall foul of the Obscene Publications Act or to criminalize the legal entertainment industry, the art industry or pornographic cartoons."

...that's exactly why the bill should be changed, so they only criminalize who they ought to.

Argh. I hate it when the people responsible for making the god damn laws seem not to understand what they're doing. Senators and MPs and such should know more about lows that a lawyer.

 

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