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UK to Ban Possession of Certain 'Violent' Pornography 557

Posted by timothy
from the oh-that's-a-great-idea dept.
Backlash writes "Massive surveillance? Check. Building a DNA database? Check. Laws against thought crime? Not yet, but coming very soon. The UK government is soon to pass legislation that would criminalise possession of certain types of 'violent' pornography, even if it was part of a consensual session between two adults. Lord Wallace of Tankerness pointed out an ideological schism during last week's debate in the House of Lords: 'If no sexual offence is being committed it seems very odd indeed that there should be an offence for having an image of something which was not an offence. ... Having engaged in it consensually would not be a crime, but to have a photograph of it in one's possession would be a crime. That does not seem to make sense to me.'" Combine laws like this with widespread computer ownership, and it makes a whole lot of (Orwellian) sense.
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UK to Ban Possession of Certain 'Violent' Pornography

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  • Godwin (Score:5, Funny)

    by electrictroy (912290) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:37AM (#23237866)
    Nazis!
    • That goatse will be banned?
  • by Trigun (685027) <evil@@@evilempire...ath...cx> on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:41AM (#23237900)
    to go through my porn folders to tell me if I am breaking the law or not.

      And before anyone here volunteers, you're going to need a fuckton of kleenex, eyebleach and anti-psychotic medication just to get through the folder names.
  • Ban bread? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kandenshi (832555) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:41AM (#23237902)
    From FTA: "Five years ago Jane Longhurst, a teacher from Brighton, was murdered. It later emerged her killer had been compulsively accessing websites such as Club Dead and Rape Action, which contained images of women being abused and violated."

    I agree that a substantial number of rapists and molesters and whatnot probably do get off on "violent" porn. But so do quite a few very normal people who will never rape someone. Consensual kink is a gorgeous thing, an expression of incredible trust. The fact that some rapists get off on it is insufficient to justify banning it, after all, last I heard quite a few rapists drink water and eat bread.

    Of course, this parallels some sex laws already enacted where I live. It's legal to have sex with someone who's 16, provided you're not in a position of authority over them... But have a picture of you having sex with your 16 year old girlfriend? Not a wise move.

    I think that both laws are ridiculous personally. If it's not illegal to do, then it shouldn't be illegal to represent digitally with a bunch of 1s and 0s.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751)

      The fact that some rapists get off on it is insufficient to justify banning it, after all, last I heard quite a few rapists drink water and eat bread.
      Did you just compare rape porn to bread and water? I understand your point but... c'mon really?
    • by QCompson (675963)

      Of course, this parallels some sex laws already enacted where I live. It's legal to have sex with someone who's 16, provided you're not in a position of authority over them... But have a picture of you having sex with your 16 year old girlfriend? Not a wise move.

      Exactly. It's the government greasing up the slope for some slip and slide fun.

      Once it becomes (nearly) universally accepted that merely possessing pictures or video can be as harmful (or in your example, more harmful) as the actual actions therein depicted, it's easy to make the logical leap that other forms of content must be restricted as well.

    • I think that both laws are ridiculous personally. If it's not illegal to do, then it shouldn't be illegal to represent digitally with a bunch of 1s and 0s.

      Exactly.

      I can't see the difference between this and banning "violent" movies of any type. That includes pretty much anything coming out of Hollywood with 16+ years age limit.

      A movie simulating a murder is a movie simulating a murder. Whether or not the story is acted out by actors with or without clothes shouldn't really matter.

    • by Barny (103770)
      Yeah, I heard a rapist once.... watched the news on television!!!11!

      Proposition 5318008 is to remove from the public anything a rapist has done within a week leading up to their crime...
    • by Applekid (993327)

      I agree that a substantial number of rapists and molesters and whatnot probably do get off on "violent" porn. But so do quite a few very normal people who will never rape someone.

      We're talking about pseudo-violent porn or BDSM. What if the topic was kiddie porn? What if it was underage-looking CGI images or underage-looking drawings? The crime is the act yet the depiction is the crime for some reason.

      When people like myself get marked as pedophile sympathizers for raising red flags about laws intended to protect people from thought crimes, we're not just trolling or doing it to play devil's advocate or anything like that. The slippery slope is REAL, and, strangely enough, child abu

      • by kalirion (728907)
        The slippery slope is REAL, and, strangely enough, child abuse is STILL rampant. So much for thinking of the children.

        What's the common factor in all child abuse cases? That's right, it's children! I think it's clear what we need to outlaw.
    • I agree that a substantial number of rapists and molesters and whatnot probably do get off on "violent" porn. But so do quite a few very normal people who will never rape someone. Consensual kink is a gorgeous thing, an expression of incredible trust.

      Agreed. I've been active in the SLC(when I lived there) & PHX BDSM community for some time(4 years), and had my share of experiences. The trust in these relationships(with dynamics that vary as much as snowflakes) is incredible, and if you ever see a couple

  • Why stop there ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garett_spencley (193892) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:42AM (#23237914) Journal
    If fictionally depicting someone being raped or abused is a crime then surely horror flicks must be banned as well. Oh and the Die Hard movies too because they can be training tools for terrorists.

    It's like the printing press all over again. We need to stop people from having access to "dangerous" information.

    *rolls eyes*
    • by QCompson (675963)

      If fictionally depicting someone being raped or abused is a crime then surely horror flicks must be banned as well. Oh and the Die Hard movies too because they can be training tools for terrorists.
      No silly, because in those examples sex is not involved. It's the dirty sin inside of all of us that must be cleansed by the justice system.
    • by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:59AM (#23238154) Journal
      The Clint Eastwood movie Sudden Impact [wikipedia.org] has a violent rape scene; and in fact the movie is about the rape victim's search for vengeance.

      So if any of you UK residents have any Clint Eastwood movies your best bet is to get rid of them NOW before your thought police come for you.

      I guess here in the US we're next. You had the Big Brother CCTV cameras first, but we have them now, too. Our legislators never funded the "Big Brother Is watching" posters, have yours?
      • by robably (1044462)
        Yes [wired.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sm62704 (957197)
          "Secure beneath the watchfil eyes", holy shit. Orwell WAS an optimist!
      • by Gordonjcp (186804)
        You had the Big Brother CCTV cameras first

        Actually, the CCTV thing is a lot of bollocks. The original figure of something like two trillion CCTV cameras in the UK was not based on the actual number of cameras in the country, but based on counting the number of CCTV cameras in half a mile of the main street of an incredibly rough part of London, with lots of bookies, cheque cashing centres and off-licences. Then they multiplied by the total distance of roads in the UK.

        So the figures for CCTV cameras are b
  • We want them broken. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by feepness (543479) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:44AM (#23237956) Homepage
    "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."
    • Absolutely. Ayn Rand was correct.
    • by jockeys (753885)
      It saddens and sickens me to see Rand's grim predictions coming true. Spot on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)
      Not this crap again. Ayn Rand hasn't gotten anything right with her objectivism theories, and she didn't get anything right with this "we want to rule innocent men" crap either. This supposes a level of sophistication, organization and strategic thinking that is just absent from any politician. I mean, they can't even think beyond the next election cycle, can't balance their own budget, and now they're supposed to be some long-term evil geniuses bent on re-creating feudalism?

      No. This is basic human nature a
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by feepness (543479)
        The point of the story isn't that there is an evil genius running it. It's that government exists to create criminals. Exposition doesn't work as well if it's done by faceless processes of human nature.

        Also, there is the idea that politicians who get into office certainly don't do anything to fix it. If they see it and have the power to change it, are they any less responsible?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lysse (516445)

        Ayn Rand hasn't gotten anything right with her objectivism theories
        On the other hand, her novels are right in the frame themselves, given her fondness for highly eroticised rape scenes.
    • by damburger (981828)

      I'm getting sick of nerds quoting Ayn Rand. It just irritates me how otherwise intelligent people could buy into her garbage.

      I can understand how her idea of 'prime movers' might have appealed to the average computer geek when they were 13 years old and getting beaten up at school, but I thought most people here were grown adults, and over that shit now.

  • by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:45AM (#23237982) Journal
    from theregister, the new logo of UK's Office of Government Commerce: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/04/22/ogc_logo/ [theregister.co.uk]
  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:46AM (#23237990)
    FTFA, it looks like the reasoning for the introduction of such legislation stems from someone watching said pr0n and murdering a woman...this is a huge step backwards for people taking responsibility for their own actions. What, the pr0n made him kill her? Come on.

    I'm wondering what other images will become illegal because they elicit violence...perhaps it will be illegal to draw a picture of Muhammad too? Just my 2 cents.
  • I am sure "V for Victory" sales just went up again.
  • As the law stands in the UK you have have sex at 16 lawfully but can not take photographs or record it on video as the participants are under 18.

    I know, it's ridiculous, just as this proposed law is.
  • Hentai...? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by snarfies (115214) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:50AM (#23238038) Homepage
    And what about hentai anime? A LOT of the hentai stuff I've seen has been, ah, rather rape-based, sometimes with tentacles, and sometimes otherwise (yes, I will admit now I've seen a lot, and even own a few titles on laserdisc). So does the UK law cover that sort of thing? Its often extreme, sometimes far more disturbing than anything in possible "reality," but it isn't that much less "real" than pornography with actual people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      No, I don't think animated films are covered by this absurd bill, because it says images are illegal only "where any such ...person or animal depicted in the image is or appears to be real".

      You can read the whole bill here -- it's not long, and would be quite funny in parts if it wasn't so sad: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmbills/130/07130.43-46.html#j400 [parliament.uk]"

      But that doesn't mean film fans are out of trouble.

      As you can see from the act itself, the really bizarre thing about this
  • I am playing devil's advocate here, but the government has a job to maintain a safe and working society. There are laws that restrict personal freedoms because they have a bad effect on society. For example, guns were banned. Again I'm not saying any individual action is correct, but they do have that power. A logical argument could be made that consensual acts in private by a small number of people does not have the same negative impact on society that wide distribution of depictions of those acts would. S
    • by esocid (946821)
      (I know you're playing devil's advocate) You really think what in question is going on is novel to society? I don't know who said it, but it's along the lines of 'imagine the most foul and revolting thing you can think of, and there's some group of people out there who get off on it.' The distribution argument doesn't really seem valid to me since there are already laws restricting the distribution to minors. So what would be the point in making it illegal to possess an image of a legal act? If this were in
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QCompson (675963)

      I am playing devil's advocate here, but the government has a job to maintain a safe and working society. There are laws that restrict personal freedoms because they have a bad effect on society. For example, guns were banned. Again I'm not saying any individual action is correct, but they do have that power. A logical argument could be made that consensual acts in private by a small number of people does not have the same negative impact on society that wide distribution of depictions of those acts would. So, the importnat questions here are: are there things that the UK government _cannot_ restrict in the interest of protecting society? Is the material in question one of those things? Are the materials really harmful (and, according to who) to the extent that they need to be banned? If you are going to make an argument either pro or con regarding banning, you need to answer questions like these.

      Instead of (simulated) violent pornography in the form of pictures or video, consider it as the written word. Then ask yourself, do you really want to give the government the ability to ban books?

      People are *ahem* desensitized to the idea of making certain videos or pictures illegal, because of the widely approved ban on child pornography, but in matters such as this, where consenting adults are involved in the production of the material, I can't see there being any distinction between laws like these

      • Then ask yourself, do you really want to give the government the ability to ban books?
        The UK has banned books as recently as 1988, and, as far as I know, still can. Additionally the UK reserves the right to ban importation of books, games and movies, and has done so for a very long time, AND has repeatedly exercised this right to prevent the importation of violent pornography _specifically_.
    • You're absolutely right - these questions need to be asked. However, the answers have already been given. I'd like to point you to the US constitution, the French motto and the Human Rights Declaration as places where to start to look. Laws like these are rolling back about 150 years of Enlightenment - which tells me that Enlightenment is a temporary state, and people are stupid, small minded beasts with only occasional climbs out of that state of mind.
  • Is an idiot, and this is the reason. We have a major problem in Europe with the abuse and exoploitation of women, many effectively slaves brought in from the former Soviet Union and China (I bet that the Chinese watchers will try and mod this out of sight, but yes, some of your nationals in the UK do engage in people smuggling and some of them are violent pimps. So are some of our own - but I digress.)

    While there is a market for violent pornography or child pornography, criminals will supply it. In doing so

    • by kahei (466208)
      Yeah, people suck. People trafficking, rape, kidnapping, forcing people to submit to bizarre physical acts against their will etc should be illegal. Actually, they already are illegal.

      I really don't think that making photographs of legal, consensual activity illegal will help.

      But then, I'm pretty sure it's not intended to help. It serves a variety of purposes -- increasing the general level of control, making certain politicians look like they're taking action without requiring any actual resources, and
      • People trafficking

        We'd prolly do more to deal with this particular issue if we agreed to call a spade a spade - it's NOT "people trafficking", what it IS is the "slave trade".

        Get over the idea that if slavery is illegal, then we can't call it slavery. Slavery IS illegal in most places, and it IS practiced in most places. Still....

        And we don't move closer to ending it by giving it a "nicer" name....

    • How much money would it take for you to do that willingly?

      None whatsoever, for the right person. Different strokes for different folks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Is an idiot, and this is the reason. We have a major problem in Europe with the abuse and exoploitation of women, many effectively slaves brought in from the former Soviet Union and China

      But, why don't you ban people from the Soviet Union and China? Or, women?

      Seriously, this is the debate between correlation and causation that happens around video games. It's just in a different guise.

      Rapists often use violent porn, but does violent porn cause rape? Much crime is committed by people under the influence o

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Reziac (43301) *
        Remember that in the Britain of a couple centuries ago, sodomy carried the death sentence.

        That's right -- merely being caught acting as an ordinary, nonviolent homosexual got you hanged. (Interested parties may wish to peruse http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/homopho1.htm [demon.co.uk] )

        Don't think it couldn't happen again. If that morality pendulum starts swinging, it never stops til it reaches the farthest possible extreme.
    • ... is arguing that this approach is insane. It's right there in the summary. This law is idiotic, but I think our wrath should be pointed in the right direction.
    • What an absolutely amazing solution. Instead of dealing with people traffickers and abuse of women we'll hide it all from public view by making it illegal hence pushing it underground so that it only continues in the background where no one can see it and no one need care whilst simultaneously removing the personal freedoms of those innocent people who enjoy BDSM in an absolutely harmless manner.

      What pure genius, have you thought about working as a law maker for the British government?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ultranova (717540)

      That is why, to my mind, even though it may be of limited effectiveness, it is right to make possession of this material illegal. Anything you can do to destroy or disrupt the market is attacking the revenue stream that makes the criminals do it in the first place. If you cannot persuade people that they should not pay other people to abuse, rape and beat strangers for their entertainment - then more stringent sanctions are needed.

      Yeah, it's just like the drugs: after they were made illegal to possess,

  • reality vs fantasy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kahei (466208) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @09:54AM (#23238084) Homepage
    There are two parallel failures to distinguish reality from fantasy here:

    1 -- The usual way. Regular grown up people know that pornography is not real life and that many things that are fun to fantasize about would be unwise, unhygienic, fatal etc. in real life.

    2 -- This crackdown on everything, and this massive effort to gather data and powers, come at a time when actual street crime is very high, white-collar crime has drastically undermined the UK's 'level playing field', and policies from tax to immigration seem to be selected without any hope of actually implementing them. In other words, the real fantasy here is the fantasy that the UK government can really control the things around it -- and I'm much afraid the government has confused that pleasant fantasy with reality, and that they will only pile on more regulations and powers as actual ability to influence events at ground level slips from their grasp.

    Note that this is subtly different from the US situation. In the US, there's been a scramble for new data and powers, but I never have the feeling that the Executive branch has too *little* control...

    Also, thank fuck for the House of Lords. There are few elected representatives who'll speak out on an issue that's got the word 'pornography' stuck to it.

    • Note that the House of Lords is the place where this debate is taking place, and that some Lords consider this approach insane. Considering that some senators were in office for 40+ years, I find the House of Lords to be not so much an aberration as an institutionalization of what's happening anyway.
    • by MalleusEBHC (597600) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:38AM (#23238876)
      Also, thank fuck for the House of Lords. There are few elected representatives who'll speak out on an issue that's got the word 'pornography' stuck to it.

      I wish I had mod points. Whether it's the House of Lords or the Supreme Court, history has shown that having part of the government be virtually unaccountable to the whims of popularity is vital. You need people with the power and freedom to stand up and voice unpopular opinions.
  • by Monokeros (200892) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:01AM (#23238200)
    If this manages to become law I propose that everyone in Britain find 1) a buddy and 2) a surveillance camera. Then engage in some consensual "violent" kinkiness with the first in front of the second.
  • I love Jesus. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:11AM (#23238348) Journal
    I love Jesus, I Love that blood dripping from his wounds, I like the way he's scantly dressed, I wank over his image so much I could become a nun.

    Now that their banning this kind of imagery it looks like my Jesus wanking days are over.
    • by boristdog (133725)
      I love Jesus, I Love that blood dripping from his wounds, I like the way he's scantly dressed, I wank over his image so much I could become a nun.

      Now that their banning this kind of imagery it looks like my Jesus wanking days are over.


      Damn...And me without mod points.
    • Dear Sir: (Score:3, Funny)

      by thepotoo (829391)
      I find your ideas disturbing and wish to unsubscribe from your newsletter.
  • From the summary, no I didn't RTFA:

    'If no sexual offence is being committed it seems very odd indeed that there should be an offence for having an image of something which was not an offence. ... Having engaged in it consensually would not be a crime, but to have a photograph of it in one's possession would be a crime. That does not seem to make sense to me.'

    It's pretty much the situation already. If a child of say 15 has sex, they won't be prosecuted by the police (though it's technically a crime). Yet if they then post a video on the 'net of that act they are engaged in Child Pornography.

    I've a vague recollection of a prosecution following this pattern.

    I don't see how this is "thought police", no one is stopping people from doing the things, nor from thinking about it, just from possessing images which it would be illegal t

  • You don't get it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aadvancedGIR (959466) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:20AM (#23238534)
    The law is not designed to be used against the population (but, of course, it will be), it's just an easy was to prevent paparazi to blackmail goverment members using pictures of their weekend activities.
  • You can have sex at 16 in the UK but as far as I'm aware you can't photograph it for pornographic purposes until you're 18. I always found this equally odd.
  • "If no sexual offence is being committed it seems very odd indeed that there should be an offence for having an image of something which was not an offence. ... Having engaged in it consensually would not be a crime, but to have a photograph of it in one's possession would be a crime. That does not seem to make sense to me."

    It's legal for me to sleep with a 16 year old girl here in Indiana, but I can't photograph the act. I guess that could be considered a special case because it involves a minor. I just
  • by MMC Monster (602931) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:24AM (#23238618)
    All you need to do is email photos of violent pornography to people in parliament. (Best to do this from an account overseas) Then send anonymous tips to the police that they have those images on their computers.
  • This sort of thing was really inevitable. I mean if you are going to ban porn with anyone over arbitrary age X, surely it is only being consistent to ban any other depiction of something that would be illegal if it were real. Slippery slope. And the slide will continue. While I do realize that in most cases the original act was probably legal this is difficult to know for certain. This is one difference from child porn where the original act was without a doubt illegal. However I do predict that violence in
  • Stuff That Matters.
  • Having engaged in it consensually would not be a crime, but to have a photograph of it in one's possession would be a crime. That does not seem to make sense to me.
    You mean like having sex with a 16-17 year old?

    Of course this new law is obscene, but the concept of having photographs/video of something that's legal being illegal is not new (even if the reasons are different in that case).
  • Lord Wallace's assertion currently runs counter to the biggest, most vigorously prosecuted class of illegal pornography: underage pornography.

    "If no sexual offence is being committed it seems very odd indeed that there should be an offence for having an image of something which was not an offence... Having engaged in it consensually would not be a crime, but to have a photograph of it in one's possession would be a crime. That does not seem to make sense to me."

    This is true for porn involving only minors. If two sixteen year olds (or something under the consent age wherever you are) have consensual sex with each other, that's effectively legal, at least to the extent neither of them are going to be prosecuted. What, did they each commit statutory rape by having sex with a minor? Do you prosecute them both for raping e

  • The House of Lords (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damburger (981828) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:40AM (#23238926)

    It actually pains me that the unelected house is the only thing keeping the governments nastiest instincts in check now. British people have become so politically impotent that we rely on the munificence of aristocrats to safeguard our liberty.

    That said, there is probably no legislative body on Earth so qualified to stand up for deviant sexual practices.

  • by zakeria (1031430) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:46AM (#23240140) Homepage
    Just raise the tax on anal sex.. that should put a stop to most of it!!

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