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Censorship

Australian Judge Rules Simpsons Cartoon Rip-off Is Child Porn 612

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-we-can-all-rest..-hey-wait dept.
An anonymous reader was one of several to note a bizarre story in which an Australian judge ruled that drawings can be child porn. In this case, it was knock off drawings of the Simpsons doing naughty things. Good thing they're going to be censoring the Down Undernet soon. Who knows what damage this could cause.
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Australian Judge Rules Simpsons Cartoon Rip-off Is Child Porn

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  • Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drakin020 (980931) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:04AM (#26033741)

    During The Simpson's movie, it showed Bart's junk while he was skateboarding. Does this mean the movie depicts Child Porn?

    • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by X0563511 (793323) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:08AM (#26033785) Homepage Journal

      No, but the teeming masses (of stupid) will label it as such.

      • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

        by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:14AM (#26033939)

        Fantastic!

        Imaginary things are now real!
        Imaginary people now have all the rights of real people!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:22AM (#26034081)

          Does that mean imaginary numbers are now real too? Because I don't really want to have to learn physics from scratch again!!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Zackbass (457384)

          And suddenly the output of my filter stopped ringing! Now we just have to make positive reals into negatives and we'll really be set.

          • Real movies... (Score:4, Informative)

            by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:19PM (#26035163) Homepage Journal
            So, I'm guessing that movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High [wikipedia.org] are now illegal to watch in AU? I mean, this has pictures of REAL people having sex and portrayed as under age.

            I guess this dvd is now banned there? Hell, they way things are in the US, I'm surprised they haven't banned it here.

            • Re:Real movies... (Score:5, Interesting)

              by rhyder128k (1051042) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:41PM (#26035591) Homepage
              Is that guy serial? If that judge ever sees a program called Southpark, Trey and Matt are in trouble. I recon that Trey is too good looking to survive in prison. Matt seems more geeky and his sense of humour might save him.
            • Re:Real movies... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Moraelin (679338) on Monday December 08, 2008 @02:11PM (#26037327) Journal

              Well, dunno about Australia, but it _might_ be in the UK which beat them to the finishing line when it comes to criminalizing stuff that might look like the real thing. To be fair, though, they didn't stop at child porn. You can also go to jail for "extreme porn", if I understand that right.

              Still, you bring exactly the kind of example that I had in mind. And it's not just a matter of portrayal, I guess.

              I had a classmate through high school and college which looked a _lot_ younger than she was, and the diminutive size probably didn't help that distinction either. By the time she finished college and got married, she looked like she was just hitting puberty.

              So, obviously she was old enough to marry and have sex (unless a big star appeared in the east when she got pregnant;) But I'm getting the idea that in a few places around the world her husband could probably get in trouble if he has a picture of her naked on his hard drive. And may the elder gods help him if he filmed himself having sex with her. Because she _looks_ like a child.

              Where does one draw the line when it comes to what it _looks_ like, anyway?

              Because it happens in the other direction too. Some girls look older than they are. E.g., Tracy Lords obviously didn't trip anyone's suspicions when she claimed to be 18 and starred in a porn movie... at the actual age of 15.

              So let's say you have a picture of an 18 year old on your hard drive and fly to Melbourne or London. Well, it could also _look_ like a very precocious 15 year old. I mean, she could be 15 and just look like 18. Maybe you're pretending she's 15 in your head. (Well, _you_ probably aren't, but just making a point about such confused laws.) How do they know you aren't? If the purpose of the law is to prevent demand for underage porn, how do they know if after pretending some 18 year olds in pornos are 15 and precocious, you won't progress to actual pictures of 15 year olds? It's at least a theoretical possibility.

              Criminalizing what something _looks_ like, seems to me like a really slippery slope, when there's so wide a range between what someone is and what they look like.

              • Re:Real movies... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunityNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday December 08, 2008 @02:46PM (#26037883) Homepage

                And there is the fallacy of all child pornography laws. Women hit sexual maturity around 13-15 and according to the law hit mental capacity to give consent at 18. There is an entire genre of porn where women of legal age who look much younger than they are pose nude for men.

                Men find the unadulterated idea of women attractive since they can believe they are virgins(google "teen virgins" if you need proof). Another issue with censorship laws like this is that its impossible for a man to look at a picture of a woman and know with any certainty how old she is. You can dress up an 18 year old to realistically make her appear 12, and you could probably realistically dress up a 14 year old to look 18. Theres no way to know. To illustrate this conundrum, consider these scenarios:

                A 15 year old girl poses nude but the photograph has a photoshopped head of of an 18 year old. Is it immoral to look?

                A 18 year old girl poses nude but the photograph has a photoshopped head of a 15 year old. Is it immoral to look now?

                What if all these numbers were reduced by 5? Immoral now? Quite obviously, but in the two scenarios above the answer isn't at all clear cut. In the second scenario, this must be illegal since there is copious amounts of this type of pornography scattered across the web. Simply google "Miley Cyrus nude" for proof.

                Any argument that a cartoon which includes no photorealistic elements is child pornography is faulty. Since the laws were designed to protect children, and there was no children harmed, this merely exemplifies a flaw in the law.

                • Related news item (Score:5, Informative)

                  by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday December 08, 2008 @04:51PM (#26039683) Homepage Journal

                  Related UnNews item: Wikipedia now hosting child pornography [wikia.com] NSFW!!!!

                  What's funny is there is a picture of what looks to be a nude (except for nylons) prepubescent girl in a provocative position (with the genitals covered by a price tag), and as UnNews and teh Uncyclopedia are actually hosted by Wikipedia, it's true.

                  In a manner of speaking...

                • Re:Real movies... (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by torkus (1133985) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:15PM (#26040005)

                  First - I will *never* advocate hurting children. In fact, hurting adults is kinda messed up too unless they enjoy it.

                  Second - to take your point one step further. Maybe a 17 year old isn't harmed if photographed nude? How about 16? 15? 10? How about 2 years old? Plenty of parents have pictures of their children playin in the bath tub. Those children were certainly NOT hurt in any way by that even though a more twisted soul would consider those pictures erotic.

                  I understand wanting to protect children from predators, but (citation needed ofc) the vast majority of underage sex, pornography, and other "bad" or illegal behavior happens with other underage children. I'm going out on a limb to say more 15 year old girls have naked pictures taken by under-18 boyfriends (or self-shot!) than than ones who were made to do so by an adult. A lot more. Pretty sure the average age kids lose their virginity hovers UNDER the legal age to have sex. Our legal system is making the average child the victim of a sex crime ... and yet they try to tighten the laws even more to 'protect' them.

                  Gah....

                • Re:Real movies... (Score:5, Informative)

                  by mjwx (966435) on Monday December 08, 2008 @07:09PM (#26041497)

                  And there is the fallacy of all child pornography laws. Women hit sexual maturity around 13-15 and according to the law hit mental capacity to give consent at 18. There is an entire genre of porn where women of legal age who look much younger than they are pose nude for men.

                  Wrong

                  In Australia, women can legally give consent for sex at the age of 16. Laws on weather they can pose for nude photo's and video's (commercial) vary from state to state but the general rule is 18. Women can have a Homosexual relationship at the age of 21. Please stop giving uninformed opinions about Australian laws based on a sound bite you heard on CNN/Fox news.

                  Men find the unadulterated idea of women attractive since they can believe they are virgins

                  Once again you are generalising. Not all men, in fact I'd wager not the majority of men. I myself prefer Asian women, and sometimes find 18/20 yr old girls look too young for me. Google will come up with a fair few results for any type of pornography you care to look for so this does not support you theory (Try "Asian H cup", many people would be disturbed by that, but then again some wont).

                  Also try to remember that laws like Age of Consent and production of pornography are not uniform around the entire world. For example the Age of Consent in Japan is younger than the western world but all their porn must be censored.

                  Since the laws were designed to protect children, and there was no children harmed, this merely exemplifies a flaw in the law.

                  Prohibition laws designed solely to "protect the children" in this fashion are wrong because they are prohibition laws and all prohibition laws serve to do is drive the real criminals into deeper hiding places and make a lucrative market for the prohibited device. Point in short, we already have a law against children in pornography, this needs to be enforced properly (with due process and thorough investigation) rather than having additional restrictive laws making it easier to get a conviction on circumstantial evidence.

              • Re:Real movies... (Score:5, Interesting)

                by Cowclops (630818) on Monday December 08, 2008 @02:51PM (#26037953)

                This is the problem/reason I quit my job at the gas station. The company I worked for would send their employees to do tobacco stings. The company policy was "ID everybody who looks under 30" but this is impractical for reasons anybody who has worked at a gas station would understand. Nonetheless, you only have to be 18 to buy cigarettes and NYS law is that you're supposed to ID anybody that "looks under 25."

                Well, while I have no problem looking at a 19 year old and thinking "he's not over 25, I'll ask for ID." But once you set the threshold too high, everybody just blurs together. 28? 35? How am I supposed to tell the difference? Maybe Stewarts policy should just be to ID everybody, if they really care about not selling tobacco to minors. Or maybe they should just stop selling cigarettes because they're a filthy addiction anyway? Obviously their only real concern is losing their tobacco licence for selling to minors, but they are in no such danger of that if I fail to ID somebody over the age of 25. On a side note: when the state actually runs a sting, they send the youngest looking clean shaven just-turned-18 year olds possible. They don't really care if you fail to ID "some" people over 18, what they're really testing is if you'd sell to a minor, and the best way of testing that without actually getting a minor to buy cigarettes is to send the youngest looking person possible. Because if you don't ID a young looking 18 year old for cigarettes... you're not doing your job. If you don't ID an old looking 27 year old... who the hell cares?

                The last straw was when they sent in somebody who I KNEW worked for the company and I KNEW was 27 years old. I didn't ID her because she was in our store buying stuff all the time and I knew how old she was. I wasn't fired, but I was suspended for a week and didn't go back to work afterwards.

                Eventually you have to hit a limit. It gets hard bordering on possible to judge people because as they always say, "its not the age, its the miles" and heavy smokers tend to look way older than they actually are anyway. I realize this isn't related to child pornography, but the basic idea of "how do you prove how old somebody APPEARS to be" is something that has no real answer.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by electrictroy (912290)

              Yeah this is getting ridiculous. We need to go back to the ROOT reason why child pornography is illegal: - to protect real children/teens from being raped by adults

              Therefore we also ban images of child sex because we don't want to distribute the imagery of said rape. But is a child harmed when they pose nude (like Vanessa Hudgens self-portrait)? No. There's no rape. Is anyone harmed by a cartoon or CGI of children? No. Again, there's no rape.

              If there's no victim, there's no crime.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Znork (31774)

                We need to go back to the ROOT reason why child pornography is illegal

                As I recall, the most compelling reason has actually been that the very existence of the pictures can in themselves be considered a perpetuation of the violation of the person depicted; the existence and spread of the pictures harm the victims chances of psychological recovery. An argument that actually makes sense and is convincing even to many of the strongest censorship opponents.

                Of course, I can also recall a lot of 'slippery slope' a

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You can have nearly everyone supporting a thoughtcrime, so long as that thought is disgusting or unpopular enough.

        • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:31PM (#26035399) Homepage

          Fantastic!

          Imaginary things are now real!
          Imaginary people now have all the rights of real people!

          This is fantastic news for the bevy of supermodels who constantly fawn over me and fight for the right to be my love slave. Fantastic news, indeed.

          • by genner (694963) on Monday December 08, 2008 @01:02PM (#26035993)

            Fantastic!

            Imaginary things are now real! Imaginary people now have all the rights of real people!

            This is fantastic news for the bevy of supermodels who constantly fawn over me and fight for the right to be my love slave. Fantastic news, indeed.

            You'd think so but you'll go broke paying imaginary child support,

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sorak (246725)

          Fantastic!

          Imaginary things are now real!
          Imaginary people now have all the rights of real people!

          And real people have all the rights formerly reserved for imaginary people...

        • by goldcd (587052) on Monday December 08, 2008 @02:20PM (#26037477) Homepage

          why stop here. I've got book after book on my shelf where fictional characters are killed!
          More to the point if you really want to draw attention to the 'wtf' currently underway, possibly we should direct our law enforcement officers to your national art gallery. Undoubtedly plenty of naked underage flesh on display there (in fact just has to appear underaged, so not even that much of a stretch) - hey, who's to say you're not aroused by cherubs anyway?

          O
          |=
          |~O--
          |_,|`"`|_

          Do hope none of you think my stick-people look a bit on the young side - hate to have my front door kicked down and be put on 'a list'

      • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Informative)

        by El Lobo (994537) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:39AM (#26034409)
        Unfortunately, today, year 2008, this is not unusual. The FBI is opening a case of child porn against a 32-year old album of Scorpions (Virgin Killers). Just because of its cover:

        http://www.exclaim.ca/articles/generalarticlesynopsfullart.aspx?csid1=121&csid2=844&fid1=31286 [exclaim.ca]

    • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheMeuge (645043) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:11AM (#26033889)

      It doesn't mean that the movie depicts Child Porn... it means that the movie IS child porn.

      Actually, let me make it simpler for the Western judicial system - everyone is guilty of child pornography... There, now they can wiretap our phones and internet, and jail us at will. I just feel that this was much more efficient than going through the motions for the next 10 years just to arrive at the same point.

    • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:26AM (#26034123) Homepage Journal

      During The Simpson's movie, it showed Bart's junk while he was skateboarding. Does this mean the movie depicts Child Porn?

      No, that's art.

      Like a statue of Cupid or paintings of cherubs and stuff.

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:51AM (#26034635)

        Ohhhhh... Let's sue all those churches and people who hang those paintings on their walls. Those things are expensive, so they're bound to have money!

      • by BenEnglishAtHome (449670) on Monday December 08, 2008 @01:11PM (#26036177)

        The difference between art and porn is interesting. The True Teen case out of Utah illustrated it clearly. (I'm at work, so I can't Google for links and details. Feel free to fill in, folks.) In that case, the defendant, a photographer with a web site selling sexy but clothed pics of girls, won in a slam-dunk after the evidence showed that he did not produce the material for his own sexual gratification, an essential element of the crime under the law in that state at that time. IOW, he won because he was able to prove his state of mind to the court. (The details are probably unique...Wish I had links.)

        Later, on his web site, the photographer published an essay in which he opined that he could take far more revealing photos and sell them for far more money IF he were to sell in book form, rather than online. His point was that online sales of the material at a reasonable price to the masses meant that the knee-jerk reaction of LEA was that it couldn't be art. Art is expensive; his stuff wasn't. Art is a tangible thing that you hang on the wall or put on a bookshelf; his product didn't fit the profile. Art is printed on paper or something flat and doesn't require electricity; his was just light emitting from a monitor.

        He is of the opinion that he could put *anything* (almost) in an expensive, coffee-table-style "art" book and sell it without harrassment. However, he feels that even the most innocent content, if sold online, was a risky business.

        I agree with him. I have a copy of Larry Clark's beautiful book "Teenage Lust" in which he reproduces several photo and text essays on growing up, running with the gang, getting in trouble, and getting laid. (I hope I've got that title right; it's been years sinice I looked at the book.) If the thing were a web site, Clark would be in jail for life. But I paid ridiculous money to get it at an internationally-famous art exhibition and it's a BOOK instead of just a computer file. No way anyone is going to get prosecuted over that; the few times that bluenoses have famously tried, they've failed. Sally Mann, David Hamilton and others have been harrassed and have re-located or changed their art, but none of the high-profile investigations of serious artists over the last 30 years (that I'm aware of; please tell me if I'm wrong) have actually resulted in anyone being convicted of this crime.

        The lesson for pervs? Just brazenly publish your work in high-quality books with high prices. That should be enough to shield you from any charges.

        The lesson for the rest of us? The laws in this area have hinged on thoughtcrime for far longer than most people realize. All pictures of kids are illegal if the prosecutor can convince a jury you got some sick jollies from them.

        I have no idea how to protect against that. Burn your family albums, I suppose.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mwvdlee (775178)

        Baby Jesus is a child pornstar!

    • by zmooc (33175) <zmoocNO@SPAMzmooc.net> on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:31AM (#26034223) Homepage

      You've definately come to the right place here at slashdot, given that you do not seem to understand the difference between nudity and sex;-)

      • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pharmboy (216950) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:04PM (#26034867) Journal

        The law doesn't differentiate between a sexual act or just being nude when it comes to child pornography. It is only a matter of degrees, but both are still considered "child porn".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by zmooc (33175)

          Where I live (the Netherlands) the law definately makes that difference. And the cartoon that this article is about is definately considerd childpr0n. So I suppose where you live, just about any parent should be arrested for producing childpr0n? That's even sicker than this cartoon being illegal, man.

        • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:4, Insightful)

          by The Dancing Panda (1321121) on Monday December 08, 2008 @01:54PM (#26036983)
          How is this insightful? It's not even true. The law most certainly differentiates between pictures of nude children and child pornography. You can take pictures of your infant taking a bath, it's not child pornography.
      • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:4, Insightful)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:24PM (#26035275)

        You've definately come to the right place here at slashdot, given that you do not seem to understand the difference between nudity and sex;-)

        See the story a few down from here, where British ISPs are censoring an old Scorpions album cover because it contains a photograph of a nude prepubescent girl. (Hope nobody tells them about Blind Faith.)

        Really, is it any less absurd to say that simple child nudity is child pornography than it is to say that a sexually explicit drawing of fictional child cartoon characters is child pornography?

    • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:44AM (#26034479) Homepage

      No, because it doesn't do so in a way that might result result in the viewer possibly experiencing the Thoughtcrime of being sexually attracted to children which could result in them performing, commissioning or rewarding an act that may involve an actual child.

      The only people who need to worry are those evil monsters who sexualise children, and portray them as precociously pubescent and sexually available.

      So, that'll be... hmmm... the RIAA, MPAA, makeup companies, childrens' clothing manufacturers, and every parent that ever let their pre-consent daughter dress like that Hannah Montana tramp.

      And why stop there? If you're under the age of consent but above the age of criminal responsibility, then surely you're responsible for your own actions? Arrest hot horny teenage girls for putting Thoughtcrime into the heads of poor innocent God-fearing men, is my new motto. We have a lot to learn from our friends and allies in Saudi Arabia.

      • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sjames (1099) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:25PM (#26035281) Homepage

        Well, in Florida recently, a girl was prosecuted for possession of child porn. She had a nude picture of HERSELF.

        • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Informative)

          by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Monday December 08, 2008 @01:21PM (#26036353) Journal

          If it is the case I think you are referring to, she was not charged with possession of child porn for having nude pictures of herself. She and her boyfriend took pictures of themselves and sent them to each other. Both were charged with possession of child porn for having pictures of the other and both were charged with transmitting child porn for send the images to each other.

      • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:5, Informative)

        by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:59PM (#26035943) Homepage Journal

        "Children" for the sake of child pornography does not necessarily (depending on your jurisdiction) only apply to pre-pubescent children but includes minors who are very pubescent and sexually available (to their peers).

        Some hot sixteen year old cheerleader takes her clothes off for her sixteen year old boyfriend and nothing illegal has happened. However, if she takes pictures of herself for her boyfriend he may be guilty of possessing child pornography (and her of creating it).

        When you hear cases on the news, remember that we're not always talking about "children" as you may think of them, but rather not of adult age according to the law.

        • Re:Simpsons Movie (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Monday December 08, 2008 @02:37PM (#26037761)

          It also counts for pictures of individuals of legal age who look as if they are underage, according to recent legislation.

          I could probably be done for child pornography if I took nudie pictures of my wife, and she's 34, just because she's so flat chested and petite.

  • What's Next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maz2331 (1104901) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:10AM (#26033843)

    I guess under this precedent they'll have to indict and convict Groenig himself and everyone who worked on the recent "The Simpsons" movie for his depiction of Bart skateboarding naked through town?

    This sure sounds like one really steep and slippery slope.

  • Not Fair (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheRealZero (907390) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:11AM (#26033875)
    This just isn't fair. Lisa never ages...after 20 seasons at 8 years old she has to be fair game by now...who hasn't fantasized about Maggie flying in through your bedroom window naked?
  • Technically (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:11AM (#26033877)
    Technically, all the characters are over 18 by now, whether or not they're drawn that way.
  • Character ages? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mononoke (88668) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:12AM (#26033897) Homepage Journal
    Without certified birth certificates, I wonder how they determine the legal ages of the "children" in those images?

    If "She looked old enough." isn't a valid defense, then "They don't look old enough." cannot be a legally valid position either.
    • Re:Character ages? (Score:5, Informative)

      by 91degrees (207121) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:29AM (#26034181) Journal
      By a suitably vague piece of terminology "a depiction of a person who is or appears to be under 18".

      Based on a "reasonable man" test. So even if you have a pornographic image of an 18 year old who simply looks a little younger than she is, and she's in court to testify as to her age, and the fact that it was consensual, you could still be convicted because she still appears to be under 18.

      And with a strict enough interpretation of the law, she too could be convicted.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually, I wonder what they'll do when they get to furry cartoon porn. I'd probably pay to sit in the court session with judge deliberating on whether a fic with, say, Webby, would be considered child porn. And I'd pay even more if that was a jury trial.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:12AM (#26033903)

    That the new London 2012 Olympic logo [london2012.com] will be banned; it does like like Lisa Simpson doing something rather rude.

  • by Hodar (105577) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:15AM (#26033953)
    So, if I don't clearly make my stick-figure adult sized, is this kiddie porn?

    When a goverment makes laws that can not be enforced, people lose respect for not only the law, but the goverment itself.

    This means that any figure, that some judge deems is drawn to represent a person under the age of 21, must be considered juvinile. Therefore, if this drawing is doing something that may be construed as 'adult' in nature, the drawing is now up to the judge's intrepretation as to the age and content of the drawing.

    And people are supposed to sagely nod their heads and say "ye wise man, thou knowest my inner-most thoughts and thy punishment is just".

    As a note to myself, henceforth all my stick figures will sport mustaches (yes, both male and female stick figures). The beard on the females will indicate that they are post-menopause - just to be safe.

    • by mangu (126918) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:50AM (#26034601)

      This means that any figure, that some judge deems is drawn to represent a person under the age of 21, must be considered juvinile. Therefore, if this drawing is doing something that may be construed as 'adult' in nature, the drawing is now up to the judge's intrepretation as to the age and content of the drawing.

      You are quite right.

      As a brief example, this is child porn:

      () C===8

      But this is not (pubic hair implies adulthood):

      @@
      () C===8

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TerranFury (726743)

      What's frightening about this particular case is that I actually know about these files they're referring to -- and tons of people used to have them. Back when DirectConnect was a popular P2P app, I remember seeing files with names like "Simpsons porn" on lots of people's hard drives. I never thought much of it; obviously it was a crude joke and nothing more. It would never have even occurred to me to consider it child porn.

      What's scary is how close to home this hits. Out of stupid morbid curiosity, I a

  • Ouch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shivetya (243324) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:16AM (#26033983) Homepage Journal

    So how long before Anime is child porn down there? Oversexed adolescents are the typical fare so it probably is fodder for these guys. It really sounds similar to the case involving the suicide we had recently, the law just HAD to do something because it was "OBVIOUSLY" wrong to begin with. In other words, law based on the whim of a government employee.

    It is a cartoon, no one real was harmed, so now inanimate objects have rights or is that entirely dependent on what they represent? I mean, can you get busted for making a parody where the statue shits on the bird? After all its "naughty bits" might be showing.

    Who would have thought the real prudes wouldn't be over zealous religious players and instead dowdy old government goons

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RyoShin (610051)

      Who would have thought the real prudes wouldn't be over zealous religious players and instead dowdy old government goons

      You're making the dangerous assumption that these two groups are mutually exclusive.

  • And..? (Score:3, Funny)

    by bhunachchicken (834243) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:18AM (#26034017) Homepage

    Bart: Hey guys, just so you don't hear any wild rumors, an Australian judge has ruled that some drawings of us are considered to be child porn.

    Homer: Pfff. That's no reason to block the TV.

  • by discord5 (798235) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:22AM (#26034089)

    I'm sure that the children who are actually being abused around the world are enormously happy that at least their favourite cartoon characters are safe.

    I'm sorry if that's a little too cynical, but don't these people have important things to do?

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:26AM (#26034131)

    ... possibly paedophiles themselves but don't want to admit it and so make a big deal out of everything that could possibly turn them on? I'm not trying to be frivolous , but it days past (and probably still) you'd often get violently anti gay men who in the end turned out to be gay themselves but couldn't accept it - that anger was actually self hate. I do wonder these days with a lot of people seeing child porn everywhere whether these people themselves are paedos and are getting turned on by pictures of peoples kids on the beach or whatever and so to try to prove to themselves that they're not perverts they do a 180 and try to ban everything.

    • by ductonius (705942) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:39PM (#26035559) Homepage

      Congratulations, you've discovered Freudian reaction formation. [wikipedia.org]

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:49PM (#26035757) Homepage

      I remember a comedian (Bobcat Goldthwait iirc, which tells you how long ago this was if I can't recall for certain) pointing this out, observing that it's only porn if it's titillating. So has a picture of his kid running naked through a sprinkler in his wallet, and he shows it to a normal person, they go "oh hey, cute kid", and then he shows it to the reactionary type and they go "Oh my God! Get that disgusting sexual filth away from me!" which makes you wonder why they thought that way.

      There was also a hilarious Mad TV sketch, also many years ago, about an artist who painted Rorschach tests, only he had an actual subject in mind when painting them, who trying to get a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts by talking to a congressman or whoever, who sees child porn in every one of them. E.g. "I can't believe that you would show me such filth!" "What are you talking about?" "This is clearly child pornography! See, there's the smooth, young boy, and there's the wrinkled old man trying to seduce him!" and "I call this one 'Puppies, puppies, puppies'", followed by "Why don't you call it what it is: 'Naked boys, naked boys, naked boys'!" and so forth. At the end of the sketch, the senator stands up and without prompting cries "I am not a pedophile!" It was quite hilarious.

      On the other hand, it's not like any reasonable, non-pedophile person would see a drawing of two Simpson's characters humping and think that this wasn't intended to be sexual.

  • by clickety6 (141178) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:36AM (#26034325)

    "the mere fact that they were not realistic representations of human beings did not mean that they could not be considered people", said Justice Michael Adams.

    The jury of peers, consisting of Popeye, TinTin, Andy Pandy, Bob the Builder, Elmer Fudd and Captain Caveman all agreed. Popeye was heard to say, "I yam what I yam, and if I yain't a person then what yam I? Just a cartoon figure? I thinks not yukyukyukyukyuk".

    So, how bad does a drawing have to be before Adams considers that it is not a person? And isn't there something just a little worrying about the sanity of a Justice who believes that a drawing has the same rights as a person?

  • by Brian Ribbon (986353) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:38AM (#26034379) Journal

    "Justice Adams said the purpose of the legislation was to stop sexual exploitation and child abuse where images are depicted of "real" children.

    However it was also to deter the production of other material, including cartoons, that could "fuel demand for material that does involve the abuse of children"."

    Firstly, child pornography is generally produced by people who wish to profit from such material or trade it with others. The belief that non-commercial demand encourages production is based on the assumption that child pornographers produce such images to distribute freely, which clearly contradicts claims that child pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry.

    The idea that viewing child sex cartoons encourages child pornographers to abuse actual children takes this argument to an even more ridiculous level. If someone can download child sex cartoons in order to get their fix, they are less likely to download real pictures of children. If commercial child pornographers make an increasing amount of money from child sex cartoons, they're more likely to draw cartoons than use real children. If there is an increasing demand for cartoons amongst people who trade child pornography, those who produce images for trading will be more likely to draw cartoons than use real children

    There is no mechanism by which viewing child sex cartoons can lead to real children being used for child pornography; this is yet another example of blind moralism being placed above the welfare of children.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417)

      The argument of "watching cartoon child porn makes people want real child porn" only raised one question in me: "Judge? Do you want to watch real children getting raped after watching this?" (obvious answer) "Then why the bloody hell do you think others would 'turn pedo' by looking at it?"

  • by jbezorg (1263978) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:39AM (#26034401)

    "...the mere fact that they were not realistic representations of human beings did not mean that they could not be considered people."

    Those cardboard cutouts of Homer & Marge in the passenger seats? Restricted commuter lanes, here I come.

    Oh and the cardboard cutouts of Bart, Lisa and Maggie? Dependents when I file taxes.

    The tape that holds them together? That's a medical expense.

  • by CynicalTyler (986549) on Monday December 08, 2008 @11:43AM (#26034461)
    thoughtcrime.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:23PM (#26035235)

      Where do you see this distance? I can't see any. This is thoughtcrime. There is nobody being harmed, nobody being at any kind of disadvantage, what remains after the dust settles is the claim that someone could think a certain way after looking at those pictures.

      Where do you see the difference to thoughtcrime?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Haeleth (414428)

        Where do you see the difference to thoughtcrime?

        In real thoughtcrime, the crime would be to have the thought. Here, the crime is to possess an image which the judge believes might prompt the thought. The difference is that there is still something in the real world (in this case, the cartoon) that is being presented as evidence that a crime took place; in a thoughtcrime situation, the prosecutor could secure a conviction just by saying something like "we know this person thinks evil things because he look

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:04PM (#26034869)

    What is the argument against drawings of child porn? That showing the act is as much criminal as the act itself?

    Then why are action movies legal that show killing people? Is it less criminal to show how to kill someone than it is how to rape someone? Is it me or is this logic a wee bit flawed? It's legal to show how a person is getting disembowled, with blood and guts flying while a chainsaw rips through their body (yeah, of course special effects, but hell, that's REAL people acting, I'm not even talking some splatter anime/manga here!), but it is illegal to draw something?

    Could anyone explain to me the logic behind that? I'm sorry, I don't get it.

    • by Cederic (9623) on Monday December 08, 2008 @02:35PM (#26037733) Journal

      As I mentioned in a reply above, the justification in the UK was to provide a means to prosecute people that film the abuse of children (and yeah, we're talking hard hot cocks up 6 year old arses, this isn't a fucking game) and use rotoscoping or other techniques to turn it into a cartoon.

      As the published video was a cartoon it couldn't be prosecuted under decency laws and there was no proof that abuse took place. Under the new laws it can be prosecuted, whether abuse can be proven or not.

      And if you happen to hand-draw some cartoons from scratch then you're fucked because the law is badly written and zealously prosecuted, but that's a separate issue entirely.

      Although the application of the law is fucking obnoxious, the intent behind it is grounded in preventing very real abuse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Could anyone explain to me the logic behind that? I'm sorry, I don't get it.

      No. If you don't get it now you likely never will "get it". To understand the logic behind censorship you need to have at least some amount of cognitive dissonance [wikipedia.org], an authoritarian personality [wikipedia.org], and some defensive mechanisms [wikipedia.org]. Try banging your head against a concrete wall long enough [wikipedia.org] and you might get enough brain damage to understand this logic.

  • by njord (548740) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:11PM (#26034989)

    There have been two big news items about child porn regulations 'gone wild' recently - this, and that business in the UK about images on Wikipedia. It was hard to trump the UK's absurd regulation, but Australia did it!

    I'm absolutely against "child pornography" for reasons that I think I share with many others. However, that term is clearly very broadly interpreted.

    The reasoning for child porn regulations is pretty reasonable:

    1. Child porn requires that children be put in compromising, sexual situations. We can broadly say that children will not understand the connotation of the situation and at the very least, they will be participating in something that they don't consent to (since without understanding, there can't be consent). In short, children will come to harm through the very act of creating child porn. I think this is something that nearly everyone agrees with.
    2. Child porn encourages people perform sexual acts with children. This conclusion is harder to support, and something that I take some issue with. We see this kind of argument in (usually well-meaning) efforts at censorship - 'violent video games make people violent', etc. I think the issue is not content in these cases, but with individuals. I don't feel that I'm really qualified to make an argument either way in this case, but I have heard of no instances where a person who realized their sexual interest in children after seeing some child porn.

    Since most people agree with 1., we should prosecute those who produce and sell overtly sexual images of real children. If we just consider 1., I think it's fairly straightforward to delineate between acceptable and unacceptable images; pictures of children taking a bath or running around naked (which children do, and which parents find charming for some reason) were clearly not taken in circumstances where children were exploited.

    Point 2 is where the more broad regulations come from. Perhaps there are people who would be sexually aroused at seeing an image of a child bathing, even if the picture has the most innocent of connotations. I would argue that we need to deal with the disturbed individuals in this case, not parents recording their childrens' lives.

    With point 2 in hand, regulators can really go nuts - who's to say what will sexually excite an individual? Pictures of fully-clothed children playing, pictures of aspiring dancers in tutus, pictures of children's shoes, where is the line? Is there some critical number of people who have to be sexually excited to make the image illegal? Even if that is solid reasoning (and I don't think it is), how do you measure that?

    I think the important thing to keep in mind is point 1 - we know that the creation sexual photographs of (real) children exploits children, so we must prevent it. Point 2 must be treated with care; we shouldn't abridge our liberties to create content just because there are mentally ill people who would use said material as a call to action. We should be devoting our resources to helping such people.

    Another example of lazy, ineffectual government.

    njord

    • by QCompson (675963) on Monday December 08, 2008 @03:40PM (#26038643)

      I think the important thing to keep in mind is point 1 - we know that the creation sexual photographs of (real) children exploits children, so we must prevent it.

      Here's a thought: how about we arrest people who are actually committing the crimes depicted in the photographs, i.e. rape/molestation, rather than focusing almost entirely on the photographs themselves?

      Western societies have developed a strange fixation with child pornography, elevating it to a level of heinousness far beyond the actual act of child rape it may depict (of course all of the self-shot post-pubescent teen porn is lumped in as well, where there are no victims). I guess the governments and law enforcement officials have gotten their wish... the hysteria has allowed them to put a stranglehold on freedom of speech on the internet, and very few question it. "We must prevent it" by widescale monitoring and censorship of the internet.

  • Video Games Next (Score:4, Informative)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:27PM (#26035335) Homepage Journal

    So I give this less then a year before something from a video game is now implicated.

    Violence towards children too right? How many RPGs have plucky minors doing battle against the forces of evil? Oh sorry that robot hit the protagonist of the game. Child abuse.

    Lets not forget that Frank Herberts DUNE, Little House on the Praire, are both considered in several school as examples of C.P.

    Paul was roughly 15 in the story and Laura Ingles Wilder was married as a "minor" by today's standards.

    The rise of the "Thought Police" right before our eyes. It's good to see the Pre-Crime units taking care of obviously crime-inducing material before it results in a crime...

    Lets not forget that last I heard 50% of possession charges in the US still stem from Traci Lords.

    Great...

    Now animated content eh? Little Mermaid? Too revealing? Will all animated characters have to have disclaimer signs?

    And technically Bart isn't a child. Hell he's at least 20 years old now. But if it is the appearance of youth that makes that determination I have a feeling the whole wife\girlfriend\mistress dressing up as a cheerleader is right out now...

    The world is going crazy and I blame too many electronic gadgets. Liek geese getting confused when migrating we're going collectively nuts as a results of too much man-made 'noise'in the world....

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Monday December 08, 2008 @12:47PM (#26035721) Journal

    But Justice Adams agreed with the magistrate, finding that while The Simpsons characters had hands with four fingers and their faces were "markedly and deliberately different to those of any possible human being", the mere fact that they were not realistic representations of human beings did not mean that they could not be considered people.

    If cartoons can be considered people, and the laws apply to all people, can cartoon makers be charged with murder for killing off a character? Can Warner Bros. be charged with assault and battery? What about Bugs Bunny or Wile E. Coyote? If one produces a cartoon depicting a rape, can one be charged with facilitation?

    This is an incredibly stupid ruling.

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