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Canada Censorship Crime The Courts

Jury Decides Artist's Gory Images On Website Are Art 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the bloody-eye-of-the-beholder dept.
New submitter wilbrod writes "A Quebec special effects artist charged with corrupting morals has been found not guilty in a case that tested the boundaries of creative expression and Canadian obscenity laws. He was charged with three counts of corrupting morals by distributing, possessing and producing obscene material. During the trial, Couture argued his gory works, roughly a thousand images and two short videos that appeared on Couture's website, Inner Depravity, should be considered art. The material in question depicts gruesome murders, torture, sexual abuse, assaults and necrophilia — all with young female victims."
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Jury Decides Artist's Gory Images On Website Are Art

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  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:27PM (#42382289)
    Good thing he didn't get dragged to the US for an obscenity trial [avn.com]
  • ^_^ (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:28PM (#42382307)

    His work was in line with movies like Saw.

    While clearly not for everyone, it was indeed art.

    Hopefully, his career as a makeup artist will pick up even more steam and will allow to recover his legal costs quickly.

    • Re:^_^ (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wdef (1050680) on Monday December 24, 2012 @03:18PM (#42383123)

      I find the 'Saw' movies disgusting and tedious. But I don't want them banned just because they're revolting bad movies. But I don't need them banned. Call me old fashioned, but I just don't watch them! Everyone has a choice, a point which seems to all elude the would-be censors of the world.

  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:31PM (#42382325)
    From TFA:

    But there was no victim in the case â" all of the works were staged with willing actresses and a combination of fake blood, latex and silicone to create life-like, horrific images.

  • Wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:32PM (#42382341)

    Why do we even have obscenity laws? They're so incredibly ambiguous and wrong that they shouldn't exist to begin with. No, asshole, you don't and cannot "know it when you see it."

    • Re:Wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Barsteward (969998) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:37PM (#42382387)
      "Why do we even have obscenity laws?"

      Probably too many anal, religiously backed idiots around
  • No misogeny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Progman3K (515744) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:36PM (#42382371)

    He was considering a series with male models but his career took off (he works in the television industry now) and he simply didn't have the time to follow-up

  • by Hentes (2461350)

    is not to give publicity to these attention whores.

  • by Maow (620678) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:39PM (#42382411) Journal

    I submitted this story [slashdot.org] yesterday.

    It's really frustrating that it's still on roughly the first page of the "submissions" page, but a "dupe" was accepted.

    Note, I don't bear any ill feelings towards user "wilbrod" for also submitting it, it's just that I feel I wasted my time bothering to. And it isn't the first time this has happened. And, IMHO, my submission was a bit lengthier and contained a bit more relevant info for the Slashdot crowd.

    And, since I'm on a caffeine deficient rant-binge, where the hell are my mod points? I comment, submit stories, rate the submissions of others (to help relieve the deluge of spam, etc.), and not a single mod point in months and months, whereas before that I was getting 15 at a time(!) and they reappeared almost as soon as I used them up (sometimes even before).

    *off to get some coffee and food into me*

    • by wbr1 (2538558)
      I have had this happen in both directions. Having posted (unknowingly) a dupe story that was accepted, and what happened to you. It's just the nature of the poorly coded and edited slashdot beast.
    • and not a single mod point in months and months, whereas before that I was getting 15 at a time

      Random distribution is random.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        Slashdot has stated they are not random, and my experience is that they are not random.
    • by bruce_the_loon (856617) on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:27PM (#42382723) Homepage

      I'm not a Slashdot editor, but I'd say they picked this submission because it was a proper summary and didn't copy/paste sections of the original story in the submission like your one did.

      Basically you put too much, and at the same time not enough, information in the summary. You grabbed sections from a coherent article and made a somewhat different article out of it. You think your information was relevant, but what a Slashdot summary is supposed to do is to push the core information in a couple of sentances and then send the reader to the link.

      Your summary didn't give the historical background to the case, didn't give the charges laid against Couture or an indication of what the content was. That's what is needed in a summary. Sorry to be harsh, but your one was a mish-mash.

      MOD POINTS, that I agree with you. Where are my mod points.

      • by Maow (620678)

        I'm not a Slashdot editor, but I'd say they picked this submission because it was a proper summary and didn't copy/paste sections of the original story in the submission like your one did.

        Basically you put too much, and at the same time not enough, information in the summary. You grabbed sections from a coherent article and made a somewhat different article out of it. You think your information was relevant, but what a Slashdot summary is supposed to do is to push the core information in a couple of sentances and then send the reader to the link.

        Your summary didn't give the historical background to the case, didn't give the charges laid against Couture or an indication of what the content was. That's what is needed in a summary. Sorry to be harsh, but your one was a mish-mash.

        Thanks for your thoughts. I should re-read what I posted and if I bother to submit again, I'll keep it in mind.

      • by Maow (620678)

        Replying again: I thought it was highly relevant to bring the Jun Lin case into the submission I made, as the police had been advised in this case that a pathologist couldn't determine that a crime had not been committed (i.e. the effects were that good); they looked into it and found no violence had been committed.

        Then the newer case from this summer where police were tipped off to an actual crime committed, recorded, and posted on a web site. They might have been a bit hesitant to look into the 2nd case;

    • by wdef (1050680)

      Yeah that's happened to me several times also. I seldom bother submitting anymore, I mean why? There is no incentive to do so.

    • And, IMHO, my submission was a bit lengthier and contained a bit more relevant info for the Slashdot crowd.

      You're doing it wrong. Just keep in mind that the editors have the attention span of a Chihuahua on meth and the reading comprehension of a flatworm and you're golden.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:43PM (#42382437)
    Obviously, if the guy had depicted torture and dismemberment of old male victims, no one would be concerned.

    And "victims" is used in the sense of "models wearing makeup".

    If you take this guty to court, how about all the Saw/Hostel/etc.; all the dozens of slasher/splatter movies made every year? See, e.g. http://bloody-disgusting.com/ [bloody-disgusting.com]

    Distasteful is not criminal.Dressing up is not crime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:51PM (#42382487)

    I've never seen the art, I don't plan to see the art, and I don't care what it's about. It could have been anything. It could have been stock footage of pebbles of gravel for all I care (can't say that 'I couldn't care less if it was horribly violent looking', since that's evidently what it was... so a different example appears to be required)

    But the fact that it's allowed makes me smile just a little bit at Canada (which has been getting pretty hard for me lately, with Harper destroying the shit out of this place).

    Freedom of speech today just took slightly less of a beating than it's normally been getting. Mind you it's still getting beaten within an inch of its life... but being beaten within an inch of its life with softer gloves this time.

  • Inner Depravity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by booch (4157) <slashdot2010@NOsPam.craigbuchek.com> on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:56PM (#42382539) Homepage

    Isn't the fact that his site is called "Inner Depravity" enough of a warning? I think you could make a pretty good argument that the "norms" that should be used to judge such a site should include only those people who would go to a site after seeing that name.

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      Wouldn't his rights be the same if he called his site "weluvzfluffykittehs.com?"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Johann Lau (1040920)

      When I see a site called "bigbrother.[whatevs]" I don't expect that to be the homepage of IngSoc, but rather a critical website. Likewise with "Inner Depravity" -- why would anyone glorify it? Only I know we are knee-deep in that sickness and "art", which is basically just a combination of issues and obsession, see H. R. Giger for example. But still, there are more naive, better people than me, and they wouldn't automatically assume this is actually FOR inner depravity. So fuck the average, fuck the low end

  • I guess I'm still kind of ok with it. I'm just worried about the people who are drawn to this site.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:22PM (#42382683) Homepage Journal

      I guess I'm still kind of ok with it. I'm just worried about the people who are drawn to this site.

      Why does the porn nature change your opinion of it? Isn't gruesome murder pretty high on the intolerable scale already?

      In the US our FCC makes sure that producers can show babies being killed on TV, but babies being made is strictly forbidden. One school of thought says that this is entirely consistent with training a population to be 'at peace' with continual war.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        All the puritans clearly think violence is absolutely fine while anything vaguely sexual will ruin the nation's morals, if it had any. This in a country (the US) with an enormous sex industry and where minors are routinely depicted as sexual beings in the fashion and advertising industries and in beauty competitions.

        I find the hypocrisy simply astonishing. For the life of me I cannot understand how everyone doesn't see this. Are they all blind?

        All those so-called Christians out there should remember: th

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Because making sex 'no big deal' would also make it 'a lot less fun to fuck in the back seat of a car', or whatever floats your boat.

        There are advantages to trivial things being 'taboo'.

  • Some of the research out there is starting to show that consuming pornography over time changes the reward centers in our brains and impacts our ability to have relationships with the opposite sex. Some of it even suggests that over time there is a need for kinkier pornography because the normal stuff no longer has as much of a dopamine release as it once did. This applies to both men and women, and not just with visual pornography (reading erotica can be an issue as well). I'm not trying to make a case for

    • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:45PM (#42382879)

      Some of it even suggests that over time there is a need for kinkier pornography because the normal stuff no longer has as much of a dopamine release as it once did.

      No, it doesn't. What is known is that the same sex act releases decreasing levels. The seven year itch and other phenomina like that are due to that effect. And no, a schedule of increasingly kinkier sex acts will not fix that. The variety changing is what causes the dopamine levels to get back to normal. But, rather than researching how to keep high dompamine levels with "mainstream" porn, the researchers are paid to demonstrate that porn is bad and leads to bad things. It's the purityranical core of the US creeping out again. First, prove it's bad, second ban it. It doesn't matter if the initial proof is wrong or all lies. Once it's banned, it stays banned. Marijuana is still illegal, being banned for racist reasons by money from the textile industry and big pharma.

      Porn harms no one. If people stopped trying to prove how bad it is, and instead focused on making it as "safe" as possible, we'd have no problems. But instead, people try to make it as bad as possible, in practice as well as theory.

      • by wdef (1050680)

        It's the purityranical core of the US creeping out again. First, prove it's bad, second ban it. It doesn't matter if the initial proof is wrong or all lies. Once it's banned, it stays banned. Marijuana is still illegal, being banned for racist reasons by money from the textile industry and big pharma.

        Also still banned because the profit on sales is much higher for contraband; this pumps huge amounts of money into organized crime. Connections in the US government benefit from this. Instead, government should legalize, insist on purity and quality control, and heavily tax it. The public coffers would benefit and international organized crime would be dealt a serious blow.

    • I guess it does seem kind of pointless to just link to a study that agrees with your own point of view, doesn't it? Let's just drop the whole charade and not even bother doing that anymore.

    • by wdef (1050680)

      So what does reading Mills and Boon, which is unadulterated romance-"porn", do to women?

    • by wdef (1050680)

      I'm not trying to make a case for a blanket pornography ban, but those who imply that consuming explicit media "harms no one" are starting to slowly find themselves on the losing side of the science.

      Then instead of banning everything, why not educate people how to use porn sensibly? But then, we can't teach people how to drink booze sensibly, so we definitely should ban booze, right? And puritans won't tolerate sex education in schools, even though it is very clear that it would reduce teen pregnancies, inappropriate sex when the teen is not ready, STDs, etc. Who needs rationality anyway? The United States of Hysteria.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        But then, we can't teach people how to drink booze sensibly

        Yes we can, we in fact HAVE. We've also taught people how to use guns sensibly.

        That will never stop a few people with mental defects from going outside the norm and doing something bad.

        You're a shining example of your own statement. You're hysterical over non-existent issues.

    • by X.25 (255792)

      Some of the research out there is starting to show that consuming pornography over time changes the reward centers in our brains and impacts our ability to have relationships with the opposite sex. Some of it even suggests that over time there is a need for kinkier pornography because the normal stuff no longer has as much of a dopamine release as it once did. This applies to both men and women, and not just with visual pornography (reading erotica can be an issue as well). I'm not trying to make a case for a blanket pornography ban, but those who imply that consuming explicit media "harms no one" are starting to slowly find themselves on the losing side of the science.

      You are an idiot if you think porn has anything to do with people looking for 'different things' as they get older.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:33PM (#42382779)
    Elsewhere in the world, specificly The People's Republic of New Jersey, school officials cannot determine the difference between a real, and drawn automatic weapon. (wonder why the US has education problems)

    Its good to see at least somewhere(Canada), the Enlightenment lives on, and people can continue to release that drawings don't come to life and hurt people.
  • Can anyone guess what we will hear in a few years about this "artist"?

  • Does Canada have something like the "SLAPS" test that U.S. law has? For background, in the U.S., we have a litmus test from Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973), that says that a work has to lack "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value" in order to be considered obscene. This standard is so broad that it's even been used to strike down some of our child pornography laws, Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002). Rarely does our government even bother trying to prosecute

    • by compro01 (777531)

      The Criminal Code's definition of obscenity is "any publication a dominant characteristic of which is the undue exploitation of sex, or of sex and any one or more of the following subjects, namely, crime, horror, cruelty and violence".

      The prevailing standard for what constitutes "undue exploitation" is from R. v. Butler, which breaks potentially obscene material into 3 categories

      1. Explicit sex with violence will almost always constitute the undue exploitation of sex.
      2. Explicit sex without violence, but wh

  • Whereas it's not a good thing for the artist himself to be victimized by the State like this, from a pragmatic perspective, prosecutions like this are a good thing for freedom of speech. All they do is popularize the "obscene" art. I had never heard of this guy. I'm sure the vast, vast majority of people have never heard of him, either. Now we have. Now he's a cause célèbre among free speech advocates. And now I'm going to check out the guy's website and see what kind of "art" this guy has pro

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday December 24, 2012 @03:17PM (#42383115)
    The outside world doesn't know it but we Canadians are actually legally required to be nice. Eh! Ya didn' think we were nice because we liked you?
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday December 24, 2012 @03:59PM (#42383361) Homepage

    It seems natural, at least to some, to recoil in horror at the notion of fantasizing about homicide or mass homicide. I am reminded of a scene from Inglourious Basterds

    Spoiler Alert

    Near the end of the film, it shows Hitler and a bunch of Reich VIPs watching a movie of the death camps and laughing, and we, the audience, are meant to recoil in horror (and we do). In the very next scene, the heroes slaughter Hitler and the VIPs and Tarantino frames it as a comic scene, and it made me laugh at the slaughter.

    So there I was, whipsawed from moral outrage at someone for laughing at mass homicide on film to laughing at mass homicide on film in a matter of seconds. Now, obviously, we all prefer to see Hitler & Friends killed than innocent victims of genocide, but the laughing at mass homicide switchback remains. And it was all happening within a work of cinematic art.

    Tarantino shot a scene of people laughing at holocaust victims, and it is art. He shot a scene that causes us to laugh at mass homicide, and it is art. He juxtaposes those scenes, and it is poignant, incisive art. If we can laugh at mass homicide, and see laughing at the holocaust as art, it would be very challenging to objectively define the moral limits of art.

    Horrible things are a part of the human condition. If we are to be free to know ourselves, our artists must be free to explore the darkest corners of our beings.

  • The material in question depicts gruesome murders, torture, sexual abuse, assaults and necrophilia — all with young female victims.

    Basically, a Wednesday afternoon on 4chan /b/.

  • > The material in question depicts gruesome murders, torture, sexual abuse, assaults and necrophilia — all with young female victims.

    I'm not a serious horror buff, but aren't most slasher films all of the above (save perhaps the necrophilia) directed mostly at young female victims? It's practically a definition of the genre.

    I'm trying to imagine how it could be a crime for Couture to stage these scenes, and a multi-million-dollar enterprise for a studio in Los Angles to do exactly the same thing.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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