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Canada Censorship Crime The Courts

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

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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  • ^_^ (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.

  • by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:30PM (#42382315)

    And don't forget about watching all those Christians. They seem obsessed about the virtue of people dying on crosses and thereby absolving them of their sins. We wouldn't want them to decide to wash away some more sins.

  • 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."

  • 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

  • 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
  • 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. []

    Distasteful is not criminal.Dressing up is not crime.

  • by TrekkieGod ( 627867 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:43PM (#42382445) Homepage Journal

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

    "Art" perhaps. But I'd keep an eye on this guy. Of course it's only my reactionary opinion, but I think people that have an obsession with this sort of thing have a problem, and I'd want to make sure they don't "jump" to exercising a more "real world" form of their entertainment.

    "Opinion" perhaps. But I'd like someone to keep an eye on you. Of course it's only my reactionary opinion, but I think people that have an obsession with being concerned with what people do that doesn't harm anyone have a problem, and I'd want to make sure they don't "jump" to exercising a more "real world" form of their philosophy, like lobbying for laws that remove more of our freedoms.

    You and I may find it disgusting, but that just means we don't need to go look at it. It doesn't mean this guy is going to go and hurt anyone, and I think it's dangerous for us to start assuming that anyone with a fantasy would want that fantasy to be reality. Let's look at less extreme forms of entertainment. I love James Bond movies. Would I really want to be James Bond? Let's see what happens when we turn that fantasy into reality. We have a man who constantly gets beaten up and tortured, constantly in danger of dying, and although getting laid like he does sounds great, think about all the STDs he must have. I'm a fan of Batman, but do you think that means that I would really want to see a vigilante out in the streets bypassing the court system?

    Just because you enjoy a fantasy, doesn't mean you'd like to make it real.

  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @01:49PM (#42382471)

    So all the splatter horror movie creators and viewers? Just how many people are you planning on keeping an eye on?

  • 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.

  • by __aaltlg1547 ( 2541114 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:15PM (#42382637)
    you failed to grasp the meaning of TFAFalcon's sarcastic comment. Consider Mel Gibson's "The Passion." Goriest, most horrifying move I've seen in a long time. A real sickfest if you ask me. It's one thing to commemorate the death of Jesus. It's quite another thing to make dwell on every sick, sadistic detail of his crucifixion. But it's considered art and it should be. If we were banning 'art' on the basis of how horrific it is, we'd have to ban that movie and countless others, along with crucifixes and many other kinds of religious art and that would be a loss.
  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:23PM (#42382687)

    When I was younger, sexually frustrated, and jaded by readily-accessible Internet pornography, I had lots of fantasies that were extremely violent. I wouldn't have acted on them then, and I wouldn't act on them now. I still have fantasies that would turn my gut if I ever found out that they happened in real life.

    There are certain people who are able to differentiate between fantasy and reality, and determine that what works in one may not work well in the other. We call those people "well-adjusted".

  • 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 AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:33PM (#42382777)
    Morally, yes, legally, no. Sadly, all the 5-12 year olds on The Gong Show (come on, is the "X" anything other than a gong?) is illegal child porn, according to many laws. It's just that the laws are so far divorced from reality that most wouldn't realize it unless they stopped and thought "would this excite a pedophile?" Though the general legal standard is "would this excite a normal person" but that is ignored in court, and it's all a question of "if you thought this was sexy, do you find this sexy?" So, by definition, anyone charged with child porn is guilty. Like the manga guy with so many movies that some of them included tentacle porn. He pled guilty because his lawyer let him in on the secret that anyone charged with child porn is guilty, even if the porn is fictional and completely impossible (tentacle porn). That it is part of a larger art collection is irrelevant.

    The laws are so far divorced from reality it's insane. The problem is nobody wants to be seen as legalizing child porn, so they will only get more strict, and never less.
  • by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:36PM (#42382801)
    Why don't you put him on a "list"

    The "don't fly list"
    The "sex offender list"

    The "eats toejam and writes Free software list"
    The (Charlie Sheen) "Winning" list

    just to add to the previous "Security" and "Reserve" lists of US citizens that were actively spied on, for unspecified "crimes against the state" to be rounded up in case of an emergency.
  • by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @02:36PM (#42382807)

    Ultimate sacrifice? Wasn't the death of every other person that died on a cross a much bigger sacrifice? After all, they didn't come back from the dead.
    But the point of my comment was why persecute people creating images of torture, when the dominant religion in the country uses an implement of torture as it's symbol, and was founded on a person who had himself tortured to death. If creation of images of torture imply a desire to go on a killing spree then why restrict ourselves to 'keeping any eye on' just this artist? Shouldn't all the makers of crucifixes also be considered a danger? Shouldn't people who buy them?

  • by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <gaygirlie@[ ] ['hot' in gap]> on Monday December 24, 2012 @03:02PM (#42383007) Homepage

    Than you are a sick indevidual.

    Well, I don't really feel terribly insulted when a person who can't even spell "individual" and "then" properly calls me sick.

  • by margeman2k3 ( 1933034 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @03:07PM (#42383049)

    The 'point' of all the horrible gore in "The Passion" was to elicit pity and horror in the viewer, and to make them understand the sacrifice that was being made for Humanity's benefit.

    Surely the 'point' had absolutely nothing to do with making a controversial movie even more controversial in an attempt to get more people to see it (read: make more money).
    And surely a militant antisemite like Mel Gibson would never, ever, make this movie gory specifically to incite anger/hate against Jews, who are blamed for the crucifixion.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @03:10PM (#42383065)

    Looks like Canada is off the list. Even Britain isn't this prudish.

    Not sure why; the boundary of the law was tested and the correct verdict was returned.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Monday December 24, 2012 @03:42PM (#42383255)

    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: the only thing that ever made that Jesus of Nazareth totally lose his cool was *hypocrisy*. He despised hypocrites more than anything else. He much preferred socially-reviled sinners who were up front about it: prostitutes, tax collectors, lepers, persecutors ... If he were here today he would be hanging with pedophiles and Ponzi scheme administrators for example.

  • 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.

  • by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Monday December 24, 2012 @04:02PM (#42383377)

    Damn right they weren't of equivalent value.
    The others died, uncertain about what, if anything, awaited them.
    Jesus chose to let himself be crucified, then rose from the dead and went on living, effectively giving up nothing.
    It's like honoring a person for a charitable donation, even after he canceled the check.

  • Let me get this straight. You're saying that the torture depicted by Couture will give sick freaks a hard-on, but the torture depicted in Passion won't, and this is only because Mel Gibson's heart is pure, and Couture's isn't?

    Do you think I just fell off a potato truck, or what?

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 24, 2012 @05:08PM (#42383761) Journal

    And to people that are into that shit they are BOTH torture porn, end of story. nobody gives a rat's ass about "intent" because if that's all the excuse you need there are plenty of sick shit in both the bible and the koran that i can start filming tomorrow that will be sicker than anything yet put to film, so just get over it.

    Free speech is free speech, either you have it or you don't, and if you think because it was written ages ago gives it a pass? Well plenty of writings equally old that can let me make movies that will make Schizophreniac 2 look like an episode of the Teletubbies.

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe