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UK Proposes Banning Computer Generated Abuse 740

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-even-with-unicorns dept.
peterprior writes "The UK Justice Minister is planning to outlaw computer generated images and drawings of child sex abuse. While photographs and videos of child sex abuse are already illegal, undoubtedly to protect children from being exploited by these acts, what children will be protected by this new law? If there is no actual child involved is the law merely protecting against the possibility of offenders committing future crimes against real children?"
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UK Proposes Banning Computer Generated Abuse

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  • That's it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:31AM (#23582643)
    Any further goatse, 2 girls 1 cup, or tubgirl links will result in the poster being modded -1 Troll and reported to the UK computer police.
  • Thought Police! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kawabago (551139) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:38AM (#23582687)
    This can only mean there are now illegal thoughts.
    • Re:Thought Police! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:58AM (#23582843)
      There already are.

      Most child porn laws specify "sexual activity" OR "intent to arouse".

      This means that an image can both simultaneously be not child porn (a mom takes a picture of her daughter naked on the beach) and child porn (a pedo is aroused after downloading a copy of it).

      You could outlaw ALL nude images and prosecute parents for pictures of kids in the bath, but i'm not sure that's a good solution.

      But even if you did, then you would have to point out the several ongoing cases in the US involving clothed kids dancing or posing, which are being tried under child porn laws, despite the kid's parents having signed a waiver and agreed to the photos.

      So you could outlaw that, but then, how do you determine what is child porn?

      At which point does a studio portrait become porn? And considering that PRODUCING child porn carries sentences on the order of 20 years plus lifetime registration, you better make that line damn clear.

      Or you could just use the world "intent" and make sure it's nice and fuzzy so you can basically prosecute anyone who makes you feel squeamish, which is what happens now.

      So yes, there ARE illegal thoughts already.

      Welcome to the modern world. Thanks for joining us.
      • Re:Thought Police! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:56AM (#23583297)
        Easy solution: ban any and all pictures of children. No ambiguities anymore, and it'll also have the nice side effect of keeping us safe from new parents bombarding us with pictures of their drooling spawn...
      • Re:Thought Police! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Stanislav_J (947290) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @08:18AM (#23584551)

        The whole "intent to arouse" thing is troublesome, to say the least. One, how do you discern intent and, two, arouse who? The average person, or someone who happens to have a very specific fetish?

        I'm sure, long before the Internet and computers existed, there were individuals who got their jollies looking at the children's underwear photos in the Sears catalog. Sears certainly did not publish those photos with the "intent to arouse," and 99.99999% of those looking at the catalog would not have that reaction. When we start banning things because some teeny tiny minority of users MIGHT derive sexual pleasure from them in a manner that triggers the "eewwww!" factor in most people, we're getting mighty close to thoughtcrime.

        So, if a photographer produces photos of underage children in their underwear that are in every way indistinguishable from the Sears photos, but markets them under a website called "hotpreteensintheirundies.com" and uses suggestive, lascivious language to describe them, these otherwise unremarkable images become "child porn." This reminds me of the famous case I recall from my college communications classes where a publication (was it Screw magazine? This was a long time ago...) was judged not to contain obscene material; however, because the publisher marketed it as "obscene," and used that word in promotion, it was considered to be obscene. This is ludicrous.

        By rights, there should be no harm, no foul when it comes to images if (a)no children were actually physically assaulted or harmed (as in the underwear images above), or (b)no actual sexual activity is depicted, or (c)the individuals involved are actually 18+, or (d)the individuals depicted do not actually exist (as in computer or manually generated art). In all of these cases, no actual child was in any way harmed or sexually assaulted.

        The notion that such images may possibly, maybe, under the right circumstances, in some very few rare and isolated cases inspire a potential pedophile to actually harm a child is irrelevant. (And, as others have pointed out, WE DON'T KNOW if this is the case, because hardly any studies have been done, and probably will never be done, because of the distasteful nature of the subject matter.) ANYTHING can potentially inspire a sick mind to do heinous things. (The book "Catcher in the Rye" and the movie "Taxi Driver" were never intended to inspire a potential assassin, yet they played a significant role in, respectively, motivating Chapman to kill Lennon, and Hinkley to shoot Reagan.) As soon as we start criminalizing things based on "maybes" and "mights" and unproven possible unintended effects on isolated psychopaths, then the Law has become an orderless, featureless blob of goo instead of a carefully crafted guideline to protect the safety of the general society.

        But (HEAVY SIGH), we ARE talking about CHILDREN here. And, as we all know too well, anything that even slightly reeks of "protect the children" insures that common sense and logic will quickly be cast aside....

    • It depends (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm as big a fan of "freedom of thought" as anyone.

      But what are the purposes of these images, from a social/personal/psychological perspective?

      I can see a reasonable argument that their purpose is to create a feedback loop for someone who already has pleasurable thoughts about child sex abuse gaining additional pleasure from looking at them, which in turn feeds future pleasurable thoughts about child sex abuse. It is also not particularly hard to think that someone who obsesses about such things might be e
      • Re:It depends (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MSZ (26307) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @05:57AM (#23583651)

        I can see a reasonable argument that their purpose is to create a feedback loop for someone who already has pleasurable thoughts about child sex abuse gaining additional pleasure from looking at them, which in turn feeds future pleasurable thoughts about child sex abuse. It is also not particularly hard to think that someone who obsesses about such things might be encouraged by that loop to make the jump into real life, for example when the computer generated images are no longer "extreme" enough.

        This was predominant theory half century ago, which supported bans on pornography, censorship etc. Then some countries lifted the ban under the less supported theory, that such material provides surrogate fulfilment. Statistically they were correct as the number of sex-related crimes fell sharply. Surely some of the sickos will go into feedback loop, but most of them will happily "go manual" while drooling on the pages/screens.

        But a society which champions freedom of expression/thought/speech/action must perhaps still draw some limits or find some coherent basis for existence, or else risk becoming utterly dysfunctional.

        The most logical limit is very simple: Was any child actually abused to make that particular material? If yes, drag the producer to the jail, lock him up and throw away the key. Punish for real crime, not thoughtcrime.

        Anyway, even for people that are not into this kind of "entertainment", it's quite important to defend freedom. If it's legal to publish sick offensive shit (with a limitation as above) it guarantees the right to publish anything less sick and less offensive, like the views of average people. Larry Flynt comes to mind...

        And UK is "special" (like in "special olympics") when it comes to related issues. There's very few actual cases of this kind of abuse, but the local media paint a picture of a country with violent pedophile at every corner, in every bush and three of them in every dark alley. With this level of hysteria they may very well ban photos of children whatsoever or require permits and observation by govt inspector.
      • Re:It depends (Score:5, Interesting)

        by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:22AM (#23583763)

        It's certainly an interesting issue. It's not that long ago in human history that promising children in marriage before they were 10 was common practice, and sexual relations would be started much earlier than is generally considered "acceptable" now. So characterizing sexual attraction to children as being a serious mental illness seems a bit of a reach -- it was perfectly normal not that long ago. Unless of course the vast majority of people in the middle ages were mentally ill, which is a possibility.

        Times change of course, and people live much longer now and popping out new kids at the soonest possible moment isn't a necessity. Further, kids have become increasingly sacred and protected from pretty much everything that has any potential to have an even vaguely negative affect on them, which certainly will affect their ability to deal with things like sex at an early age. Societies evolve, so the above paragraph isn't intended as an "it was okay to have sex with children then so it should be now" argument, merely offering a counterpoint to your suggestion that it's a mental illness.

        The main thrust of your initial argument is that exposure to simulated child porn may cause certain individuals (presumably ones who are somehow predisposed) to take their fantasy acts into the real world, and cite that certain types of "users" of adult porn will seek out harder and harder stuff.

        I see two philosophical problems with this as a basis for banning anything that might be construed as CP. Firstly, "may cause certain types of people" has a hollow ring to it, and seems to be used by people wanting to enforce their own wishes without a good reason. More to the point, it acknowledges that it doesn't cause the majority of people to behave in an unacceptable manner, no more than watching violent movies or playing violent video games causes a significant number of people to behave in an acceptable manner. As such, we're effectively punishing (as in, restricting the freedoms of) perfectly law-abiding citizens, in order to potentially protect us from a few.

        Taken further, consider these ideas which, to the best of my knowledge, are all backed up by studies:

        • listening to music while driving a vehicle should be banned, as it can cause some people to drive more "dynamically" increasing the risk of accidents (particularly music with a fast tempo)
        • listening to anything at all while driving a vehicle can distract certain people enough to significantly increase the risk of accident; therefore radios and passengers should be banned
        • certain people may become violent after drinking alcohol, so alcohol should be banned
        • similarly, certain people may feel less inhibited by things such as "the law" or "decency" after drinking alcohol, so it should be banned twice
        • some people commit violent crimes to obtain money, therefore being poor should be banned (not exactly sure how to implement this; perhaps not being poor could be banned instead?)

        More seriously, a person who enjoys child porn almost certainly enjoys looking at children in real life, as well. So should we ban children from all public spaces just in case there happens to be a paedophile around who will have bad thoughts because they happen to see a child they find attractive? I mean, having separate "child habitats" where children are made safe from the problems of the real world is the next logical step in the continued cotton-balling of our kids.

        The general point being, if people are somehow predisposed to paedophilia, or murder, or rape, or theft, or any of a number of things we want to strongly discourage in our society, then these actions could be partially triggered by any number of inputs. Some might be easy to identify, others more difficult. Moreover, many of these inputs may be perfectly acceptable things that normal folk feel add value to their lives. Lots of people have posted about violent movies as a point of comparison. If we start banning "normal" folk fro

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheLink (130905)
          "More seriously, a person who enjoys child porn almost certainly enjoys looking at children in real life, as well. So should we ban children from all public spaces just in case there happens to be a paedophile around who will have bad thoughts because they happen to see a child they find attractive? "

          Nah the next step is to make them wear a hijab/burqa/chador, just like in those Islamic countries.

          I'm sure many adults have bad thoughts, even illegal ones when they happen to see an adult they find attractive.
        • Re:It depends (Score:4, Insightful)

          by clam666 (1178429) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @09:29AM (#23585307)

          This will continue, of course, until the fetishization of children decreases, and by that I mean the fetishzation of children by their parents and government.

          Ignoring relatively recent human history where children in their early teens were married off, soldiers in wars, or running businesses/plantations/families, we have now created an overindulgent culture of keeping adults as children as long as humanly possible for the enjoyment of parents and politicians who exploit them.

          An aquaintance of mine refers to her dog as "puppy" and treats him as such, regardless of the fact that the dog is 13 years old and on it's last legs. The dog is completely untrained, as to be expected, but now is not even getting some required medical care for a dog of it's age because that might be some sign that the animal isn't a puppy nor immortal.

          Sadly, most of the "parents" I know now are doing similar things with their children. I've overheard conversations between parents chiding each other for cutting junior's hair ("His curls are so cute! We can't cut them!", "Yes, but he's 8 and looks like a roadie from Foghat"), not letting a 6 year old stay up until 3a.m ("She's playing! We have to let children be children!", "Yes dear, but I have to set up for Foghat in the morning."), and my favorite told to my idiot 14 year old nephew ("It doesn't matter what grade that teacher gave you, as long as you tried your best that's all that matters."). Having tried that technique of project completion with employers has met with limited success.

          Luckily, if the child might be showing any signs of rebellion, intelligence, or desire to flourish on their own terms, there are a slew of "disease du jour" and designer drugs to keep them in that glassy-eyed / dopey-smiled state of puppiness. Autism/aspergers/marjoram/whatever is always available in case junior shows a but too much resistance. Pigeon hole them now, keep them in size XXL diapers when they're 16, and keep them from ever leaving mommey and daddy's side. Because as long as they stay, mommy and daddy aren't really, you know, grown-ups or old themselves.

          Now I'm sure there are plenty of kids with "real" mental issues out there. I suspect if the bell curve is to be believed that at least 50% of the population has difficulty telling one end of a chalupa from another, and if special-ed classes and living with their parents until they're 40 gets my drive-thru order right at least most of the time, then it can't be all that bad.

          Before I get modded for being too off topic, let me seamlessly tie that right back in to the article somehow.

          Although real child abuse does occur, most likely it isn't the creepy guy in the street with the bad haircut and thick glasses on slashdot, it's the parent, family relative, or friend that does most of the molesting/abuse. The german sex-ring isn't photographing little Briegh or Taylour as they play in the back yard, it's the baby sitter or cousin or uncle Joe who is doing far worse when no one's watching, and since families rarely turn in one of their own, it's just quietly kept under wraps like the Catholic Church did with "misbehaving" priests who had a taste for alter boys.

          Politicians, knowing this but powerless to prevent it, love to pick up the banner of saving the children from some unknown danger from one of those southeast asian countries with a sex-ring and is much more marketable than passing laws that would prosecute a mother as an accessory who stands by allowing their children to be molested by their new boyfriend but pretending it isn't happening because she doesn't want to "rock the boat".

          It doesn't matter that laws that would prosecute a completely digitally created image where no abuse occurred to anyone would also include 450 year old paintings that show fat naked cherubs (with little penii!) flying around Aphrodite getting it on, consenting adults role playing together (any second they'll have the urge to molest real kids, like them homosexuals!), or the XTian bible raping virgi

    • Pencils... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)
      In theory I can now end up in prison for drawing something with a pencil and paper.

  • by Deltic55 (1198839) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:42AM (#23582727) Homepage
    ... would a recent Simpson's movie have been unviewable in the UK due to Bart Simpson's brief nudity?
  • Age (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:43AM (#23582733)
    Without birth records or a child / parents to ask, how do you determine the age of a person in a drawing?
    • Re:Age (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:53AM (#23582803) Homepage Journal
      Oh, haven't you heard? The burden of proof is on the photographer these days. You're assumed guilty, and even if you can prove yourself innocent, it doesn't matter, you have to prove yourself innocent *first* and register your proof with a document retention company. I'm not shitting you.

            18 U.S.C. Section 2257 Compliance

      I'm sure the UK has similar laws.

      • by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:39AM (#23583179) Journal
        Well, I guess Ghastly's Ghastly Comic [ghastlycomic.com] is ok then, 'cause he says Chibi Sue is 36 and only looks like a little girl.

        But seriously, how would one provide records to prove the the age of a drawn character?

        And I'd worry more about judgments based on what it _looks_ like, in the context of a law where 17 years old is still considered paedophilia. Now I'm not saying one should look for naked 17 year old girls, just saying how it applies to a drawing. How do you prove that you had in mind a 18 year old girl, and not a 17 year old one, when you drew t.

        I actually personally knew someone who looked like she was maybe 13 or 14 by the time she finished college and got married. No bloody kidding. Not only her face was that of a child, but she was really short too, so basically she was as close to a "chibi" drawing as it gets. She looked like she's probably not even in high school yet.

        So what I'm saying is, basically this:

        1. noone objected to her marrying and presumably having sex, unless a bright star appeared in the East again when she got pregnant ;) Because she was well over 20, looks be damned.

        2. she could probably even star in a porn movie, if she wanted to, because proof can be provided that she's well over 18

        3. but if you drew some character based on her, you're essentially fucked because it looks like you drew a child. And you can't provide any proof that the character you had in mind isn't really a kid in disguise.

        And actually, depending on the country (e.g., I _think_ in UK that's the case already) probably even #2 might be illegal, because it _looks_ like fucking someone underage.

        Again, I'm not arguing for allowing actual paedophilia or child porn. But when the law gets into the murky domain of what it _looks_ like, it gets very funny indeed. Especially with an age like 18 as a cutoff point. Girls get their puberty and get breasts quite a few years earlier than that, and from there it's just a very slow and gradual transition to young adult, and there's considerable variation in how fast it happens. There are people well underage which look like they're 20 already (e.g., Traci Lords didn't raise any alarm bells when she claimed to be 18 and was actually 15), and there are people who look a lot younger than they are.

        When looking at a photo or movie of Traci Lords, or even interacting with her in person, pretty much noone could tell that she's 15 not 18. How do you tell if a drawing looks like 15 or 18 then? How about whether she's 17 or 18?

        There are no major morphological changes that happen abruptly at 18. It's not like they sprout a tail or horns at 18, so you can look at the drawing and see if the character has them or not.
  • by Martian_Kyo (1161137) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:45AM (#23582753)
    While (true)
    {
          me.bitchSlap(wife)
    }

    before anyone one says anything,
    I know this wont compile.
    Cause wife is null.
  • by admiralfurburger (76098) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:49AM (#23582777)
    Won't someone think of the pixels?
  • by papabob (1211684) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:51AM (#23582791)
    Its banned to have images with real children, as it should be. Now they want to ban just a drawing. Then, they will want to ban writings talking about child abuse; think of it, not only adult/porn books but every novel in which any of the characters had been abused. After that it will be illegal to talk about sex with children. Results? child abuse will be an undeground thing again, flying below the radar of the society (as it was 30-40 years ago) and the govt/media will have to find the next ScaryThing(tm). Somebody should tell them that a mental illness cannot be fixed with a ban...
    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:02AM (#23582895) Homepage
      The logical progression is of course to ban children. If we don't have any children, then they can't possibly be abused and will therefore be safe.

      Is this good logic? Can I have a job as a politician yet?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anne Thwacks (531696)
        The logical progression is of course to ban children.

        I am sure the UK government is working on this. After all, children will grow up, and some of them might be abusers. We can't take the risk. Think of the children!... ("Oh, Wait" is not supported by the present "government by knee jerk" strategy)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:05AM (#23582917)
      Naw, just wait. The Pedophiles will get their rights just like the Homosexuals did.

      (Have i offended someone? Good!)

      The topic is not easy, not at all. While i can perfectly agree that raping children is wrong, pedophilia in- and itself does not hurt anyone.

      It's basically the same as homosexuality - something that's wired the wrong way (from a pure biological standpoint). That doesn't make these people bad, wrong, pervert, sick, or anything else like that.

      The only difference is that homosexuality can be lived out between consenting adults, while pedophilia cannot.

      However, current society treats pedophiles (and i'm talking about pedophiles, not rapists) like they already committed a crime.

      Add to that the issue that from a biological standpoint sex is a.ok. from the time a girl can get pregnant, but depending on where you live you'll have to wait much longer than that.

      • Mod parent up (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:37AM (#23583845)

        (Have i offended someone? Good!)
        Yes, parent is confrontational.

        But this boils down to the key point that sexual orientation isn't a choice. Lots of people don't really think things through.

        I'm happy I was born as a socially acceptable heterosexual... It must be living hell for all the people born pedophiles, knowing they will become an outcast the moment they tell anyone about their sexual orientation. Even though they have never hurt a child, and never will. I think we can safely assume there are vast numbers of pedophiles living "in the closet".
      • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Thursday May 29, 2008 @08:54AM (#23584913) Homepage

        something that's wired the wrong way (from a pure biological standpoint)


        Lusting after attractive 12 year olds is not wrong from a purely biological standpoint, in fact it makes perfect sense. In order to propagate your genes as much as possible, the best tactic is to impregnate as many young girls as possible. The sooner you get to them the better, since by having your children it prevents them having anyone else's for at least 9 months, not to mention the attachment they then form with you that makes it harder for others to impregnate them. From a purely animalistic point of view, girls just into puberty should be the most (physically) attractive.

        As for homosexuality, it's a natural phenomenon. Sure, it reduced the chances of procreation, but it is a common enough genetic variation that it is considered normal.
  • Posturig politicians (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:56AM (#23582829)
    Psychiatrists have known for a long time that paedophiles are "born that way", that their perversion isn't really a product of their upbringing or past life experiences, just like homosexuality. It's not something they can control or repress, or avoid becoming by not looking at certain images.

    So, while outlawing real kiddie porn is understandable to avoid children being used to produce the material, outlawing computer-generated images makes no sense at all: it won't lessen paedophiles' drives and it won't prevent "would be" paedophiles from becoming real ones. What this is is some politicians passing a think-of-the-children law to look good, probably before elections or something.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by joe 155 (937621)
      I'm not sure if your from the uk or not, but I think you've really hit the nail on the head with your comment concerning a desperate need of some politicians to raise their popularity. Brown is incredibly unpopular, his government has lost every vote they have every been subjected to and have shown the worst results labour have seen at least since 1983 where they were arguing for real socialism in the country. This means that he really needs popularist policies and the easiest way to do this is introduce la
  • Closing loophole (Score:5, Informative)

    by IAmAI (961807) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @03:58AM (#23582839)

    If there is no actual child involved is the law merely protecting against the possibility of offenders committing future crimes against real children?"

    According the news article, the motivation for the law is close a loophole in the law whereby a paedophile manipulates a illegal photography in order to make it legal:

    "The government has acknowledged that paedophiles may be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons."

  • Coward (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:03AM (#23582901)
    Right, as I'm posting this as an anon. coward, I know there won't be as heavy leverage behind my opinion. Nevertheless... this is drawing a -very- fine line. Child porn is a horrible, horrible thing. But to ban computer generated images is the first step down a slippery road.

    It's illegal to rape anyone, or to kill anyone. Does that mean images, or say 90% of films in the case of the latter, should one day be outlawed? What of films like lolita? OK, so you can argue that these are movies made not for the purpose of people getting a sick pleasure out of it. Surely there will always be people who get pleasure out of graphic images in the way they were not intended.

    I'm just afraid that once you start banning one form of fantasy produced content, not based on an act that has actually helping, what will stop law makers from using this as an example in the future for banning other forms of media? Kind of reminds me of the point the fellas over at South Park tried to make in the Cartoon Wars... either its all alright, or nothing is.
  • by trims (10010) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:03AM (#23582907) Homepage

    I'm not sure about UK law, but here in the US, we have a nice standard for what is Obscene:

    (a) It (whatever it is, photo, "artwork", film, etc.) must appeal primarily to purient interest

    (b) It depicts sexual activity in a patently offensive manner (according to community standards)

    (c) Taken as a whole, the work has no artistic, political, or social value.

    Frankly, the article does hit on one major problem with "synthetic" child porn - it's often not really synthetic. Remember the movie "A Scanner Darkly" ? That's the kind of thing were starting to see, not the full-on synthetic of a Final Fantasy. It's damned hard to figure out which is which, and in the mean time, people get exploited.

    I don't see the need for additional legislation, as this kind of "artwork" has a far easier time being considered Obscene than most other types. When considered as a whole, most of this stuff would automatically pass (a) and (b) without much of an argument, and the bar for (c) would likely be lower than if the material solely used adults.

    And, you certainly don't want to outlaw all cartoon "child porn" (i.e. things depicting sexual activity in children) - we need educational materials which depict certain acts in order to help victims of such crimes, not to mention basic (preventative) education itself. Additionally, I don't want to see documentaries become illegal (synthetic actors or real people), just because some people don't like the subject matter.

    I like the obscenity standard. It's tough, for a reason. The only problem with it here in the US is jurisdictional - people should be prosecuted in the place where they possess it, not in some other place. That is, if Person A makes it available in California, but person B in Kentucky downloads it, then B should be liable for the Kentucky standards, but A should only be liable for California standards.

    -Erik

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365)

      Frankly, the article does hit on one major problem with "synthetic" child porn - it's often not really synthetic. Remember the movie "A Scanner Darkly" ? That's the kind of thing were starting to see, not the full-on synthetic of a Final Fantasy. It's damned hard to figure out which is which, and in the mean time, people get exploited. [...] I like the obscenity standard. It's tough, for a reason.

      No. In a proper lawful society we do not prosecute victimless thoughtcrime, and we do not prosecute without p

    • by Tom (822) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:42AM (#23583873) Homepage Journal

      It's damned hard to figure out which is which, and in the mean time, people get exploited.
      A few years back, when we were still living in a free society, it was considered perfectly normal that the prosecution had to prove their case, even if it was hard. Even if it was "damned hard".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:05AM (#23582925)
    (commenting anonymously because this debate is still taboo in western countries)
    Hentai has been working around these limitation since ages. They draw child porn, tell the characters are 18 and voila. They look younger ? well, it is "artistic license".

    While not my cup of tea, I have always considered these kind of drawings as a way for real pedophiles to drop the pressure. I have always thought that preventing the circulation of child porn was counter-productive : it creates a black-market where the prohibition makes the prices go high. With high prices, it becomes more profitable to produce photographs.

    To me, pedophilia seems like the first pretext used to control Internet traffic. Production of child pornography is the real crime, this must be stopped. The porn industry must not employ children. Owning and distributing their works ? What is the problem with that ? That's called 'pirating' it is supposed to bring down their business model. Legalize the transmission and possession of child porn, and the production of child porn will die. It is not like they can file a complaint to the MPAA...
  • AOC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:08AM (#23582941) Journal
    I often wonder how much of the statistics of sexual abuse and child porn are inflated because of our age of consent laws. Not sure what they are in the UK, and this is about a proposed law in the UK, but in the US the age is usually around 18. So a 17 year old taking pictures of herself has the same legal designation as a 10 year old being molested and photographed by her abusers. If we had a law like this then drawings too would be just as bad? They're making a category of crime even larger when it already lacks the subtleties needed to deal with the reality of the world we live in.
  • After RFTA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Martian_Kyo (1161137) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:16AM (#23583001)
    I dub this law as Anti-Hentai law.
  • Against the law? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikeg22 (601691) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:28AM (#23583103)
    I have a question for any legal scholars. First, I have a gut feeling that possession of child pornography is wrong, but what is the rationale for why it is illegal to possess? Is it that the possession implies that the possessor bought it and therefore is driving demand for it? If so, the creation for demand of it has to be considered wrong, which once again I understand at a gut level, but why is it illegal? Maybe the answer to this is that the demand for the material causes actual abuse of children to occur in order to produce the material. Ok, so the root of this is that the demand causes abuse, which is clearly a violation of the rights of a child, and therefore the demand causes the abuse which itself is indicated by possession of the offending material. If my logical train of thought here is correct, why isn't it also illegal to possess a picture (or movie or book etc) of any criminal act? For example, say I had a picture of someone being beaten up. Also say that this picture had no artistic or political value. Possession of this (using the above reasoning) implies that I have created demand for the picture. The demand for the picture (thanks to Adam Smith) causes the creation of the picture, which leads to the actual beating up of someone. Why isn't any media (that has no political or artistic value) depicting a crime considered illegal?
  • Look! Peados! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damburger (981828) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:30AM (#23583117)

    Now just keep focusing on them whilst we take away all your rights.

    Peadophilia is, statistically speaking, less of a threat to your children than lightning. Seeing as how most child abuse comes from a family member, the best way for parents to protect their child from molestation is to not molest them.

    Yet this insignificant threat is used to scare people into allowing the government to take control of the Internet piece by piece. Our government has an overt disrespect for its subjects (remember, we are not citizens) and seems to think we should only have such rights as allow the economy to function and no more. They need shooting, all of them.

  • by naich (781425) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:40AM (#23583195) Homepage
    On second thoughts - don't. It's illegal now.
  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MagdJTK (1275470) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @04:45AM (#23583231)

    Has anyone who has replied actually read TFA? I've in fact done a lot more as it's been covered on Radio 4 a fair amount.

    The reason they want to ban it is because it's made by converting REAL CHILD PORN into computer generated images. In other words people know they can't distribute real child porn without being very careful, so they convert real child porn to this and get away with it. So demand for this sort of thing drives up demand for child porn and therefore child abuse.

    But I'm sure none of you lot were bothered about that --- too busy getting a hardon about being the first to quote 1984?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I call bullshit.

      I bet there's not a single documented case of this.

      It's just a way to circumvent legitimate opposition to thought-crime laws.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Builder (103701)
      Regardless of whether that is really happening or not (I've not seen any credible proof), this bill is still WRONG.

      This bill goes way past that, provides no real recourse to artists and is unsuitably vague to become the law of the land.

      Much like the violent porn bill passed here, this is simply another government exercise in imposing their morals on the nation at large, and much like the violent porn bill, it's just flat out wrong. But no-one will vote against it, because in their next election campaign, th
  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:09AM (#23583701)

    If there is no actual child involved is the law merely protecting against the possibility of offenders committing future crimes against real children?
    Could we please get rid of the notion that people require media to develop unpopular views/needs/stances? It's not like Victor Vanilla browses the internet until someone trolls him with a child porn shock image and he immediately turns into Roger Rapist who desperately needs to rape little children.

    We can't (yet?) predict whether someone will develop a paraphilia and we can't do anything about it. People just end up having different tastes for different (and often non-obvious) reasons. Whether or not poonography catering to a particular taste is available does not decide whether or not someone develops that taste; it can only be one of many influences.

    Banning CP so hard that even mentioning it carries a mandatory prison sentence will still do nothing to "solve" paedophilia. It will only further cloud up the water and force the affected further into obscurity and violence.

    What we need is an objective discussion of the issue. We need to view it as a controllable problem like alcoholism or an addiction. It's manageable, but only if we behave like mature, civilized human beings and treat issues like this with a bit of distance.

    "Clean" child porn might allow paedophiles to blow off steam instead of waiting until the pent up sexual frustration makes them abduct, rape and kill some little girl. We don't really know, which is why we need scientific evaluation. And that is not possible while idiots with shotguns/the media are running around shouting: "I NEED TO KILLS Y'ALL OR IT MIGHT BE MY DAUGHTER!!1"


    I think prohibition, the War on Drugs(TM) and similar endeavours have shown just how well complete demonization of an issue work towards safely controlling said issue.
  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:24AM (#23583773) Journal
    FTA:

    "The government has acknowledged that paedophiles may be circumventing the law by using computer technology to manipulate real photographs or videos of abuse into drawings or cartoons."

    But under the new Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, Section 69 [opsi.gov.uk]:

    "References to a photograph also include- a tracing or other image, whether made by electronic or other means (of whatever nature)- which is not itself a photograph or pseudo-photograph, but which is derived from the whole or part of a photograph or pseudo-photograph (or a combination of either or both)"

    So not only is it absurd to suggest that all drawings need to be criminalised because pedophiles are allegedly converting child abuse images into them, this simply isn't a loophole anymore anyway!

    What if pedophiles start converting images of children into page 3 girls, will they need to be criminalised too?

    The claim that this material is already illegal to sell or distribute is also bogus (they made this same false claim with the extreme porn law [slashdot.org] - on that note, expect to see "extreme" adult cartoon images made illegal in a few years). The Obscene Publications Act requires a jury to believe that the material would "deprave or corrupt" those likely to see it, but these new laws do not have such a test, instead using a dictionary definition of the word "obscene" (i.e., disgusting etc). I suspect that a jury made up of Daily Mail readers would consider plenty of Manga and Hentai to be illegal.

    Also see the official announcement [justice.gov.uk], and consulation and consultation response documents [justice.gov.uk].

    I fear that to the police, hentai is not merely something that may be unintentionally caught, but it is a direct intended target. In the response to the "extreme porn" law (a different law, but the comment is relevant), Greater Manchester police stated [seenoevil.org.uk] "Would like to see account of several child cartoon images e.g. Hentai material."

    And note that whilst the age of consent is 16 in the UK, the age for child porn was raised to 18 in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. So sex with a 17 year old is legal, but a fantasy drawing of someone who might look 17 would be illegal!

    The Register has a better write up [theregister.co.uk].

    Will South Park's Red Rocket be illegal [comedycentral.com]?
  • focus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday May 29, 2008 @06:33AM (#23583819) Homepage Journal
    The crime isn't important - the fear it generates it. Politics are driven by fear, more specifically by the formula "look how dangerous the world is - elect us so you're at least a little bit safe". The different parties only play on different areas of fear - right-wing usually on fears of crime, foreigners, etc. and left-wing on fear of unemployment, illness, poverty, etc.

    So everyone who's posted a comment detailing how computer-generated images hurt nobody is missing the point entirely. Nobody cares who is being hurt or not. It doesn't matter. "Abused child" is merely a meme that is being exploited by power-greedy politicians. Since our emotions do not differentiate between "real" and "computer-generated", they are triggered by both, and since fear is an emotion, politicians don't see why they should make a difference, either.

    Logic doesn't apply here. Psychology does.

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