back to article Put down your pens: Cartoons next on censor block

Proposals to make it a criminal offence to possess cartoons depicting certain forms of child abuse are heading back to the House of Commons, and elsewhere in the UK and across the atlantic, it's becoming clear there is an appetite in certain quarters for a much wider clampdown on freedom of expression. In the UK, debate on the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Will this apply to the Olympics logo?

    Everyone knows it's Lisa Simpson giving a blow job.....

  2. this


    Presumably all cartoon characters will have to carry valid id cards to prove their age.

  3. Paul

    Dear Nanny State.


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think


    I can't even express myself with words on this matter anymore.

    The -------- idiots in charge of this worthless ---- hole of a country have no sense, none what so ever. They make law based on no fact, no evidence, mere fiction and fantasy within their own corript perverse minds, they spew filth and venom into our society. They are rancid pestulance sponcered by imbicils and pandering to idiots. They are two faced sharlitans, who lie with such ease and frequency that now not even they can tell the difference.

    The mere fact that those rabid barbarians can not see the difference between reality and fantasy is a blatent example that they are no longer fit for government, parliment or any other position of power. They are an abhorent mockery of democracy and a fine example of how stupid our still born system has become in the face of tabloid media power, quangos, police and pressure groups.

    There is no point in arguing with them, they are quite clear, they have made up their minds, they have proved themselves nothing more then puritain preachers sponsored by a media state. A British Taliban, Fundamentalist zealots, spewing hate and distrust into our lives.

    They spew and spew their toxic filth, supported by the weak and feable masses, their unfounded, unbacked, unsubstantiated maddness creeps through every aspect of our lives.

    And whilst they spew this vile into our world, what do they and their quangos do? Worse then nothing, they send child molesters to live with foster families that have children. They ignore the real fact that almost all abuse occurs within the home, commited by family and close friends.

    They make law after law criminalising hundreds of thousands of people, for nothing more then their own perverse gratification, and there is no voice to protect the people, becouse to protect them would be unpopular, and that would lose the votes of the idiots.

    How can we as a society allow them to make drawing pictures of sex illegal? How can it ever be right or just? Their arguements are thread bare but becuse they are supported by the tabloids there is no chance of it not being passed. How can it ever be legal?

  5. Joskyn Jones

    2012 Logo

    At least it would mean the 2012 Olympics logo will become illegal, the designers will be prosecuted and put on the sex offenders register... Who said there was no justice in the UK?

  6. Dive Fox


    But what about the furries? Surely they can't censor the furries?! What will be left after they take Sadville and cartoon porno away? </sarcasm>

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Mr Gaiman...

    "That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don't say or like or want said."

    That's exactly what freedom of speech is all about, sir- the right of others to say stuff you will not agree with.

    There's a whole bunch of people on the internet who think much more deeply about this than I, so I'm certain that folks will feel I'm stating the obvious (but I'll say it anyway): there's a hell of a lot of emphasis on people's rights nowadays, but the bit that's always interested me more are the responsibilities that come with those rights. I get the feeling that if we (as a society) were to pay as much attention to the responsibilities that attach to rights, the world would be a much better place- e.g. we've all a right to reproduce, but wouldn't it be nice if people thought about their responsibility towards the offspring?

    The analogue here is that whilst you should be able to say/write/paint whatever you like, you have to cope with the aftermath of your exercising that right (opreferably without bitching about it). If that results in Officer Dibbles coming knocking at your door because your slash fic scared the dickens out of Cheryl Cole, then fine. If that is tyhat your poetry falls under the Obscene Publications act, then good too.

    However, when ministers start presuming you are a danger to society because you've got a picture of Lisa and Bart doing things unpleasant to each other, surely we've gone a tad too far? I can't believe that after 12 years of the current government, there isn't a panoply of laws already in place to deal with an actual danger to society, as opposed to someone who is otherwise innocent.

    Or if that's a bit too philosophical for you- show me the injury that has taken place because of this assortment of 1's and 0's in a JPG file, and then maybe I'll allow that there's a need to legislate.

    Until then it's all Daily Fail-ism of the highest order.

    Icon: Me checking to see if the passport is in my coat, prior to hitting T4 and heading overseas forever.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We'll have to see how they deal with that.

    Strange stuff. The bodies are adult, but the faces are kids.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    70's playboy

    So 70's playboy would be outlawed? Why? Because nanny thinks that someone who reads it may be a kiddy diddler?

    Does that say more about the mental health of nanny, or more about the mental health of the playboy reader?

  10. Darkside

    Scary? Terrifying!

    Is there nothing more important for the government to waste my money on?

    Global warming, nuclear weapons, obesity, the extinction of the plants and fish we depend on for food, the richer rich and poorer poor that are the ills of which a nation dies...

    Forget the future, rude drawings must be exterminated!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    London 2012 Games

    are heading for trouble...

    The logo hasn't changed, has it? Wouldn't it be covered under this act...

    Oh. The "jury decides"...

  12. kosmos

    Those who ignore history

    "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." - Adolf Hitler

    Are destined to repeat it....

  13. Pyrrho Huxley

    Think of the Cartoons!

    Before everyone starts bleating on about freedom of speech, it's very important that at a time of economic catastrophe our rulers spend time protecting cartoons. Also, what could be more important than making sure that completely innocent cartoons don't witness other cartoons participating in sex? I know several cartoons who are having to undergo extensive therapy (at great cost to the taxpayers) because of being involved in this wicked activity.


  14. Chris Bradshaw

    Cartoons and reality...

    "The bill, as it stands, would make it a criminal offence to possess (cartoon) pictures of children participating in sexual activities, or present whilst sexual activity took place. We did ask the Ministry for Justice whether this meant same frame, same page or even same story, but to date we have received no answer"

    That's a pretty complicated question to answer - what is the limit of observation of a cartoon child's vision?? Just the frame they are in? Or can they see the whole page? Do mirrors work in comics? What about off-screen mirrors - if there is no visible mirror in the offending frame, but a mirror was visible in an earlier frame (from a different viewpoint) of the same room?

    What about X-Rays? If the picture is of (for example) Superman as a kid, does his X-Ray vision really work (i.e. can he see across frame lines, or even other pages in the book)??

    And what if the age of the participants was stated in a speech or thought bubble, can a cartoon character's age be determined by their own statement, and how can one tell if they are lying? Does the statement of age have to be in the same issue of a magazine?? How would the cartoon character be called to testify as to their real age in court, and what proof could they give? What if their age was stated as 17 in a magazine issued two years before a sexual scene, do they age and if so at what rate? Little Orphan Annie doesn't appear to age much, for example...

    Rather than criminalize these cartoons, it would be better use them as a possible indicator of other, more serious problems. If the person is indeed a pedophile, they are likely to also have indecent photographs or material which IS illegal, whereas if they just happen to like dirty cartoons they would not be prosecutable.

    Or the usual laws regarding obscene and indecent material could cover blue cartoons.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Par for the course...

    >debate on the cartoon law

    The economy has gone tits up, violent crime is on the increase, drugs are readily obtainable, MPs are dipping their hands in the public till and so on and parliament are debating cartoons.

    No doubt they also have power tantrums like all other five year olds.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Is the social harm caused by... a massive infringement on free speech justified...?"

    No. It doesn't matter what the results are. The right to freedom of thought and expression, where it does not *directly* harm others, is absolute. Even if knock-on prevention of some crime could be achieved by such censorship, it is *by definition* not worthwhile.

    There is NEVER any justification for censorship of the written word or the drawn page. Not under any circumstances, ever, period.

  17. Anthony Mark
    Black Helicopters

    Coming soon to HM Prison

    IT will become illegal to think of anyone under the age of 18 in a sexual manner or whilst performing self-gratification, as obviously this would be the start of something that would lead on to something else.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In real life, increased access to the internet (and hence porn) correlates with a decrease in sexual assault. So, by banning victimless porn, you have to wonder what these people are trying to achieve.

    People often accuse others of crimes they would or have committed themselves. Apparently looking at a cartoon is sufficient to turn a politician into a child molester. Will someone please think of the children, and lock these people up before they do any more damage.

  19. Dennis
    Paris Hilton

    I for one would be glad if they banned 2000AD, Beano, Dandy - Sick

    Every bloody month bang it arrives on my doorstep. Thank God it arrives in a plain white envelope! If the neighbours knew. phew!!!

    What happened to the days of Mayfair and Fiesta. Good honest to god porn. Have you ever tried to knock one out to a comic. Bloody difficult that's all I can say.

    Nothing like how it was in my days.

    Remember 'Minnie the Minx' we all know she was a little minx.

    Betty Boo. She was another little harlot flashing her pants everywhere she goes. I hope they throw the book at her

    Charlie Brown. Well I ask you if there was a kid inviting unwanted attention then it was him. Hanging round with no friends looking sad. Would you like to see my puppy?

    So now I have spoiled all your favourite comic characters by associating them with deviant sexual practices maybe we can see how ridiculous this law is. Its as if we the British Public have to be protected from our own desires. Before we know all women/children/animals will be required to cover up in public encase we are so overcome by passion that we decide to think some impure thoughts upon which time Wacqui Jacqui will be down to lobotomise us for our own protection.

    Paris? Well thank goodness she isn't a cartoon

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm guessing,

    I'm guessing sending those fucking idiots a link to this comment with a message "Read you dumb fucks" wont help... Although I'd love to.

    Man you start to know what the Russians felt like when the party outlawed jokes.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Howarth spells it out

    All my doubts about the curtailment of civil liberties and the crushing of freedom of expression have been swept away by the forensic brilliance of George Howarth, MP. Of course something must be stopped, if it is part of something, and if (as in a lot of cases) it is part of something that will lead on to something else. Can't understand how anyone can argue with that.

  22. Francis Fish

    @AC - Mr Gaiman

    Neil is making the same point you are, but in less words.... Read the rest of the quote...

    I am a long-time collector of his work, and Alan Moore's. They are aimed at *adults* with *brains*, which explains why Ms Eagle doesn't like them.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Manga List

    They will have to publish a list of which TokyoPop titles are to be made illegal or we will get arrested each time we go to the till in Waterstones and Smiths!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    In the mind of the reader

    May I suggest to our fabulously suggestible government that they have not gone far enough!

    It is not simply the fact that children may be 'sexually involved' in a cartoon that is a serious risk to the moral fibre of our great nation. ANY representation of a child that could be accessed by an adult should be outlawed.

    I mean, what justification is there for an adult to be reading a child's comic (or any other child-oriented media for that matter). Clearly they are looking at the cartoon kids for their own gratification ... and that can only mean one thing ... potential kiddie-fiddler!

    Let's think of the children, keep them safe and out of view ... totally!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Absolutely genius.

    So how exactly would this work?

    "In law, a child is anyone under 18: under the proposed law, if an image is ambiguous, it would be up to a jury to decide its "age"."

    My sister look like she was 16 until she was about 35 and had children. So if someone were to draw her perfectly aged 34, and the jury decided she looked 16, would that make her husband a cradle snatcher?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't someone think of the children?

  27. Juan Inamillion

    @Think of the Cartoons!

    That's the idea laddie!!!


  28. Tony

    Is it just me...

    ...Or is there an 'i' missing from this article title?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    No end in sight

    This process is infinitely extensible, because already "indecent image" is such a broad category in English, Scottish and Northern Irish Law.

    One individual a couple of years ago was jailed for torture as a "nonce" because he kept collections of pictures of girls in swimming costumes that had been published in local papers. It is not the content that matters at all; it is creating a presumption in the mind of the jury that the possesssion is, or could be, for sexual pleasure. Thoughtcrime.

    The important ruralist artist Graham Ovendon was effectively exiled to France in the 80s. Everyone should know that the French population is 90% paedo, because their law allows sex at 15, when of course the good decent British tabloids have made it perfectly clear to everyone hear that anyone who desires anyone else a minute before their 16th birthday, or who suggests such a depraved thing might be possible, is a child-abusing beast.

  30. Charles

    Re: Mr Gaiman...

    INFLUENCE. That's what the archconservatives are afraid of.

    They're afraid that indecent art will inspire people to do indecent things in real life. Take the Simpsons example. They actually did an episode on influence. Maggie watches an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon and, inspired by the slapstick, decides to conk Homer upside the head with a hammer. The fear is the mere depiction of child pornography, whether real or imagined, will make people think the act is okay in reality and start exploiting innocent kids. There's also the idea that the thought is as evil as the deed, as some Christians would say, and since art must spring from thought, a work of pretend pornography must stem from a dirty mind thinking dirty thoughts that are equivalent to dirty acts. Then again, they think instinct is evil, too.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can

    I can think of two Manga off the top of my head, Saikano (an epic manga) where Chise has sex with the soldier (note this is even sex between an adult and a 15 year old) and Battle Royale, where the girl has a sex orgy then kills the guys. Akira the Manga may fall foul too, I can't quite remember. Oh Loli and trap milk tea (it's not called that btw) as I like to call it would be done for, you got a guy of 15 who is a cross dresser, who is in a complicated relationship with his 13/14 year old next door neigbhour and another girl in his class. There's lots of nakedness and sexual exploration in the story. Darn good manga though. Shame I'm gonna have to burn it.

  32. Charles

    Re: In the mind of the reader

    Take it to its extreme end. Since children's books and the depiction of children induce child abuse, then clearly the presence of real-life children must exert a greater influence. Therefore, adults must not be allowed anywhere within the presence of children, for fear of their minds. Suddenly, mothers cannot nurse their own kids, fathers cannot coach sports, teachers cannot teach, and pediatricians will essentially be outlawed.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    and heaven help you

    If they are under-age stick figures....

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Every 'indecent' cartoon is a 'scene of crime'...

    Good of you to pick this story up again, John - to me, this particular extension of 'obscenity' and 'indecency' laws is perhaps the most worrying yet to slither out of Parliament. But as I've mentioned on these boards previously, it's not so much the Government and it's ill-informed errand boys we have to worry about as those 'advising' and 'consulting' with the Government. In this instance, public enemy No1 is none other than CEOP (although they are alone - the usual suspects from UK Child Protection can be found listed on the report).

    Parliamentary records of consultation on this proposed legislation dating back as far as 2007 reveal it was CEOP who were the amongst most aggressive of 'consulting agencies' in pushing for this concept of 'indecent images' to not only become law, but to become draconian law, with CEOP noted for wishing to see severe penalties (commensurate with those currently in place for viewing/downloading photographic CP) put into place.

    All of which begs the question: why? They would doubtless argue the 'child protection' angle, but I struggle to see how outlawing wholly fictitious cartoons, drawings and CG renders 'protects' any actual real, living breathing child. Moreover, it is CEOP's modus operandi to declare every 'indecent' image of a child (real or otherwise, presumably) 'a scene of crime'. While we know already this is a nonsense, given that an 'indecent' image by CEOP's standards can now include a partially clothed, provocatively posed 17 year old (age of consent: 16), it will be very interesting to see how CEOP manage to convince a court that a black and white Japanese fantasy cartoon of clearly heavily stylized 'children' engaging in sexual acts constitutes a 'scene of crime'. In which case I'd expect CEOP to produce the victim/s. Isn't that how the law is supposed to work?

    Clearly, we are no longer in Kansas, Toto.

  35. Christoph

    Children present?

    "children present whilst sexual activity took place."

    So a cartoon of a pregnant woman having sex would be covered by this?

  36. G Murphy

    @kosmos excellent quote indeed!

    Unfortunately there's not much hope for this country because whichever bl**dy party wins the next general election, they'll still put through the same populist daily hate mail legislation to keep the majority happy in the short-term.

    When you combine this with an inevitable increase in taxes to pay for the bail-outs and ever increasing age of population (public pension burden) I personally think we'd all be best off buggering off and leaving this country to rot. How sad.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I had a textbook in school

    it included impotence and said the fear of being interrupted by a child while in the act may prevent arousal. With a picture of a couple at it under the covers and a child opening the door.

    Obscene? Hardly.

  38. Pat

    Psychiatrist req'd (or Vet?)

    If the Gov't and its lizards can't distinguish between what is imaginary and what is real then I think we have found an explanation for their policies and laws.

    It also explains how they could present documentation on imaginary WMDs to the HoC, and then ask for a real war.

    Would someone please diagnose and treat appropriately. ASAP!

    (I say put them to sleep. It's only the humane thing to do.)

  39. Pierre

    Ban sex and everything remotely related.

    "If somebody is in the process of arousing themselves sexually by that process, it must be part of something. In a lot of cases, it will be part of something that will lead on to something else."

    This quote alone should qualify the fruitloop who spouted it for immediate, painful termination.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ "No end in sight" AC

    Do not forget the fact that if you go to France and have sex with a French 15 year old, in France, perfectly legally, in France, you can be charged and prosecuted for sex with a minor when you return to the UK.

  41. John


    Could someone show me to the door please, this party isn't fun any more and I want to go home... Or get the fuck out of England at least.

    This govt is just intent on pissing all over its citizens, isn't there some way we can get rid of them sooner than later, push for a election or something, Peter Sunde for President!

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The best part of Neil Gaiman's article

    "The first time I ever came close actually to sending a publisher to prison for something I had written was about 1986 or 1987, for Knockabout's Outrageous Tales From The Old Testament: I'd retold a story from the Book of Judges that contained a rape and murder, and this was held to have contravened a Swedish law depicting images of violence against women. The case was only won when the defense pointed out that the words were from the King James version of the bible, and that the images were a fair representation thereof..."

    So yeah, can we get the religious lot out in force calling this law an attack on christianity please?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Charles

    "They're afraid that indecent art will inspire people to do indecent things in real life"

    And yet extreme violence is permissible and acceptable in both film and video game. If watching acts of extreme violence, take the horror genre for example, does not cause people to go out and become mass murderes, why should sexual imagery make people turn into sex offenders?

    Perhaps politicians are judging us all on their own urges?

    Perhaps society as a whole still has an infantile immaturity when it comes to sex, an anachronistic attitude remnant from the Victorian era?

  44. Jason DePriest

    The author of the cartoon

    can merely state that the characters he or she draws are actually over 18 but have a genetic disorder that makes them look much younger.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @The author of the cartoon

    I'd suspect that what the author intends means nothing in this situation - given that it is upto an jury to decide whether a character appears to be under 18. Doesn't matter if it's 1000 year old demi god, if it looks 14 you're ass is going to jail.

  46. blue

    Singing Detective

    In Dennis Potter's Singing Detective, the young, er, detective, sees his mother having sex in the woods whilst he is sitting up a tree (IIRC).

    Presumably, the TV series of this would remain legal, whilst a graphic novel adaptation would now be illegal?

    Can we just hang the fuckwit politicians who are destroying this country with their ill-thought-out, incompetently drafted laws, from the lamp posts sooner rather than later?

  47. Herby

    What about bathroom walls??

    If "possession" is the crime, then what happens to the depictions that are scratched in the stalls of public (or no so public) bathrooms? The "owner" of said bathroom would be the "possessor"of such items. To continue, if these depictions are in the nice parliament building then won't the members of parliament be the guilty ones?

    This goes into the category: "Be careful for what you ask for, you may just get it!"

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Bathroom walls

    Who's up for a trip to the public parts of the parliament buildings via a curry house and a pen store?

  49. A J Stiles

    @AC re sex in France with 15yo

    "[I]f you go to France and have sex with a French 15 year old, in France, perfectly legally, in France, you can be charged and prosecuted for sex with a minor when you return to the UK." -- *No* *you* *can't*.

    France is a Sovereign Nation. You *cannot* be tried under any other country's laws for doing something on French soil which was legal under French law. Any attempt to do so would constitute an act of war against France.

    Please learn about dual criminality.

  50. Charles


    Anyone daring enough to sneak an envelope into the House of Commons with no return address, addressed to perhaps whoever's pushing the most for this? Put in a picture from say a loli manga along with a note on the likes of, "I hereby bestow this piece of Japanese art to you. Oh, by the way, since this piece of art is now considered obscene, illegal, and unprotected by law, this hereby makes you a possessor of child pornography and therefore subject to punishment under the law. Have a nice day."

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the other thing

    The other thing is it;s just a small leap to outlaw writing about sexual encounters of the under 18s. I mean, how fucked up is that? Just imagine how many books could fall foul of such a law, and if we're relating cartoon characters to real characters then even a fully dressed anime character could land you in jail if people believe you're sexually aroused by it (much like the man with his swim suit collection.)

    Dark fucking days.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Manga List

    Doubt it; the publishers Waterstones, Smiths and other such likes subscribe to rarely pick up the more interestingly "deviant" titles from japan. Case and point would be Kodomo no Jikan in America, which was withdrawn after the printers had started rolling because someone in the bookstore totem pole actually bothered to *read* it. given that Britain is usually 1-3 years behind on the release cycle, there are probably a lot more that were overlooked out of test-cased financial concerns, not so much moral.

    I really don't see this changing all that much on the Fine and Upstanding British Manga Resale Industry as it exists now. Aside from the conventions and mail order, which generally cater to special interest groups (myself included; my Horihone Saizous are going in a padlocked strongbox and sent to my relatives in France unless I emigrate first) the more interesting stuff never sees the light of day here, simply because it won't sell enough to justify the print run.

    What would be neat is if this is used to crack down on the (genuine) copyright infringement going on with the likes of Hongfire and other scanned manga pirates, but we know thats not the point.

  53. david wilson

    Is posh art included?

    What about those classical pictures where child-like cherubs look on while naked women cavort in clearly sexual ways?

  54. Cameron Colley
    Black Helicopters

    This has nothng to do with "protecting children".

    This is about useful legeslative tools to use against a demographic.

  55. Pierre

    Strange title

    Put down your... what now?

    Coat door cab

  56. michael

    I am shure I own

    some annimi (sorry I can not spell it) witch might well fall foule of this but has apently been cleared by the bbfc .


    o btw sara is there anyway we can make pepol read the articles and other links before commenting on them?

  57. Anonymous Coward

    Hahaha HAha a-ha ha

    I'd just like to say to all the law makers, "child advocates" and miscellaneous moralizers: This law is a joke, and the joke is on you. This is your crowning achievement; now that you've made cartoons illegal what can you possibly do next? You're going to be out of a job. Meanwhile we'll be laughing behind your back, because you've become parodies of yourselves and no one can take you seriously anymore.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Well, at least I am safe - all my data is already encrypted.

    Absolutely no reason not to.

    I am thinking about leaving the UK soon and moving somewhere that is less of a fucking nanny state.

  59. stuntman

    Kill (this) Bill...

    Kill Bill, the film, contains cartoon sex involving a very young Lucy Liu.

    either kill this bill or destroy your copy of kill bill. !

  60. Bounty

    I agree this law is broken, however...

    I agree this law is broken, however.... Actually read the link in the article, it's interesting.

    "In Virginia, 20 "lolicon" cartoons led to a 20-year prison sentence."

    The link points out that the guy was a genuine pedo with actual child porn digital photos. So it doesn't really help the case your making.

    "He previously was sentenced to 46 months in prison for a 1999 child pornography conviction."

    "receiving obscene materials, receiving obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, receiving child pornography and sending and receiving obscene e-mails describing the sexual abuse of children"

    I think intent-context is important here, but it's no excuse to pursue cartoon child porn. I think in a case like his it should serve as additional evidence. The law needs to assess context. A cartoon drawing of a developing vagina in a medical book shouldn't be a problem. I'm guessing depictions of 1000 year old 'god' children who look 7 in a gangbang drawing next to your actual child porn digital photos could be aggravating, and adding to the charges.

    As for artists, pushing boundaries is exactly that. Sometimes you step over, sometimes not. Deal with the consequences. I'm sure computer generated graphics is next. Real (legit) photo of some kid in a park + some photoshop and CGI animation = legal quagmire and some legitimately pissed of people.

  61. Wize

    So this 'safe for work' image will soon be banned.

    This bill is going too far

  62. Anonymous Coward

    What About Real Sex Before Drawn Children? Close That "Loophole"!

    Thanks, John, for keeping us informed! Your work is much appreciated.

    Now, where was I? Oh yeah...

    "The bill, as it stands, would make it a criminal offence to possess (cartoon) pictures of children ... present whilst sexual activity took place."

    So it will be a crime to possess a drawing of adults having sex in front of a child.

    What about real adults actually having real sex in front of a drawing of a child? That'll still be entirely legal, won't it? I mean, indecent exposure (or whatever it might count as) before a drawing would be an utterly ridiculous offence. But if, instead, the adults and the sex are drawn, and part of the same drawing as the drawn child, then suddenly it's a real crime?????

    Absolutely barking, at-moon-raving mad. Total lunacy. Now I really do understand what was meant by the term "loony left" all those years ago.

    Perhaps we should campaign for the government to close this "loophole"? I mean, how can it possibly be acceptable for perverts to abuse drawn children by having sex in front of them? It's illegal when the adults and sex are drawings, but to allow it to continue when the adults and sex are real? That's an outrage! Quick, someone call the Daily Fail! This loophole must be closed! Having to turn family portraits to face the wall whenever you undress is a small price to pay for children's safety, is it not?

    Please, won't someone please think of the drawings?

  63. Joe M

    Why are we pussyfooting around?

    Why carry on with all this pretence? Let's just get to the point. Let's make the world a better place and outlaw Thoughtcrime.

    All you perverts posting here (each a dangerous thoughtcriminal if I ever saw one) just shut the f***k up and report to your nearest Minlove recreational facility. The world will be well rid of you I say!

    Love Jacqui aka Ms O'Brien.

    (See you soon at Minlove. But I won't be there for Thoughtcrime, shudder. No, just a minor discrepancy - a small question of £116,000.)

  64. Anonymous Coward


    This is beautifully mad.

    Our government have finally lost the distinction between stuff that is made up (or as adults call it imaginary) and the real world. Its been a long time coming, since the Iraq WMD fiasco and the sexed up dossier (or, as adults would put it stuff they made up). I can't help but wonder what Pastor Niemoller would have made of all this?

    Still its going to be interesting watching them try and ban Watchmen, which features the child that will one day become Rorschach wandering in on his prostitute mum having sex with a punter. Thousands of copies of that particular graphic novel can be found at any book shop in the UK right now. The only solution will be to burn the books, lest the people reading them in Borders swarm out and start shagging kids in Mothercare in best "Brass Eye" style.

  65. Mostor Astrakan

    I never quibbled, when it was ribald...

    I must confess, I am a great admirer of the works of Tom Lehrer. While some of his songs ("Who's Next", "So Long Mom") have lapsed in relevance, there are others which I would really, really hope would have lapsed by now, but haven't. One is "Send the Marines", and the other one is "Smut". The first time I hard the intro to that last one, I couldn't help grinning.

    "I do have a cause, though. It is obscenity. I'm for it."

  66. John Smith Gold badge

    For a government that hates sex

    This lot speed a staggering amout of time thinking about it. Criminalising it if it is not already. Criminalising it more if it is (Extreme Porn Vs just regular Obscene Publications). Writing position papers on it.

    And you know what they say about people who spend so much time *talking* and *thinking* about it, dont you?

    That is all.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What's next?

    If this happens then it will only be a matter of time before cartoons of terrorist acts become illegal....

    ...then cartoons of fly-tipping

    ...then cartoons of people smoking

    ...then cartoons of people eating 'unhealthy food'

    I really can't fucking believe this country. We need a revolution NOW.

    Let's do it Athenian style and have all of the MP's flayed with oyster shells.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Drawings of Drawings of Children?

    "The bill, as it stands, would make it a criminal offence to possess (cartoon) pictures of children participating in sexual activities, or present whilst sexual activity took place."

    What about drawings of drawings of children? What if it's a drawing of, say, a paedophile masturbating while looking at a drawing of a child? Will drawing a picture frame around the child magically make an illegal drawing legal again?

    I bet there's already manga along these lines. Perhaps a teenage boy draws a picture of his ideal girl, and the drawing comes alive! But it's still a drawing. And the boy falls in love, and their strange relationship develops, and becomes sexual, even though she's just a (magic) drawing.

    Anyway, is this going to be a ludicrous "loophole", where all you need to do is make sure all the children are actually drawings within drawings? (You could make a whole comic about an illegal-to-own comic.) Or will it be illegal to own drawings of people performing sexual acts in front of drawings? Something you can legally do, but can't legally draw?

    Either way, this law is bonkers!

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @I agree this law is broken, however...

    "I'm sure computer generated graphics is next. Real (legit) photo of some kid in a park + some photoshop and CGI animation = legal quagmire and some legitimately pissed of people."

    Already illegal - re pseudophotos

    I'll agree that the Virgina case was a bit of a red hearing one as the man also had CP.

  70. Psmiffy
    Black Helicopters


    xkcd and explosm will be banned, their authors arrested, their websites taken down and all their readers investigated?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ A J Stiles

    Sexual Offences Act 2003 (c. 42)

    72 Offences outside the United Kingdom

    (1) Subject to subsection (2), any act done by a person in a country or territory outside the United Kingdom which....would constitute a sexual offence to which this section applies if it had been done in England and Wales or in Northern Ireland....constitutes that sexual offence under the law of that part of the United Kingdom.

    (2) Proceedings by virtue of this section may be brought only against a person who was on 1st September 1997, or has since become, a British citizen or resident in the United Kingdom.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Written Material Next?

    During the Commons' second reading of this Bill, a Conservative MP took the opportunity to call for possession of written material to be criminalised. I would imagine it would be more or less the written equivalent of the kinds of images - cartoons and other drawings, etc - that this current Bill would deal with.

    In anticipation of such legislation, I'm already considering possible absurdities. How many adults, for example, still have diaries from their teenage years? How many of those diaries include intimate, explicit details of their owners' sexual awakenings? How many such diaries will become criminal to possess?

    Oh, hang on. Maybe we don't have to wait until such legislation is introduced. It just occurred to me, just this minute, that some such diaries might also have helpful illustrations. Might this current legislation actually criminalise possession of some people's personal, teenage diaries?

    I'm not even going to mention

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Drawings of Drawings of Children?

    No the law clearly states

    "“Image” includes—

    (a) a moving or still image (produced by any means), or

    (b) data (stored by any means) which is capable of conversion into an

    image within paragraph (a)."


    "(5) “Child”, subject to subsection (6), means a person under the age of 18."

    (6) Where an image shows a person the image is to be treated as an image of a child


    (a) the impression conveyed by the image is that the person shown is a child, or

    (b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a

    child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are

    not those of a child."


    "(7) References to an image of a person include references to an image of an imaginary person.

    (8) References to an image of a child include references to an image of an imaginary child."

    "(3) An image is “pornographic” if it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be

    assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual


    This law makes the extreme pornography law look like a master piece in common sense.

  74. Lee


    looks like i'm up the swanny, with some of my anime, specially Urotsukidoji and Bible black.

  75. Lee

    Manga Comics

    Oh well looks like Unbalance x Unbalance and Girls Saurus are shafted too.

  76. Nigel
    Paris Hilton

    Even the Victorians didn't go this far!

    It occurs to me, that they are about to prohibit any visual representation of the everyday reality of life as a poor family in a third-world country. Where, if you haven't got it already, you are quite lucky if you have one room with a roof. I don't know how that works, but I suspect that if your parents have a loving relationship, you will know many of the facts of life from an early age, and won't be any the worse for it.

    I did once know a farmer's daughter, who confirmed that when you grow up on a farm, there are very few facts of life that you haven't worked out by the time you are ten. Is it also going to be illegal to portray that, or will they go further and ban farmers from having children altogether, on the basis that what must not be portrayed on paper can't possibly be allowed in reality?

    Paris, I'm sure that question mark is under age!

  77. michael

    how widley is this being published

    cos it is interesting how a widely sweeping law like thins that could catch a lot of pepol is being slipped in with out much main stream media comment (apart form our dear el reg)

  78. Anonymous Coward

    @ @Drawings of Drawings of Children?

    "(b) the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a

    child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are

    not those of a child."

    So would a photo or even dawing of some fat old minger dressed up as a schoolgirl being banged hard from behind or some fat old bloke dressed as a nappy wearing baby being pleasured by his "nanny" would be construed as CP?

    World gone mad!

  79. John Smith Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    The line between fantasy and reality

    Is very thin amongst some people with mental health problems.

    So what does that make the people who drafted this piece of drivel?

  80. Clair Lewis




    By this Posted Tuesday 17th March 2009 13:40 GMT

    Presumably all cartoon characters will have to carry valid id cards to prove their age."

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@ @Drawings of Drawings of Children?

    sounds alot like ageplay - and you know what the powers that be think of that online let alone if they found it happening in real life.

  82. Tom
    Thumb Down

    We know your a BAD person

    "I'll agree that the Virgina case was a bit of a red hearing one as the man also had CP."

    So this guy was a real perv, repeat offender who should go to jail. But they didn't have enough to lock him up for the length of time that they wanted to... so add a few years for some cartoons.

    They could not get Capone for all the bad things he did, every one knew he was a bad person so just cook up the tax laws a bit and lock him up for that.

    They should just pass a law against breathing. That way if you are doing something bad like protesting or asking to have your DNA removed from the database they can lock you up. Saves all the trouble of searching your house for cartoons or auditing your tax. If your not a bad person (or have power) no need to worry as there is no public interest in charging you.

  83. Malcolm Boura

    Present legislation is harmful

    If you actually want to achieve something write to your MP. It can be surprisingly effective, especially if a lot of people do it. What is absolutely certain is that complaints and comments not made will be totally ignored.

    Just to clarify one misconception. Photographs of children are not illegal because they are pornographic. They are illegal because a jury, or more likely one or two strong personalities on a jury, think that they offend against commonly accepted standards of propriety. The threshold for conviction is both incredibly vague and set so low that it encourage attitudes that are known to be harmful. It is not coincidence that the UK has the worst teenage pregnancy rates in Europe.

    It is inherent in the nature of the offense that the public are not allowed to know what a person has actually been convicted of and that is a very dangerous situation. I have provided a statement to the police as an expert witness so I have seen some low level stuff that the police thought was illegal and I am absolutely convinced that the present law is harmful to children, harmful to families, harmful to adults and harmful to society in general.

  84. SteveMD

    Save the children

    Hasn't it occurred to those proposing this law that by making looking at cartoons of child abuse punishable in the same way that looking at images of real abuse is, then those who feel driven to look at child pornography will ask themselves why they should not look at the real thing? After all, they will be damned either way. Where is their much vaunted common sense now?

    Even so, we have another law that ignores the prevailing evidence; increased access to porn, of all kinds, correlates strongly with a drop in sex crimes.

    If they can sleep knowing that they are probably encouraging sexual assaults to adults, why should we expect that they would loose any sleep knowing that they will probably be encouraging child abuse?

  85. A J Stiles

    @ AC

    It may be on the statute books, but it's absolutely unenforcible.

    If they ever tried to enforce it, it could be seen as an attack on French sovereignty and might even Provoke An International Incident. Your first recourse would be to try to plead autrefois acquit. If that was rejected (you haven't, technically, been found not guilty by another court -- but only due to the fact that you were not actually breaking the law), you could always claim asylum in France. The French authorities would in any case be under no obligation to hand you over to the British authorities, as you had not broken any (French) law.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't make sense...

    All this stuff just gets more and more depressing, not least because little of it is based in any kind of fact or research.

    Apart from the obviously worrying growing trend of right-wing censorship not just in the UK but the rest of the Western world, there is one thing I just cannot get my head around - in regards to drawings involving 16 or 17 year olds - how can it possibly stand up that a cartoon representation, drawing or painting of a LEGAL ACT be considered illegal? There is an argument in regards to photographs and videos, but this relates to consent, so at least has some basis. But a drawing? There can be no 'consent' issue unless it would be a photo-realistic drawing in which case it would probably count as a pseudo-photograph and therefore illegal anyway

    I just don't understand why no-one in a position of power isn't standing up and pointing this out - the absurdity that it would be entirely legal for a person to go out and meet a 16 or 17 year old and ACTUALLY have sex with them but it wouldn't be ok for them to stay home and imagine it, and instead make drawing of it???

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