Tuesday, April 29, 2008

No Extreme Pornography Please, We're British--veinglory

The British government effective invented the term "extreme pornography" for the purposes of banning it. Starting in May 8th the law criminalises possession of certain moving or still image[s](produced by any means) that are also "extreme".

"...the new act is designed to reflect the realities of the internet age, when pornographic images may be hosted on websites outside the UK. Under the new rules, criminal responsibility shifts from the producer ... to the consumer" -- BBC

As an example of someone drawing a line when it comes to kink, including simulated acts these are the specific acts outlawed:

An “extreme image” is an image of any of the following—
(a) an act which threatens or appears to threaten a person’s life,
(b) an act which results in or appears to result (or be likely to result) in
serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals,
(c) an act which involves or appears to involve sexual interference with a human corpse,
(d) a person performing or appearing to perform an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal, where (in each case) any such act, person or animal depicted in the image is or
appears to be real.


Now I wouldn't stand up and defend the great virtue of any of the these acts. However I am nervous about who decides what an image is (book cover?) and who decides the intent of that image, what the depicted persons 'appear' to be doing and the degree to which that activity depicted might represent a risk of injury to their orifices and mammaries. It is interesting to note that some of the acts now illegal to simulate in an image are not illegal to do in real life. It is also interesting to note that the law is limited to pornography , so people who like to portray and view torture simply because they are sadists are also explicitly protected. Note the definition: An image is “pornographic” if it appears to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

Anyway. Caveat Emptor. I will give the last word to the good bloggers at Feminist Philosophers:

"Notice that it is ok for one to get off on such images so long as this is not the purpose for which they were produced. The implication, of course, is that there is something wrong with producing material designed purely for sexual arousal. One might wonder why this is so."

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