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Repeal laws criminalising creation of images with no illegal source material

Comment 8th August 2010

The creation and personal possession of any image which has been created manually, be it through being sketched, painted or rendered using a computer, should be legal regardless of the contents of the images. If these images incorporate elements sourced from photographs (or similar) then they should still be legal to create or possess so long as the source image was also legal.

Any laws banning these images should be placed on the distribution or publication stage, and normally only where there is a justifiable reason to believe that distribution to the target audience will result in genuine harm to one or more individuals or products.

Example images where the publication or distribution could be controlled.

If the image contains pornographic or extremely violent material it would be desirable to make intentional distribution to minors illegal. There should already be plenty of laws covering this.

If the image has been created in such a way that when people look at the image they would mistakenly believe that a particular element of the image (e.g. a person, company or product) was involving in an act or situation that that element or its owner would not like to be believed to be involved in then it should be illegal to distribute under libel (or similar) grounds (this is most likely to occur when legal photographic source material has been manipulated so that it looks like an illegal act has occurred).


 

Why does this matter?

Just because an image might be considered distasteful to some people it should not be automatically made illegal for someone to create or possess it. If you do this what you are effectively doing is making it illegal for someone to put their thoughts down on paper. It is difficult to understand quite how those drafting these laws fail to realise how close they are getting to the cliched thought police here.

There is no justification for making an image illegal just because the act it shows, if replicated with real people, would be illegal. If you want to go down that route then anything depicting illegal activity should be banned which would require vast numbers of books, films, computer games and songs to be banned.

Imagine for a moment having no experience human culture or morals which come from it and try to understand this.

Murdering someone is illegal.
Drawing an image of someone committing murder is legal.

Sexually abusing a minor is illegal.
Drawing an image of a minor being sexually abused is illegal.

Engaging in consensual BDSM with potential genital injury is legal (last I heard)
Pictures of the above are illegal (in certain circumstances).

A bit confusing isn't it? How about some consistency here? Don't try and pick and choose types of images to make illegal. Just make them all legal and get the police and courts to focus on the people that are committing the real crimes and leave peoples' fantasies alone.

For the record (since someone is bound to bring it up) I condemn child abuse. It is a massive problem but the methods by which the previous government and the tabloid media have trying to stop it (or in the latter case, sell more newspapers without giving a damn about the consequences) is, in my opinion, completely wrong and actually counter productive. Revoking civil liberties, forcing potential pedophiles to bottle up these urges by a combination of making all their outlets illegal and ruining their life if they even try to talk to someone about, and teaching children to distrust adults outside the family (most abusers are from inside the family remember) is hardly going to be successful. But that's for a different article.

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