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Melon Farmers

15th April

 Offsite Article: Criminalising kink: Cameron's porn crusade...

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index logo Index on Censorship criticises the extension of Dangerous Pictures to include simulated rape

See article from indexoncensorship.org


9th April

  Extreme Policing...

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Even police fall victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act
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Metropiltan Police badgeA policeman from the squad tasked with guarding the British prime minister's Downing Street residence has fallen victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act and been charged with distributing extreme pornographic images via his mobile phone. The Dangerous Pictures Act introduced penalties for possessing extreme porn but also increased the penalties for distributing obscene material under the Obscene Publications Act.

Jenny Hopkins of the Crown Persecution Service said:

Following a review of the evidence, we have concluded that James Addison, a police constable in the Diplomatic Protection Group, should be charged with 11 offences. It is alleged that between 17 February 2013 and 6 June 2013, PC Addison distributed moving images via his mobile telephone, contrary to section 2(1) of the Obscene Publications Act 1959.

The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is required in the public interest.

PC Addison will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 23 April 2014.


30th March

 Updated: BBFC suggests further extensions to Dangerous Pictures...

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Causing actual massive harm to men, women, and children in the name of preventing a one in a million chance of porn causing otherwise innocent men to become rapists
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home affairs committeeFascinating to see all these moral high grounders and gender extremists debate the rather unproven harm of porn whilst glorying in the chance to put men in prison. As if this doesn't cause actual massive harm to otherwise law abiding men, their wives and their children. Not to mention the tax payers who have to foot the hefty bill to trash these people's lives

Public Bill Committee for the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill
Third Sitting, Thursday 13 March 2014

David Austin : My name is David Austin. I am the assistant director at the British Board of Film Classification, responsible for policy and public affairs. The BBFC is the UK's independent regulator of film and video content. We operate online and offline. Our interest in clause 16 is whether it will have any impact on our classification of sexually violent and abusive pornography, particularly as we are under a legal obligation under the Video Recordings Act 1984 not to classify any content that is illegal.

Murray Perkins : I am Murray Perkins. I am a senior examiner at the BBFC. I have responsibility for day-to-day classification of pornographic works and a particular expertise in those pornographic submissions.

Committee member Dan Jarvis : Do you think there are examples of sexually violent material that would not be captured by the Bill as drafted?

David Austin : Yes, there are examples of sexually violent material that are not caught by the Bill. There are a number of areas of violent and abusive pornography that are not caught. It might help if I list one or two of those areas.

Clause 16 clearly talks in terms of realistic and explicit depiction of rape in pornography. We deal with quite a large number of pornographic works every year and have done for many years. Some of these feature clearly fictional depictions of rape and other sexual violence in which participants are clearly actors, acting to a script. These works may include scenes of relentless aggressive abuse, threats of physical violence with weapons and forced acts of sex. Depending on how realism is interpreted in future -- certainly it has been interpreted very narrowly in the past, but I understand that the Government will amend some of the explanatory notes to the Bill on realism -- that may change.

Another area where we cut porn on harm grounds under the Video Recordings Act relates to abduction scenarios where individuals are shown bound, kidnapped, struggling with bonds, and whimpering -- shown as victims restrained against their will with no other context. We also cut grooming scenarios which feature the grooming of individuals portrayed as youthful, sometimes youthful and vulnerable --sometimes they may have the appearance of children, although they are not children but adults -- by characters in dominant roles. Animation is another area which we cut. There is a Japanese genre called hentai which is a pornographic genre which features things like incest, underage sex and forced sex. They may be realistically animated but you could argue that they are not realistic in the terms of the Bill. The fact that animated images can be harmful is already accepted by Parliament in the Coroners and Justice Act where pseudo images of children in sexual abuse situations are illegal.

The final area relates to explicit rather than realistic. We remove from pornographic works sexually violent content that in our view is harmful, where, for example, you cannot see the explicit act of penetration but the viewer is led to believe that this is a rape scenario, albeit acted. We remove that content.

Dan Jarvis : Do you think there would be merit in explicitly referring in the Bill to those extreme types of pornography?

David Austin : One of the things that we need to bear in mind in relation to this Bill is that although clause 16 is tightly defined, the offence is one of possession, and when we cut in the physical world, on a physical DVD, the offence is one of supply. The Bill is part of a wider approach to aligning protections online and protections offline. We understand that, following a consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport published in July 2013, the Government will bring forward legislation to deal with exactly the kind of content that I have just described to make this content illegal on UK video-on-demand platforms. That will align our standards on harm, which are based on research, with the standards applied by Atvod, the Authority for Television on Demand, which is the UK regulator of UK-hosted video on demand. That legislation would cover UK-hosted content that I have just described.

Committee member Sarah Champion (Rotherham) (Lab): Mr Austin, you mentioned as a throwaway that child abuse and child grooming were covered under other legislation. Could you expand a little on that? Is it strong enough as it stands?

David Austin : It was in reference to animation. We have not seen the updated explanatory notes on the Bill -- I do not know whether they have been published yet. The notes that we have seen do not talk about animated content. It is possible to argue -- do not know how the courts will interpret it -- that animation is not realistic, even though it is getting more and more realistic all the time with computer-generated imagery. CGI images of children and animated images of children in sexual abuse situations are illegal under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, so that would take care of animated depictions of child abuse, but it does not take care of animated depictions of rape of adults, for example.

Sarah Champion : But are animated or real films of child abuse and child grooming covered under current legislation?

David Austin : That is covered in other legislation, yes.

Update: Press and politicians pick up on BBFC suggestions to extend the definitions of Dangerous Pictures

30th March 2013. See article from express.co.uk

daily express logoThe Daily Express Writes:

David Cameron vowed  to ban pornography involving simulated rape and said that online videos would be subject to the same rules as those sold in sex shops.

However. MPs were astounded when David Austin, assistant director of the British Board of Film Classification, revealed that actors who are clearly following a script could avoid falling foul of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which is making its way through Parliament.

As the Bill stands, an image will be banned if it portrays something in an explicit and realistic way . So-called blue films are not, however, usually renowned for their realistic plot lines.

Austin said:

There are examples of sexually violent material that are not caught by the Bill. Clause 16 clearly talks in terms of realistic and explicit depiction of rape in pornography.

Addressing MPs, Labour's shadow crime and policing minister Diana Johnson said:

What the Government is doing is welcome and it's important but at the moment it doesn't go as far as the Prime Minister originally promised. His pledge was to ban material that was so extreme that it would be banned from licensed sex shops. We're not talking about role-play here but hardcore pornography portraying rape and violent abuse.

In a letter seen by the Sunday Express, Mr Cameron promised to take action to end loopholes by amending the Bill.


28th March

  Bollox Britain...

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18 year old's life trashed over 3 lousy dangerous pictures
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HM Courts ServiceA teenager has appeared in court after dangerous pictures were found on his phone.

Daniel Talbot, 18, admitted possessing extreme pornographic images, which consisted of three videos which showed people having sex with animals.

Stephen Scully, for Talbot, told the hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court that the teenager had found the images on the internet: It would appear to be stupidity and immaturity on his part.

Judge Simon Tonking, presiding, adjourned the case for reports to be prepared. He said: These images are pretty disgusting.

Surely just having 3 images shows that this is not a particular interest, and is more likely just to bad taste tomfoolery.


20th March

  Even more extensions turned down...

Dangerous Pictures Act discussed in House of Commons committee
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House of Commons logoFreeworld comments:

It's depressing reading the minutes of the CJCB committee deliberations on the extension to the Dangerous Pictures Act (DPA). The only crumb of comfort for haters of totalitarian law is the government, from what Jeremy Wright the Justice minister was saying, seem determined that the definitions in the DPA extension remain tight (penetration, in and out, realistic etc), that it conform to the rules applying to the other material covered in the existing act, and there won't be any category widening to catch even more types of material (he actually mentions the disquiet about the whole policy represented by this sort of law which was expressed in the original DPA consultation by many - though, naturally, he fails to mention the need for a new offence was rejected overwhelmingly by respondents). Tabled amendments 14, 28 and 29 would make the law very broad indeed. However, they are gone, for now, the amendments were withdrawn.

The Bill committee discussed amendments to extend the definition of banned extreme pornography.

Amendment 14 extended the definition of realistic depictions of rape to include 'simulated' depictions.

Amendment 29 extended the scope of rape from non-consensual penetrative sex to any real or apparent non-consensual sexual activity.

Amendment 28 extended the scope of extreme pornography to include: adults portrayed in such a way as to make them appear under 18; depictions of incest; and sexual activity incorporating sexual threats, humiliation or abuse.

During the debate Sarah Champion called for animated images to be included in the prohibited depictions of rape.

Jeremy Wright, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, spoke for the Government in opposition to the extensions:

I think that we are all conscious of the fact that in discussing the clause and the amendments, we must strike a delicate balance as legislators. We are talking about the most extreme and disturbing images, but also those that, although distasteful to most, might not warrant the intervention of the criminal law. We must therefore be careful to balance our distaste, and in some cases disgust, against the personal sexual freedoms of consenting adults to behave as they wish without undue state interference. We must also bear in mind the existing criminal law in related areas.

I think that Ministers and everyone else should be humble enough to accept that we may not have got everything right, but inevitably, wherever we decide to draw the line, there will be disagreement about whether we have drawn it in the right place. There will be those who say---they have already said it during the course of this Committee's deliberations---that we have not gone far enough on the offence; others will say that we have gone too far. I do not think that there is a good argument that we have gone too far; we will certainly always consider whether there is further action that we can take.

In relation to the amendments, it may be helpful for me to explain why I do not support the particular direction that the hon. Member for Barnsley Central has taken, but do not for a moment dispute that his intention is to ensure that we have the right balance, exactly as the hon. Member for Hammersmith set out. I think that I indicated that amendment 14 is unnecessary, given that the clause already covers the depiction of real or simulated non-consensual penetration where that is pornographic and obscene. To come to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon about what is realistic and what is not, and to deal with what the hon. Member for Barnsley Central said, we intend to reconsider the explanatory notes to see whether we can bring greater clarity, particularly on the point that the offence we have in mind would cover both staged and real depictions of rape or other penetration. However, I do not believe that the wording in amendment 14 is the right way to bring that additional clarity.

Amendment 28 would extend the parameters of the existing offence. It would widen the scope of the existing extreme pornography possession offence to cover depictions that appear to portray incest, under-age sexual activity and scenes involving sexual threats, humiliation or abuse. Now is probably the best time for me to provide some background on the law as it stands.

It is an offence under section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 to possess an extreme pornographic image. Depending on the content of the image, the offence is subject to a maximum sentence of either two or three years' imprisonment. The offence is narrowly targeted, for good reason. Hon. Members will recall that the original offence was created by the then Government following a full public consultation, and it is deliberately targeted at the extreme end of the scale. Material prohibited includes pornographic images---images that can reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal---which are grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise obscene and which explicitly and realistically depict necrophilia, bestiality or violence that is life threatening or likely to result in serious injury to the anus, breasts or genitals.

To conclude my remarks on the development of section 63 of the Criminal Justice Act 2008, during the public consultation, there was considerable concern among respondents and in Parliament that the offence could have a serious impact on people's private sexual behaviour and personal freedoms. The offence was carefully and deliberately constructed with these concerns in mind. The offence focuses on the high end of the scale---for example, possession of images depicting extreme sexual violence and serious physical harm. It was never the intention that the offence should be used to censor depictions of all activities that may appear distasteful or that would not, for example, appear in a film classified by the British Board of Film Classification.

As the Committee will be aware, following a recent campaign led by women's groups the Government have decided to extend the parameters of the offence to capture extreme pornographic images depicting rape and other non-consensual penetrative sexual activity. This is a relatively modest but important extension to the offence. It brings the offence more in line with that applicable in Scotland, but remains focused on the original intent. It is clear from what members of the Committee have said that there is concern to ensure that children are protected from sexual abuse and exploitation depicted in these images. I understand and share that concern.

I must make it clear that the Government consider the protection of the country's children from sexual abuse a top priority, and we are always open to and appreciative of suggestions to strengthen the law where necessary. However, to extend the offence to cover depictions of apparent under-age sexual activity is unnecessary. Although images of children are not specifically excluded from the parameters of the Government's extended extreme pornography offence, we already have a range of offences to cover the possession of indecent images of children, with suitably robust sentencing levels and much lower thresholds for the content of the images themselves. It is, for example, already an offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978 to take, make or permit to be taken, distribute, or distribute with a view to possession, any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph--- an image which appears to be a photograph---of a child under the age of 18. These offences carry a 10-year maximum prison sentence.

It is also an offence under the Criminal Justice Act 1988 to possess an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child under the age of 18. That offence carries a five-year maximum prison sentence. In these cases it is a matter for the jury to decide on the age of the victim appearing in the images.

Section 62 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 created a new offence to criminalise possession of a prohibited image of a child. That offence attracts a maximum three-year prison sentence. This comes to the hon. Lady's concern. A prohibited image excludes an indecent photograph or indecent pseudo-photograph of a child, which is covered elsewhere, as I have outlined. In effect, that offence targets non-photographic pornographic images---in other words computer generated images, drawings and so on---that depict the graphic sexual abuse of children. It follows therefore that images of incest involving children would fall foul of the existing law. So I can assure the Committee that our laws are now fully equipped to deal with images of the sexual abuse of children.

In addition, although I find the depictions of sexual threats or humiliation and simulated acts of adult incest deeply distasteful, as I am sure does everyone else, there are others---competent adults---who do not share our views. In a liberal democracy, the law intervenes only when necessary. It would be stretching the definition of necessary to include these extensions. I do not feel that it is appropriate to broaden the terms of the existing offence any wider than the Government propose.

It is important to state that the extreme pornography offence is one of simple possession, not of publication, dissemination or broadcast. The publication of obscene material is covered by other legislation, including the Obscene Publications Act 1959, but the law should be slow to intervene in simple possession and should do so only where there is a real need. I believe that depictions of rape constitute such a need but that a wider case for prohibition is not made out. I am grateful for the support shown for our proposal across the Committee, but for the reasons explained I am convinced that it is both unnecessary and inappropriate to extend this offence to cover the images that this amendment would capture. I cannot therefore support it.

Amendment 29 would broaden the scope of the extreme pornography offence to cover the portrayal of sexual activity with real or apparent lack of consent. Again, I am afraid I think the amendment is too broad. I understand the intent, but the effect would not be as the hon. Member for Barnsley Central wishes. The amendment would have the effect of bringing within the parameters of this tightly drawn offence the possession of extreme images that depict any non-consensual sexual activity. That would arguably capture relatively low-level sexual contact such as kissing and touching. Of course, we are not here to defend non-consensual sexual activity in any form, but I do not think it is appropriate to target the depiction of the broader spectrum of such activity in this offence.

Finally, as I have stressed, the Government's proposal continues, in the manner of the original offence, to target the most extreme images and those that cause the most concern. It is not the intention to capture images that could depict relatively low-level acts. I hope, in view of what I have said, that the hon. Member for Barnsley Central will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

The amendments were withdrawn and Clause 16 was accepted as part of the Bill as written.


18th March

  Extreme Censors...

New Labour shadow ministers show their nasty censorial colours
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labour logothe current and soon to be extended prohibitions on 'extreme' porn are inevitably not enough for New Labour. Shadow ministers, Diana Johnson MP, Dan Jarvis MP and Helen Jones MP want more:

A year after the prime minister's announcement we have Clause 16 of the criminal justice and courts bill which will add realistic depictions of rape to the list of banned forms of pornography. While this is a welcome step, we need to be clear that this falls a long way short of equating offline and online restrictions. The government's proposal will not ban violent pornography that doesn't include penetration (and it's important to remember we're only talking about hardcore porn, not normal films, documentaries, or art). Nor will the government's plans ban videos where the actress is portrayed as being a child or even depictions of rape which a normal, non-aroused, individual would not find realistic.

This means that hardcore porn showing a woman being raped at gunpoint --crying and protesting throughout -- could avoid the ban if it was badly acted (and, let's face it, isn't all porn badly acted?). It would also mean that a video of a woman bound and gagged while being assaulted would not be banned unless it also showed penetration, regardless of how realistic it seemed. Nor would it do anything about the increasing number of videos portraying underage sex. These are pornographic videos featuring women over-18 who look far younger.

Normally these women will be very small, totally flat-chested and have all traces of pubic hair removed. Their immaturity is emphasised by clothes associated with pre-teens and childlike behaviour and speech. These girls are intended to look pre-pubescent. This is often highlighted by pairing them with male actors in their 50s or 60s who they will have sex with. It looks just like child abuse but it's perfectly legal and readily accessible from Google.

Banning such content would not be about criminalising porn-viewers, but it would be about preventing easy access to material which normalises sexual violence and abuse. Just as internet companies have acted to make it harder to access child abuse, they need to do the same for extreme porn. Politicians can set the agenda on this.

..Read the full article

Police raid house

The Dangerous Pictures Act

The UK Government passed the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008 criminalising the possession of adult, staged, consensual violent pornography with draconian penalties of up to 3 years in prison. The law also bans images of bestiality and necrophilia.

The law applies to England, Wales & Northern Ireland

See Document Index


2014 Extension to images depicting non-consensual sex

See bill progress at Criminal Injustice and Courts Bill index page: Passed 2nd Reading in the House of Commons


The Dangerous Pictures chapter of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 came into force on January 26th 2009.

Government guidance [pdf] has been published to further explain what images are considered dangerous to possess.

See also CPS Extreme Pornography: Legal Guidance


A bill was passed in June 2010 to become the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 [pdf].

The clause came into force on 28th March 2011. Public guidance has now been published by the Scottish Government

Anime girl of indeterminent age
How are we expected
to know how old she is?

Criminalising Anime Dangerous Cartoons Act

The UK Government introduced a clause in Coroners and Justice Bill to criminalise the possession of non photographic but pornographic images of children with draconian penalties of up to 3 years in prison.

The Dangerous Cartoons clauses are found in Part 2 Chapter 2 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and explanatory notes.

The Melon Farmers have also identified what they consider the key points of the law

The Bill passed into law when it received Royal Assent on 12th November 2009. The Dangerous Cartoons clauses came into force on 6th April 2010.