UK Citizens Worked Up About Broad And Vague Obscenity Law
from the outlawing-comic-books dept
I have to admit that I’ve never quite understood the point of any sort of obscenity laws. Perhaps it’s just my inner-libertarian, but why should the government be outlawing what people look at — especially when it comes to such a subjective standard as “obscenity.” Over in the UK, many people are up in arms over a new pornography law that is so broad and so vague that it could outlaw certain Batman comics, among other things. Defenders of the law will say that this is a ridiculous claim and that the law was intended for no such thing, and, in fact, police have said they don’t plan to actively enforce the law.
Of course, that should be a sign of why the law is so problematic. Basically, officials are admitting that they’re only going to use it in cases where either they can’t find something else on someone, or they just want to pile on. It’s not a law for any good reason… it’s giving prosecutors an extra tool to take someone down. In the end, it looks like this was just another grandstanding law — allowing some politicians to announce that they were able to help “protect the children” — with little thought given to the actual details. That’s why it includes a carve-out for movies. So, in theory, you could watch a movie with graphic pornography in it — but then writing a description to someone else about it would be illegal.