Stepdad Goes To Police With Stepdaughter's Sexts, Asks Them To Intervene, Is Prosecuted For Child Porn

from the great dept

Sexting continues to be a thing. And, as we have covered various stories revolving around people sending pictures of their naughty bits to one another, much of the consternation in the public tends to be around children partaking in sexting. And I can see their point. While I tend to laugh at prudishness in general, it would probably be best for all involved if underage youngsters weren't texting each other provocative pictures of themselves with reckless abandon.

So what is a parent to do if their children are found to be doing just that? One might think that going to both the child's school and authorities to ask for help in stopping this behavior would be in order, right? Well, for one parent in Australia, doing just that landed him a conviction for child pornography and sex offender registration, even as essentially the entire legal system acknowledged that he was just trying to be a good father.

A man who found out that his 15-year-old stepdaughter was sexting her boyfriend proceeded to download the evidence to bring it to the school and the police to ask them to intervene. Oh dear, readers. You know where this is heading. Intervene they did. Now the dad has been convicted on child pornography charges and placed on the sex offender registry. This, despite the judge understanding exactly why the man, Ashan Ortell, 57, held onto the images.

"There is no suggestion of any exploitation of them by anybody," ruled Judge Jane Patrick, over in Australia, which is becoming as daffy as the United States. "You made no attempt to conceal the images. In fact, you were so concerned that you contacted the authorities about the images."

And then the judge proceeded to levy the conviction for child pornography upon Ortell. Why? Well, because Ortell made copies of the images he'd found his stepdaughter sending around on a USB stick and brought them to the school and police. The police apparently warned him to delete the images or risk prosecution, before reportedly failing to do much at all to address the behavior about which Ortell was concerned. Because of that, he kept the images, ostensibly so that he could address the behavior with other parties that might help him intervene. And that's when he was prosecuted for child pornography.

Let's be clear here: everyone agrees that Ortell did not keep the images for lewd reasons. There is a complete consensus, up to and including the judge who convicted him, that Ortell is merely a concerned parent attempting to do the right thing. Yet here we are. Legal systems routinely take intention into account with regards to charges, prosecutions, and rulings. Yet that failed to happen here, because context and nuance go right out the window when it comes to certain topics that have been overhyped in the public discourse as some kind of impending doomsday. Sexting amongst children is one of those topics.

Need more proof? The local police department has reached out to parents as a result of this whole fiasco with advice that wouldn't have helped in this case.

The ridiculous advice the Victoria police are giving to parents in the wake of this case is: Talk to your children about sexting "and encourage them not to communicate with people they don't know."

Well, okay. How would that have helped? The girl was definitely communicating with someone she did know: her boyfriend. I'm also guessing that talking to your kids about sexting is like talking to them about abstinence. A few may pay heed, but many won't.

The fact that sexualized pictures of "children" (anyone under 18 qualifies in federal child porn statues) are rampant and often consensual should somehow be reflected in the laws. Instead, low-level sex offenses are becoming the low-level drug offenses of this century: Something we overreact to in a charade of concern and, in the process, turn decent people into criminals.

Child pornography is not an issue to be taken lightly, to be sure, but making a mockery of the public's concern by convicting a well-meaning parent isn't the answer to anything at all.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 4:47pm

    The dad is a moron. He should have taken the cellphone to the police. The minute he downloaded the content, he became a contributor of child porn. What an idiot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:00pm

      Re:

      As soon as he downloaded the content he became a contributor of child porn?

      I'm not so sure about that. Case in point: just because you left a comment here doesn't mean you contributed to the conversation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:05pm

      Re:

      It's the law that's moronic. He was seeking help from the police regarding his daughter's behavior– not distributing the images en masse to the world at large.

      Those are two very different things, and if the law makes no distinction between them, then it's overly broad and a stupid law.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 4:32am

        Re: Re:

        How did the police and prosecutors get away with possessing the evidence used to convict the father? If it's illegal to possess then clearly holding the evidence is illegal too.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          R.H. (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Most child porn laws have a cut-out for law enforcement and prosecutors actively working a case.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            jupiterkansas (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 8:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sounds like a great career path for pedophiles.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This reminds me of something I read...

            If viewing an image of a naked child re-victimizes the child, how come LEO viewing the image doesn't?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 19 Oct 2016 @ 6:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It's the sharing and the circulation, with all that goes with it, that revictimizes the child, not the viewing, per se.

              Basically, anything that contributes to the degradation of the individual involved and the reduction of that individual to a mere object for the gratification of others. So basically, if you're using the image to find evidence against an abuser, it's not wrong.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:13pm

                The inevitable outcome...

                ...and if you pass an image or two to your officer buddies who enjoy a pretty-looking teen now and again, no harm done.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Lesath, 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:58pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                It's the sharing and the circulation, with all that goes with it, that revictimizes the child, not the viewing, per se.

                US law disagrees with you. Simply viewing even without sharing "revictimizes" the child here.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:00pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If viewing an image of a naked child re-victimizes the child, how come LEO viewing the image doesn't?

              Because LEO's are GOD's and as such they already know what the kids look like naked.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re: Yes and No

        The problem is he kept the images for future consultations with others (i.e. to complain to the school and to other parents, I imagine.)

        If you found a 10-pound bag of marijuana and turned it in, but kept a few ounces to show other parents what they need to look for in their kids' rooms - would you not expect to be charged with possession?

        The biggest stupidity is of course, the law. The sex offender registry was intended to list people who posed a risk to others (women and children, mainly) because they were a serious risk to re-offend. Instead it's been turned into the Modern "Scarlet Letter", one bad decision and you are branded for life and shunned by society, regardless of your risk to re-offend. As one commentator said, the biggest growing segment of the registry is teen boys - not because they are perverts (YMMV) but because their peer behaviour is classified as criminal, unlike older males.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: Yes and No

          If you found a 10-pound bag of marijuana and turned it in, but kept a few ounces to show other parents what they need to look for in their kids' rooms - would you not expect to be charged with possession?

          The analog is if I took it to the police and they didn't want anything to do with it but advised me to throw it in the trash. Arresting me for possession in that case would be exactly like this one: within the bounds of the law, but stupid and counterproductive.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes and No

            The analog is if I took it to the police and they didn't want anything to do with it but advised me to throw it in the trash.

            No, the analog would be if they told you to throw it away but instead you took it home and smoked it. (for "educational" purposes, wink wink, nod nod)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 3:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Yes and No

          If the police did listen to you, would you expect the police to give a stern talking to your child about the potential risks of possessing 10 pounds of pot?

          Police lay criminal charges. They are not the counselors you are looking for.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Unanimous Cow Herd, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:52pm

      Re:

      Have to agree with you on that. As ridiculous as the case is, making COPIES was a derp move.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        daj, 19 Oct 2016 @ 3:16am

        Re: Re:

        If he had taken the cellphone to the police they would have charged him for
        1. stealing the phone
        2. having a phone with child porn on it
        3. charged with abusing his daughters cellphone to share intimate photos with her boyfriend

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If he had taken the cellphone to the police they would have charged him for
          1. stealing the phone

          How's that? Do you know something about the situation that we don't or are you just making crap up?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:43pm

      Re:

      No he's not a moron, and who the fuck are you to judge? What's to say he didn't take the cellphone to the police? What the hell is someone in his position supposed to do?

      That part of the system is broke.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 3:30pm

        Re: Re:

        He took the phone to the police and they told him to delete the photos...

        So his real crime is, "Failure to obey cop."

        If he just would have listened to the cop and done what he was asked to do, nothing would have happened to him (or to the issue he was asking the police for help about... but helping isn't really their job anymore, it's just seizing assets and arresting those who fail to obey the cops...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        restless94110 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:05am

        Re: Re:

        Ye is is a moron and who the fuck are ou to talk your mess.

        He should never have had the cellphone and he should never have taken it to the police. That's what the hell someone in his position is supposed to do. Mind ya bizness.

        The system is broke because of your angry nonsense thinking.

        I'm going to call you Hysteric #1 on this thread.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 2:04am

      Re:

      The minute he downloaded the content, he became a contributor of child porn.

      On that basis all policemen involved in investigating child porn should be prosecuted for child porn - and investigating real child pornographers would be impossible.

      Get a brain!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 5:10am

        Re: Re:

        Historically the people involved in investigating these crimes are statistically likely to also be collectors. Their positions give them access and excuses for having them...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anon, 18 Oct 2016 @ 10:11pm

        Re: Re:

        No, the minute he finished taking the evidence to the police, and they had the necessary evidence - the onus was on him to remove any copies he still had lying around. He deliberately kept some copies.

        Since motivation is important, obviously he is not a sex offender; but the law states "possession". Having completed reporting it, he should have deleted them. After all, if his neighbor got his copies and passed them on, who is guilty of contributing to the distribution? His neighbor AND HIMSELF.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Sargas, 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:08pm

      Destruction of Evidence

      The police told him to delete the images so that they could arrest him for BOTH child pornography AND destruction of evidence. At least he didn't fall for that old trick.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:03pm

    The law needs to allow for common sense to win out.
    This isn't some perv doing horrible things, this was a parent trying to protect his child.

    The law is passed in a hurried rush to 'protect' and people just want to ignore the all to real and horrible outcomes the law causes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 1:21am

      "The law needs to allow for common sense to win out."

      Obviously there is no such thing as common sense.

      At least I would assert it isn't common enough to be useful.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        restless94110 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:08am

        Re: "The law needs to allow for common sense to win out."

        Obviously there is a wave of hysteria washing over the English-speaking world.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 19 Oct 2016 @ 6:12am

          Re: Re: "The law needs to allow for common sense to win out."

          Well that's true, and it's a terrible shame. There needs to be a clear distinction in the law between abusers who seek to degrade and humiliate and people who just want assistance with intervention when they believe in good faith that harm is being done.

          I'd also make exceptions for photos of kids in the bath; the idea that nakedness in and of itself is offensive and illegal is nuts. It's the intent that should matter here. In this case, Stepdad made a copy to bring to the police, he didn't rob Stepdaughter of her phone. Why? The sexting was a problem, not her other uses of the phone. His intent was to protect the child, so IMHO this case shouldn't even have been brought and I hope he appeals it. And wins.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 6:21am

            Re: Re: Re: "The law needs to allow for common sense to win out."

            I'd also make exceptions for photos of kids in the bath; the idea that nakedness in and of itself is offensive and illegal is nuts.

            In the US, the laws used to specify a sexual context - meaning photos of non-sexual child nudity were legal. They have changed though and I'm not sure exactly what they say now. I know you can get some terrible situations even if there is no conviction. One couple had their kids taken away from them temporarily over some bath time photos:

            http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/03/ariz-couple-sues-walmart-over-kids-bath-photos/

            Autoplay video, sorry.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            restless94110 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: "The law needs to allow for common sense to win out."

            So there needs to be a difference between people who foolishly believe that a picture has the possibly to "degrade" someone and a busybody who should have minded his own business?

            What might that difference be between jail for the busybody and jail for the person who thinks names (and pictures) have the power of sticks & stones?

            There should be no difference.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:21pm

    Moral of the story ... do not talk to the police.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Monkey (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:37pm

      Re:

      Oy! Where oh where is this fabled "Sad but True" button?!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:46pm

        Re: Re:

        We really need one of those around here.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 6:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          One used to be around here, but repeated use left it broke as fuck, so they decided there is just too much work required to maintain it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 4:36am

        Re: Re:

        I asked that recently and was told Metallica owns the intellectual property rights to that button and you know how anal they are about protecting their IP.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 6:20am

      Re:

      Sadly I would agree for most subjects. And I still agree in this case for an additional reason: there are other venues to pursue that are safer and would actually help. Think about it. Even if the justice system and the cops hadn't backfired at this concerned dad they'd probably just arrest the girl and the bf and screw their lives instead.

      So what could be done? Talking to the girl should be a good start. Show her the possible consequences of doing such thing, ie the guy being a moron and leaking the images if they don't stay together, a hack/malware that could leak the pics, being utterly screwed by the Government for life if authorities found out someway. Possibly even try a psychologist. And if after al this she kept doing it then it's her choice. Sometimes a little screw up with harsh consequences can teach a lot. The only problem is that the Government can turn a mild reputation and shame issue into a life registry as a sex offender and some jail time effectively destroying her life. We should be dealing with this aspect of this story.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:17am

      Re:

      > Moral of the story ... do not talk to the police.

      Except in this case, it would have worked out if he just deleted the pictures like the police immediately suggested.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 10:11pm

        Re: Re:

        Except in this case, it would have worked out if he just deleted the pictures like the police immediately suggested.

        And then they could have arrested him for destroying evidence. Yay!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      restless94110 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:09am

      Re:

      As I said in my original pose, Hysteric #1

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 5:49pm

    Another dangerous criminal taken off the streets by zero tolerance.
    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 6:30pm

    Never, ever involve the police

    His first mistake was involving the police. Never do that. Ever. It can and will only end badly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 6:47pm

    Why would you want to get justice and the military involved? These are the same folks that ran their own playpen, and they don't appreciate the competition.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Brown (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      Exactly. It's called parenting. Your 15 year old stepdaughter is not entitled to her smartphone. Since she has obviously abused the privilege, take it away. If she must have a means of communication, believe it or not they still make cell phones with no camera, and they're cheaper than dirt.

      Since it takes two to tango, go talk to the boyfriend and his parents, to fully explain why you won't be allowing your stepdaughter to see him anymore.

      Horny teenagers will be horny teenagers. That's a problem for the parents, not the police.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:28am

      Never underestimate dads

      Never underestimate the length a father is willing to go to for the (perceived or not) safety of his daughter.

      True story:
      Knew a guy, he was 21 and was going out with 19 y.o. girl (they married later).
      The dad was LIVID when he found out they were dating. He chased the guy with a loaded pistol and tried to kill him.
      His wife had to step in and stop him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 7:23pm

    As contempt of court is illegal, courts have an obligation not to invite contempt. As Judge Jane Patrick demonstrates, occasionally one will accomplish that by being beneath contempt rather than above it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    D, 17 Oct 2016 @ 8:34pm

    Does Australia not have a right to trial by jury? It's not the right to be judged by your peers the method by which common sense is (optimistically) excerised within the legal system?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Eldakka (profile), 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:18pm

      Re:

      There is right to trial by jury, however it is usually only automatically applied in serious cases.

      If it's a minor case, typically where the maximum jailtime is less than 4 or 5 years, unless the defendant requests a jury trial then it won't go to a jury. Going to a jury adds significant extra cost to the defendant, as it's usually a 'bigger case' so there'll be more lawyers (solicitor + barrister, possibly even a QC), more time, and so on.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Stephen, 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:05am

      Re:

      Does Australia not have a right to trial by jury?
      If you mean a constitutionally entrenched one, only at the federal level (in s.80 of the Australian Commonwealth Constitution; and it has a rather large loophole in any case). Not at the state level, which was where this particular case occurred.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 18 Oct 2016 @ 2:18am

      Re:

      Where would be the point? Juries decide on matters of fact, not on matters of law. And the facts are not in dispute.

      Lower courts are supposed to apply laws as written. When they are written badly, they will eventually land in higher courts with more liberty of interpreting or even cancelling them.

      I think that in Australia this process should be less costly for the victims of bad laws than in the U.S.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 5:50am

        Re: Re:

        "Juries decide on matters of fact, not on matters of law."

        Say who?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anon, 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:27am

        Re: Re:

        >Where would be the point? Juries decide on matters of fact, not on matters of law. And the facts are not in dispute.

        >Lower courts are supposed to apply laws as written. When they are written badly, they will eventually land in higher courts with more liberty of interpreting or even cancelling them.

        Maybe in literal hellholes like Australia but in the USA Juries have the power to nullify. They can vote to nullify in the event that the defendant is in violation of the law but the law itself isn't being productive to society or validly applied. The power to nullify is the single greatest power (even more powerful than the right to vote) a private citizen has in the USA. With one case you can modify how a law can be applied for everyone in the future, and in some cases invalidate the law all together.

        Know your rights. Study up on Jury Nullification.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nullification is a sabotage of a court case: you find in clear and willful contradiction of your actual belief in face of the evidence. Any potential jury member indicating in advance that he might consider jury nullification to prevent unjust laws being applied will get thrown out of jury duty.

          It's like stating that football players have the right and power to avoid the scoring of a goal by fouling the opponent, if necessary lethally.

          That the rules will then consider the goal not scored does not mean that this is a proper power granted to the player.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rekrul, 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nullification is a sabotage of a court case: you find in clear and willful contradiction of your actual belief in face of the evidence. Any potential jury member indicating in advance that he might consider jury nullification to prevent unjust laws being applied will get thrown out of jury duty.

            So if slavery were reinstated, juries would be forced to find that blacks have no rights and can be sold like cattle?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 3:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So if slavery were reinstated, juries would be found to find that blacks have no rights and can be sold like cattle?

              FTFY

              Yes

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 8:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The only time a juror can be removed from a case with regard to nullification is if they express their knowledge of it before the trial starts. Once it has started a jury can nullify and cut the law down to size. It is the single greatest power in the judicial system of checks and balances. It is a right of the people and perfectly legal. Thanks to the 5th amendment's double jeopardy clause and protection of Jurors it is the ultimate shutdown of unjust lawsuits. No juror can be punished for their verdict and a nullification prohibits the appeal of an acquittal.

            Current law says that a Judge and attorney cannot legally notify the jury of their power to nullify, but it is a very real and valid power.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:20pm

            By the people

            Nullification is a sabotage of a court case: you find in clear and willful contradiction of your actual belief in face of the evidence. Any potential jury member indicating in advance that he might consider jury nullification to prevent unjust laws being applied will get thrown out of jury duty.

            Last I checked the legal system regards the jury as the last line of defense, the assurance that government is by the people.

            In that light, it is not only proper, but necessary for the jury to obstruct any conviction, even if a juror personally disagrees with the law

            If you take away the jury's ability to adjudicate, if you're restricting how they are allowed to think, then you are sabotaging that government by the people thing.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 8:30am

          Re: Re: Re: Know your rights. Study up on Jury Nullification.

          Got to wonder whether the state is buying and processing commercial consumer profiles before calling juries these days.

          I would be unsurprised if that deck was getting stacked like everything else is.

          If they aren't they will soon. Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it. It is funny how a topic comes up on this board, and you see it spouted by the bobble head 48 hours later.

          TD seems to be a major source of topics for the Clintonian propaganda machine.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 3:12pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Theoretically sure, but so much as hint that you are aware of the term 'jury nullification' and you can bet you'll be struck from the jury pool on the spot. Judges and prosecutors really don't care for the idea that the schmucks in the jury box can overrule them by deciding that yeah the defendant broke the law, but the law and/or circumstances is/are unjust so they shouldn't be punished for it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:04pm

    Why would a parent take nude photos of their own daughter without consent to show to law enforcement?
    Is he trying to get her in trouble for taking photos of herself or the boy of similar age in trouble?
    The age of consent in Victoria is 16, or 12 if both involved are within 2 years of each other so what is the problem with 2 people who presumably can legally have sex with each other sharing images.
    If anything he is asking to be charged with possession and distribution of child porn by taking these actions without the knowledge of the actually affected party i.e. the girl whose body it is and the one who took the photos.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Kir, 18 Oct 2016 @ 5:06am

      Re:

      Exactly. The guy horribly violated his daughter privacy. Child porn charges of course are overboard, but don't tell me "he meant well".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:45pm

      Re:

      The age of consent in Victoria is 16, or 12 if both involved are within 2 years of each other so what is the problem with 2 people who presumably can legally have sex with each other sharing images.

      That would explain why the police didn't do anything about the photos - they were legal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    restless94110, 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:23pm

    You really are a prude. What kids show each other should never be crimiknalized.

    The dad was a moron and a fool and violated his daughter's privacy. He should have stayed out of her business. He was a fool for not realizing that you don't call the police for anythig ever. He was a moron for not understanding the intensely draconian, repressive, regressive sex laws in the English-speaking world.

    He got what he deserved.

    Thanks for breaking this story. Maybe the other morons that support this kind of nonsense will wake up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:53pm

      Re:

      "What kids show each other should never be crimiknalized."

      Really? How about what kids do to each other? Where are you drawing the line? What happens when these pictures end up online as "revenge porn"? I hope to god you're not a parent.

      Next time lay off the shiraz before you post. What a tool.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        restless94110 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:15am

        Re: Re:

        I'm drawing the line at non-consensual sex, Hysteric #1. Where would you draw that line at sexual relations between two human beings?

        So you are of the belief that a pic of a dick is somehow damaging to anyone ever? As in revenge porn? Shame on you.

        I hope to God you're not a parent.

        Next time, lay off the oxycotin before you post.

        The tool is the hysteric who thinks it's right to bring others into other people's business, Hysteric #1.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Stephen, 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:21am

      Re:

      The dad was a moron and a fool...He got what he deserved.
      Since when was being a moron or a fool a criminal offence? (If they were lots of other people would be in jail.) On the other hand your cruel, cold-hearted attitude does not say anything particularly nice about you.
      ...violated his daughter's privacy.
      Parents do that to their kids all the time. Those who don't tend to be ones who get convicted for such crimes as child neglect or child endangerment (and have their kids taken from them and put in a foster home).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        restless94110 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:24am

        Re: Re:

        I don't care about nice. I care about justice.

        The stepdad was violating her privacty, which shows he wasn't being nice. He was a moron. He went to the police which shows he was a fool.

        And there are plenty of people in jail for being fools and morons. Lotd of them.

        Because parents violate their children's privacy does not make it right, does not make it wise.

        And you obviously have no idea what gets a charge of child neglect or endangerment in these days, Stephen, none.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      He should have stayed out of her business.

      You don't have kids, do you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        restless94110 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:33am

        Re: Re:

        nasch:

        He. Should. Have. Stayed. Out. Of. Her. Business.

        Repeat this over and over until you understand it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 5:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Repeat this over and over until you understand it.

          I understand it fine, the thing is a child's business is the parent's business. Yes, my children can have their privacy, but it has limits. I hope you agree, or would you let your kids do heroin because it's none of your business? Perhaps we draw the lines in different places and that's fine, but please don't just stay out of your children's business (if you have kids). That's just abdicating your responsibility as a parent. Yes, it's easier, but in the long run it does your child no favors.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:26pm

            letting kids do drugs

            I think sexting with a boyfriend is more in the risk magnitude of doing pot with buddies or having a beer than doing heroin.

            It's still something that we want our kids doing with knowledge of and respect for the dangers involved. Not that we actually provide easy-access accurate risk assessments for any of these things.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:44pm

              Re: letting kids do drugs

              I think sexting with a boyfriend is more in the risk magnitude of doing pot with buddies or having a beer than doing heroin.

              Without a doubt. My point was not that sexting is like heroin, it's that it's appropriate for a parent to take steps (not any and all steps necessarily) to discover what their child is up to.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            restless94110 (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            At some point, you do have to abdicate and let your children make their mistakes and take their responsibilities.

            If you have not been too overbearing and micromanaging, your child will come to you if he or she is in a jam.

            You can't control it, and neither should you.

            It does your child no favors to get your parental ego all pumped up by your vaunted sense of "responsibility."

            This is obviously what happened here, especially because it is a stepfather, especially because he invaded the phone, and moust especially because he went to the police.

            Don't get too full of yourslf, dad (or mom, sorry don't know your gender). You got to let go. If you don't it's not just no favors you are doing your teenage adult. It's negative favors. And all because you had to be "responsible."

            Be responsible by growing up.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              At some point, you do have to abdicate and let your children make their mistakes and take their responsibilities.

              If you have not been too overbearing and micromanaging, your child will come to you if he or she is in a jam.

              You can't control it, and neither should you.

              It does your child no favors to get your parental ego all pumped up by your vaunted sense of "responsibility."

              All quite right. And it also doesn't do your child any good to let them do whatever they want out of a misguided or exaggerated respect for their privacy. Children, including (maybe especially) teenagers, need boundaries, and if a parent has no idea what their child is doing there is no way to set effective boundaries.

              You can't control it, and neither should you.

              Again, totally agree. Parents who think they can "control" their children are probably in for a hard time. Guiding and teaching them however, especially starting from a young age, is much more effective.

              This is obviously what happened here

              I would be very cautious about assuming you know what's going on in that family from a news report.

              You got to let go.

              I would say you need to know when to let go and when to get involved. Some situations call for one and some for the other, and if you respond the same way every time, you're almost certainly making mistakes.

              And all because you had to be "responsible."

              You put responsible in quotes as though you dismiss the concept... I hope that is not what you mean.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Oct 2016 @ 11:46pm

    It sounds like maybe the step-father was trying to get his daughters boyfriend arrested on child pornography charges and it backfired.

    What else would he be expecting the police to do when they "intervene"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:44am

    He was made an example of even as it contradicted what they knew he was not guilty of. It was a golden opportunity to push their agendas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 1:36am

    The technology is here. The genie is out.

    It would probably be best for all involved if underage youngsters weren't texting each other provocative pictures of themselves with reckless abandon.

    I disagree. It would be best for all involved if we, as a culture could get less hung up about nudity and embarassing teenage shenanigans. It may take no less than a critical mass of teen sexts stuck on the internet to do that, because we love our sexual hang-ups.

    But think of it, we might be able to stop freaking out about teen nudity, and about people whose naughty bits made it onto the internet when they were teens. Even our elected officials might be a bit more humble if they knew that somewhere pics of themselves as reckless teens were out there waiting to be found.

    Heck, I bet we could put a big dent into the child porn industry if teen sexts were decriminalized.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 2:13am

      Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

      Yes.

      We've abandoned moral disapproval of so many things that used to be on the "unmentionable list" (sex/pregnancy outside marriage, homosexuality, promiscuity etc) but we just can't do without something to get all high and mighty about - so it is all heaped on the one thing that we can all agree on - paedophilia and child porn.

      We are really comfortable doing this because it is the only sin that we aren't tempted by personally. It's really good to complain about other people and not to have to examine ourselves

      In my mind this attitude is more destructive than the things it diisapproves of - and this case demonstrates it perfectly - because all the parties here (apart from the daughter and her boyfriend) are guilty of it!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 18 Oct 2016 @ 3:31am

      Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

      Heck, I bet we could put a big dent into the child porn industry if teen sexts were decriminalized.

      I don't see you making any viable proposal for buffering the increasing legalization of marihuana. Child pornography and copyright enforcement can help offsetting the effects of a scaled-down war on drugs and will help against overaging effects of the prison population due to mandatory sentencing and charge stacking.

      If you want to maintain a reasonably flexible prison work force, you need to net them young. Sexting-related charges are certainly a viable option for supplanting drug-related ones. Even when they don't lead to immediate incarceration, they might help putting offenders on a downward spiral, letting their actually criminal career register as "repeat offenders".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 11:37am

        Cannabis is related how?

        What does marijuana have to do with this? I regard the whole war on drugs (let alone the criminalization of low level drugs such as cannabis, khat and kratom -- the last of which the DEA might unban today).

        As a witness to the beneficial effects of medical marijuana (where lab-made THC has failed) and noting the amazingly low incident rate of marijuana use leading to injury or death, we should have decriminalized it a long time ago.

        Of course, there are a number of industries and ideological institutions that want to suppress cannabis for their own reasons.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:48pm

          Re: Cannabis is related how?

          What does marijuana have to do with this?

          He's saying the war on drugs is at risk with more states legalizing marijuana, so the for-profit prison industry may need a new source of inmates. Perhaps child porn and sexting could be it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 2:53pm

            Re: Re: Cannabis is related how?

            Ah. Infected with a cold so my parsing skills are less than keen.

            brains!

            Dangit, why did you have to disable html markup, Techdirt! I don't know markdown and your stupid link doesn't explain it easily.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 3:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Cannabis is related how?

              Dangit, why did you have to disable html markup, Techdirt! I don't know markdown and your stupid link doesn't explain it easily.

              The document is pretty terrible as a user guide, but then it isn't supposed to be that. Something like this is better: https://github.com/adam-p/markdown-here/wiki/Markdown-Cheatsheet

              I would say all you need to know is asterisks (either one or two) for emphasis, and greater than for blockquote. Other useful but less necessary stuff like lists is in that cheat sheet.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 11:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Cannabis is related how?

                Thanks, that link is much easier to figure out than what they had. Looks like it's time to get used to a new system for the comment section, at least most of it looks fairly simple to remember, with just the links being complicated.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 19 Oct 2016 @ 5:49am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cannabis is related how?

                  at least most of it looks fairly simple to remember, with just the links being complicated.

                  I just pasted in that link with no formatting and it worked. I guess it gets more complicated if you want to put the hyperlink behind some other text but that isn't really necessary. And now there's a checkbox that says this:

                  Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.

                  If you don't check it, it ignores all formatting, both HTML and markdown. If you do check it, it uses markdown. So they've made it even worse now.

                  Techdirt - please default to something! I don't care what it is, but don't make me check a box to indicate I want to be able to format my post. Of course I want to be able to format it.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 6:15am

      Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

      "I disagree. It would be best for all involved if we, as a culture could get less hung up about nudity and embarassing teenage shenanigans."

      I think there is a middle ground here. Note that I qualified my statement with "with reckless abandon." I'm aware that underage kids have been showing each other their genitals since time immemorial and I agree that converting that practice into digital form doesn't in and of itself make it somehow a worse activity....except we'd be silly to simply disregard the real differences in dangers in terms of distribution of the images and/or more permanent embarrassment that come along with sexting as opposed to mere show-and-tell.

      As I said, I don't think we need to be prudish here, but I do think we can go stronger on educating the young of the dangers even as we understand the natural inclination of the behavior....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 6:24am

        Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

        I think both you and Uriel are right. Your approach is needed while his approach is worked on. I explain. We need to stop treating sex and nudity as if they were taboos and somewhat alien things. We should look at naked people and react with ... nothing. We should see sex and react with at worst some giggles and move on, at best with nothing.

        Meanwhile your approach will need to be adopted. You don't turn more than a millennium of religious zealotry on the subject into the ideal world in one generation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Richard (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 6:47am

          Re: Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

          You don't turn more than a millennium of religious zealotry on the subject into the ideal world in one generation.

          Unfortunately, as I commented above, "religious zealotry" isn't the problem. After all many of the current generation of moral zealots are actually, or even officially, atheists (eg the Chinese government).

          The actual problem is an innate human tendency to want to have someone to look down on. Sometimes this manifests as racism, sometimes as religious moralising or bigotry - all of which goes against the true teaching of the religion which tells you to ingore the speck in your brother's eye until you have removed the plank from your own.

          It is somewhat ironic that the practitioners of that religion who ought to have been leading the charge against this problem for nearly 2000 years have actually spent a lot of the time making it worse.

          But then again there are also the verses:
          "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Chuck, 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

            Yeah, but that's true of virtually every organized religion.

            Jesus: Free fish and bread for everyone!
            Christians: Takers!

            Jesus: Water into wine!
            Christians: Alcohol is so evil, let's ban it entirely! (Prohibition.)

            Jesus: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!
            Christians: Ok warden, put down your beer and throw that switch, you sinner you! (Electric Chair/Capital Punishment)

            And that's just the Christians. I pick on them only because I know them the best, but the others have the same sort of problems. They're all founded by good, honest people with pretty good ideas. Then they go from religions to ORGANIZED religions, and everything goes straight to hell.

            Why? Because nothing puts asses in the pews on Sunday like a good moral panic. Pastors gotta eat, right?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Ninja (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 8:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

            I'm talking about the western world where religion played a major role in keeping people dumb and bigoted but generally you are right, if it wasn't religion it would be whatever.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Richard (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

              religion played a major role in keeping people dumb and bigoted

              The people already WANTED to be kept dumb and bigoted.

              Religion pandered to that desire when it should have challenged it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

        > As I said, I don't think we need to be prudish here, but I do think we can go stronger on educating the young of the dangers

        Sure, but when has criminal law ever helped with that?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:48am

          Re: Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

          A felony record will make it a lot harder to maintain good relations and a good job, making you less attractive as a mate and less successful in procreation.

          So criminalizing stupidity is making future generations more intelligent on average.

          It is the finest achievement of Social Darwinism at work.

          If it worked a bit faster, the lineup of presidential candidates might look different.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Richard (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 12:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

            A felony record will make it a lot harder to maintain good relations and a good job, making you less attractive as a mate and less successful in procreation.

            In fantasyland.

            Meanwhile, in the real world these people are put into a position where the only recreation they can afford is procreation - whilst the higher achievers are too busy with their careers to bother with having children.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:30am

        Re: the real differences in dangers in terms of distribution of the images and/or more permanent embarrassment

        Why should there be any "permanent embarrassment" in the first place? And what "dangers in terms of distribution" really exist?

        Nothing ought to be shocking about human bodies, or normal sexual development. It's our culture that's messed up.

        We spend an awful lot of effort trying to fight biology, and losing.

        Once kids are old enough to father and bear children (well before age 18), ridiculously powerful hormones kick in.

        Our culture keeps saying our kids should have no sexuality until age 18, but that's not how biology works. Maybe we'd all be better off accepting reality instead of trying to fight it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re: The technology is here. The genie is out.

        I would say that sexting is a safer practice that showing things in person and in private, as distance is an effective contraceptive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Oct 2016 @ 4:40am

    LESSON: Never trust police with anything unless you have absolutely no other option. They are not your friends. They are looking to punish, not help people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Cowherd, 18 Oct 2016 @ 5:10am

    "making a mockery of the public's concern by convicting a well-meaning parent isn't the answer to anything at all."

    Sure it is. To inflating a prosecutor's conviction count.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chuck, 18 Oct 2016 @ 7:49am

    How to solve this in 3 easy steps

    1) Track down a local pedophile. This is super-easy because they're registered with public web sites.

    2) Give him the flash drive with your daughter's sext pics on it in exchange for beating up her boyfriend.

    3) Call in anonymous tip on the pedophile after he beats up her boyfriend.

    Tada! Daughter quits sexting because all it does is get her boyfriends beat up, pedophile goes to jail because he has child porn in his possession (also Assault charge), and the former boyfriend learns to keep it in his pants (at least until he turns 18). Everyone wins!

    Oh and also THE FATHER DOESN'T GO TO JAIL! Holy hell, what a thought!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Aaron Walkhouse (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 9:20am

      4) Pedophile testifies against father to avoid jail time.

      5) Father goes to maximum security jail on porn and conspiracy charges.

      Tada! Daughter and boyfriend are free to get on with their lives. ‌
      Violent, predatory stalking father problem solved! ‌ ;]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joel Coehoorn, 18 Oct 2016 @ 9:23am

    Blame the Prosecutor, Not the Judge

    Once the charges are filed and the trial began, this was the only possible outcome. The law is the law, and with it written the way it is, conviction was inevitable. The opportunity here for mercy rested with the prosecutor, who should never have prosecuted, or withdrawn them if they didn't realize what was really going on at first.

    What this tells me is you have someone in that DA's office who has too much ambition. It seems likely someone wanted to pad their statistics for child porn prosecutions, to help a future bid for public office. This is someone to watch, because this is a person who cares more for personal power than for justice or actually serving the community.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Craig Welch (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 9:39am

      Re: Blame the Prosecutor, Not the Judge

      What this tells me is you have someone in that DA's office who has too much ambition. It seems likely someone wanted to pad their statistics for child porn prosecutions, to help a future bid for public office. This is someone to watch, because this is a person who cares more for personal power than for justice or actually serving the community.


      What this tells me that you think the entire world's legal system is modelled on that in the US.

      It ain't. Fortunately.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shilling, 18 Oct 2016 @ 10:23am

    Sounds to me he got convicted because he put too much emphasis on the fact that the police is unwilling to do their job. Which is usually the case in childpornography cases as everyone refuses to discuss the matter in a logical sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    timmaguire42 (profile), 18 Oct 2016 @ 10:50am

    The point of child pornography laws is to protect children from sexual predators. Sexting is not child pornography in this context, neither is what this father did.

    Convicting him is not merely an over-reaction, it's a complete corruption of the purpose of the law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Oct 2016 @ 2:21am

    WARNING: Bad humor mixed with sarcasm follows:

    And this is why never being romantically involved with other parties has its upsides.
    No dads to piss off and no ax-crazy exes trying to have your head on a pike. No potential for lewdness or indecency charges.

    Well not unless you're drunk and a cop catches you pissing in a back alley.

    Hell, at this rate it won't be long before western guys become "herbivorous" like those in Japan.

    We might end up in a situation where jacking it off to legal porn not only cheaper but far safer as well.
    Oh wait... we're already there!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whutevah, 19 Oct 2016 @ 12:54pm

    Birds of a feather

    As usual, the techdirt pedos here seem to be circling the wagons to defend each other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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