British man prosecuted for publishing “obscene” story online


----------------

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

In a test case which could have severe ramifications for free speech on the internet, a 35 year old man is being prosecuted under British obscenity laws for a story he allegedly wrote and published on the internet.

Darryn Walker did not enter a plea and was sent for trial in March next year after the prosecution decided to charge him under the “Obscene Publications Act 1959″.   This is the first prosecution for written material under this law since 1991.

Walker allegedly wrote and published a story called Girls (Scream) Aloud – about pop group “Girls Aloud” – on the internet.  The story describes in detail the kidnap, rape, mutilation and murder of the band members and ends with the sale of various body parts on eBay.    The story was then published on the Usenet groups, in the “alt.sex” discussion groups, where it was seen by the Internet Watch Foundation, who alerted police.

The Obscene Publications Act has had a bit of a hit-and-miss legal history.   It was used to try to get rid of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (we can see how THAT turned out) and after that, every attempt to get rid of objectionable books using the OPA was subsequently shot down by appeals courts.   I heard at one point that the British Government was going to either get rid of the OPA or radically re-write it.   But obviously nothing has come of that yet.

But now we have this totally ridiculous prosecution for publishing a story on the internet.   Yes, the subject matter of the story is absolutely awful but nevertheless, everyone has a right to publish what they want online without being harassed or prosecuted.    If Walker is convicted, this will set a chilling precedent.   If acquitted, the right to free speech on the internet will be affirmed by the courts.





76 Responses to British man prosecuted for publishing “obscene” story online

  1. While I agree with your general sentiment, did you actually read the story? It's seriously fucked-up shit. It's also poorly written by somebody who is blatantly very inexperienced with the opposite sex, likely a virgin, as, beyond all the gibbering torture nonsense, he doesn't seem to any idea about women at all.

    Read it at your peril. But DO read it – then support its right to be published freely.

      • Thats the ticket, you dont like it you dont have to look at it. Like with the TV, turn it off. Like with a Book or Magazine, Close it.

        With USA, UK and AU all going down this path, we are looking tobe monitored and watched in EVERY SINGLE activity in the years to come.

        And we might only be looking at two years. Not twenty.

    • It's just words. Why does it matter what he wrote? I don't care if he wrote promoting child molestation, incest, gruesome murders, etc. I could careless if he was another Marquis De Sade writing about a girl getting a Syphillis infected friend to rape her own mother and then sewing her nethers shut so the "infected seed" stays within.

      It's JUST WORDS. It's just thoughts. And the UK proves over and over again, more so an american and AUS, that they're petrified that people can think about whatever the hell they want.

    • A wise man in American politics once said, "While I don't agree with what you said. I'll defend to the death your right to say it." This then became the basic tenant of the American right of free speech. Say what you want about us, but our founding fathers were on to something with the bill of rights and it would be good for British citizens to rise up and demand a codification of their basic rights so their politicians can't do what they currently do to you.

      • Well… actually that saying was not by any politician. Certainly not an American one. Or even a man. Often attributed to Voltaire, it is actually a quote from a biography on Voltaire by a woman named Evelyn Beatrice Hall, using the pseudonym S.G. Tallentyre, describing his attitude toward other writers. But I suppose that in and of itself is an argument for free speech.

      • you dont have free speach in the u s a anymore, read up on the patriot act and patriot act 2… goodbye 5th amendment :)

  2. While I agree with your general sentiment, did you actually read the story? It’s seriously fucked-up shit. It’s also poorly written by somebody who is blatantly very inexperienced with the opposite sex, likely a virgin, as, beyond all the gibbering torture nonsense, he doesn’t seem to any idea about women at all.

    Read it at your peril. But DO read it – then support its right to be published freely.

      • Thats the ticket, you dont like it you dont have to look at it. Like with the TV, turn it off. Like with a Book or Magazine, Close it.

        With USA, UK and AU all going down this path, we are looking tobe monitored and watched in EVERY SINGLE activity in the years to come.

        And we might only be looking at two years. Not twenty.

    • It’s just words. Why does it matter what he wrote? I don’t care if he wrote promoting child molestation, incest, gruesome murders, etc. I could careless if he was another Marquis De Sade writing about a girl getting a Syphillis infected friend to rape her own mother and then sewing her nethers shut so the “infected seed” stays within.

      It’s JUST WORDS. It’s just thoughts. And the UK proves over and over again, more so an american and AUS, that they’re petrified that people can think about whatever the hell they want.

    • A wise man in American politics once said, “While I don’t agree with what you said. I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” This then became the basic tenant of the American right of free speech. Say what you want about us, but our founding fathers were on to something with the bill of rights and it would be good for British citizens to rise up and demand a codification of their basic rights so their politicians can’t do what they currently do to you.

      • Well… actually that saying was not by any politician. Certainly not an American one. Or even a man. Often attributed to Voltaire, it is actually a quote from a biography on Voltaire by a woman named Evelyn Beatrice Hall, using the pseudonym S.G. Tallentyre, describing his attitude toward other writers. But I suppose that in and of itself is an argument for free speech.

      • you dont have free speach in the u s a anymore, read up on the patriot act and patriot act 2… goodbye 5th amendment :)

  3. I don't specifically support this guy's story which is probably absolute filth (and to answer your question, no I haven't read it). I more support the concept of free speech on the internet.

    As I said in the post, if he is convicted, this will be a bad precedent for anyone who wants to publish ANYTHING online which someone else doesn't like and who wants to bring a prosecution on the grounds of obscenity. It's only a short jump from Usenet groups to blogs, forums, comment boards (like this one) and before you know it, people like you and me can't say anything without some jumped up Nazi threatening to prosecute us because he doesn't like what we are saying.

    • As I said I agree with your sentiment but it never can be as cut as draw as 'anything goes'. The Internet is such a free-wheeling beast that you're always going to have issues with things like this. A story is one thing, but what if somebody filmed something like this? What about stories about child pornography? Or animated films about the same content?

      Also, in this case, we're talking about real people here. Beyond the made-up content, this isn't complete fantasy. It's real individuals.

      As above the idea of freedom of speech is a great one but like everything else in life tolerance *must* have a ceiling. Otherwise it's just chaos. As below, the famous quote, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," which is generally attributed to Voltaire but nobody seems to know for definite, was alright back when it was said (likely 1694-1778), but it's a very, very different world now.

      You can't have 'anything goes'. Freedom of speech only really works if people don't take the piss and/or are complete mentals. The UK has taken steps today to ban extremists from arriving on our shores. Why? Because tolerance must have a limit. This is much the same thing. Let the guy write the shit, but make sure it's contained in the appropriate parts of t'Internets, and not just 'out there' for all and sundry to see. In this case, as I said, it's poorly-written, if disturbing tosh, and he's clearly bonkers, but if you keep letting everything slide, eventually you will have a problem, as it's very, very difficult to turn back the clock.

      • You don't seem to get it. You cant stat banning any form of "extremism" because it allows other things to be banned under the pretense of "extremism". It starts with a shitty rape fan fic, then some violent political writings, then any dissenting political writings. I'm not one to see the world in black and white, but its pretty clear that the chance for evil here outweighs the chance for good here. I personally could care less if people continue to publish stories like this, but it is acting out of stupidity and fear that would have us ban it.

        • Of course you can and should ban extremism; don't be so naive. You have to draw the line somewhere, or are you proposing that child pornography be made legal? I can't imagine you are, and I would assume you think it should be banned, but how is that not extremism?

          If you're talking simply about words on paper then as I said I agree with the sentiment. My point was, and remains, that Mark had not read the story, and I imagine neither have several other contributors to this discourse. All I am saying is to make fair and reasonable judgement on whether something is acceptable then you should be familiar with the material. Just waving the 'freedom of speech' flag over everything without having any real idea of what is being said is a rather silly approach to life.

        • I read the story last night (not one of my most pleasant experiences) and the story was disgusting. However, I still stand by my original opinion. However disgusting the story, the guy still has a right to publish it on the internet and not be prosecuted. That's a democracy. If you don't like it, don't read it.

        • I don't disagree; my point is, was, and remains, that just blankedly having an 'anything goes' approach to freedom of speech is an insane approach to life. I think it's important to be familiar with what is being said, otherwise commenting on the pros and cons of such is as bad as those people who ask for things to be banned when they haven't read a word of the prose (or seen a still of the TV show, movie, etc) either. ;) And the latter, of course, goes on all the time (famously so in things like the much-derided Brass Eye paaedophile episode.).

          Also, as a matter of interest: when you say 'freedom of speech' on the Internet, are you referring just to the written word, in things like this, blog posts, comments, forum posts, etc? Or anything at all on the Internet? And if it's the latter (or, to some extent, the former) why should the Internet be regulated any differently to the 'real world'?

          As I mentioned further down this thread, many controversial books nowadays come shrink-wrapped or cannot be sold to minors. These books are not, and never should be banned, but protocols are in place to ensure that, as far as is reasonable, they meet with their intended audience.

          'Don't like it, don't read it' is, again, a sensible attitude that any sensible person sensibly follows, but it again doesn't afford protection to minors as is. Could we not adopt this attitude towards movies, for example, and do away with certification? After all, if you don't like violence and sex, you don't have to buy a ticket or rent the DVD.

          Where as always this stuff becomes a very gray area is that while we perhaps assume that most adults make reasonable decisions, it isn't really them we're concerned about. While I personally don't have much of a problem with children being exposed to moderate levels of violence and indeed nudity in films (and TV, etc), there, once again, has to be a ceiling. One would like to think that parents would make the right decisions for their children but blatantly many do not.

          Prosecution is not the answer – on this we are very much in agreement. But that kind of content being openly available to all and sundry is not, in my opinion, the best way forward, either. There needs to be some manner of regulation, particularly so if the supporters of free speech aren't, in many cases, even going to bother reading what they're so concerned about supporting.

      • You are scary. It's people like you that allow governments to trample on the freedoms of citizens. Quit while you are behind.

  4. I don’t specifically support this guy’s story which is probably absolute filth (and to answer your question, no I haven’t read it). I more support the concept of free speech on the internet.

    As I said in the post, if he is convicted, this will be a bad precedent for anyone who wants to publish ANYTHING online which someone else doesn’t like and who wants to bring a prosecution on the grounds of obscenity. It’s only a short jump from Usenet groups to blogs, forums, comment boards (like this one) and before you know it, people like you and me can’t say anything without some jumped up Nazi threatening to prosecute us because he doesn’t like what we are saying.

    • As I said I agree with your sentiment but it never can be as cut as draw as ‘anything goes’. The Internet is such a free-wheeling beast that you’re always going to have issues with things like this. A story is one thing, but what if somebody filmed something like this? What about stories about child pornography? Or animated films about the same content?

      Also, in this case, we’re talking about real people here. Beyond the made-up content, this isn’t complete fantasy. It’s real individuals.

      As above the idea of freedom of speech is a great one but like everything else in life tolerance *must* have a ceiling. Otherwise it’s just chaos. As below, the famous quote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” which is generally attributed to Voltaire but nobody seems to know for definite, was alright back when it was said (likely 1694-1778), but it’s a very, very different world now.

      You can’t have ‘anything goes’. Freedom of speech only really works if people don’t take the piss and/or are complete mentals. The UK has taken steps today to ban extremists from arriving on our shores. Why? Because tolerance must have a limit. This is much the same thing. Let the guy write the shit, but make sure it’s contained in the appropriate parts of t’Internets, and not just ‘out there’ for all and sundry to see. In this case, as I said, it’s poorly-written, if disturbing tosh, and he’s clearly bonkers, but if you keep letting everything slide, eventually you will have a problem, as it’s very, very difficult to turn back the clock.

      • You don’t seem to get it. You cant stat banning any form of “extremism” because it allows other things to be banned under the pretense of “extremism”. It starts with a shitty rape fan fic, then some violent political writings, then any dissenting political writings. I’m not one to see the world in black and white, but its pretty clear that the chance for evil here outweighs the chance for good here. I personally could care less if people continue to publish stories like this, but it is acting out of stupidity and fear that would have us ban it.

        • Of course you can and should ban extremism; don’t be so naive. You have to draw the line somewhere, or are you proposing that child pornography be made legal? I can’t imagine you are, and I would assume you think it should be banned, but how is that not extremism?

          If you’re talking simply about words on paper then as I said I agree with the sentiment. My point was, and remains, that Mark had not read the story, and I imagine neither have several other contributors to this discourse. All I am saying is to make fair and reasonable judgement on whether something is acceptable then you should be familiar with the material. Just waving the ‘freedom of speech’ flag over everything without having any real idea of what is being said is a rather silly approach to life.

        • I read the story last night (not one of my most pleasant experiences) and the story was disgusting. However, I still stand by my original opinion. However disgusting the story, the guy still has a right to publish it on the internet and not be prosecuted. That’s a democracy. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

        • I don’t disagree; my point is, was, and remains, that just blankedly having an ‘anything goes’ approach to freedom of speech is an insane approach to life. I think it’s important to be familiar with what is being said, otherwise commenting on the pros and cons of such is as bad as those people who ask for things to be banned when they haven’t read a word of the prose (or seen a still of the TV show, movie, etc) either. ;) And the latter, of course, goes on all the time (famously so in things like the much-derided Brass Eye paaedophile episode.).

          Also, as a matter of interest: when you say ‘freedom of speech’ on the Internet, are you referring just to the written word, in things like this, blog posts, comments, forum posts, etc? Or anything at all on the Internet? And if it’s the latter (or, to some extent, the former) why should the Internet be regulated any differently to the ‘real world’?

          As I mentioned further down this thread, many controversial books nowadays come shrink-wrapped or cannot be sold to minors. These books are not, and never should be banned, but protocols are in place to ensure that, as far as is reasonable, they meet with their intended audience.

          ‘Don’t like it, don’t read it’ is, again, a sensible attitude that any sensible person sensibly follows, but it again doesn’t afford protection to minors as is. Could we not adopt this attitude towards movies, for example, and do away with certification? After all, if you don’t like violence and sex, you don’t have to buy a ticket or rent the DVD.

          Where as always this stuff becomes a very gray area is that while we perhaps assume that most adults make reasonable decisions, it isn’t really them we’re concerned about. While I personally don’t have much of a problem with children being exposed to moderate levels of violence and indeed nudity in films (and TV, etc), there, once again, has to be a ceiling. One would like to think that parents would make the right decisions for their children but blatantly many do not.

          Prosecution is not the answer – on this we are very much in agreement. But that kind of content being openly available to all and sundry is not, in my opinion, the best way forward, either. There needs to be some manner of regulation, particularly so if the supporters of free speech aren’t, in many cases, even going to bother reading what they’re so concerned about supporting.

        • I don’t disagree; my point is, was, and remains, that just blankedly having an ‘anything goes’ approach to freedom of speech is an insane approach to life. I think it’s important to be familiar with what is being said, otherwise commenting on the pros and cons of such is as bad as those people who ask for things to be banned when they haven’t read a word of the prose (or seen a still of the TV show, movie, etc) either. ;) And the latter, of course, goes on all the time (famously so in things like the much-derided Brass Eye paaedophile episode.).

          Also, as a matter of interest: when you say ‘freedom of speech’ on the Internet, are you referring just to the written word, in things like this, blog posts, comments, forum posts, etc? Or anything at all on the Internet? And if it’s the latter (or, to some extent, the former) why should the Internet be regulated any differently to the ‘real world’?

          As I mentioned further down this thread, many controversial books nowadays come shrink-wrapped or cannot be sold to minors. These books are not, and never should be banned, but protocols are in place to ensure that, as far as is reasonable, they meet with their intended audience.

          ‘Don’t like it, don’t read it’ is, again, a sensible attitude that any sensible person sensibly follows, but it again doesn’t afford protection to minors as is. Could we not adopt this attitude towards movies, for example, and do away with certification? After all, if you don’t like violence and sex, you don’t have to buy a ticket or rent the DVD.

          Where as always this stuff becomes a very gray area is that while we perhaps assume that most adults make reasonable decisions, it isn’t really them we’re concerned about. While I personally don’t have much of a problem with children being exposed to moderate levels of violence and indeed nudity in films (and TV, etc), there, once again, has to be a ceiling. One would like to think that parents would make the right decisions for their children but blatantly many do not.

          Prosecution is not the answer – on this we are very much in agreement. But that kind of content being openly available to all and sundry is not, in my opinion, the best way forward, either. There needs to be some manner of regulation, particularly so if the supporters of free speech aren’t, in many cases, even going to bother reading what they’re so concerned about supporting.

      • You are scary. It’s people like you that allow governments to trample on the freedoms of citizens. Quit while you are behind.

  5. Consider the author and the stories purpose, to titillate, and draw attention. Perhaps being prosecuted is exactly what Walker wanted. I think a legal consequence is completely out of line, but at least more of the right people have an eye on him.

    Ebay Rating: 5 stars!!!!!

  6. Consider the author and the stories purpose, to titillate, and draw attention. Perhaps being prosecuted is exactly what Walker wanted. I think a legal consequence is completely out of line, but at least more of the right people have an eye on him.

    Ebay Rating: 5 stars!!!!!

  7. This smacks so much of the other debacle that was the Paladin Press "Hitman" case a few years back, whilst no one would disagree that the content posted was "well out of order" and obviously the author has "issues" it has the potential to set a dangerous precedant where "freedom of speech" is concerned.

    I can't remember the source, but the appropriate quote is "I might not agree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it" – however there will always be someone who sets out to abuse these rights and spoil it for everyone.

    Like I said, the author obviously has "issues" and any sane, reasonable person would agree with that, also any sane, reasonable adult who accidently came across such material would immediately delete it and agree with my statements about the author, and any responsible adult who let's minors (or other impressionable individuals) have internet access *should* also have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure said minors don't come into contact with this material in the first place!

    Unfortunately all the hyperbole generated by this, ultimately only serves the authors original purpose of generating interest and "news" and to get him and his "story" more publicity and infamy.

    I personally don't believe in censorship – other than that which we (as responsible adults) choose for ourselves and those within our care, however it's becoming more and more apparent that common sense and a sense of personal responsibility are fast disappering and as a collective society we are more interested in "car exit knicker shots" (to quote a friend) than attempting to inspire ourseleves and elevating our society to a higher level of conciousness.

    On the other hand I think the OPA does have a role to play in the protection and prevention of explotation of minors and other impressionable people, however putting the power to say "NO" and make summary judgements in the hands of a select / unelected body is a very very dangerous thing.

    We are all aware that "sex sells", sex is at the very core of our existence (literally), and until our attitudes towards sex and personal responsibility mature stories like this will continue to generate headlines the world over.

    Now – as to the question, should the author be prosecuted, possibly yes, not because of the content, but more because of the subjects being real people, this is obviously more than some sick fantasy, it stinks of a dangerous obsession that has obviously been thought through and if my wife / girlfriend was the subject I would be VERY worried indeed. Having displayed these tendancies I would doubt this is an isolated incident, more likely the continuation of an obsession that has grown dangerously out of control.

    I think it's the duty of a responsible society to watch over and counsel this person (maybe even placing him on the sex offenders register) and do what's required to ensure the safety of the innocent "victims".

    If the OPA is the only vehicle we have in law to enforce this then maybe that's the anwser (or a new set of laws?)

    Jon…

  8. This smacks so much of the other debacle that was the Paladin Press “Hitman” case a few years back, whilst no one would disagree that the content posted was “well out of order” and obviously the author has “issues” it has the potential to set a dangerous precedant where “freedom of speech” is concerned.

    I can’t remember the source, but the appropriate quote is “I might not agree with what you say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it” – however there will always be someone who sets out to abuse these rights and spoil it for everyone.

    Like I said, the author obviously has “issues” and any sane, reasonable person would agree with that, also any sane, reasonable adult who accidently came across such material would immediately delete it and agree with my statements about the author, and any responsible adult who let’s minors (or other impressionable individuals) have internet access *should* also have appropriate safeguards in place to ensure said minors don’t come into contact with this material in the first place!

    Unfortunately all the hyperbole generated by this, ultimately only serves the authors original purpose of generating interest and “news” and to get him and his “story” more publicity and infamy.

    I personally don’t believe in censorship – other than that which we (as responsible adults) choose for ourselves and those within our care, however it’s becoming more and more apparent that common sense and a sense of personal responsibility are fast disappering and as a collective society we are more interested in “car exit knicker shots” (to quote a friend) than attempting to inspire ourseleves and elevating our society to a higher level of conciousness.

    On the other hand I think the OPA does have a role to play in the protection and prevention of explotation of minors and other impressionable people, however putting the power to say “NO” and make summary judgements in the hands of a select / unelected body is a very very dangerous thing.

    We are all aware that “sex sells”, sex is at the very core of our existence (literally), and until our attitudes towards sex and personal responsibility mature stories like this will continue to generate headlines the world over.

    Now – as to the question, should the author be prosecuted, possibly yes, not because of the content, but more because of the subjects being real people, this is obviously more than some sick fantasy, it stinks of a dangerous obsession that has obviously been thought through and if my wife / girlfriend was the subject I would be VERY worried indeed. Having displayed these tendancies I would doubt this is an isolated incident, more likely the continuation of an obsession that has grown dangerously out of control.

    I think it’s the duty of a responsible society to watch over and counsel this person (maybe even placing him on the sex offenders register) and do what’s required to ensure the safety of the innocent “victims”.

    If the OPA is the only vehicle we have in law to enforce this then maybe that’s the anwser (or a new set of laws?)

    Jon…

  9. The act they are prosecuting under is on the iwf site here…

    http://www.iwf.org.uk/police/page.22.38.htm

    This is scary because the wording of what constitutes an obsene publication is very broad…

    "an article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it."

    "Deprave and corrupt"? Surely that applies to crappy TV shows like Big Brother, Next Top Model and Wife Swap.

    People should be able to write fantasies for others to enjoy, even if they feature real people. As long as it doesn't break other laws such as incitement of ratial hatred, privacy laws, extorsion and so on. In other words pure fantasy like this should not be prohibited.

  10. It might be a somewhat nit-picking question, but isn't this a British man being prosecuted under British law? Are we trying to apply American Constitutional standards to other countries? My understanding is that there is actually no codified British Constitutional right to free speech.

    I might be off on this, and if I am, please do set me right.

    • @ Franklin Jacobs

      The Human Rights Act 1998 encorporated the article below into British law.

      Article 10: Freedom of Expression

      (1) Everyone has the right of freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without inference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

      (2) The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

      • …and those heavily codified rights mean so little it is a joke. The EU wrote in a special bit to say that the BBC can continue to jail those who refuse to pay the TV tax, and that whatever other violations of that "right" are admitted by law. Very free!

        "We are banning newspapers from x, y and z, because we feel it would undermine the authority of the courts to have it generally know that Tony and that mad judge got together for such perverse acts."

        "We are banning that because anyone who buys it will know how to nitrate a T-shirt, therefore is a terrorist. We are adding these chemistry books to our list of illegal writings."

  11. It might be a somewhat nit-picking question, but isn’t this a British man being prosecuted under British law? Are we trying to apply American Constitutional standards to other countries? My understanding is that there is actually no codified British Constitutional right to free speech.

    I might be off on this, and if I am, please do set me right.

    • @ Franklin Jacobs

      The Human Rights Act 1998 encorporated the article below into British law.

      Article 10: Freedom of Expression

      (1) Everyone has the right of freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without inference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

      (2) The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

      • …and those heavily codified rights mean so little it is a joke. The EU wrote in a special bit to say that the BBC can continue to jail those who refuse to pay the TV tax, and that whatever other violations of that “right” are admitted by law. Very free!

        “We are banning newspapers from x, y and z, because we feel it would undermine the authority of the courts to have it generally know that Tony and that mad judge got together for such perverse acts.”

        “We are banning that because anyone who buys it will know how to nitrate a T-shirt, therefore is a terrorist. We are adding these chemistry books to our list of illegal writings.”

  12. >>everyone has a right to publish what they want online without being harassed or prosecuted. <<

    There are limits to free speech even in the USA. Where to draw the line? Filth? Don't think so. One man's filth is another man's erotica. Hate speech? Now we are getting warm. What happens when the writings of an individual have the very real possibility of inciting violence against another? What about when your online speech harasses a weak individual to the point of suicide? This recently happened in the US. Getting back to the case at hand, I think the law should weigh the potential harm to "Girls Aloud" coming from the rantings of this lunatic to the free speech rights of said lunatic.

    • There are absolutely no Constitutionally valid limits to free speech in the US. The First Amendment is very specific: "Congress shall make no law…". Therefore, absolutely no laws are allowed addressing the freedom of speech. None.

      • However, there are a lot of precedents on what is, and what is not 'speech'. A TV commercial, for instance, is not always 'protected speech.' There are limits to what they can say. Also, obscene material is not considered 'protected speech' unless it has artistic merit.

        Complete freedom of speech is impractical. By allowing libel, slander and defamation, falsehoods would dilute all speech and make it untrustworthy, which robs free speech of its value.

      • Way to take something out of context and manipulate it for your own agenda.

        George W, is that you?

        The full text:

        Bill of Rights, Amendment I

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  13. >>everyone has a right to publish what they want online without being harassed or prosecuted. <<
    There are limits to free speech even in the USA. Where to draw the line? Filth? Don’t think so. One man’s filth is another man’s erotica. Hate speech? Now we are getting warm. What happens when the writings of an individual have the very real possibility of inciting violence against another? What about when your online speech harasses a weak individual to the point of suicide? This recently happened in the US. Getting back to the case at hand, I think the law should weigh the potential harm to “Girls Aloud” coming from the rantings of this lunatic to the free speech rights of said lunatic.

    • There are absolutely no Constitutionally valid limits to free speech in the US. The First Amendment is very specific: "Congress shall make no law…". Therefore, absolutely no laws are allowed addressing the freedom of speech. None.

      • However, there are a lot of precedents on what is, and what is not ‘speech’. A TV commercial, for instance, is not always ‘protected speech.’ There are limits to what they can say. Also, obscene material is not considered ‘protected speech’ unless it has artistic merit.

        Complete freedom of speech is impractical. By allowing libel, slander and defamation, falsehoods would dilute all speech and make it untrustworthy, which robs free speech of its value.

      • Way to take something out of context and manipulate it for your own agenda.
        George W, is that you?
        The full text:
        Bill of Rights, Amendment I

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  14. I've read worse, based on a true story.

    Not everyone likes fairy tales with happy endings.

    If this thoughtcrime charge is upheld there are going to be a lot of people too afraid to express themselves until writing isnt enough to help them.

  15. I’ve read worse, based on a true story.

    Not everyone likes fairy tales with happy endings.

    If this thoughtcrime charge is upheld there are going to be a lot of people too afraid to express themselves until writing isnt enough to help them.

  16. The act they are prosecuting under is on the iwf site here…

    http://www.iwf.org.uk/police/page.22.38.htm

    This is scary because the wording of what constitutes an obsene publication is very broad…

    "an article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it."

    "Deprave and corrupt"? Surely that applies to crappy TV shows like Big Brother, Next Top Model and Wife Swap.

    People should be able to write fantasies for others to enjoy, even if they feature real people. As long as it doesn't break other laws such as incitement of ratial hatred, privacy laws, extorsion and so on. In other words pure fantasy like this should not be prohibited.

  17. I would hope he get convicted. After that, after the Patriot Act, after the bail out, after the Iraq War, after the nationalization of banks, after the OPEC and after 8 years of Bush maybe people will eventually be fed up and take the streets. Although if they ever stopped and looked at themselves in the mirror they would (although unlikely) realize that all that injustice is nothing but a magnification of who they, humans, really are. I'm disappointed of being one. Everybody against every body. Hope turned out to be a dream of childhood. Now only anger is left and hunger for revenge.

  18. I would hope he get convicted. After that, after the Patriot Act, after the bail out, after the Iraq War, after the nationalization of banks, after the OPEC and after 8 years of Bush maybe people will eventually be fed up and take the streets. Although if they ever stopped and looked at themselves in the mirror they would (although unlikely) realize that all that injustice is nothing but a magnification of who they, humans, really are. I’m disappointed of being one. Everybody against every body. Hope turned out to be a dream of childhood. Now only anger is left and hunger for revenge.

  19. It is just another attempt to censor the free internet. We will surely see more attempts, as the freedom of the internet and its unique many to many communications is a threat to the powers that be. It is not "think of the children". It is "think of the propaganda spewing people at the top, that are loosing their privilege to misinform".

  20. It is just another attempt to censor the free internet. We will surely see more attempts, as the freedom of the internet and its unique many to many communications is a threat to the powers that be. It is not “think of the children”. It is “think of the propaganda spewing people at the top, that are loosing their privilege to misinform”.

  21. I think it's a rather sad inditement of modern society that so very few people actually commented on the obvious mental state of the person who wanted to write this material and the potential effect it could have on the intended "victims" of the story. Like them or not the members of Girls Aloud are all card carrying members of the human race who have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends etc who obviously care about them and would be very distraught to think that there are people in society who would even contemplate putting their face to these actions (anyone remember Jill Dando?).

    Unfortunatly this will get dragged down into a battle about censorship when that's not the real issue, plus to all the people who want to utter profanities and swear at each other from behind the safety and anonniminity of their keyboards I feel really sorry for you.

    Aspire to be better, set higher standards and reach for a higher plane, the view is so much better (and the air is cleaner), you all are capable of so much more don't limit yourselves. If you want to read and partake in these writings (and obviously a percentage of the population obviously does) then that's your own lookout but when people openly boast and promote views that have an impact on the "real lives" of others – then I think a line of decency has been crossed that I would hope no sane, sensible, rational, caring human being would ever cross.

    Try putting yourself in the position of the parents of Girls Aloud, or try and see how it would feel if your mother, sister or daughter was the subject of these stories.

    Jon…

  22. I think it’s a rather sad inditement of modern society that so very few people actually commented on the obvious mental state of the person who wanted to write this material and the potential effect it could have on the intended “victims” of the story. Like them or not the members of Girls Aloud are all card carrying members of the human race who have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends etc who obviously care about them and would be very distraught to think that there are people in society who would even contemplate putting their face to these actions (anyone remember Jill Dando?).

    Unfortunatly this will get dragged down into a battle about censorship when that’s not the real issue, plus to all the people who want to utter profanities and swear at each other from behind the safety and anonniminity of their keyboards I feel really sorry for you.

    Aspire to be better, set higher standards and reach for a higher plane, the view is so much better (and the air is cleaner), you all are capable of so much more don’t limit yourselves. If you want to read and partake in these writings (and obviously a percentage of the population obviously does) then that’s your own lookout but when people openly boast and promote views that have an impact on the “real lives” of others – then I think a line of decency has been crossed that I would hope no sane, sensible, rational, caring human being would ever cross.

    Try putting yourself in the position of the parents of Girls Aloud, or try and see how it would feel if your mother, sister or daughter was the subject of these stories.

    Jon…

  23. Interesting debate and comments…

    Whilst I support the right to free speech and artistic freedom – and generally think that anyone can write whatver they damn well like, it is an interesting topic.

    For me it brings up other questions – particularly anti-terrorism stuff at the minute where people are being charged with having and/or reading terrorist publications/vidoes or whatever….if people are arguing for free speech regarding a sexually oriented story are they advocating the ability to produce material that promotes killing/bombing/terrorist acts….

    Another interesting one (on the subject of art, mroe than writing) is Bill Henson – here in Australis Bill Henson is the subject of much debate – he is a photographer and artist of some reputation but a few years ago took some photos of naked and semi-naked children to emphasise the 'innocence of youth' etc. Earlier this eyears galleries were raided by police, art works seized and complaints of promoting pedophilia levelled at Bill Henson for his phtoographs.

    Not saying I ahve the answers, just interesting!

    • if people are arguing for free speech regarding a sexually oriented story are they advocating the ability to produce material that promotes killing/bombing/terrorist acts….

      The key issue here is that at the end of the day, the words themselves don't build bombs or kill people, any more than the knife takes it upon itself to stab someone, or the gun decides to pull it's own trigger. Words are just tools (albeit very powerful ones) and the ultimate responsibility for any action that uses these tools lies with the USER and the choices they made.

      Jon…

  24. Interesting debate and comments…
    Whilst I support the right to free speech and artistic freedom – and generally think that anyone can write whatver they damn well like, it is an interesting topic.

    For me it brings up other questions – particularly anti-terrorism stuff at the minute where people are being charged with having and/or reading terrorist publications/vidoes or whatever….if people are arguing for free speech regarding a sexually oriented story are they advocating the ability to produce material that promotes killing/bombing/terrorist acts….

    Another interesting one (on the subject of art, mroe than writing) is Bill Henson – here in Australis Bill Henson is the subject of much debate – he is a photographer and artist of some reputation but a few years ago took some photos of naked and semi-naked children to emphasise the ‘innocence of youth’ etc. Earlier this eyears galleries were raided by police, art works seized and complaints of promoting pedophilia levelled at Bill Henson for his phtoographs.

    Not saying I ahve the answers, just interesting!

    • if people are arguing for free speech regarding a sexually oriented story are they advocating the ability to produce material that promotes killing/bombing/terrorist acts….

      The key issue here is that at the end of the day, the words themselves don’t build bombs or kill people, any more than the knife takes it upon itself to stab someone, or the gun decides to pull it’s own trigger. Words are just tools (albeit very powerful ones) and the ultimate responsibility for any action that uses these tools lies with the USER and the choices they made.

      Jon…

  25. This is an area I have some expertise because it was under those very works I was nicked some forty years ago in England for publishing Fanny Hill. 'A tendency to deprave and corrupt' The biggest problem is no one can define pornography. D.H. Lawrence said that what was pornography to one was the laughter of the Gods to another.

    In my time I have been nicked three times under this law and NEVER once have two lawyers agreed what those words mean.

  26. This is an area I have some expertise because it was under those very works I was nicked some forty years ago in England for publishing Fanny Hill. ‘A tendency to deprave and corrupt’ The biggest problem is no one can define pornography. D.H. Lawrence said that what was pornography to one was the laughter of the Gods to another.
    In my time I have been nicked three times under this law and NEVER once have two lawyers agreed what those words mean.

  27. I seriously stand corrected on the quotation. I should have looked it up. I have been using the quotation incorrectly for years. Lawrence DID say: 'Pornography is the attempt to insult sex, to do dirt on it.' Pornography and Obscenity (1929).

    But that is no excuse. My apologies. Mea culpa.

  28. I seriously stand corrected on the quotation. I should have looked it up. I have been using the quotation incorrectly for years. Lawrence DID say: ‘Pornography is the attempt to insult sex, to do dirt on it.’ Pornography and Obscenity (1929).
    But that is no excuse. My apologies. Mea culpa.

    • If you're referring to American Psycho, it did of course cause a right stink when it was originally released, and is still sold shrink-wrapped (and carries an '18' certificate) in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

      It's one of my favourite books, but again if we restrict the rental of movies and video games to minors I'm not sure why the printed word should be any different.

    • If you’re referring to American Psycho, it did of course cause a right stink when it was originally released, and is still sold shrink-wrapped (and carries an ’18′ certificate) in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Germany.

      It’s one of my favourite books, but again if we restrict the rental of movies and video games to minors I’m not sure why the printed word should be any different.

  29. The weblog came up in my search and i am stricken by what you have prepared on this topic. I am at present branching out my search and thus cannot add further, nevertheless, I've bookmarked your website and will be coming back to keep up to date with any upcoming changes. Simply adore it and thanks for allowing for my comment.