Ban on violent porn imminent

Stupid, and dangerous.

Reading West MP Martin Salter:

This campaign has taken a huge amount of time and effort but it has struck a chord right across the country.

It is great news that the Government has not only listened but has responded to calls to outlaw access to sickening internet images, which can so easily send vulnerable people over the edge

Why should the government legislate on the basis of evidence, rather than emotion and vote-seeking opportunism?

For a thorough explanation of why this law is a terrible idea, read Kneejerking off over violent porn at Spiked.


17 Responses to “Ban on violent porn imminent”

  1. Marc Draco says:

    What intrigues me here is what actually constitutes “violent” porn? I’ve seen a couple of Russ Meyer flicks over the years and felt pretty ill at the way some characters are treat; but is that violent porn? They are considered pretty tame by “porn” standards.

    Or is violent porn where people get tied up?

    And where does that place the movie “8MM” which appears to feature images that might be classified as violent porn? Come to that, there’s a whole rash of hollywood movies that feature violent scenes with naked actors or in a sexual context: from Death Wish to Straw Dogs… hell, I bet it’s a LONG list!

    This legislation is dangerous: like all knee-jerk reactions.

  2. I can’t argue with the wish to outlaw violent pornography, but this is by its nature going to be a nebulous, and therefore dangerous, law – not to mention one that will be difficult to police.

    Very much will depend on the definition of violence – and since even the definition of pornography has yet to be decided on, that’s not going to be easy.

  3. Paul Tavener says:

    The issue should be decided on the facts not on opinion. If there is some reliable proof that that violent porn is of itself harmful then ban it. If its just a matter of we think its disgusting then don’t watch it.

    The government admitted that there was no evidence in their consultation document and any consistent and proportionate consideration of issues of harm would see alcohol and tobacco criminalised first.

  4. Steve says:

    Another expesnive and unenforceable law.

    Coming soon: ‘Violent Pornography Czar’

  5. Feòrag says:

    I expect the law will be only used against BDSM publications, and those aimed at lesbians and gay men, as it always the case. And it will be counterproductive – recent research has shown a link between porn and rape, but not the one you expect. Basically "more porn=fewer rapes". See D’Amato, Anthony, "Porn Up, Rape Down" (June 23, 2006). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 913013 (free registration required to download entire paper).

    Obviously correlation is not causation, but the research is still interesting.

  6. Andy A says:

    Some government prat was on The World at One on Radio 4 today who was not challenged on his assertion that some things were ‘not acceptable’. I’m not fond of too much violence in films, so I doubt I’d like violent porn (I think the really disturbing scenes are those that leave more to the imagination), but each to his/her own. The real crime comes if someone has been subjected to violence against his or her will in order to make the thing – and there are laws about committing violence, for whatever reason. With kiddie porn, it’s different, because we’re talking about any porn, little kids will not have been able to give informed consent. So it’s wrong. Plain and simple. But consenting adults? What happens when the Beyers of this world begin to challenge downloadable legit movies that contain a lot of violence, but have been made using Equity members in the usual way by Hollywood or whoever? How are these different from the movie that sets out to be a porn movie and contains violence, but whose violence is nonetheless simulated? It’s going to be a terrible area to police, and whether you’re done for it or not may depend on your postcode ultimately (i.e. how liberal or otherwise your local chief constable is).

  7. Steve says:

    Liz Longhurst, whose daughter was allegedly strangled by someone who downloaded violent porn has campaigned about this. She has my full sympathy about her loss. She was interviewed on PM and when asked if she has looked at this porn she said no as it would be dangerous…dangerous for her and others. She is saying she believes SHE could be influenced to carry out violent acts by looking at this – she should seek help if she does.

    No link has yet been proven to this case or any other however the ban is going ahead. Does anyone know of someone religious carrying out a murder who was driven to it by God or similar and that it could be proven that they were addicted to downloading religious iconography and such images. Could we not, on this the basis of this one case make downloading religious images illegal as it may drive others to violence?

  8. Andrew Nixon says:

    As you may have missed it with it being on an old post, see this comment: http://www.mediawatchwatch.org.uk/?p=216#comment-19971

    Quite interesting question in there, where does this leave churches, some of whom have a picture/statue of a naked guy being crucified.

  9. Steve says:

    One other thing comment which may put the ‘how violent is violent': technically, if a married, loving couple were into a bit of consensual kinky goings on which left marks which were more than transitory e.g. bruises or welts on the skin they are breaking the law. It is almost impossible to apply this law (unless videos are made like the case many years ago by a grop of gay guys nailing stuff to wood) however it is still law and thus the government has, at some point, decided we as free, adults can not partake in this sort of activity even if consensual.

  10. Marc Draco says:

    One man’s meat is another man’s pussy. I don’t like to watch “violent” porn because it turns me off, Russ Meyer’s work left me feeling queasy: and it’s mild by comparison. It did not make me want to go out and hurt anyone though – the link just isn’t there.

    I guess the problem is that SOME people will use it as an excuse to explain their actions – and that’s what we have here. The “Chucky” movies (which I found hilarious) were blamed similarly for acts of wanton violence.

    I suspect in the end it comes down to one thing: bad people do bad things and good people don’t.

    I like the comment about the half-naked guy nailed to a cross though. Nice counterpoint that.

  11. Andy Gilmour says:

    Hate to say this, but ever since the European Court of Human Rights (in 1997) upheld the Law Lords final verdict in the “Spanner Trial” (Regina v Brown, 1994), S&M doesn’t get an exception to the “consent is no defence” stance when it comes to assault against the person…

    So we don’t (even remotely) own our bodies…

    It also established a degree of harm that was acceptable (very, very little), so the government already has a legal definition of violent sexual activity they can apply…

    So this law against “violent porn” might not be so hard to apply.

    Handy summary of s&m law at:

    http://www.gaytimes.co.uk/gt/gay_law.asp?a=Article&aid=884

    It’ll be interesting to see how far a defense of “well, the people on the DVD are only pretending to…” will go.

  12. Sunny says:

    To be honest David, I didn’t think much of Brendan’s article, having just read it now. He says society is losing its moral bearings and thus is clinging to violent porn as its last taboo. Which is exactly what’s happening…. but then he goes on to deride… on the basis of? I’m not so sure.

    A better argument to make would be to say that there is no correlation found between people who consume violent porn and those who then go out and commit those crimes. What if there is a correlation? Or maybe there is something to suggest that by watching violent porn, people who are potentially like to go out and commit violent acts are satisfied consuming porn instead, thus saving some people.

    I didn’t think the spiked article was that rigorous.

  13. I oppose this law on the same grounds that I opposed Section 28; quite aside from any personal moral feelings on the matter, the wording of the law is so painfully vague that it’s little more than a blackmailers’ charter.

    I am reminded of a previous attempt to outlaw pornography – the proposal put forward by Andrea Dworkin and Catherine Mackinnon in the 1980s. Mackinnon was a lawyer, yet she didn’t see anything wrong with breathtakingly POV definitions like “Pornography is centred around the degradation of women”. Based on the Dworkin/Mackinnon definition, there are several episodes of EastEnders would qualify as pornography – after all, I’ve always thought that soap takes a perverse delight in having its female characters beaten and raped.

    It’s the whole problem with legislating pornography – what actually constitutes pornography is an “I know it when I see it” issue. I, personally, don’t find BDSM sexually exciting, but I do have DVD copies of Secretary and Blue Velvet on my shelves, simply because I think they’re damn good films. No doubt to a John Beyer type, both those films would fit his or her personal definition of “pornography”. Does this mean I’m eligible for prosecution now?

  14. Monitor says:

    Sunny, I think he does use the lack-of-correlation argument as the basis for his derision. From the concluding paragraph:
    Despite its self-confessed lack of evidence that extreme porn provokes extreme behaviour, it still justifies its proposal as an attempt to ‘protect society’ from material ‘which may encourage interest in violent or aberrant sexual activity’
    But you are right – he could have made more of it than he does.

    The Northwestern University research (above) is interesting on the negative correlation evidence. Obvious really – the availability of pornography has risen exponentially in the past 10 years. If there is a correlation, why isn’t everyone raping each other?

  15. Shaun Hollingworth says:

    Martin Salter MP said:

    “This campaign has taken a huge amount of time and effort but it has struck a chord right across the country.”

    Oh it’s struck a chord all right. If you look round most folk are completely AGAINST it, including Daily Mail readers:

    http://tinyurl.com/zur6a

    and BBC web site users:
    http://tinyurl.com/gep3y

    If they go ahead with this, then British democracy is just a fading illusion….

    Even some of my elderly churchgoing relatives are completely against this proposed new law.

  16. Greg says:

    This is just another example of the drip-drip-drip erosion of our freedoms. This isn’t about
    making things better: it’s about government control and its need to be seen to be in control.

  17. Mark says:

    This is typicial reationary behavior .
    It can be seen after every incident right now there are calls in canada to shut down Vampire freaks website because the montreal shooter happened to blog there.
    there are constantly calls after some violent incident to ban violent video games movies and music.
    there were calls to ban porn afrer Bundy did his killings even though in truth Bundys porn was dime store detective and cheer leaders mags.
    These people show their complete lack of touch with reality porn and games don’t kill people people do
    .
    Normal people don’t play video games or view violent porn and then want to turn that into reality and anyone with a mind as insane and truly violent that images could set them off is already insane and if not those images then something else would set them of.
    I wish people would start using some sense and logic for a change rather than jumping on hype and trying to ban things there is already far to much government control over what people can chose to view or not view the government already has to much control over everyday life already.
    Anyone that has made a real study and has any real intellegence can see that viewing violent porn has no relation at all to real life sex crimes.
    Japan has some of the most violent sex fantasy images around but also has the the lowest amount of real life sex crimes the same is true of holland so if anything the facts suggest the opposite view that the abilty to view these images may in fact reduce crime since both of those nations have far lower sex crime rates dispite having far freer sex fantasy pornography laws.
    Also there was no internet or hardcore porn in victorian London.
    And yet far more sex crimes murders.
    I wish people would try to study facts and use logic instead of supporting reactionary lobbyists like the unfortunate girls mother and allowing the government to exert even more control over what people can and can’t do than it already does.