Feeds

Cartoon smut law to make life sucky for Olympic organisers

Internet + iffy logo = Ha ha!

The essential guide to IT transformation

Government zeal in pursuing anyone suspected of harbouring paedophilic tendencies may shortly rebound – with unintended consequences for the 2012 Olympic logo.

Earlier this month, the Coroners & Justice Bill 2009 received the Royal Assent. This Act was another of those portmanteau pieces of legislation for which the current government is famous, mixing up new regulations on the holding of inquests, driving offences, provocation in murder cases and, crucially, a new law making it a criminal offence to be found in possession of an indecent cartoon image of a child.

The horror facing the unpopular Olympics logo is that this is a strict liability offence. If an image is indecent, or held to be so by a jury, it is no good the Olympic Committee claiming that it was not intended as such.

Regular readers will be aware of the controversy that surrounded the current logo since the day it was launched. Critics were not impressed by the £400,000 that had allegedly been shelled out to creative consultancy Wolff Olins to come up with the design. However, it was the logo’s perceived suggestiveness - with many sniggering that it appeared to show Lisa Simpson performing an act of fellatio - that excited internet controversy.

The Guardian reported this as common knowledge: even Wikipedia notes this as one criticism levelled against the logo.

A Facebook group asserting this similarity currently has almost 200,000 fans: Google variants on "Olympic logo" plus "Lisa Simpson", "fellatio", "blow job", etc and you will quickly turn up several thousand sites and articles which link those topics.

Is this going to cause problems?

The offence is modelled very closely on the law as passed against extreme porn last year, and prohibits the possession of any images that are pornographic, "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character" and which either focus "solely or principally on a child’s genitals or anal region", or portray a number of sexual acts, including intercourse, oral sex and masturbation which involve a child either directly or as by-stander.

For the purposes of this Act, an image is exactly that: an image. There are few defences to such a charge, although an individual may argue that they did not knowingly obtain the image, or that they did so for purposes of law enforcement.

Although this law is modelled closely on other laws, it is a radical extension of the principles that underpin them. Both the Protection of Children Act 1978 (pdf) and the Criminal Justice Act 2008 – which is where the extreme porn law is located – are based on the idea that real harm may be being done to those depicted.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.