U.K. Bill Would Criminalize Possession of 'Extreme' Porn

U.K. Bill Would Criminalize Possession of 'Extreme' Porn
Anne Winter
LONDON — Parliament has read and published new legislation that includes a provision that makes possessing "extreme" pornography a crime punishable by up to three years in jail.

The Obscene Publications Act, amended more than 40 years ago, already makes publishing extreme adult content illegal. The new law would combat the wealth of adult content available on the Internet.

"Legislating in this area will ensure that the possession of such material is illegal both on and offline," the Ministry of Justice said. "This government will always seek to close gaps in the law caused by misuse of new technologies, such as the Internet, which allow existing controls to be avoided."

Parliament defines an "extreme image" as a depiction of an act — real or made to appear real — that could be life-threatening, appears to inflict serious injury to genitals, or involves sexual interference with a human corpse or an animal.

The law also defines "pornography" as any material made for the sole purpose of sexual arousal. It does, however, take into account some exceptions.

"Where an image forms an integral part of a narrative constituted by a series of images, and it appears that the series of images as a whole was not produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal, the image may, by virtue of being part of that narrative, be found not to be pornographic, even though it might have been found to be pornographic if taken by itself," the bill states.

The bill also specifies that it is not meant to target those who accidentally come in contact with extreme adult material, nor does it target mainstream entertainment companies that legally sell bondage equipment.

The bill now awaits review and debate by members. Discussion in Parliament of outlawing violent pornography reportedly began two years ago.