"Cartoon Law" comes into effect, effectively bans minor furry pornography in the UK
As the days count down until the general election on May 6th, Parliament is now starting to push through the final pieces of legislation for the current government. While many people have been focusing on the Digital Economy Bill, Parliament yesterday quietly passed legislation that may effect furries more than any other.
The Cartoon Law has made it illegal to create or possess imagery of minors (characters under-18 years of age), without discretion to species or the manner in which that imagery has been created. In furry terms, artwork of characters under-18 - be them engaging in a sexual act or having exposed genitalia - are henceforth illegal. This also includes imagery of sexual acts occurring in the presence of a minor.
It doesn't just affect furries however, lolicon (a form of hentai depicting children) is also made illegal under the new law.
Prior to the passing of the Cartoon Law, it was only photography of minors in sexual acts that was deemed illegal.
Although the UK does not operate a national censor (akin to the "Great Firewall of China"), there is the Internet Watch Foundation which does operate a censor that is used by 95% of British ISPs. The IWF became notorious in late-2008 for blocking a Wikipedia article for containing an image of a naked minor. Although said ban was uplifted four days afterwards after large press attention.
In 2006, popular furry website Fur Affinity famously allowed pornography relating to "babyfurs" to remain on the site, which resulted in a backlash amongst much of the community. It is unknown as of yet whether FA is planning to change this policy now that it is illegal in a market where many of it's users are based.
Edit (April 7th, 2010; 8:29pm UTC): A statement posted by the Fur Affinity Twitter account states that no changes to policy will be made in accordance with this new law. Current policy changes under revision bans underage artwork containing "proto-human" characters, which the site defines as "elves, dwarves or neko-style characters".
Edit (April 7th, 2010; 10:32pm UTC): Dragoneer has posted the following statement on the Fur Affinity forums:
We're aware of the issues and investigating them. I don't see any reason for panic at this time.
Until such a time, he recommends that UK furries continue to use Fur Affinity, however activate the mature content filters until such a time that they deem safe.
Edit (April 8th, 2010; 12:21pm UTC): I have contacted the Ministry of Justice requesting clarification of the wording in the law, following some contention about the issue.