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The recent "Cartoon Law" story should be retracted

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

The recent article made by FurteanTimes' Editor-In-Chief Alexgrey is out-of-turn for professional journalistic writing. It is full of faults. The story's title is presumptuous, and the story presents opinion as fact, makes wild claims, and it threatens to cause hysteria and fear as it ripples through the fandoms. A full retraction and apology should be written in its place lest the FurteamTimes lose any credibility as a quality news source.

The recent United Kingdom "Cartoon Law" is untested. Like any obscenity law, it resides in a huge gray area of legal interpretation. Moreover, no single piece of anthropomorphic art has been examined during common-law legal proceedings since the Friendly Frank's obscenity case in the United States back in 1986, as far as this author is aware.

Until the fateful day when a legal complaint is made against an artist, publisher, or consumer and a trained law enforcement officer determines the validity of a complaint, a warrant is issued by a judge, an arrest is made, and the defendant is tried and convicted for the possession of a piece of "furry" erotic art or literature, no single editor for any news source (unless they are psychic) can proclaim anything further than mere speculation.

This is basic "Law & Order" material, guys. Not even a lawyer experienced in obscenity law can give more than expert opinion in this matter. So save that extra two thousand in your bank account until you really need it.

Any rookie journalist knows that a news story of this magnitude should merely speculate on potential legal outcomes should any case be made. It should use language such as "might", "may", "could", etc. And any editor responsible for a reputable news staff should know to carefully examine the language used in such a story. The "Cartoon Law" article is in violation of very rudimentary journalistic guidelines. It pontificates onto the reader that what the editor-in-chief says, goes. By doing so, he is taking on the dangerous role of a law enforcement officer, lawyer, judge, and jury. He is not reporting; he is predicting, and could even cause the reader to speculate and form opinions as to the political bias such an editor-in-chief might personally have.

In some more avant-garde publications, the article could be passed off as an editorial after heavy editorial scrutiny and a heavy re-writing from what is seen here. But the "Cartoon Law" story is not presented as an editorial; it is presented as a news story and therefore should stick to proper news story styles and guidelines. Such guidelines can be found in common guideline practice books such as "The Associated Press Stylebook" ISBN 0-465-01262-0. Read up.

The FurteanTimes should issue a full editorial apology for improper journalistic protocol and retract the article. Until then, many fur fans should be weary of what they read in makeshift fan-made news outlets such as this. As George Carlin would say, "It's all guess work in a white coat."

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The news article shall remain. It is not worded as opinion, but as a list of facts taken directly from the legal matter at hand, followed by related information on the topic.

The wording of the law makes it clear that all imagery with minors in sexual acts - be they photographed, filmed or drawn - are illegal, including characters that while not human, do have human or near-human appearance.

It is also obviously being taken seriously by both the community and the Fur Affinity administration. As it happens, they were already in the process of banning "near-human" pornographic material from Fur Affinity, with the exception of furry characters. As to whether the law itself effects furries, that's already being discussed.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

With all due respect, you cannot say that such a law "bans" anything furry-related. You did not attempt to contact the lawmakers and find out what was on their minds when they made the law to see if they were thinking about furries when they wrote it. All you can do is speculate. And such speculation might be well-hidden as a credible news story, but if you want your news outlet to be riddled with such trash, then by all means, keep going the route that you are.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Even if it does not ban anything (which is debatable), it still has the potential to. Most particularly Section 65 of the law: "the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child." As well as the phrasing "imaginary persons", which means the characters involved do not need to be real.

While nothing definite has been produced as of yet, it is still responsible for one to bring this legal change into the public eye and to make it known how it could affect other people. The flexible nature of British law could very easily cause an individual to be prosecuted under Cartoon Law, and I would think it better to warn others and speculate (although speculation here has only occurred to the intention of a few words and phrases, and not the whole law itself) than to have one or many people taken down for something they were not aware of.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Could you two please settle this behind the scenes rather than blurting it out in public. This is very unprofessional of you both. If a retraction has been made, post that. I do not expect FT to be a personal opinions column for staff! In short, I am appauled.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

That was my thought as well, actually. If any objections to my article were to be made, it should've been brought to my attention in private before the article was published. This shows the very rickety nature of this website's publication process. Highly alarming.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The moderation processes of FurteanTimes.com are currently being changed so that items need to be approved beforehand. It's something I've been working on for a while.

In response to your statement "You did not attempt to contact the lawmakers and find out what was on their minds when they made the law", I am now attempting to get into contact with Justice Secretary Jack Straw, one of the two sponsors of the bill.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

"I am now attempting to get into contact with Justice Secretary Jack Straw, one of the two sponsors of the bill."

It's a little late for that, isn't it?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I did not request for a change in the law, but rather a clarification of the intent of the law as to whether it includes anthropomorphic characters.

If you are referring to the fact that a general election is approaching and Parliament is dissolved in four days: Jack Straw is a minister, although he is no longer an MP, he remains Justice Secretary until a few days following May 6th.

That said, I opted to not contact Jack Straw himself, instead contacting the Ministry of Justice, which I expect will respond quicker.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

"I did not request for a change in the law, but rather a clarification of the intent of the law as to whether it includes anthropomorphic characters."

Right, that's what I mean. Isn't it kind of late to research facts for a story until AFTER the story is published?

I don't mean to come off as high-horsed, guys. Just saying, after studying journalism, being on staff for three newspapers, and just through personal research after majoring in English, it's easy to see when something improper is going on. All of this could (and should in my opinion) be improved, quickly, especially if you're trying to do a service for the better of the community.

Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (2 votes)

and you think causing a flame war of publicly bitching will get you anywhere? I am appalled you thought it was right to do this, and you should have took the matter up with AlexGrey in private.

If you want to fix something, you dont first make things worse. The kind of attitude you are taking just now is exactly the attitude that will get you removed from this website and banned indefinitely. If I were your editor-in-chief I would have already removed you for severe unprofessional behaviour.

I suspect that AlexGrey is not a professional journalist (and from the sounds of it, you aren't either), so to take someone's writing style into question publicly is pretty arrogant and self serving. I can take it that since you are condescending to your superiors is pretty stupid of you.

This "article" - I should really say "opinion", quite hypocritical - is an exemplar of how the furry community loves to publicly bitch and moan in order to get attention.

Please Crassus, grow up or get out.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

"Please Crassus, grow up or get out."

I'm sorry, you're accusing me of starting a flame war and yet you're throwing this at me?

My submission of an opinion piece to a news source is not an objectionable or uncommon practice. Letters to the editor are a frequently made in many traditional newspapers, and I correctly labelled my piece as an opinion piece, backed up with sources for any facts I presented. The only difference here is that the standards of publication are so low on this site that the original publication wasn't even filtered out by the editorial staff. I find it highly dubious that you could accuse me of improper conduct when in fact all I did was submit a piece for review by the staff. What's worse? Writing something objectionable or publishing it? Who has the higher responsibility?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

"Even if it does not ban anything (which is debatable), it still has the potential to." --- If it's debatable, then say so. Change the title of your article to include the words: "has the potential to effectively ban." That would be a good thing to do for starters. The problem is that all of this should have been done in the editor room, not brought live. Who's on your editorial staff? Who okays articles? I was surprised to find my article up so quickly considering that I've never written anything on the site before. "Who's Crassus? Why is he writing to us? What experience does he have?" There's no accountability, and that makes for a very low quality news source. It might as well just be a blog.

No one in legal circles has defined an fictional anthropomorphic character, the mention of such in written literature, nor the visual depiction of one, to be a "person." The furthest this debate has gone is in the realm of vetrinary medicine and law in regards to real animals, and even THAT has proven to be highly-debatable.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Actually, after a couple minutes of thinking it through, I should correct myself. The title might better be changed to "'Cartoon Law' comes into effect in the UK".

In other words, leave out any mention of how it might potentially affect the furry fandom and put that into the article itself, and be questionable about it. That avoids paranoia and speculation, making it a much stronger news story.

Mind you, I'm not against having this story made out or warning artists and furs in the UK of current events in law--that's the point of having a news website after all. What I'm against is the way this article was written and I'm worried about the potential effects this might have in a fandom that's already hysterical and polarized about objectionable art as it is.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Well, at least this whole thing has kicked of a nice little debate hasn't it?

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Fifty dollars says the first person to go to jail cause of the cartoon law is a furry, any takers?

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I wouldn't doubt it. We seem to be at the forefront of a war against obscenity and are continually becoming more mainstream and recognized. Considering that the subject of what we're into being pseudo-human/pseudo-animal is hard to define and could either be interpreted as either/or/all-of-the-above, sitting knee-deep in animism, totemism, shamanism, or just plain "WTF", I'm sure that pretty soon, lawmakers and enforcers are going to use us as easy targets in an ever-increasingly world of conservative artistic values.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Be calm,the artists and deviants of this world have always been prosecuted; such is life as usual.

The politicians will continue to use the easily led mob to do it's dirty work, whatever that may be, don't be a silly sausage to think that shooting off your opinions wont get you in trouble if you're standing in front of the playground bully; sometimes if you feel strongly enough about it, you may have to take the beating but at least still stand true to your beliefs.

From jfk to lennon,love and be your work, but be aware of the consiquences (notice the lovely spelling mistake)and be careful.

Losing your Intellectual property is still that,your thoughts are still your own.

Remember to remain centered. This is a place of clarity of thought, peace and truth, it cannot as such be broken and accessed by those who choose to destroy. This panic state is what those in power want to use to control you, so throw that state of mind away like a smelly old coat; and breathe clear again.

Basically, intellectual freedom is something many of us strive and hope for, and one day it will come, but it may be a fair while and a lot of very clever tacticians before society as a whole can understand that kind of true freedom without it scaring them.

Love and peace. x x without the deviants this world would be nothing, take pride in your beautiful difference. Oranges are not the only fruit.x x

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The future is always in flux. I fear the day when merely drawing something is enough to earn you jail time. That sounds very close to Minority Report to me. If you're a furry obviously you want to sleep with animals. Yeah of course, that's logical.

At least something good has come from writing this story. I'm going to join the CBLDF.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

It doesn't MATTER if it's been tested -- the threat of a law is enough to make anyone affected by this skittish.

Yes, there is a big difference between what the law could theoretically allow vs. what is allowed in reality, but the truth of the matter is, next to nobody commenting on this article has the funds to fight a legal battle about whether your flavor of cartoon porn is legal under this new law or not. If you wanna try it, be my guest, but I'd just as soon wait and see what they actually try to do with the law first, and insist folks start making friends with the CBLDF in the meantime.

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About the author

Crassusread storiescontact (login required)

    a web designer from Southern California, interested in furries, tail designing, art, music and sociology