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Inkbunny upgrades submission size, search; adds suggestions

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Inkbunny

Furry art community Inkbunny has announced several upgrades, including increased max. submission size (30Mb; 6000x6000), greater control over notices, improved keyword suggestion, and the ability to search by content rating, time range or user.

The update is the first since September 2011 – though some changes had been made earlier, but not announced.

User feedback has been generally positive so far, although the new "suggested submissions" feature (which highlights work favourited by watched users) received a mixed response.

Inkbunny hosts over 180,000 submissions and has 96,000 members; ~10,000 are active in any one day. It was recently nominated as Best Website for the 2011 Ursa Major Awards.

The author is an Inkbunny moderator.

Comments

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Inkbunny makes me sad because I am apparently not allowed to post works like this one: (NSFW, married human/fur couple having a marriage.) -- http://www.furaffinity.net/view/2149789/

Updates are wonderful and all, but I still find their Acceptable Content Policy really, extremely, hugely aggrivating. Specifically section 1.5 on humans. (That'll teach me for writing futuristic Sci-fi!)

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The marriage part is fine. The problem is the sex.

Many jurisdictions have enacted legislation criminalizing certain visual and/or textual depictions of sexual activity involving "a person", which is typically defined to be a human, or close to it. Prohibiting work featuring such activity decreases the risk of prosecution for Inkbunny's staff and users under these laws. The alternative is a patchwork of similarly-frustrating rules targeted towards these individual laws. As a furry site with limited staff resources, we chose the simpler route.

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Er. Gosh. Why is Inkbunny, then, so very different to something like literotica.com, which is an archive of free erotic material dealing extensively with textual depictions of sexual activity involving 'persons' continues to operate? Or, as another example, how a company like Paypal.com can accept payment for books containing erotic material, so long as it's legal under US law? --> http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/13/paypal-updates-erotica-policy-target-is-specifc...

Which 'Many Jurisdictions' have enacted laws which would result in a work like the one I linked, a short story titled 'Not Divorced', being criminalized? I'm not aware of it being of a criminal nature anywhere in the world, but apparently I'm rather underinformed and in danger of prosecution? Could you provide details?

I'm sorry to be combative on this issue, but ever since Inkbunny launched I have sat and stared at that ACP policy, and I just disagree with it so hard. And it's left me feeling like a chunk of my works are effectively marginalized.

Pornography is, in a very large part of the world, entirely legal. There is no problem with the sex in that story. It is _not_ illegal to the best of my knowledge, and if it is, I really fucking need someone to tell me, because I don't like breaking the law.

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Your work falls under laws forbidding depictions of bestiality (human/animal sexual contact). For example, in Germany, the dissemination or creation of pornographic writings involving sexual acts between humans and animals is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years or a fine (though the activity itself may be legal).

Literotica has taken the route I mentioned of enacting rules covering specific activities. The very first thing they forbid is bestiality, which would render your story unsuitable for the site. (The second is depictions of sexual activity featuring underage persons, which is the most significant issue avoided by Inkbunny's rule.)

PayPal has the resources to make a determination as to whether a work is obscene under U.S. law. We do not. However, we feel that avoiding the depiction of humans in sexual situations greatly decreases the risk of hosted work being deemed obscene, in part because several state laws reference bestiality as a factor (example: Ohio 2907.01 (F)(3) - although Ohio's law is interesting in that it judges based on groups of "sexual deviates" if material is targeted to them).

The basic point is that forbidding humans seems to make the most sense to us, as laws do not generally forbid depictions of sexual activity between animals, and our goal is to serve fans of anthropomorphic animals, not fans of humans. We're aware that some people are both, and we regret not being able to serve them fully at this time. If these laws did not exist, your work would be fine.

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Er. It doesn't fall under bestiality, since it's based around fantastical creatures. (Specifically allowed, in th ebracketed section.) They take stuff with furries. I know this because Literotica's accepted multiple stories I've written previously about furries. Literotica manually checks each submission before posting them, incidentally, and just for the giggles I've sent them Not Divorced to see whether or not they accept it. (I suspect they will.)

The German law in question is notable. I wonder if you've informed Blackpaw.de that they're breaking the law by selling issues of Heat #6, which features in my story 'Dick and Jane' not only human-on-furry literature, but a _rather_ spicy illustration of a furry performing fellatio on a human male? They're based out of Germany, and to the best of my understanding haven't fallen afoul of any laws relating to bestiality, possibly because the law doesn't seem to include depictions of fantastical creatures and hybrids under its definition of bestiality?

As for avoiding the depiction of humans in sexual situations to decrease the risk of falling foul to obscenity laws, I would point out two things. The law tends to be built around moral standards of the communities involved. I don't think many people are going to see a _massive_ moral difference between a picture of a naked furry and a picture of a naked human being, morally speaking. Secondly, I've never heard of an actual prosecution action involving literature or drawn images relating to bestiality charges. Ever. I don't think it's something anyone's even considered testing in a court of law. Child pornography, in the form of art and literature, sure. Bestiality? Never.

My work is entirely fine. It is not illegal under any juristdiction I know of, is even made available for sale in Germany, as stated, and is part of a long and very important thread of anthropomorphic tradition. The contrast of humans and furries has been an important element of this fandom since the start. Works ranging from The Island of Doctor Moreau to Peter Rabbit to Black Beauty to Watership Down to Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Omaha the Cat Dancer, incidentally, was charged with depicting bestiality in Toronto some years back. This charge, according to http://www.omahathecatdancer.com/omaha_history.htm , went nowhere in the courts. (And frankly, a lot of the art I've seen of Omaha is 'blink and you miss it' furry. Very close to human, a lot closer than a lot of orcs/trolls/fairies/nekos I've seen, in my opinion.) Laws intended to deal with depictions of sexual intercourse involving animals, between animals and animals or animals and people, do not cover this kind of thing. Wikipedia claims this too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoophilia_and_the_law#Pornography_laws (see the note beneath the table.)

I'll point out two other things from http://wiki.inkbunny.net/wiki/The_Inkbunny_Philosophy -

'We strive to create a community that is open, vibrant and growing. We consider freedom of artistic expression as a top priority. ' -- Anyone wishing to explore Anthropomorphism in a mixture of its traditional roots, mixing humans and furs, through the lens of the new erotic perspective we are able to take on it, are entirely unfree to express themselves artisticly.

'Inkbunny encourages a community where people of all different interests can co-exist. The community attitude is one of acceptance of the widest possible range of views and ideas, as long as they do not encourage hate and intolerance.' -- Could you give concrete examples of what kinds of 'different interests' are encouraged and accepted on Inkbunny? Could you explain what this 'widest possible range of views and ideas' happens to be?

Because apparently a short story dealing with a married couple having a bad day, followed by make-up sex, is unacceptable to Inkbunny because one of those parties is a human being. And while you're not seeking to serve fans of humans, the other party's a furry. So, frankly, as far as I can tell the work is of interest to fans of anthropomorphic animals.

But not to Inkbunny. Because of claimed legal restraints which, frankly, just don't apply.

So I genuinely don't understand why the ACP has this restriction in place.

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Literotica's rule is that that they allow "supernatural beasts", like werewolves. I don't personally see furries (as depicted in science fiction) as supernatural. If they allow them in combination with humans in sexual situations, it's their call. From what you say they use pre-moderation. We do not, due to submission volume.

If you're concerned for Blackpaw.de, I suggest informing them yourself. Again, I'm going by the text of the law, which specifies acts between "human beings" (Menschen) and "animals" (Tieren). I believe furries to be the latter, although I am not aware of any German legal cases specifically addressing the topic.

As you say, Omaha the Cat Dancer was seized in both Canada and New Zealand under charges of obscenity relating to depiction of bestiality. The charges were eventually thrown out. Critically, Omaha does not include humans, although the depiction is closer to human than most furry works. It is unclear to me whether the decision rested on a lack of animals, a lack of humans, or a more nuanced decision as to the artistic nature of the work. Regardless, much furry work involves more feral-looking animals, and if we had to make a choice between them and humans, we would choose the former in a heartbeat.

We are going to have to disagree on the applicability of the laws. It is possible that our rules exclude some work which is likely not to have a significant legal risk, but we feel the cost of moderating such work outweighs the benefit. Inkbunny's staff and users live worldwide; not all are subject to the freedoms of the United States, and we are not willing to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution for the sake of a minority of work – which, you have shown, already has a host.

Our Philosophy relates to our willingness to allow unusual or extreme themes in work and in journals, subject to the limits of the law. A good (though mild) example would be the topic of interspecies marriage raised by your work. Others that spring to mind include rape, underage characters, diaper-fur/scat/urophilia-related content, slavery and snuff.

As for "views and ideas", a lead competitor forbids "comments, journals, statements or posting material which is racist, bigoted, defamatory, otherwise offensive towards any particular sexuality, philosophy, religion, illegal gambling (raffles, games of chance) or content alluding to illegal activity or child pornography". Conversely, we provide a great degree of freedom for discussions related to drug use, politics, religion and the like. [Defamation is not permitted, because it is against the law.]

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We are going to have to disagree on the applicability of the laws. After all, you allow discussions tied to religion? Even in a controversial or potentially offensive fashion? You do know Germany has blasphemy laws that were used as recently as 2006?

http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html#StGBengl_000P166

And you allow discussions related to drug use?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_by_country#France (See 'An addition to the Public Health Code was passed on the 31 December 1970, which punishes the "positive presentation of drugs" and the "incitement to their consumption" with up to five years in prison and fines up to €76,000.')

I'm sorry, but this whole argument really doesn't ring particularly true to me. If you're that concerned about sticking to the letter of the law, the only legal precedent known, Omaha, puts furries in the clear. They're not tied to bestiality. Period. The closest literary equivalent in common use would be in the form of werewolf erotica. Which is extremely, extremely common. And, in the recent debacle with PayPal's censorship of erotica, if you ran across that, Bestiality was a specific issue.

As you've said, it's unclear to you on what basis the decision to avoid classifying Omaha as a work of bestiality was based on. But what _is_ clear is that it is not a work of bestiality. As the only furry work I know of having been tried out in a court of law as a work of bestiality, I think it's a safe assumption to assume that _any_ anthropomorphic work is not a work of bestiality.

And besides which, even if it were, and you seem to have missed this point, literary and artistic depictions of bestiality tend to be legal.

I refer you again to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoophilia_and_the_law#Pornography_laws

And then to: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html#StGBengl_000P..., and more specifically the definitions for section 184 of the German legal code at 184g, http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html#StGBengl_000P... - 'sexual acts and activities shall only be those which are of some relevance in relation to the protected legal interest in question;' This only seems to be waived in the case of child pornography and child pornography alone, http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html#StGBengl_000P... - '(2) Whosoever undertakes to obtain possession for another of child pornography reproducing an actual or realistic activity shall incur the same penalty.' The use 'actual or realistic' is brought up specifically here, but not in the previous section. (Apparently 'written material' is intended to apply to everything. Definition was somewhere else in all that. And, granted, I'm basing this on a translated version.)

In short, looks safe to me. But if Inkbunny is so concerned about avoiding prosecution, if it's reasonable to worry about German law, surely it's reasonable to worry about Belarusian law?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pornography_laws_by_country#Belarus

How about Malta? The Ukraine? China? I'm just running down that list.

I think it's kind of two-faced to say that because my story _might_ be illegal in Germany, but by every standard I can come up with, it shouldn't appear on Inkbunny, but even though a large chunk of the site's content is _entirely_ illegal in China or Belarus, that's just fine.

You'll happily wade into the firing line for pornography involving rape, underaged characters, etcetera, which is almost certainly of interest to a number of authorities around the world given all those simulated child pornography hullaballos, but not for depictions of humans and furries engaged in sexual intercourse, be it quite vanilla, or be it rape?

Could you explain why, and how, a story about a human being screwing her husband, a furry, is going to open the site up to unacceptable legal risk, wheras pornography involving rape, underaged characters, scatalogical pursuits, or snuff, will not?

How is this fair? I may be able to find hosting for the material elsewhere, but that's not the point. The point is, this work, and works like it, are excluded from inclusion in Inkbunny. And Inkbunny has itself branded as an inclusive community, and I don't think that's fair to exclude these works and themes when my work, and the works being excluded, _do not pose a legal risk._

Why are human beings unacceptable in sexualized contexts? Why would you have to 'choose' between feral-looking animals and humans? Why is this entirely conjectured threat of bestiality, which is as far as I can tell groundless given that I (and apparently you) cannot provide an example of some furry work actually being listed as obscene/illegal by a court somewhere, being used to exclude works like mine?

How is that inclusive? Why do you have to exclude sexualized humans to be 'inclusive'? I just do not understand this, and it's been driving me crazy for years. My material _is_ subject to the limits of the law, and is to the best of my knowledge and understanding accepted by the law, as is, to the best of my knowledge, any material involving human beings, at least in those countries where any kind of pornography is allowed at all.

Anyway. The Anita Blake books are rather renown for sex with werewolves, and they're available in Germany, along with Heat #6, though via Amazon.de rather than Blackpaw.de. --> http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1/275-1837632-0646360?__mk_de_DE=%C5M%C5Z%...

(Omaha's available in Germany, too. http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85Z%C3%95%C3%91&ur... )

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Blasphemy and other restricted speech tend to affect individual speakers or publishers exerting editorial authority (e.g. newspapers), not online service providers. We do not see it as a significant risk. Likewise, our users are unlikely to be placed in danger by other people's speech, even if it contravenes the law for speech permitted in their own countries.

This is not the case for, say, cartoon pornography involving underage human children, which attracts severe sentences for mere possession, let alone hosting and distribution. If you want to allow cartoon human pornography, you have to determine what is underage (what age? how?). Then, if you don't outlaw cartoon furry underage pornography, people will complain that you are being inconsistent. You end up having to determine the age of every character depicted in a sexual situation so that you can ban them if they are "too young".

This is not a fantasy - it is the thankless task that Fur Affinity's staff face today. It is one of many issues we avoid by not permitting works involving humans in sexual situations. You may not consider it "fair", but when the root cause is legislation concerning humans in sexual situations, the most practical solution is to forbid them. Bear in mind that we get about 400 submissions a day, and about half are mature or adult; a detailed analysis of each is not reasonable.

There are some countries in which the majority of sexually-oriented content on Inkbunny is illegal, for one reason or another. The best advice I can give for such users is to apply rating- and tag-based blocking and surf at their own risk, or to move. They may also have sites in their own countries which adhere to local laws. We do not aim to serve them.

As the only furry work I know of having been tried out in a court of law as a work of bestiality, I think it's a safe assumption to assume that _any_ anthropomorphic work is not a work of bestiality.

That's . . . a pretty amazing assumption. The most likely reason Omaha did not count as bestiality is that the court decided no humans were involved. The next most likely (adhering to the furry concept of a person) is that no animals were involved. Only in this second case is it possible to mix humans and (some) furries, and then only once you figure out where an individual judge or jury is going to draw the line, given varying levels of anthropomorphism. We do not feel confident making that determination. We have enough trouble deciding what counts as human.

You'll happily wade into the firing line for pornography involving rape, underaged characters, etcetera, which is almost certainly of interest to a number of authorities around the world given all those simulated child pornography hullaballos, but not for depictions of humans and furries engaged in sexual intercourse, be it quite vanilla, or be it rape?

We are confident of our position, on the basis that we are not depicting real or imagined persons as defined by law. Work featuring humans opens up cans of worms that we do not wish to get involved with.

I imagine nobody has brought the issue up with regards to the Anita Blake books. For some reason, literary depictions tend to be less prosecuted than visual ones. Many people (myself included) also count werewolves as humans with added animal characteristics, not the reverse. Lastly, they likely do not count as "pornography".

Why do you have to exclude sexualized humans to be 'inclusive'? I just do not understand this, and it's been driving me crazy for years. My material _is_ subject to the limits of the law, and is to the best of my knowledge and understanding accepted by the law, as is, to the best of my knowledge, any material involving human beings, at least in those countries where any kind of pornography is allowed at all.

This is clearly not the case. Plenty of material involving human beings is forbidden; for example, depictions of underage human children [below 18] in sexual situations (UK Coroners and Justice Act 2009).

As explained above, the simple answer is that it is not practical on a time basis (or in some cases even possible) for us to determine the legality of an arbitrary work involving humans in sexual situations, and we have little incentive to do so. We can permit more precisely because we avoid the species which causes the most problems - humans.

If you want to change Inkbunny's rules, I am not the person, and this is not the place. Talk to admin@inkbunny.net. However, I do not think you will get the answer you are looking for. When we remove work under this particular policy, it is often with regret for its artistic or literary merit, but there is no particular interest among the staff to change the current state of affairs; we are all too aware of the moderation nightmare that would ensue.

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Hmm. Would a modern edition, translated or otherwise, of Robert van Genechten's 1941 Dutch "About Reynard the Fox", the "Nazi equivalent of Animal Farm", be legal? By all reports it is extremely anti-Semitic, equating rhinoceroses with Jews, and is definitely Hate literature. But a modern edition could arguably be for academic/historical interest, not intended to encourage discrimination against Jews.

Fred Patten

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If it doesn't technically include Nazi symbols like the swastika or solar cross, it might be fine even in Germany. I see there is an exception for "research or teaching" about propaganda.

A German fan might be better-placed to answer that question, though.

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It should be safe, then. "About Reynard the Fox" exists in two versions, both set in the Middle Ages. Van Genechten's 1941 novel (or novella; it was 98 pages) illustrated the animals of the Animal Kingdom as natural (but talking) four-legged, unclothed European forest beasts infiltrated by the scheming Jewish rhinoceroses. The Dutch animated cartoon, finished in 1943 but unseen until 2006 because the Nazis took the finished film negative to Berlin where it was lost during the 1945 fall of Berlin and only rediscovered recently, has the animals anthropomorphized as bipedal and wearing clothes, but medieval-style clothing. No swastikas, solar crosses, or anything else visually associated with the Nazi or Dutch NSB regimes. (In fact, the Nazis officially objected that Baron Reynard the fox was too solidly established through centuries of legends as a thief, liar, cheat, murderer, betrayer, and all-around villain to make a proper modern Nazi role-model.)

Fred Patten

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I'm assuming the work in question would, in fact, be barred from Inkbunny entirely as it's essentially hate speech. I doubt Inkbunny would, based on their terms of service, accept anything like a furry Elder Protocols of Zion.

'* your content does not contain material that defames or vilifies any person or group of people and is not harassing, threatening, harmful, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, abusive or inflammatory;'

But it's legal!

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That depends on whether it's actually talking about a group of people, or a group of animals.

The "inflammatory" part might be an issue, but that's something we judge after the fact. I can think of maybe one or two works that have been removed as a result.

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From what I have read about "About Reynard the Fox", it leaves no doubt that all of the things that it says about rhinos being lying, scheming, cheating, fawning, untrustworthy animals are transparent attacks against the Jewish people. There are blatant descriptions of the rhinos' nose-horns in identical terms with the Nazi caricatures of big-nosed Jews. The German Nazis officially rejected it because the International Jewish Menace (along with Racial Purity, which is also parodied) was much too serious a topic to be treated as satire; some people might think that it was the Nazi party line about the Jewish Menace that was being ridiculed rather than the Jews themselves.
(The Nazis just plain didn't trust satire.)

Fred Patten

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" For some reason, literary depictions tend to be less prosecuted than visual ones. "

Answer in one word:

Bible.

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Okay, hold on.

My work is about consenting adults.

First you claimed it falls foul of laws about sexual depictions of 'persons', it doesn't. That's not illegal.

Then you claimed it falls foul of laws about sexual depictions of bestiality. It doesn't. It's not bestiality, so far as I or my publishers are aware, regardless of the fact you seem intent on painting my work as bestiality, nor is it illegal.

Now you're saying a work about consenting adults opens the site to prosecution for child pornography?

You said, 'We are confident of our position, on the basis that we are not depicting real or imagined persons as defined by law. Work featuring humans opens up cans of worms that we do not wish to get involved with.'

How are you confident of that position? Have you cleared this with one of the anti-child pornography organizations? IWF, ASACP? Is that really a defence that's going to hold up, when the basis of the furry fandom, according to http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Furry_fandom, is 'Members of the furry fandom, known as furry fans, furfans, furries, or furs, particularly enjoy media that includes fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics.' At what point is the defence that the works don't depict 'persons' under the law eroded by the simple fact that every element of anthropomorphising an animal character is to make them more closely resemble a human or 'person', by attributing them human or 'person'-like personalities and characteristics?

And, I would very much like a straight answer on this one, are you seriously implying that the Inkbunny's philosophy, which I will cherry-pick for useful quotes to fortify my argument, saying 'We consider freedom of artistic expression as a top priority. ' and 'Inkbunny encourages a community where people of all different interests can co-exist. The community attitude is one of acceptance of the widest possible range of views and ideas, as long as they do not encourage hate and intolerance. ' and 'It is not everyone else's responsibility to prevent you from seeing what you don't want to see. We provide tools such as ratings and keyword blocking to help you filter out content you do not want to see. ', has been designed to protect works of underaged pornography at the exclusion of other works of artistic expression, whether or not they make up part of the wide range of views and ideas in the furry fandom on the basis that a human laying with a furry is not of interest to the people you are seeking to serve, when your attitude to those self-same people is to tell them to use the filters to get rid of what they don't want to see?

Seriously?

Is the material that shapes Inkbunny's policy works of artistic expression of interest to the furry fandom, or is it an attempt to dodge laws against child pornography?

Because the site, the ACP, the inkbunny philosophy, all blatantly claim it's artistic expression. But when confronted with an issue of artistic expression the site's just not interested and offers its condolences, apparently with 'a regret for its artistic or literary merit', when that is the very thing Inkbunny claims to be protecting and striving to uplift.

And you might not be the person, but this is certainly the place. Inkbunny has no public forum I can find, and Flayrah's positioned as a location for public news and discussion. And I have asked the admins directly about this.

And, when I asked about this issue in 2010 via a support ticket on Inkbunny, the response was:

'Hi!

Sadly the rule is strict for now. Humans are allowed in written work as long as there are no sexual scenes depicted with humans.

Humans are banned in all other forms on the site.

We are trying to negotiate with other payment providers so we can be less restrictive. For now we have to follow agreements we have with them.

It totally sucks and we're going to do our best to change things as soon as we can!

For now there is http://lulu.com for small runs of printed material, which isn't idea I know. We'll try to make the site more useful to you soon hopefully!

Starling'

So is this an issue of Payment providers, of entirely legal pornography about people, of bestiality that I contend doesn't qualify, of child pornography, what?

I would like to be part of 'a community that is open, vibrant and growing.' I would like to use a site by admins who 'consider freedom of artistic expression as a top priority.'

I am really angry now. Apparently my work dealing with an exploration of the intimate relationships between humans and furries isn't worthy of protection and inclusion in the dialogue of creative arts taking place at Inkbunny.

I don't see how Inkbunny can position itself as 'open, vibrant, and growing' or honeslty say they 'consider freedom of artistic expression as a top priority' when there's 'no particular interest among the staff to change the current state of affairs'.

You're telling me, flat out, that you're not interested in considering _my_ freedom of artistic expression. You're willing to sacrifice humans/furs in favour of underaged sexuality. And you're not interested in finding a way to broaden what the site can accept.

If that's the case I can only say that I don't think the 'Inkbunny Philosophy' is an honest expression of what the site's about. And that makes me angry, because it's a site with a lot of good ideas behind its design.

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Basically it was about the payment provider if I recall, Inkbunny wanted to be a place where artists could make money off their works. They had trouble doing so if humans were involved. Basically the premise I believe is, you can have human or cubs but you can't have both because then people will blur the two whether that was the artist's intent or not. Obviously since the founders have an affiliation for cub and not so much humans that was probably a driving force in that decision.

I mean you say they're sacrificing your thing for their thing, but you are in essence asking them to sacrifice their thing for your thing. Since they are the ones paying for the maintenance of the site and running it, I'm going to have to side with them on this one. It's just unfortunate that babyfurs seem to be the most adult when it comes to coding.

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Okay, well, if that's the case they're a site that feels that getting money in artists's pockets is more important than freedom of expression.

They'd rather try and dodge around law/payment provider rules with what seems like a pretty flimsy reasoning to me, and sacrifice my thing for their thing.

But I am in essence making the claim that their site philosophy and every bit of promotional material coming out of their mouths seems to claim that they proudly stand and say, 'We will sacrifice nobody's thing. Everybody is welcome.'

Are you really going to support them saying that when clearly some people are not welcome, when their policy is driven by concerns other than ensuring everyone's got free expression on their site?

You can make your own judgement, but in mine, it's okay to protect artistic expressions that lack another venue. It's not okay to form a community, say, 'We consider freedom of artistic expression as a top priority.', and then make the top priority protecting specific vulnerable areas of expression at the exclusion of others, while playing around with financing and dodging around payment processors to find loopholes.

I'm just angry, because if freedom of artistic expression was a top priority, I could post my story there. :/

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Regardless of the merits of your specific work, to host any work containing humans in sexual situations we have to spend time evaluating its content, based on our understanding of the limits of the law in various jurisdictions, and we have to undergo the risk that hosting/payment service providers and legal entities will disagree with us based on their own evaluation. We have decided that it is, overall, not worthwhile for us to do so.

Other sites have made different choices, such as to exclude underage characters, violent pornography, or all adult work. Each has been criticised for it. If you don't like this situation, the solution is to revoke the laws in the real world which criminalize fictional work involving humans in sexual situations.

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Right, but then Inkbunny is not promoting freedom of expression as a generalized concept.

It's protecting freedom of expression for specific niche interests which tend to result in people flipping their shit. And you know what? That's fine. Being prosecuted for thoughtcrime is bullshit, and art and literature is expressed and recorded thought.

But, how dare you people crow about artistic freedom and expression. My work is legal. My work is artistic, it's my expression. I will stand right here and tell you my work deserves the same effort and protection as any other work on Inkbunny, and I want my work to be part of the artistic and literary dialogue over there. I would like to reach your users with my work.

If site policy is built around protecting specific kinds freedoms of expression by sacrificing others, Inkbunny can hardly claim that 'Inkbunny encourages a community where people of all different interests can co-exist. The community attitude is one of acceptance of the widest possible range of views and ideas, as long as they do not encourage hate and intolerance.'

All different interests? So long as they're not mine. Widest possible? My work's entirely legal, and can hardly be considered even remotely relevant to questions relating to underaged material.

You're flat out telling me Inkbunny's administration would rather dodge the issue than put in time and effort to find a solution to truly encourage a community where all different interests can co-exist. As you said, 'just not interested.' Unless you're going to tell me that my work encourages hate and intolerance?

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Jeez, foozzball, find somewhere else to submit your porn already. It's not like its hard.

Your turning into Xydexx 2: Electric Boogaloo up in here.

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I wouldn't go that far.

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First I'm told it's a payment issue. (The payment providers don't allow pornography of any kind online. Alertpay has rules about it, Paypal has rules about it.) I don't comprehend why this results in 'no humans.'

Then I'm told it's a personhood issue. Patently ridiculous, in the context of consenting adults.

Then I'm told _my work falls foul of bestiality law._ ¬¬

Then I'm told including legal work beside work that's hovering on the edge of legality would push that other work over the edge. (? I don't see the logic in this. I don't understand why it's assumed that barring humans will provide any kind of legal protection. Has this been tested in a court somewhere?)

It's not about finding a place to shove my porn. It's about getting my work onto a shelf and in front of new readers, and about joining a wider literary dialogue. (Laugh if you must.)

I'm being told that my work can't go up on a site that prides itself on freedom of artistic expression. I have a huge problem with that. _Huge._ Now, if the site prided itself on protecting the freedom of expression for niche interests that are otherwise unfairly prosecuted as thoughtcrime? I wouldn't be so pissed off. But that's not how it's presented, and I have to wade through getting accused of writing illegal material to get any kind of straight answer.

I am genuinely uncertain who this Xydexx guy is, but if you think I'm being an unreasonable and pissy jerk, you're probably justified.

My knee-jerk reaction to being censored without a clear, well defined, publicly accessible and proudly stated reason is extremely loud and angry. And yes, 'We just don't like that kind of thing' is an acceptable reason, if one I want to argue with. But that's not the reason that's been given to me, I got told I'm writing bestiality.

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The reason you have not got one answer is that there are several reasons not to host work involving humans in sexual situations. Some might apply to your particular work, some obviously do not, but taken together, they have caused us to forbid humans in sexual situations entirely.

First I'm told it's a payment issue. (The payment providers don't allow pornography of any kind online. Alertpay has rules about it, Paypal has rules about it.) I don't comprehend why this results in 'no humans.'

If humans are not involved, it is not pornography. It is a cartoon depiction of animal mating. (In practice, this might not stand up, but we at least have a chance of avoiding no-bestiality rules, because . . .)

Then I'm told _my work falls foul of bestiality law._ ¬¬

Well that's because you are writing about bestiality, by the technical definition of a non-human animal having sex with a human. Do I think it should be illegal? No; it's just fiction. Do I think it makes sense, given the intelligence of a furry character? No. But it fits the definition, because you put a human in there.

I don't understand why it's assumed that barring humans will provide any kind of legal protection.

I thought I was clear, but again: when it comes to bestiality, underage sex, etc., laws refer to "person" (or "children") - and when they define person, it is as "human", or (in a very few jurisdictions) "human despite a few things that indicate it's not" - the objective being to criminalize lolicon where they stuck fox ears/tail on a human child; this grey area is where IB's mods focus. ("Animal" is typically "anything but human.")

If animals were people under the law, killing them would be murder. Clearly, this is not the case, even for "bright" animals; we have separate animal protection laws to cover them. If human-animal hybrids or uplifted animals are created, we may see evolution of legislation; for now it is a clear dividing line.

If we do not have written or visual depictions of "persons" in sexual situations (or displaying genitals) on our website, we do not have to evaluate any work for adherence to laws referring to them. We have decided that this situation is preferable, given the other issues which make humans problematic, even when legal, and given that humans are not the focus of our site to start with.

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But I guess one should always look on the bright side, if one lived in a country where anthro/human was considered bestiality then playing Sonic '06 would be a literal crime and not just a crime against humanity.

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Okay, okay. Hang on.

You want to say furries qualify as 'animals' because of their half 'n half nature? Make sex between a human and a furry qualify as 'bestiality'?

Then, surely, by the same logic, sex between a feral animal and a furry would qualify as bestiality, with the half'n'half furry qualifying as human? Or is it alright if the feral animal can talk and think sentient thoughts, so it can be labelled non-animal? How about if my human growls and is fairly incoherant?

It's not bestiality. There is no definition under any set of laws I've ever seen that will define a fantastical and imaginary creature as 'an animal' for the purposes of media about bestiality, it's never come up in a court of law, and continuing to claim that furries and humans qualifies as bestiality based purely on your own opinion with nothing to refer to is just not something I'm going to accept as an argument.

Omaha the cat dancer. Bestiality? Court said no.

Dude fucking a plushie? Bestiality? I think not. A plushie is as much an 'animal' as a furry is.

But you know. As much as your opinion that my work qualifies as bestiality burns my biscuit, there's another issue.

Okay. Inkbunny has decided that works involving human beings should be excluded in order to stay on the right side of the law. That's great.

But your site's mission statement reads:

The result is a community art site that regards freedom of artistic expression as a top priority, gives users as much power over their own accounts as possible and provides professional tools for artists to showcase their work, sell it or share it freely.

Wouldn't you say that by excluding works involving human beings, the site is, in fact, putting artistic expression as a secondary priority? How can Inkbunny pride itself on being a zone of free expression when there are areas of expression which are being fundamentally limited?

And don't tell me that 'humans are not the focus of the site', the focus of the story in question is the relationship between a human and a fur. It's intrinsically tied to anthropomorphism, the story cannot work without it. You might as well suggest that as 'trees are not the focus of the site', it would be equally reasonable to ban every image and story featuring a tree in bloom, and continue to maintain that free expression is a top priority.

The top priority seems to be _protecting the free expression of certain specific elements at the expense of others._ That's fine, that's admirable even, but it makes Inkbunny anything but 'a community art site that regards freedom of artistic expression as a top priority'.

In my opinion, anyway.

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No. It's not "half and half" so much as "humans are in a class by themselves, anything else counts as animals". Humans have made laws focussed on humans.

If an ape and a wolf have sex, it's not bestiality under the law, despite the fact that an ape is somewhat anthropomorphic. If a human has sex with either, it is.

As I said days ago, Omaha has no human characters; plushies aren't animals.

Stories about trees are fine, you just can't have sex with them because the puritanical sapling lobby make certifying them a nightmare. Is that so hard to understand?

Freedom of expression is a top priority at Inkbunny. It is something we care strongly about. But not going to jail is probably the top one, and "having rules that are consistently-implemented and easy to for users to comply with" is pretty high up there, too. Like all mission statements, it is tempered with reality.

I'm not sure what you want at this point, other than to complain that Inkbunny does not always live up to its ideals. At this point, I'm going to take advice from the last line of the Inkbunny Philosophy:

If it stops being fun then it's time to turn off the computer and do something else worthwhile.

You might consider doing the same.

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I'd expect the 'top priorities' that are openly stated in a mission statement to be the ones that actually matter and take priority.

Apparently the ones that actually drive site policy aren't the ones that get openly stated, thus this misunderstanding when an apparently simple explanation dealing with bestiality and concerns about being mistaken for child pornography being added to the ACP would clear that up.

In fact, just a list somewhere that says, 'In regards to this and this kind of content, we can't have both, so because of this reason and that reason, we are only going to have this kind.' But there isn't one, and the only time I've had anyone openly tell me about it is on Flayrah.

And sure. Advocating my right to freedom of artistic expression is, at this stage, hardly any fun. In fact, I feel like I've been met with just a little hate and intolerance, given that I've been told what dirty bestiality I write.

But no, I suppose the well is dry at this stage.

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Look, you wrote a story where a dude (or dudette, whatever, like I'm going to ever want to read your story now) fucks an animal person, and expected no problems with this? Look, InkBunny allows cub porn; that's kind of their thing. That's a pretty big thing. To cover their asses, they threw your ass in the fire. Get over it and have your "dialogue" on FurAffinity or SoFurry or anywhere else but the goddamn comments section of Flayrah, because that's not where it goes either.

I repeat, Jeez.

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I can freely admit that my artistic need to be on the same bookshelf as other anthro works and 'participate in a dialogue' is very touchy-feely-oh-I'm-a-special-snowflake-artist. It's important to me, but let's ignore it for now.

I interpret Inkbunny's terms of use, which tells people to stick to the 'Inkbunny philosophy', as saying, hey. Nobody gets thrown in the fire. Not anybody. Not 'cub porn', not anything. Set aside the acceptable content policy for now, and just look at the philosophy, and the terms of use. Do they imply that the site's going to protect one kind of content at the exclusion of another?

I think, given that the site itself has no public forum, an article about the site on Flayrah is about the only place I've ever seen for a discussion about its policies.

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When somebody says "Nobody gets thrown in the fire," get out your fire extinguisher.

Somebody always gets thrown in the fire.

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Right. So I'd just really appreciate it if Inkbunny were honest, and said, 'this is being thrown in the fire, we are not 'a community art site that regards freedom of artistic expression as a top priority', but in fact have different top priorities, which are this and this and this, which mean these kinds of material get thrown in the fire.'

Being thrown into the fire is okay, so long as it's not being done while I'm simultaneously told how important my freedom of artistic expression is.

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They'll probably keep saying they are and that that is their top priority. It's probably more a talking point to the cub artists then anything who have been shut out of a lot of websites then it is an actual overall expression. Because the arguments you have made to inkbunny here have been made by cubs to FA, Fchan, and pretty much the entirety of the fandom. When Inkbunny was first made and people pointed out that it was run by a bunch of cubs I pretty much said: "Well can you blame them? The writing is pretty much on the wall that they're going to be removed from a lot of mainstream furry sites." And not even a year later they were removed from FA.

So when they say that phrase, that phrase I think was meant for them than "in general". To me it seems a rhetorical phrase to more demean the other websites for shutting down cub furs then a welcoming statement.

All sites do say things for PR purposes that aren't entirely true, like FA saying "We're working on updates."

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I've really, really tried not to be a pedant here, but I just cannot resist it anymore.

You're*

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Okay, nevermind, there's too many in this thread, abort mission.

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Having skimmed over most of this thread, it makes me wonder if Inkbunny wouldn't accept a story like Greg Howell's "Light on Shattered Water". It's about a human male finds himself in a world populated by bipedal felines. The story is more than 250K words (if it were published as a mass-market paperback it would be about 800 pages), and out of that there are two or three fairly explicit sex scenes.

Come to think of it, Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance books portray a lot more sex than that between humans and the felinoid Sholans. And they're published by DAW, a major SF/F house. What I'm seeing here suggests that they would almost certainly be in violation of Inbunny's terms (as far as content restrictions go).

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Yes, we would not allow them as submissions in that form.

A publisher has the resources to make a measured, qualitative decision about the nature of the work, and a significant financial incentive to balance the risk if they are wrong. We operate a public gallery; the moderation staff are not empowered or qualified to decide whether an individual work's artistic merit outweighs its nature.

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A couple more examples that came to mind of stories that include scenes involving sex between humans and anthros are the Fox Force series by Nathan Cowan, and many of the chakat stories by Bernard Doove and others.

I guess I'm on the same side as foozzzball on this one. Given how popular and widely publicized some of these stories are and how readily available some of them are on other websites, it just sort of boggles the mind that there is a serious concern about them running afoul of pornography laws.

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The German law is clear: pornographic writings involving sex between humans and animals are illegal. The only real question in my mind is whether the animals have to exist as species in real life. It is unsafe to assume that they do; the plain reading of "animals" is very broad (and good luck explaining to users that they can upload material concerning kitsune but not foxes, or centaurs and unicorns but not horses).

Is Germany (or some U.S. state) going to reach out to Berard Doove's personal website? Probably not. Could a large website (or its hosting/financial service providers) feel threatened by such laws? Yes.

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Actually the German is not clear on the topic whatsoever, if you read it carefully.

See, when it speaks of 'written materials' here, in section 184a --> http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html#StGBengl_000P...

disseminates;

publicly displays, presents, or otherwise makes accessible; or

produces, obtains, supplies, stocks, offers, announces, commends, or undertakes to import or export, in order to use them or copies made from them within the meaning of Nos 1 or 2 above or facilitates such use by another, pornographic written materials (section 11 (3)) that have as their object acts of violence or sexual acts of persons with animals

It means written materials by this definition (point three) --> http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html#StGBengl_000P11

(3) Audiovisual media, data storage media, illustrations and other depictions shall be equivalent to written material in the provisions which refer to this subsection.

And when it speaks of 'sexual acts' it means, according to section 184g --> http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html#StGBengl_000P...

Within the meaning of this law

1. sexual acts and activities shall only be those which are of some relevance in relation to the protected legal interest in question;

2. sexual acts and activities in the presence of another shall be those which are committed in the presence of another who observes them.

Putting this all together, as I read it:

A 'sexual act or activity' must have some relevance to the protected legal interest -- either an actual, living human being, or an actual, living animal. The law is intended to coverany kind of depiction whatsoever. So, the law covers actual recordings of non-fictional people fucking non-fictional animals, and actual accounts of non-fictional people fucking non-fictional animals.

I don't understand where you got this idea it's clear that it's illegal. At all. If anything the far stronger implication is that it's entirely legal.

Besides, you _did say that:

This is not the case for, say, cartoon pornography involving underage human children, which attracts severe sentences for mere possession, let alone hosting and distribution. If you want to allow cartoon human pornography, you have to determine what is underage (what age? how?). Then, if you don't outlaw cartoon furry underage pornography, people will complain that you are being inconsistent. You end up having to determine the age of every character depicted in a sexual situation so that you can ban them if they are "too young".

which is much, much easier to understand than German laws about bestiality which don't seem to apply.

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Also, having done some NSFW research I really regret performing, I can report that an animated pornographic film named 'Pornomation 2, Zuma, tales of a sexual gladiator' has screenshots online that pretty clearly show a chick engaged in sexual intercourse with a huge scary bug monster. Clearly an animal by the definitions you've been using, Greenreaper.

And, naturally, it's available for sale from a German language adult DVD site called DVDerotik.

I'm pretty sure the Germans are okay with cartoon porn of 'bestiality'.

Edit: If we are all that interested, it's even on Wikipedia... --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PornoMation_2

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shall be equivalent to written material in the provisions which refer to this subsection.

This means "these things are equivalent to written material", not "only these things count".

I don't see where you're getting "actual" or "living" from "protected legal interest". The "in the presence of another" bit appears to prevent sexual activities from being illegal when a child is present, but does not observe them.

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Yes, not only written material, but the broadening of the term to me implies that it's intended as a catch-all for all media, thus, likely, intentionally focussed on the obvious threat of visual pornography.

As for 'protected legal interest', the term interest to the best of my understanding refers to an entity with which a legal contract may be entered into, or an entity with legal protection under the law. So, actual living people, corporations, the estates of formerly living people, actual animals protected under animal abuse laws, etcetera. Not fictional creatures. The 'in the presence of another' doesn't seem relevant to this discussion, no.

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I think "legal interest" in this context refers to the principle that the law should only be concerned with matters of justifiable interest - for example, the interest of the public to prevent one person from depriving another of property without due cause, or (more fuzzily) that it is in the interest of human dignity to prevent gratuitous depictions of torture. This principle could be used to strike down laws like "no wearing green clothes", if there was no justification for them.

I found a discussion of German and Israeli law as it relates to the protection of human dignity, which I believe is the legal interest in question.

On pages 6-7 there is an introduction to the concept of human dignity as an objective value; from p. 12, we see that for a while "good morals" was a reason for all pornography to be banned in Germany. On p. 15 there is a discussion of human dignity as a protected interest in respect to this particular law:

In a comparable way, one could argue that sexual acts between a human being and an animal violate the human’s dignity (and perhaps also animal rights, such as the right not to suffer pain, but this idea will not be examined here).

If such films or photos are produced with adult human actors who have consented to play their role, one cannot argue that the actors’ individual human dignity is violated. But after the media is produced and distributed, it no longer belongs to the personal sphere of those who humiliated themselves to produce it. Autonomy, in this case the freedom to choose the profession of an actor in pornographic movies, is irrelevant for the argument based on human dignity as an objective value.

The concept presented here is that it does not matter whether the participants consented (or even existed). Human dignity, as an objective value, is violated merely by depiction of the act of sex with animals.

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Think of the fictional person's dignity!

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Uhm. As I read that, human dignity, an objective value, is _the protected interest that belongs to a human being._

EG, a person's entitlement to blue M&Ms is one of their interests. It is not a protected instrument. That interest does not exist independent of the person.

In that specific case, an example is given of what defending human dignity as an objective value means:

For example, in a case concerning the prohibition of so-called “peepshows,”
in which women perform striptease and other obscene acts while spectators
watch behind windows, Germany’s highest court in administrative matters decided
that peep-shows could be prohibited based on their incompatibility with human
dignity—despite the fact that the women worked there voluntarily.17 The idea behind
this ruling is that the law may protect human dignity as an objective value—even if
the individual concerned has freely chosen in favor of undignified behavior or
treatment by others.

The MUCH MORE RELEVENT section is this:

There is a second, less common way to regard human dignity as an objective
value. This context does not concern consenting individuals but rather the absence of
a particular individual whose personal human dignity is at stake. When evaluating
fictional media (comics, books, computer games, films, etc.), the media can have
content conflicting with human dignity as a value (e.g., if a computer game portrays
in detail how a human being is cruelly tortured). Under such circumstances, can
human dignity be used to justify criminal prohibitions? This is an issue that deserves
greater attention and discussion.

This essay is basically speculation on whether or not 'Human Dignity' can be treated in the fashion you suggest, as I read it, rather than an implication it is in fact treated that way by the law.

Also, these passages read to me as implying that no such interpretations of the laws currently exist:

However, one might argue that although one does not need to
protect the actors, the content itself could suffice to prohibit pornography. This
argument could also be raised against films made without real actors (e.g., computer-
animated films). The problem with this argument is that not all “obscene
material” violates human dignity as an objective value. There are images and films
on the market that do not portray women as inferior beings. Although this is a
frequent feature of pornographic material, there is no necessary connection. A
general ban of pornography cannot be justified based on the protection of human
dignity. Another possibility would be to prohibit only pornographic depictions that
are incompatible with human dignity. However, legislators would encounter great
difficulty when trying to draft such an offense, since the circumstances that make a
sexual encounter humiliating are difficult to describe in an abstract way.

Why would they speculate as to the difficulties legislators might encounter if such legislation didn't already exist?

German and Israeli law both cover fictional portrayals of sexual acts with minors.
If the depiction looks real, the prohibition could be justified because it has the
same effects that real acts have on viewers. Also, if only products showing actual
criminal abuse were prohibited, difficulties of proof would arise, since producers
could always defend themselves by falsely claiming that sexual abuse had not
actually occurred. However, pornography can also be evidently fictional, such as
when it appears in the form of drawings, cartoons, novels, and so forth.

Given that fictional portrayals are brought up specifically multiple times in the article, and the only actual prohibition discussed is against fictional portrayals of sexual acts with minors, I'm comfortable in taking that to fit with my interpretation of section 184B (2-4) of the German criminal code as being a specific clause to act when there are no 'protected legal interests' involved, and the pornography is a fictional portrayal of sexual acts with minors:

(2) Whosoever undertakes to obtain possession for another of child pornography reproducing an actual or realistic activity shall incur the same penalty.

(3) In cases under subsection (1) or subsection (2) above the penalty shall be imprisonment of six months to ten years if the offender acts on a commercial basis or as a member of a gang whose purpose is the continued commission of such offences and the child pornography reproduces an actual or realistic activity.

(4) Whosoever undertakes to obtain possession of child pornography reproducing an actual or realistic activity shall be liable to imprisonment of not more than two years or a fine. Whosoever possesses the written materials set forth in the 1st sentence shall incur the same penalty.

There is no such additional clause in section 184A. 184A only refers to protected legal interests, and my interpretation of the article you linked confirms that, at present, human dignity as a protected legal interest does not exist independent of an actual human being's human dignity, and that an actual human being's human dignity, as in the case of the peep-show women, must be threatened. It is, however, interesting to note that Germany has not prohibited recorded pornography of similar acts, which must surely be of similarly degrading and obscene nature, from being sold. Only peep shows have been banned. It takes a court ruling in a specific and limited instance to consider 'human dignity' in the fashion you imply.

Still think you have this wrong, sorry.

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At this point, does it matter? GR isn't the only moderator at InkBunny, so he cannot make sudden ToS changes no matter how long you make comments on an unrelated website in an only-marginally related article.

At the very least you could take it to Private Messaging, couldn't you?

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Or, go the other way; write up an opinion piece and submit it.

You get to voice your concerns in a public place that people will pay attention to; Green Reaper, at least, gets to keep his "everyone has a say" reputation because he's the editor; Flayrah's readers get a nice new article instead of off-topic walls of text.

It's win-win-WIN!

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If I did write up an opinion piece it'd need to be larger, delve into the fandom's messed up attitude to sex and icky things, and would probably result in even larger and flamier comment threads.

I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

I took being accused of writing bestiality a little personally and am a little OCD about about that. That's certainly not an Op-ed piece I'd write.

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Annnnnd yet another person with an inherent misunderstanding of Obsessive-compulsive Disorder shows himself!

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Sorry. I know it's an actual medical condition, and that arbitrarily making referals to 'a little OCD', and the casual usage of disorders, diseases, and other such issues, is rather insensitive.

My bad.

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You're OCDing on the definition of OCD? How quaint.

j/k

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It would need to be LARGER?!

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Jesus, Foozzzball is such a whiney bitch. Shut up already about shoving your bestiality "art" down our throats. Have a nice life, get some help.

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Kai Norn from London, UK, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.