Porn: what is legal, what is right – a guide to legal and illegal porn

The rights and wrongs of watching porn. Which porn is legal and which isn’t.

This piece is about porn, the law and right and wrong. Firstly I’ll start with some relevant laws about watching porn in the UK. Then we’ll look at some different situations where you can decide whether something is legal and whether it is ‘right’.

The Law

In the UK it is legal to look at porn so long as it does not feature: under 18s, sex with animals, torture, scenes of rape or sexual assault or violent scenes which are life threatening or likely to cause serious harm (the last two were tested in court in August 2012 ).

Porn that is made, and made available, in the US has to be certified that all persons were over 18 at the time it was made (known as 2257 information).

Porn can be shown on UK TV after 9pm so long as it does not show erect penises or close ups of genitals.

The legal age is 18 to buy porn magazines or videos: most porn websites try to prevent under 18s from accessing them, either through charging with a credit card or by a disclaimer on the front page.

Young people under 18 who film or take sexual pictures of each other can be charged with child porn offences, even if they both agreed to it. See my piece about sexting here

If someone makes a sex tape or photographs then they have copyright over the tape, so they can probably  do whatever they want with it (share on the internet for instance), unless anyone in the video or image was not aware they were involved. So someone featuring in a sex tape that was made by someone else can use the legal process to have images taken off the internet, however this can be very difficult.

It can also illegal to watch porn with someone under 18 (even they are both under 18 and both wanted to watch it), this is intended to prevent abuse of children and young people.

__________________________________________________

So that is the law, however just because something is legal doesn’t necessarily make it right. Also you might think that some things which are not legal are ok. Give your brain muscle a work out over these situations, ask your friends, copy and paste them on your facebook wall or just comment below. Your call, I’m not going to tell you what to think!

What is Right?

A 36 year old family friend invites a 16 year old to sit down and watch porn.

A 17 year old couple film each other having sex on their BlackBerrys.

Watching a glamour model’s sex tape on the internet that her ex-boyfriend sold to a porn website: she has tried to have it taken down but can’t.

A 19 year old shows his friends a naked picture of his 18 year old partner.

A 14 year old watching free porn on the internet.

A 17 year old takes a picture of her breasts and sends to her 18 year old boyfriend.

Going on a porn site where it is not made clear that everyone is over 18.

Downloading a porn clip that someone else has uploaded illegally.

A parent buys a newspaper with naked women and allows kids to read it.

A 15 year old boy buying a ‘Lads’ Mag’.

Three 17 year olds chilling with a beer watching porn together.

Someone sends a picture of porn involving an animal via bluetooth to a mate.

Looking at pictures of someone who stopped sexy modelling after saying she was exploited by people in the industry.

A 15 year old showing a porn image to a classmate suggesting they do what’s in the picture.

More entertainment/education about porn

An Educational Guide to Porn

Sex and the Law guide to the law around consent, marriage, outside sex

Sexting: Why making your own porn can be a really really bad idea.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Men or Women in Porn

Stickman Porn Competition!

© Justin Hancock, bishtraining.com 2012

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Porn: what is legal, what is right – a guide to legal and illegal porn

  1. “A 17 year old couple film each other having sex on their BlackBerrys.”

    aren’t Blackberrys a bit small to be having sex on?

  2. “Watching a glamour model’s sex tape on the internet that her ex-boyfriend sold to a porn website: she has tried to have it taken down but can’t.”

    I boycott any websites, and they are so often mainstream media sites, that publish stolen images. Case in point: Johansson’s stolen pictures which even some supposedly sex positive, women friendly sites, chose to publish.

  3. Ron

    I’m not clear about this: “violent scenes which are life threatening or likely to cause serious harm”.
    1. Does this apply only to ‘porn’? Can I watch a war film in which people’s lives are threatened with guns, say? If it only applies to ‘porn’ then what is the definition of ‘porn’?
    2. Does this apply to films in which actors act apparently life-threatening scenes, but no-one was actually threatened in the making of the film? Or does it apply only to material in which people’s lives were actually threatened?

    • bishtraining

      Hi Ron

      Most people aren’t clear about this: including judges and politicians.

      It’s a recent law which was introduced by the last government section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

      You make very good points which I understand but can’t provide a definite answer to. For much more about this check out http://www.backlash-uk.org.uk/wp/?page_id=7

      Thanks for your comment

      Justin (Bish)

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  6. Tommy

    Something regarding the actual law (as opposed to the questions of morality) really bothers me. It bothers me because it is potentially an extremely destructive law, and that is the one that states that people under the age of 18 who take naked pictures of eachother can be prosecuted for child porn offences (the worst offences you could possibly have on your record, bar maybe multiple murder?)

    I am however fully aware of the probability that this particular law exists to protect, for example, a 13 year old girl from recieving naked pictures from some 17 year old guy who doesn’t know right from wrong, but still it seems a bit backward, and the reasons should be obvious to most, but i’ll explain anyway.

    The following is a fictitious scenario that i’ll make up as i go along…

    So, we have a 17 year old guy, who sends a naked pic of himself to his 16 year old girlfriend…….they’ve only been going out a week or so and she decides she doesn’t fancy him and just for the hell of it shows the pic to her friends to laugh at……. one of her friends decides to tell her parents, the parent turns out to be a cold blooded asshole and tells the cops…… the cops are forced to press charges, and the 17 year old guy gets sent to court, and found guilty on child porn offences…….he get’s labelled officially a child sex offender and WHAM – the best part of his life and peace of mind are destroyed pretty much forever even though the girl was only a year younger, and had herself consented to recieving the pic at the time it was sent.

    So, maybe that law needs to be a bit less black and white and a bit more revised so it can deal with real cases similar to the scenario I’ve given a bit more fairly and reasonably. Thanks for reading.

    • bishtraining

      Yup I think I agree with you Tommy. In practice I think that the Police wouldn’t be that interested in prosecuting that young man. They are more interested in prosecuting people who share images without the consent of someone in them.

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