Unjapanologist - Draconian Australian law could target slash fans (among many, many others)
In your texts, interrogating them from the wrong perspective

Nele Noppe
Date: 2010-01-19 10:10
Subject: Draconian Australian law could target slash fans (among many, many others)
Security: Public
Mood:frustratedfrustrated
Tags:australia, censorship, fans, fictional_children, law

Originally published at Academic FFF. You can comment here or there.

A new Australian law could impose penalties on anyone who views slash fic or other (fan) media that feature fictional minors in a sexual situation. This isn't throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it's also throwing out the bath, the parents, the dog, and a couple of people who were just walking past the house.

James Welker pointed me to the original notice linked above. Dru Pagliassotti worries about the law's impact on scholarship in Australia. An Austrialian government consultation paper has details on the proposed internet 'filter'. The protest website No Clean Feed explains how to take action, and indicates that the law will not only target anything that is deemed child pornography:


The category of material that has been 'refused classification' includes websites about euthanasia, controversial movies such as 'Ken Park' and 'Baise-moi', and many games that are designed for people over16 years of age.

If you don't live in Australia, you can sign a petition or donate to No Clean Feed.

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preparing for when the velociraptors come: [ trek: bones: eyebrow lift ]
User: calicokat
Date: 2010-01-19 14:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:[ trek: bones: eyebrow lift ]
My goodness, I'll certainly pass this on. God knows I write Bones/Chekov fic for the new Star Trek movie (in fact, one part has a specific flashback to Chekov losing his virginity at fifteen in Russia).

Under this law the whole lot of it, fiften or seventeen, would be illegal, and to that I'd say "Don't they remember being teenagers and perhaps want to write about the experience of having been a teenager?" Which is, personally, where I write from.

Or, perhaps these individuals were not teenagers, and like Athena sprang fully formed from the heads of other hysterical curmudgeons.
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Nele Noppe
User: unjapanologist
Date: 2010-01-19 15:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'd be laughing harder at the hysteria if this wasn't so very disquieting. How on earth will anyone located in Australia manage to function in online fandom if it really becomes punishable (not just illegal, but actually punishable) to view or link to fics involving minor fictional characters in sexual situations? Perhaps I'm substituting my fandom experience for everybody's fandom experience a bit here, but I just can't imagine managing to spend one hour rooting around in online fandom spaces without coming across at least one link to or mention of works that involve characters who are not of age. I wouldn't want to be an Australian fan if this law actually comes into effect at some point.

This "think of the imaginary children" mindset is so utterly absurd, and yet it just won't go away. Imagine if every country in the world had this sort of legislation and was actually consistent in considering imaginary people as real persons. You could be extradited to Russia for sexually assaulting an underage Russian citizen, you.

We should be consistent and just ban any depiction of anything illegal in the media. No more fictional murders. No more TV characters dropping candy bar wrappers on the street. No more occupying other people's territories on screen. Perhaps the non-slasher masses that don't care if those porny fics are banned would finally revolt en masse if they suddenly couldn't watch Avatar anymore.
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preparing for when the velociraptors come: [ dear yuusuke ](foamchicken)
User: calicokat
Date: 2010-01-19 16:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:[ dear yuusuke ](foamchicken)
I think I would argue, in my trial, that he is a fictional Russian citizen from 2258 and my sentence or fine shouldn't come due until the year of his birth, 2241, when he fictionally acquires protection under Russian and Federation law. :|

The idea that writing about the sexual experiences of teenagers should be illegal is just...well, are we going to arrest the cast and crew of Gossip Girl? The Vampire Diaries? The authors of those and similar series of books? Can these shows not be shown on Australian television? And this despite the fact that not only do they reflect the experiences of the teenagers consuming them, but undoubtedly reflect many of the experiences of the writers creating them.

Goodness, I think I read my first slash fanfic when I was...at the oldest, thirteen. It was written by older teenagers and college students, whose names I suppose must be changed to protect them from their scandelous legal transgressions, because they were writing it about Gundam Wing and YuYuHakusho.

Now, there's some legal complexity. As I was discussing recently, the YYH fandom popularly slashed the characters Kurama and Hiei, which was a huge slash pairing in the Japanese fandom. However, most American fans believed Hiei was a 500 year old demon, as access to the series either in manga or anime form was initially limited.

Even after it became easier to get VHS fansubs and more people had read the manga, many fans persisted in this belief. Now, I believe best evidence shows that Hiei is probably about ten-twelve years old when he first appears in the series, maybe fifteen-seventeen by the end, and quite twee when he appears in a backstory with Kurama in volume 7 or 8 of the manga.

So, Australia, can fans be punished for writing pornographic Hiei/Kurama fanfiction depecting the character as a 500 year old demon because they did not know that by the original creator's intention he was quite probably an adolescent? This is certainly a case where it could be argued he acted/sounded/behaved, in some ways, old enough, or at least that it was plausible he was older than twelve because it's honestly difficult to tell with anime and manga characters.

"I didn't know that fictional construct was a little boy, ossifar!"
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Nele Noppe
User: unjapanologist
Date: 2010-01-19 18:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think I would argue, in my trial, that he is a fictional Russian citizen from 2258 and my sentence or fine shouldn't come due until the year of his birth, 2241, when he fictionally acquires protection under Russian and Federation law. :|

Hypothetical years and fictional legal systems are not admissible as evidence in court. Oh, wait.

The idea that writing about the sexual experiences of teenagers should be illegal is just...well, are we going to arrest the cast and crew of Gossip Girl? The Vampire Diaries? The authors of those and similar series of books?

Yes, all of those. And Twilight! They didn't actually have sex until long after Bella's eighteenth birthday, but Edward is eternally seventeen, so that's out too. Or is it? I'm not a legal expert by any means. I'd really like to see a court try to decide if Edward Cullen is a minor.

Ah, the good old days of GW and YYH. I can see how Hiei might pose a problem. If it looks like a minor (as do rather a lot of manga characters to Western eyes) but the author never states that it's a minor, and it has sex, is it actually engaging in anything illegal? What if you write an AU in which Hiei comes on to Kurama in a classroom wearing a school uniform, but you don't actually state that Hiei is of school age in your story? Couldn't you just say that the uniform and the setting were part of some kinky roleplay? Questions, questions. I think the Australian judiciary would come to seriously regret passing that law after the first two or three cases where they're asked to decide how old a cartoon character is :)

(I actually spelled Kurama as 'Kuruma' first. I used to do that all the time when I was a baby manga fan! Ah, nostalgia time. *puts on Fushigi Yuugi soundtrack*)
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preparing for when the velociraptors come: [ gunning down romance ](flyingteapot)
User: calicokat
Date: 2010-01-19 18:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:[ gunning down romance ](flyingteapot)
Wh-wha-WHAT?

*snatches and crushes your Fushigi Yuugi soundtrack*

Don't you realize fifteen year old girls are molested, sexually threatened and suffer the psychological aftermath of implied rape in that series?!


e_e ...nevermind that that anime/manga was absolutely foundational in my own life as a 15-17 year old. I am no longer allowed to read it.
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Nele Noppe
User: unjapanologist
Date: 2010-01-19 19:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
.....For serious, I was not trying to be witty by mentioning FY. It was just the first nice anime soundtrack that popped into my head. But I guess you're right.

Now I can't think of any soundtrack I like from an anime that does not have a minor in some kind of questionable situation at some point. Even bloody Totoro has that bath scene. This is very disheartening.
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preparing for when the velociraptors come: [ stock: a small turtle ]
User: calicokat
Date: 2010-01-19 19:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:[ stock: a small turtle ]
And, frankly, anyone who says the Totoro scene is pedophillic... Well, crap, I've got childhood pictures of me like 3 and in the yard running around naked. I hate to say it, but sometimes kids are naked.

I can't see any scenerio in which this particular law isn't too much, though. >>'
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water_rose
User: water_rose
Date: 2010-01-19 21:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hi, I was linked to this page by a friend.

Thanks for the concern, everyone. A filter on the Australian internet would be bad, but as an Australian, with real news scorces (which, in my humble opinion, Crikey is NOT), this website is exaggerating the situation.

As most protest sites do.

1. Even if the Labor Goverment commits political suicide by pushinig this filter through, tests and trial runs have already proved it nearly useless.

2. Australia is still aware of the differences between fiction and reality as well as the difference between text and images. Slash fiction is still in more danger from copyright then anti-child porn laws.
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Nele Noppe
User: unjapanologist
Date: 2010-01-19 21:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hi! I'm not an Australian, obviously -thank you for stopping by and putting things into perspective a bit.

The reason this kind of news gets me so riled up right away is that it seems as if anywhere in the world, dodgy legislation related to internet censorship and also copyright can often pass with very little resistance, because there's an appalling lack of awareness about these issues among the people being legislated. These are topics that most people virtually never read or hear about in the papers or on TV. I spend a lot of time reading and talking about censorship and copyright on the net, but as soon as I mention it to friends or family, everyone goes "Bzuh?". Part of the reason copyright law could go completely insane in the late 20th century is that most people just had no idea what copyright was really about. (Note: I'm speaking about the situation in Belgium, where I live. Not sure how different or similar Australia is on this.)

Anyway, I'm afraid that particularly when it's a topic about which there's very little public awareness, you could get pretty much anything past people if the cause is lofty and the opposition can't or doesn't make a solid case. That's why this kind of legal nonsense scares me. Fighting child porn is certainly pretty lofty -who'd ever be against that?
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water_rose
User: water_rose
Date: 2010-01-22 13:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*smile* Happy to put things into things into perspective.

For added perspective, this 'idea' (using the term losely) has been floating around for the last 14 years. What happens EVERY time is this;

Party not in Power: *decides to score points* Hey, Party in Power, why aren't you doing anything to filter out the child porn on the net?

General Public: DEATH to child porn!

Party in Power: Oh shit... Ah, we have internet companies doing tests of a filter!

General public: NO! Censorship!

Party not in Power: Oppression!

Party in Power: -_-' *whisper* oh fuck you all. *out loud* Our testing shows it won't work. Oh, look! There's a convinent and possibly made up on the spot mistake the other party made! Take your rage there.

Filter issue: *disappears until the next party change*

So again, thanks for the concern, but unless we're taken over by China, it's not an issue.

BTW, could those of you in the USA and other places with snow post some over here? We're getting rather low on drinkable water.
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Nele Noppe
User: unjapanologist
Date: 2010-01-22 16:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I sure hope that's how it plays out. Perhaps I'm just still shell-shocked from France (just south of the border here) passing that three strikes law. It's completely gaga, yet they somehow got it through. At least the EU parliament is acting like a gathering of thinking human beings on the issue of internet and copyright. The parliament is pretty awesome sometimes.

Our snow melted last week or I'd mail you some. Sorry!
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