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Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

20. Obscenity in the information society  

This chapter, which examines pornography and obscenity on the internet, first provides an overview of the UK common law standard known as the Hicklin principle and the Obscene Publications Acts. It then discusses the UK standard and US statutory interventions on pornography, the impact of the case ACLU v Reno on the regulation of sexually explicit content on the internet, pseudo-images and images depicting child abuse as the most extreme form of pornographic image, and the policing of pseudo-images in the UK and internationally. The chapter also considers the law on non-photographic pornographic images of children, non-consensual disclosure of private sexual images (revenge porn) along with private regulation of pornographic imagery and proposals for Age Verification.

Chapter

Cover Constitutional and Administrative Law

18. Freedom of expression  

This chapter focuses on some of the laws relating to freedom of expression in the UK. Freedom of expression is widely considered to be a necessary feature in any democratic state. The chapter considers the extent to which restrictions are placed on the freedom of expression in the UK in two particular contexts. It considers laws for the control of obscenity and indecency, the publication of obscene matter, the test of obscenity, defences, powers of search and seizure, and the possession of pornographic images. The discussion also considers that part of the law of contempt of court which relates to restricting the ability of the media to report court proceedings. This chapter is confined to the law relating to obscenity and indecency and contempt of court on the basis that they share the important characteristic of being regulated by both statute and the common law.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

20. Obscenity in the information society  

This chapter, which examines pornography and obscenity on the internet, first provides an overview of the UK common law standard known as the Hicklin principle and the Obscene Publications Acts. It then discusses the UK standard and US statutory interventions on pornography, the impact of the case ACLU v Reno on the regulation of sexually explicit content on the internet, pseudo-images, and images depicting child abuse as the most extreme form of pornographic image, and the policing of pseudo-images in the UK and internationally. The chapter also considers the law on non-photographic pornographic images of children, along with private regulation of pornographic imagery and the new Age-verification code for adult websites.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

11. Virtual criminality  

This chapter examines the law on virtual crimes, including those covering Internet pornography, photographs and pseudo-photographs, and multimedia products. It discusses the difficulty of applying localised concepts of obscenity—which are dictated by cultural, religious, and societal values—in the global environment of the Internet. It also considers the issue of cyber bullying and harassment. It is shown that nation states have difficulty enforcing their own policies regarding what is or is not acceptable. However, matters assume a different perspective when there is a commonality of approach between the jurisdiction where material is hosted and where it is accessed. In this, the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime is a significant, albeit limited, development.

Chapter

Cover Smith, Hogan, and Ormerod's Criminal Law

30. Obscene communication and publication offences (additional chapter)  

David Ormerod and Karl Laird

This chapter deals with the offences addressed in the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964, and related offences. These offences not only have implications for freedom of speech but also raise important issues about the appropriate boundaries of criminalization. Obscene publications are governed by s 2(1) of the Obscene Publications Act 1959. This chapter also considers extreme pornography and other offensive communications offences such as malicious communications, obscenity in the theatre, possession of prohibited images of children, posting indecent or obscene matter, indecent displays, outraging public decency, revenge porn and recent proposals for reform.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Public Law

9. Freedom of expression  

The Q&A series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each chapter includes typical questions, diagram problem and essay answer plans, suggested answers, notes of caution, tips on obtaining extra marks, the key debates on each topic, and suggestions on further reading. This chapter moves on from the previous one to examine the freedom of expression. Under common law, freedom of speech is guaranteed unless the speaker breaks the law, but this is now reinforced by the right of free expression under the European Convention on Human Rights. The questions here deal with issues such as obscenity law and contempt of court; the Official Secrets Act; freedom of information; data protection; breach of confidence; and whether there is a right of privacy in English law.

Chapter

Cover Jacobs, White, and Ovey: The European Convention on Human Rights

18. Freedom of Expression  

This chapter examines the protection of the freedom of expression in the European Convention on Human Rights, discusses the provisions of Article 10, and explains that the majority of cases concerning Article 10 are brought by persons who have received some penalty for defaming or insulting other people. It analyses what constitutes an interference with free expression and considers the limitations on freedom of expression. The chapter also examines the judgments made by the Strasbourg Court on several related cases, including those that involved privacy, incitement to violence and hate speech, obscenity, and blasphemy. It also covers the development of case-law concerning social media and the internet.