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Fury as top Pirate calls for end to child porn ban

Fury as top Pirate calls for end to child porn ban

Published: 10 Sep 2012 18:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Sep 2012 18:17 GMT+02:00

Rick Falkvinge, the founder Sweden's Pirate Party, has found himself in hot water after publishing a lengthy polemic calling for the legalization of child pornography.

falkvinge.net/2012/09/07/three-reasons-child-porn-must-be-re-legalized-in-the-coming-decade/" target="_blank"> In a lengthy post published on his personal blog at the weekend, Falkvinge outlined "three reasons why the ownership of child pornography must be legalized in the coming decade."

The man hailed as a "pioneer" of the European Pirate movement which champions information freedom and argues against copyright protections argued that the ban on owning images of children being raped was "an open wound in the tradition of the enlightenment and the freedom of information."

He said that as long as this ban remained in place, there would always be bans on other kinds of information.

Falkvinge's treatise drew a sharp rebuke from the German Pirate Party, which distanced itself from his statements.

The Swedish Pirate Party founder "clearly got tangled up in his own thinking," said Bernd Schlömer, chair of the German Pirate Party, the German Express newspaper group reported on Monday.

"Like society in general, the digital community needs to cooperate and have a functioning legal system."

Berlin Pirate Stephan Urbach said Falkvinge's blog post disqualified him as a serious political activist.

According to Falkvinge's argument, the rapid development of new eye glasses-shaped smart phones such as Google Glass would, in combination with other web-based services, allow anyone's walk in the park to be broadcast live online and in real time.

"So, on your lovely stroll in the park, you turn a corner, and to your shock, see a 12-year-old being brutally raped right in front of you," Falkvinge explains.

"WHAM. You are now a criminal, guilty of recording, distributing, and possessing child pornography."

Moreover, according to current criminal codes in some countries, the act of web-casting the rape would carry a higher penalty than perpetrating the rape itself.

Falkvinge also reflects on whether current bans on the possession of child pornography are in place because "we want to catch child rapists and molesters" or because we're "uncomfortable" with the existence of child porn and want to "legislate it out of existence".

"I also have a very strong feeling that the ban is in place because we’d like to pretend that things like this don’t happen, and legislate it out of our field of view, throwing actual victims of crime to the wolves in the process. That’s not worthy," he writes.

Falkvinge also contends that current anti-child porn laws "turn a whole generation into sex offenders" by not differentiating between a video depicting the rape of a 7-year-old and one showing two 17-year-olds engaged in consensual sex.

"Why are one of the most horrible things and one of the most beautiful things in the world considered one and the same by the law?" he asks.

The Pirate Party founder admits that he started watching porn when he was only 10-years-old, but imagines children seek porn out earlier in part due to easy access via the internet, something he characterizes as "natural".

Falkvinge also takes aim at child rape laws.

"Technically, most people growing up today lose their virginity through rape. I say 'technically': they lose their virginity through rape because legislators have redefined 'rape' to include consensual, voluntary, loving sex between people of typical age of sexual debut," he argues.

He goes on to liken efforts to censor child pornography with banning books, seeing the debate about whether or not to ban child porn as the next battle ground regarding the freedom of information.

"Today, we have an open wound in our constitutionally protected right to speak freely that is being infested again and again," Falkvinge explains.

"Child pornography is horrible and awful from every angle and in every aspect. But it is not dangerous to the fabric of society. Censorship and electronic book burning, however, is."

"The overall freedom of speech is won or lost with restoring freedom of information and, as a result, re-legalizing possession of child pornography."

Falkvinge served as head of the Swedish Pirate Party from its founding on January 1st, 2006 before stepping down in 2011, five years to the day after the party was founded.

The newly published argument is not the first time Falkvinge courted controversy with statements about the legalization of child pornography.

In August 2010, he was forced to clarify his and the Pirate Party's position on child porn in relation to statements he made related to a high profile case in Sweden involving a man charged for possessing manga-style cartoons depicting naked children.

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Your comments about this article

20:00 September 10, 2012 by intrepidfox
A very sick person.
21:43 September 10, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Apparently this guy was f*cked in the head one too many times!!! How about they start with his children I bet according to what he is saying that if his children were raped and then that violent act recorded and played over and over again he would be just fine with that. I think he likes looking at child pornography and that is why he wants it made legal. Very sick human being!!
22:03 September 10, 2012 by StockholmSam
Did you read his proposal, intrepidfox? I did and can see that he is trying to think outside the box.

He is not saying that child pornography is good or that it should be legal to produce it, only that by criminalizing the possession of it, we limit our ability to root it out at the source. His premise is that the possession of information, any information, should never be illegal. It is a compelling idea, even if his argument is not very strong. Sort of like the free speech vs. hate speech dilemma.

I am not convinced he is correct. Legalization would increase demand which would spur greater production. That is a slippery slope. But the guy has balls putting himself out there like this. Or maybe he is simply unwise. Lots of psychos out there who are unwilling to read past the headlines and engage in the debate are going to target him now...and probably for a long time.
00:14 September 11, 2012 by Flutterbye
Such a comfort to know each country has its quota of nutters.
01:16 September 11, 2012 by Grokh
he should be kicked out immediately and probably arrested...
02:15 September 11, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ StockholmSam #3

You cater to the audience that you pretend to criticize. Many million creeps will now create more child porn and a massive underground market for child porn after its possession has become decriminalized.

Should we also legalize fertilizer bombs to make it easier to catch the people who intend to use them for 'evil' purposes? Which side of the slippery slope are you on? Are you not a school teacher?

I did not read the whole blog, only the first example, which is categorically idiotic. The premise that you accidentally turn a corner and see a child being raped while wearing your Glass phone, and that the rapist would then laugh, knowing your fate will be worse than his, is stupid beyond belief. The law is not as one dimensional as this imbecile suggests, and would almost certainly recognize the absence of criminal intent on the part of the Sunday stroller who happened to view a child rape in action, and would welcome the footage to convict the rapist.
02:55 September 11, 2012 by Kahmoudi
He's a CREEP!!! I think his computer should be seized and inspected for child pornography and all children that he came in contact with should be interviewed.
04:34 September 11, 2012 by Da Goat
fools go where angels fear to tread!

This guy has some quite valid points and has thought it out unlike the previous commentators above Stockholm Sam actually read what was being said. you others got emotional and went out in the fog and mist (missed).

Yes he is a fool to speak up on this issue, it is indeed a sick activity ....is it because we are afraid of it or just want it to go away?......

@ reason ... you need to change your handle brother, as the bomb in fertiliser bombs is Diesel (the stuff we all buy to run our engines) the fertiliser is very good for agriculture ..... I can see where you are going but it is a little Simple!

Falkvinge was pointing out all the stupidity in the current system (way of thinking) and he is right it is a bit silly ....someone has to raise the issue and get people thinking! Personally I would ban ALL porn as it is not necessary and is demeaning to all concerned.
08:59 September 11, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

Let's ban everything: free speech, free press, free thinking, free talking, free coupons, free sexual relations, free water, free air.

Don't forget that. All the world should be banned from thinking, speaking and acting.

The guy has some valid points, but since expressing them are banned, he should be sent to Ethiopia for some 14 months.

Not writing what we really think on the subject is called cowardy. So, let's ban cowardy and let's start beeing free thinkers again.
10:53 September 11, 2012 by StockholmSam
@Reason and Realism

I already stated the economic perspective that you repeated, namely that legalization would increase demand and thus production, which nobody wants. Also, if you will go back and read my post more slowly, you will see that I do not agree with his proposal: I do not think legalizing it is the proper way to go BASED ON HIS ARGUMENTS. Which side of the slippery slop I stand on is pretty clear in my post. However, I refuse to be part of a torch-wielding, pitchfork-carrying lynch mob intent on storming Frankenstein's castle without investigating completely the situation. I want to see the perspectives being put forth and I want to gather the facts.

You are right, his Iphone glasses argument was laughable at best. His other arguments were not much more convincing. But your fertilizer bomb comparison was equally weak. The important thing here is that he has put the issue front and center in the media and we are now clarifying the problem and how important it is to us that it be resolved. I am guessing there are some politicians who are suddenly discussing it and looking at the resources put to that end.
11:56 September 11, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

Why does not he ask the banning of Assange's harassment and

besmirch by the Swedish justice system, Swedish government, Swedish tabloids and their faithful but blind readers?

Falkvinge is the one who rented a cellar to accommodate Wikileaks servers in there.

Under my viewpoint, he should have opened his mouth on this subject long time ago. I wonder if he is a buddy-buddy of Marianne Ny.
00:24 September 12, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ StockholmSam #10

His only apparently 'new' argument is that child porn possession should be legalized. The idea that people should never be penalized for holding information on their computer, which you highlighted as if it was a novel concept, is certainly not new, certainly not to a Pirate Bay founder, who would also insist that one should never face any penalties for holding 'information' such as unauthorized copyrighted media (movies, music, books). So no need to make him sound like some sort of visionary 'who thinks outside the box' and 'has balls' (your words) for suggesting that child porn should be added to the types of 'information' that one should be allowed to store on one's computer.

He provides no convicing argument on how the production of and distribution of porn that victimizes children under the age of 13 (the real problem) can be slowed or stopped by decriminalizing possession for the masses, and spends a lot of time instead on the debate over whether a pair of consenting 17 year olds can have sex (which would result in no reprecussions here in Sweden, where the age of consent is 15).

The time he does devote to the child abuse situation is either laughable (as we agree, with regard to his preposterous claim that a innocent bystander will be automatically locked up for years by a totalitarian legal system), or at times creepy and twisted, like posting the video of the eye gouging and murder of a teenager (which I did not view), or even more basically his repeated claim that almost nobody cares about the rape of young children, and are far more concerned instead with avoiding unpleasant images (would you agree with this 'ballsy' author that most of the parents you meet in your work or social circle couldn't care less if the young children of others are being raped?)

Having said all that, it bears clarifying that the central flaw in his proposal can be stated as follows:

Any 'solution' to a problem that actually makes the real problem worse is inherently idiotic.

People can try to label his central idea or peripheral ideas with the implied praise of words such provacative, innovative, out of the box, ballsy, etc. - but the real world consequences of his main proposal, if followed, are far from praise worthy, and unlike you I find nothing significantly new or meritorious in any of his peripheral arguments, or in the 'ballsy' attitude he demonstrated by publishing these.
02:05 September 12, 2012 by Patriot1742
He needs toe go to jail - he is sick in the head.
10:21 September 12, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

He should defend freedom of speech and not the banning of child pornography. He should defend Wikileaks and Assange and spend less time watching child porno in his computers net.

He is a disgrace to the Pirates of the world, but not to the Scandinavian ones, because these ones --I have been said--do love to watch any kind of porno in the web. Yes sir!
18:14 September 12, 2012 by zeulf
So open minded, his Brain fell out
01:47 September 13, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
How can someone be so utterly wrong. There is an important to report a crime. Witness a criminal act does not equate to committing a crime. That distinction is easy to understand. With Rick Falkvinge's logic no one should report a crime because you will be arrested.
09:46 September 13, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

O.K. Let Sweden ban him from the country and extradite him to the United Kingdom. Better, to the US in a plane chartered by the CIA with the blessings of deceased Anna Lindh.

End of story.
14:55 September 13, 2012 by Mxzf
Funny. So many people don't read his article before banishing it.

On the other hand, he should have formulated it differently so that people would read it before criticising the article.

On general terms, I agree. If we're interested in stopping child abuse, then the current/new laws around child pornography are not effective.

However, if we're interested in political control and supervision of citizens, then it's awesome.

He wants better ways of stopping child abuse and creation of child porn. And less ways of political controlling the public.

If you too want to stop child porn, you might agree with him. (I can't say if his ideas are valid, but that's what he wants, too.)
10:36 September 17, 2012 by tyciol
I'm led to think the angry critics didn't read his writing very deeply. Nothing sick about this man, and I agree with his arguments.
07:09 September 23, 2012 by iridesce
UPDATE: Lars Hallberg wrote a comment on G+ to this article that makes for a very good summary, so I take the liberty of copying it in as a conclusion and a TL;DR:

It's not illegal to film a murder.

It's not illegal to possess a film of a murder.

But it's still illegal to murder people.

And it's illegal to initiate a murder for the purpose of filming it.

If you have taken part in a murder and have film of it, the film may be usable as proof against you.

I can't see that Rick suggests anything different here - i.e., I see no suggestions that it should be OK to molest children for the purpose of filming it.

That's good.

In the end it's as simple as this: it should never be illegal to merely possess information, any information.
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