The accused was accused of "child pornography possession," for possession of fictional words that were found to "implicitly" advocate or counsel illegal sexual activity. There are explicit descriptions and quotes in the decision that make pretty clear what sort of stories were involved. The quotes are disturbing, but I hope you'll be a lot more disturbed by the legal content - which is real, not fiction like the stories.

The stories appear to have been straightforward eroticized descriptions of young girls having sex with older persons, especially their fathers, and enjoying it. Only a few of them were about rape, and it's clear that the conviction was not only on the ones about rape. I'd also like to emphasize that this case was under the current law. It wasn't under the new and stricter law (Bill C-2) which they're trying to pass and I've been complaining about.

The trial judge found that because the stories only described the sex, and didn't say anything like "and you should do this in real life too", the stories didn't "advocate or counsel"; so the accused was not guilty. The Crown appealed the acquittal - which I thought wasn't even allowed to happen - and the appeals court found that yes, because the stories made it sound like the children enjoyed it, they could be called implicit advocacy, and so there should be a retrial. The court basically said this was different from Sharpe because Sharpe's stories made it sound like the sex was unpleasant for the children; in other words, because the experience of the fictional children in these stories wasn't as horrific, the stories are worse. The implications honestly make my blood run cold.

I don't know any more about this matter than I should, and I don't have the kind of specific knowledge of names and details that might require me to report anything to the police, but I do know that many thousands of stories no different from the ones in this case are widely available on the Net. Unlike the non-existent for-profit real-child hard-core rape photo Web sites, stories about consenting children having sex with adults, and enjoying it, really are easy to find. They exist in places like server spool directories and backup tapes in the possession of persons who are not pedophiles, get no particular sexual pleasure from the stories, and may not have specific knowledge of the stories.

You can find any amount of this kind of material on Usenet via Google Groups. You can probably even find the specific stories mentioned in the decision. I have not attempted to do so. Their origin isn't discussed in the decision, but it sure sounds like the accused got them off the Net instead of writing them himself. Many thousands more are written and possessed and archived on the Web by the fanfic community, and many of the people involved in that activity are themselves under 18 and are not being lured or incited to do it by anyone older than themselves. What's going to happen to those people, all of whom, if this decision stands, are not just on the borderline, but actually do possess illegal child pornography? Which of my friends are going to jail? Will you be one of them? Will I be required to testify against you? These are not hypothetical questions anymore. I've had people tell me "but of course they wouldn't prosecute over the obviously fictional and harmless words found on the open non-secret Net". That isn't true. This case proves that they will prosecute, and they may well convict.

Read the case.

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