The Art of Darkness

Internet Law and Chilling Effects

December 18th, 2012 by Cobwebs

David from Dark Artifacts dropped me a line to let me know about a truly insane case currently going on in his part of the world. It’s worth mentioning here because something similar could affect many of us.

Rémy Couture, a horror makeup artist in Montreal, posted photos of some of his work online. Someone in Germany ran across the site, mistook the makeup–which was apparently labeled as, y’know, makeup–as photos of a real crime, and reported it to Interpol. Canadian police arrested him and he is being charged with “Corruption of Morals,” which is not only an honest-to-goodness law in Canada, it carries a sentence of up to 4 years in prison.

My gob, it is smacked.

There are so many scary implications for this case it’s hard to know where to begin, but the idea that “corruption of morals” outweighs “freedom of speech” is right up near the top. (Not to mention that somebody in a whole ‘nother country can cause you trouble if they don’t like what you’ve posted online.) David rightly points out that if Remy is convicted it could adversely affect the art community and create restrictions and censorship of horror fans and producers.

This kind of law has been floated in a number of countries, and it behooves us to pay close attention to them and fight their passage. Posting something that somebody else doesn’t like should very definitely not be penalized.

David discusses the case more fully here, and you can read more about the case (and donate to his legal defense) at SupportRemy.

Posted in Whatever | 8 Comments »

8 Responses

  1. cookie Says:

    Canada ( and the EU ) also have laws restricting freedom of speech, for instance if you disbelieve in the Holocast of WWII and state your doubts outloud or in an e-mail or tweet you will be arrested and sent to prison; ( check out the sad sad case of Ernest Zundall ).Even now in CT the police will be arresting independant journalists who might dare to write anything other than copy of the “official” version of the tragic school shooting.Over the past few years children have been taken away from their parents or forced to undergo rigorous psychiatric therapy because they hugged their classmates ( boy aged 6! ) or DREW A PICTURE of a gun. I know that this is not normally a political site BUT censorship and the loss of basic rights are creeping like a cancer throughout our once free country, usually accompanied by the plaintive cry,”It’s for the children!”. BULLS##T!!! The more rights we lose the more power the government assumes. How many of you have heard of the spydrones that are being deployed throughout our country? That the TSA is now asking for and receiving permission to set up checkstops at bus terminals and on our roadways.( going to granma’s for Christmas? Well pull over and let us fondle your privates incase you’re hiding a bomb or something.)IT is happening and while we’re all wondering who will become the next dancing star our fundamental rights are being stripped and spit upon by our “representatives” in DC. Read, look around, speakup while you still can. Good luck to all of us.

  2. ShellHawk Says:

    Scary, but in a sense, it’s unsurprising. Look at how many schools aren’t allowing the celebrations of Hallowe’en because it offends a small minority of parents. It’s frightening that people in official positions aren’t telling the “offended” to go pound sand!

  3. Terrormaster Says:

    Is this case still ongoing? I remember reading about this a couple years back. Most freaked up thing I’ve ever read. Seriously “Corruption of Morals”? That’s just as bad as the Blasphemy law in India where a well known atheist got kicked out of the country for proving that the water coming off the face of a religious statue were not divine tears and instead was actually sewer water leaking in from the pipes behind it. And people were DRINKING that crap. Yet instead of thanking him for potentially saving lives they kick him out the country for blasphemy.

  4. pensive Says:

    If you give a mouse a cookie… he will want some Soma next. If someone could please explain whether this is from the Brave New World handbook or the 1984 one, I’d appreciate it. It is becoming more and more difficult to keep up.

  5. xJane Says:

    cookie is correct that this an issue in the United States, but it is much more of an issue outside. And given that the Internet is global, this is a serious issue that Internet users need to pay attention to.

    The ITU has successfully allowed localized takeovers of the Internet, giving UN sanction to the countries that agreed to the treaty full license to ban certain top-level domain names, DNS pings, and content (this means: “we don’t think you need to see anything that’s hosted on .com: boom! you can’t”, “we don’t think you need to see anything from a US source: boom! you can’t”, and “we don’t think you need to see anything about [sex/drugs/rock ‘n’ roll]: boom! you can’t”, respectively).

    This. Is. Important.

    Although the Internet is still a proper noun, this has created the opportunity for these totalitarian countries to create localized internets. Remember the Arab Spring? Well, don’t worry. That won’t happen again.*

    What can you do?
    Well, for starters, contact your representatives. The Generic Names Supporting Organization of ICANN has a stakeholder group for “Non-Commercial Users” (that’s you). [Working on getting you an email address—currently, you have to join.] Tell them to tell ICANN what you want and need from the Internet.

    Secondly, ping the EFF and tell them to swallow their pride and start participating in ICANN. They are important. They have a voice that people will listen to (but not if they don’t use it). They are missing out on a huge opportunity to affect Internet policy at home and globally. (Here is their contact page: I see email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses. They’re also on Twitter and Facebook.)

    Finally, you can participate in ICANN yourself. This is hard, takes a lot of time, and requires learning a language that is somewhere between nerd and parliament. It will be frustrating, horrifying, eye-opening, and rewarding. Although not in equal measures. When ICANN requests input about something, it does so here. Your voice as a concerned user of the Internet is not at weighty as the voice of, say, the Non-Commercial Users Constituency**, but it still means something (the more articulate and informed your input, the more it will be paid attention to).

    * This is hyperbole. The Internet is not to blame for the Arab Spring, people just like to claim it is. See The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, Evgeny Morozov, a fantastic book about the the effects of the Internet: positive, negative, real, and imagined.

    ** Groups within ICANN will get together and issue one statement that represents the group’s members. (Okay, sometimes two or one with a disent; always one that lists how many voting members voted for, against, and abstained.)</p?


  6. David Says:

    Hey there guys, just to let you know that mr Couture is still on trial. Basically, right now the crown is trying to convince the jury that what he produces is pornography instead of art. I don’t get it, since we have a well established porn industry in Quebec, and I don’t know of any legal attempt to shut it down. Why they would try to convict Rémy, pornographer or not (hint: it definitely isn’t porn), is beyond me.

    In any case, his trial should end this friday. I’ll translate the verdict on my blog and let you guys know when it happens.

  7. Sisifo Says:

    Wow. That’s just… I’ll go with you on the whole gobsmacked thing.

  8. David Says:

    Remy Couture is a free man! he has been found not guilty, after the jury decided that even though shocking and brutal, his work is still valuable as art.

    Good news like that are like an early Xmas present to me!

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