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Re: FYI: debian-legal is discussing the inclusion in the Debian archive of "erotic" interactive fiction depicting the sexual abuse of children

On 11/03/2014, Joseph Neal <vlvtelvis@speakeasy.net> wrote:
> I hate to stir up shit, but that's exactly what I'm doing.

If you hate to do it, then please don't do it.

> Several people have already objected but I hope there will be such a
> resounding rejection that nobody considers submitting something like
> this again in the future.  I am not a member of the Debian Project. It
> is my hope that enough people who do speak for the project will respond
> to this with "hell no" that there is never any ambiguity regarding the
> inclusion of this type of content again.
> https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2014/03/msg00017.html

In that thread, the relevance of Stan Cohen's concept of "moral
panics" has already been noted.[0]

There is a danger, if the Debian project falls prey to a moral panic,
that it will self-censor to the extent of producing a chilling effect
upon itself.

If the decision is taken to censor or ban Unteralterbach from Debian,
in a manner that - as you say you hope for - would affect future
decisions about the exclusion of other works, I hope this occurs in a
way that *would* still allow other works within Debian to deal with
the topic - albeit more sensitively.

I have not played Unteralterbach and therefore do not feel entitled to
voice an opinion about the inclusion of that particular work, but I
think history and erudite opinion has vindicated works like Chris
Morris's "Brass Eye: Paedophilia Special"[1], Vladimir Nabokov's
"Lolita"[2], and Harry Thompson and Shaun Pye's "Monkey Dust"[3] as
having important satirical, artistic and cultural merit. Were anyone
to suggest packaging works equivalent to those three in Debian[4], I
hope Debian's response would be an enthusiastic "Yes!"

I note your comment and reference to the decision of a Bible Belt
judge to declare a possibly similar work "obscene" as a result of
substituting his own views for the testimony of an expert witness.[5]

However, as Miriam Ruiz has pointed out, we should be wary of taking a
lowest common denominator approach to local law, as that would also
result in deeply unacceptable censorship.[6]

I would also note that the canon of literature that has been
considered "obscene" enough to warrant attempted prosecution in
Western democracies is large and in part noble (Howl, Lady
Chatterley's Lover, and many others).[7]



[0] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2014/03/msg00019.html
[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_Eye#Paedophilia_special_.282001.29
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_Dust
[4] "Equivalent" could mean free media that use similar themes and
tropes; or could mean e.g. a copy of Nabokov's text or transcripts of
the other two, if such became freely available as a result of changes
in copyright status; etc.
[5] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2014/03/msg00035.html
[6] https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2014/03/msg00018.html
[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Obscenity_controversies

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