Simpsons 'child porn' decision says cartoons are people too

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Tuesday 09 December 2008 12:47 GMT
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Cartoon characters are people too, a judge has ruled in the case of a man convicted over sexually explicit cartoons based on The Simpsons.

In the Australian New South Wales Supreme Court today, Justice Michael Adams ruled that a fictional cartoon character was a "person" within the meaning of the relevant state and commonwealth laws.

Alan John McEwan was appealing his February conviction for possessing child pornography and using his computer to access child pornography.

"The alleged pornography comprised a series of cartoons depicting figures modelled on members of the television animated series The Simpsons," the judge said.

The cartoons showed characters such as Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson having sex.

McEwan was convicted and fined $3000 and placed on a good behaviour bond.

"In my view, the magistrate was correct in determining that, in respect of both the commonwealth and the NSW offences, the word 'person' included fictional or imaginary characters ...," the judge said.

"... The mere fact that the figure depicted departed from a realistic representation in some respects of a human being did not mean that such a figure was not a 'person'."

In dismissing the appeal, the judge ordered each party to pay its own legal costs in the first case dealing with the "difficult" issue.

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