Just when you think the world of tattoo and piercing is ticking along nicely – okay, there is still the threat of outside influences trying to interfere in an industry that they know nothing about (Habia) - but other than that I thought our world is on an even keel. And then I get a VERY scary email from an American tattooist. He had sent me a press release about a website that includes tattoos, piercings and other modifactory processes. BME has a huge following worldwide and has been running for quite a few years now. On this site there are various photo sections including BME/Hard and BME/Extreme, these sections have some more serious piercing and tattoo photos within them. The press release explains how the American Government have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to bring in a law stating that all submitted photographs now have to come with full ID details and other information that now has to be given to the US Department of Justice. Therefore any photos that are considered ‘sexual’ in nature or of a ‘sadistic’ or ‘masochistic’ slant are affected. So this would certainly include suspension, play piercing, nipple piercing, genital piercing and everything else in BME Hard/Extreme. And as these ‘crimes’ are libel to a twenty five thousand dollar fine and five years in prison for each photograph Shannon and Rachel, the guys behind BME, stand a good chance of spending the rest of their lives behind bars. As such, and on the advice of their lawyer, they have moved their operation back to Canada where freedom of the press is still at a less than draconian level.
What has this got to do with us in this country you say? Well not five minutes after I received this email. We got a letter from our distribution company saying that we cannot publish photographs of nipples, pierced genitalia and the like – Even if these ‘obscene’ images are on tattoos! So I cannot show a photo of a naked women that has been tattooed onto someone’s arm and the offending nipples will have to be covered with stars or blurred out if we still want to sell Skin Deep in the States. I have always thought it rather amusing when looking through American tattoo magazines that they have stars and stripes (no pun intended) on body parts that we as adults, ALL have. But now we will have to do the same as our American counterparts.
The idea behind this new law is to stop child porn apparently. Though how banning BME from America will stop child porn I do not know. There are still some States that ban tattooing and piercing outright.
I may sound a little paranoid here but I can foresee the day coming when we as British, adult individuals will be told what we can and cannot see in the so-called ‘free press’.
America - The land of the free - My arse.