News @ AsiaOne

Red-hot photos lurk in grey area of law

Merely possessing such photos is not against the law, but it is illegal to let others see these photos. -TNP

Thu, Feb 14, 2013
The New Paper

SINGAPORE - Taking and keeping photos of yourself having sex is a grey area under the law, say lawyers who spoke to The New Paper.

Merely possessing such photos is not against the law, but it is illegal to let others see these photos.

Lawyer Luke Lee said that such photos would be classified as "obscene" under the Undesirable Publications Act.

"The photos might be taken artistically, but, under the eyes of the law, they are likely to deprave or corrupt those who see them because there is sexual coupling," he said.

He added that the law does not consider the mere possession of such photos - without intending to exhibit, sell, supply or distribute them - as an offence.

"If you keep it in a drawer and nobody sees it forever, it is not illegal," he said.

Possible problems

But another lawyer, Mr Pritam Singh Gill, said that it is not practical to expect that nobody - other than the subjects involved - would see such photos.

He said: "You won't be able to hang them up at home, because a maid or child would be able to see it.

"If that happens, then the act of putting up the photo becomes illegal.

"There are many ways that this can go wrong."

The two lawyers were also concerned about whether the photographer taking such photos might get into legal trouble.

Mr Lee said the photographer would be in the clear if he is considered to have merely "helped" the couple take the photos, and not sold the photos to them.

But Mr Gill felt that the act of keeping the negative of the photos or a copy of the photos - for the sake of the photographer's portfolio - could be seen as intending to "sell" or "supply" the photos in the future.

"It's a grey area of the law," he said.


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