Suppose that someone decided to make a pro-Nazi or pro-ISIS movie and have it shown in US movie theaters.
Now - completely disregarding for now the issue of whether theaters would even be willing to show it or not - would this, currently, under US law, be legal? Does this fall into the category of “aiding and abetting the enemy” by way of propaganda?
(The Nazis are pretty much a done and gone enemy, but Hamas, al-Qaeda, ISIS, etc. are very much active threats.)
Of course. It might have a tough time finding a theater to run in, but that’s because theaters are private businesses aiming to make a profit. Lots of movies don’t get shown in theaters at all, or more than once, at a thinly-attended premier.
That’s going to depend, obviously, on the content of the film. But you could make a “pro-ISIS” film that basically said “ISIS are a bunch of psycho shits, but they are the forseeable reaction to such-and-such a stand, or these actions, or those policies, of Western powers/the Syrian regime/whoever, and we need to tackle that problem” - a “they’re-bad-because-we’re-bad” account of ISIS. Or you could make a film which ignored entirely the whole question of ISIS atrocities and simply presented ISIS fighters as pure, selfless, heroic defenders of their communities. Let’s face it, there are plenty of example of films which treat warriors from various western societies in that way, ignoring entirely the moral complexities and murky aspects of the conflicts in which they are engaged - an “ISIS-as-the-Seventh-Cavalry” film.
In the UK, it would entirely depend on how it was presented. A film noir about a group of terrorists or just one (The Jackal?) which stuck to the action and made no attempt to convert anyone to their cause, would probably be okay. Anything that looked like propaganda, or a recruiting drive, would not.
Hopefully a law speaking type will come along and tell me if I’m right.
It seems to me that a pro Nazi film during WWII would be much different than a pro ISIS film now. Germany was an enemy in a declared war. ISIS is not. It seems to me that a pro Nazi film would fall under parts of the Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities statutes in the U.S. code. I don’t know if any of that has been ruled unconstitutional.
So theoretically, your ISIS video could get you prosecuted if it is deemed propaganda. After all, if the writer and singer of the hit song “Peace Train” ended up on the no-fly list as a terrorist, who is safe?
Why shouldn’t it be? There’s plenty of countries where the idea would be nothing short of unthinkable. The aforementioned David Irving, according to Wikipedia, did 18 months in an Austrian prison for holocaust denial, for instance.