Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2015: April

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Update: Supremely Suffocating...

Westminster Council convinces Supreme Court to back massively expensive licence fees for sex shops

Link Here30th April 2015
Licensing authorities will be able to continue charging for the cost of enforcement but may have to change how they do it, following a ruling by the Supreme Court.

The case, involving Westminster City Council and sex shop owner Timothy Hemming, had threatened to prevent councils charging anything more than the cost of processing a licensing application. This prevented the council from charging legal shops to pay for the cost of closing unlicensed premises that are nothing to do with the fee paying shops.

In May 2013 the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Hemming who had successfully argued that charging for the cost of enforcement was inconsistent with European law.

However, Westminster appealed and a Supreme Court ruling handed down this morning overturned this decision. The judgment said:

There is no reason why [a licensing fee] should not be set at a level enabling the authority to recover from licensed operators the full cost of running and enforcing the licensing scheme, including the costs of enforcement and proceedings against those operating sex establishments without licences.

The court said its decision followed interventions from interested parties including the Treasury, the Local Government Association and the Law Society.

Hemming had also argued that it was not legitimate for Westminster to charge the full cost of licence on application, which was £29,435 in 2011-12, even though the bulk of this fee, £26,435, was refundable if the application was unsuccessful. The Supreme Court did not rule on this point but has referred the matter to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. It is not likely to rule for at least a year.



Update: Website blocking expands...

The MPAA convinces UK court to block websites distributing software used to infringe copyright

Link Here30th April 2015
Full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
The Motion Picture Association has obtained a High Court order requiring UK ISPs to block access to five sites that offer the popular Popcorn Time software. In addition, the Internet providers must block several more torrent and streaming sites.

More than 100 websites have been blocked in recent years and now the court has issued the first injunction against domains that offer no direct links, but only software.

The order, obtained by Hollywood's Motion Picture Association (the overseas arm of the MPAA), targets five popular Popcorn Time forks:,,, and

In his order Judge Birss notes that the Popcorm Time software has little to no legal use. Instead, he mentions that it's mostly used to download and stream pirated movies and TV-shows:

It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose. No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content. The point of Popcorn Time is to infringe copyright. The Popcorn Time application has no legitimate purpose.

Over the past year Popcorn Time has become a major threat to Hollywood so it doesn't come as a complete surprise that the applications are now being targeted. Previously the movie studios took down code repositories on Github, for example.



Update: Have I Got Election News For You...

UKIP complains about comments on TV comedy quiz

Link Here30th April 2015
Ukip have reported Have I Got News For You to police over a comment made about Nigel Farage. However commentators have noted that the disputed comments about Farage came after 13 minutes of mocking the Tories, Labour, Lib Dem and SNP campaigns.

The complaint arose from last Friday's edition when journalist Camilla Long spoke about visiting Farage's constituency of South Thanet in Kent. She said:

I went there more than Nigel Farage. By the time I arrived there he'd only been a few times.

When asked by Ian Hislop whether she thought Ukip would win the seat, Long replied:

I don't think they are, I don't think he's going to get a seat at all.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Farage said:

Even through to a programme on Have I Got News For You last week where comments were made about an individual in a constituency, namely me, that I just don't think would have been said about any other candidate in the country.'

According to ITV Nnews, Ukip's advisors claimed the comments were inaccurate and that their broadcast breached the Representation of the People Act.

Kent Police confirmed they received a complaint, but said they would not be launching an investigation. A spokesman told Chortle:

Kent Police received a complaint regarding comments made on a television broadcast last week. It was suggested that the comments breached the Representation of the People Act. The matter has been reviewed by officers but there's no evidence of any offences and there will be no further action.



Sensitive and political issues...

German customs seize documentary film that argues that 1915 Armenian deaths were not genocide

Link Here30th April 2015
A Turkish filmmaker and a group of activists staged a protest outside the German consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday over the German customs confiscation of the tapes of a Turkish documentary sent to Germany.

Serkan Koç is the director of 1915 Belgeseli ( The Story of 1915 in Armenian Documents ), a documentary arguing that the mass deaths of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I was not a genocide as Armenia claims. He told reporters that politically motivated customs officials recently seized the tapes of his documentary. He said it was openly censorship and clearly an intervention to freedom of expression and thought in Europe.

Koç had shipped the documentary to the German parliament and several dignitaries. He said:

The documentary defends Turkey's stance and it had all the legal documents required for its shipping to Germany. Still, German customs officials ignored that and focused instead on the documentary's content. They were clearly politically motivated, as they said they would watch the film first to check its content.

Koç claimed it was a reflection of the German parliament's stance on the issue. The German parliament last week had defined the deaths of the Armenians as "genocide" to the chagrin of Turkey, which contends that the deaths were the result of diseases and an arduous journey during the war. He added:

It runs against the values of Europe. The German public has a right to see what happened in 1915 from our perspective as well. The confiscation is a sign of double-standards.



Offsite Article: Je suis Charlie? I'm sorry, but that's no longer enough...

Link Here30th April 2015
Full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
Je suis Charlie has become a dogma, harming the fight for free speech. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from



Scenting Outrage...

ASA dismisses whinges about a sexy poster advertising perfume

Link Here29th April 2015

A poster, which appeared on the corner of Brick Lane and Hanbury Street in London, featured model Cara Delevingne lying naked on her front, the side of her breast and buttocks visible. She was holding a bottle of Tom Ford Black Orchid perfume.

  1. One complainant challenged whether the ad was inappropriate for display where children could see it and where it was close to churches and mosques.

  2. Another complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive because they believed it was degrading and objectified women.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the ad featured an image of Cara Delevigne in which she was clearly naked and lying on her side in water, with much of one of her breasts shown along with the profile of her buttocks. Despite her nudity we considered her pose was sensual and sexually suggestive but that it was not sexually explicit. We therefore considered that because the image was sexually suggestive, it should not have appeared within 100 m of a school. We understood the ad in question did not have a placement restriction but equally noted it had not been placed in a location within 100 m of a school and that a placement restriction was subsequently unnecessary in this instance.

We understood that because of its size and location on a busy urban street, the ad would be very noticeable to passersby and that attention would be drawn to the poster space regardless of its content and that in this case it may have been more noticeable because the model was clearly naked. However, we noted the ad did not appear within the immediate vicinity of a place of worship and that the area in question was a busy, diverse and popular area of London. We therefore considered the ad had not been placed inappropriately.

2. Not upheld

We noted the pose was sensual. Although the model was naked, we considered the image was not sexually explicit. We further noted the image was stylised and artistic and in-keeping with ads for beauty products such as perfumes where depictions of feminine beauty and the female body were commonly used. Whilst we understood some viewers may have found the image distasteful because of the nudity shown and implied, we considered the image itself was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and that it did not degrade or objectify women.



Offsite Article: Going Clear...

Link Here29th April 2015
Full story: Scientology Censors...Scientogists quick to litigate against critics
The film Scientologists don’t want you to see

See article from



Insulting Free Speech...

Miliband worryingly speaks of criminalising religious insults

Link Here28th April 2015
The Labour Party made a very worrying policy announcement that was hardly noticed by the media: Labour would outlaw Islamophobia , said Ed Miliband in an interview.

The proposals are fairly nebulous at this point: Ed says he intends to make Islamophobia an aggravated crime and toughen existing hate crime legislation . Defenders of freedom of speech should be alarmed at this, because Labour has dangerous previous form in exactly this area: the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

What Ed is proposing looks like a return to finish the 2006 act. In 2006 Labour originally tried to criminalise deliberately insulting a religion. Those opposed to that law argued that it would become a criminal offence mock a religion, or to say that a religion damages British society, because in doing so they would be accused of inciting religious hatred *. There was a huge public out-cry, led by academics, artists, writers and comedians (notably Rowan Atkinson), and in the end the Labour government was defeated by a single vote and the law was watered down. Ed Miliband personally voted for the original wording.

Such oppressive laws are two edged. Not only do they deny people free speech, but they also provide weapons to bullies and aggressive people by allowing them to accuse people of islamophobia.

Lets face it, the need to criticise religion is massively important, unchecked religions have spawned some of the nastiest regimes known to mankind.



Cooking up easy offence...

Bath University theatre censors ban religious comedy sketch

Link Here28th April 2015
Student Union censors and university chaplains ordered a sketch featuring Mohammed cut from a student comedy show, because it supposedly caused great offence.

Bath Impact , the student newspaper, reports that union officials said the censorship decision had been taken to maintain the inclusivity of the university and to avoid complaints. However, it has emerged that chaplains were involved in the Union's decision, and that they had denounced the scene as graphic and offensive.

The Comedy Writing, Improvisation and Performance Society (CWIPS) staged a performance called The Bible According to CWIPS . But just four hours before the opening night a union official who attended a rehearsal told the society that a sketch depicting the religious character Mohammed, called Cooking With Christ , had to be cut from the show.

The Chaplaincy is said to have described the cut sketch as extreme , but the organisers commented that they had:

Worked very hard in order to make sure [the] material was enjoyable and pleasant for people of all faiths and background.

NSS president Terry Sanderson said:

This is another example of Islamic blasphemy codes being normalised. The decision taken assumes that Muslim students would have been offended, and takes that as a sufficient reason to curtail the students' artistic expression.

It is also very troubling to see 'inclusivity' being used as a spurious reason to shut down parts of the performance. It is telling that only material related to the Islamic Prophet Mohammed was cut. There is an atmosphere of hysteria around satirising or criticising Islam, particularly since the Charlie Hebdo attack. We must start reclaiming ground from those who would silence free expression and satire.



Offsite Article: The censorship end game of Australia's piracy site-blocking Bill...

Link Here 28th April 2015
Discussion of an internet censorship bill initially aimed at copyright issues but campaigners are already looking to widen its remit

See article from



Myles Jackman Obscenity Lawyer...

Award winning obscenity law advice from the sexual freedoms specialist launches new website

Link Here27th April 2015
Myles Jackman has played a high profile part in defending victims of Britain's repressive obscenity laws. He has now launched a new website which may be the first port of call for anyone that falls foul of UK censorship laws.



Castle Covert Channel...

Censor breaking communications hide in plain sight

Link Here27th April 2015
New technology developed by US researchers can transmit messages through popular multiplayer online games, making it very difficult for censors to detect and block.

One of the most difficult tasks faced by those attempting to subvert internet restrictions , such as those put in place by China's so-called Great Firewall, is doing so in a manner that doesn't provoke suspicion from censors. Rishab Nithyanand, a researcher at Stony Brook University and one of the developers of The Castle explained:

People who were using [anonymising tools] were fairly easily detected by censors and blocked.

The Castle uses video games as a benign transport, transmitting and receiving data through the game itself in a manner that will just look like normal gameplay from the outside.

We can basically transmit any kind of information through the video game.

Games already transmit huge amounts of data between players and servers, and between players themselves. This data is usually encrypted to prevent cheating, making it hard for censors to spot anything suspicious.

The technology, which was published on the code repository GitHub last week, is built to use 0AD , an open-source, multiplayer real-time strategy game. The technology could easily be adapted to a similar title, such as Starcraft or the hugely-popular Dota series.



Offsite Article: The wrong kind of free expression...

Link Here27th April 2015
Full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo

See article from



Argentina Recommends...

Top Gear: Patagonia Special

Link Here26th April 2015
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear colleagues deliberately entered Argentina with a Falklands-referenced number plate, a judge has whinged. Maria Cristina Barrionuevo rejected claims by the BBC and the presenter that the use of the plate H982 FKL on Clarkson's Porsche was an unfortunate coincidence . She also described the decision to drive through southern Argentina with the vehicle as arrogant and disrespectful .

The judge, based in the southern city of Ushuaia, where the trouble occurred last October, also ruled that the Porsche's number plate had been changed after the vehicle entered Argentina's southernmost tip of Patagonia. This is an offence that can lead to a conviction for falsification and carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

Local prosecutor Daniel Curtale had asked the judge to open a criminal investigation for alleged falsification. However, Mrs Barrionuevo rejected this call, concluding programme chiefs had acted to avert more conflict.  The prosecutors are understood to be preparing an appeal.

The judge concluded that the Top Gear team had not acted in bad faith in changing the plates and their hand was forced by massive government and popular pressure .

UK viewers can enjoy the 'disrespectful' fun in Top Gear: Patagonia Special .



Offsite Article: Letter to America...

Link Here26th April 2015
The Slow Death of Free Speech in Britain (America, You're Next!). By Brendan O'Neill

See article from



BBFC Podcast Episode 28...

James Ferman Part 2

Link Here25th April 2015
Senior Examiner Craig Lapper gives a knowledgeable rundown of the second half of James Ferman's directorship of the BBFC. In particular he speaks of the introduction of the modern certificates, U,PG,12,15, 18. Also he relates changes resulting from the implementation of the Video Recordings Act and as a result of incidents such as the Jamie Bulger killing and the Hungerford shootings.



Mounting Outrage...

Australian farmers has fun with a hay bale statute

Link Here25th April 2015
An Australian farmer who has been ordered to remove a hay bale sculpture depicting a bull serving a cow says he has received massive public support.

Bruce Cook, owner of Kactus Point Charolais stud erected the sculpture on his farm as a bit of fun.

But a miserable git complained that the sculpture was somehow offensive and obscene. Cook received a call from a policeman telling him he had to take it down and that he could be charged with publishing pornographic images .

Cook told The Weekly Times:

I couldn't believe it. How could anyone be offended by something that happens out in the paddocks for real every day of the week? It's just nature.

A defiant Cook said he refused to take it down and in fact plans to light up the sculpture at night, so it can seen for longer by passers-by:

I told the copper to piss off. They have picked on the wrong person. I don't care what they threaten me with. The sculpture stays.

A Weekly Times poll shows 96% of people agreed the sculpture was not offensive. But one fuddy duddy, Elvie Gannon, 75, from Mystic Park claimed there was plenty of opposition to the sculpture.

Half the world are telling me I'm am old fuddy duddy and the other half are saying to me 'good on you' for raising my concerns.



Nazi Outrage...

Poland has a ludicrous whinge about a card game that refers to Nazi Poland

Link Here25th April 2015
The Polish government is ludicrously demanding that toy producer Mattel censor a card g that refers to Nazi Poland .

Minister of Outrage, Grzegorz Schetyna, said the Polish embassy in Washington is asking Mattel to censor Apples to Apples , a game in which players compare different things. He tweeted:

It is imperative that @Mattel Corporation recall these cards that slander and libel @Poland #Poland.

The subject of the 'outrage' is a card is entitled Schindler's List and states:

1993 Steven Spielberg film. Powerful, real-life story of a Catholic businessman who eventually saved over 1,000 Jews in Nazi Poland.

Poland was indeed a Nazi country during the Second World War, but not by choice. It was invaded and partitioned, with half the country being occupied by Nazis.



The Longest Ride without the Ride...

The latest cinema film suffering category cuts for a 12A rating

Link Here24th April 2015
The Longest Ride is a 2015 USA romance by George Tillman Jr.
Starring Scott Eastwood, Melissa Benoist and Britt Robertson. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 12A for moderate sex, infrequent strong language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:

  • 2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • This film was originally seen for advice, when the company was informed that it was likely to receive a 15 classification but that their preferred 12A could be achieved by removing a scene of strong sex. When the film was submitted for formal classification, that scene had been removed and the film was classified 12A.

For comparison in the US:

Rated PG-13 uncut for some sexuality, partial nudity, and some war and sports action.

Summary Notes

The lives of a young couple intertwine with a much older man as he reflects back on a lost love while he's trapped in an automobile crash.



Pornography for Beginners...

Fun game makes light of the UK's repressive porn laws

Link Here24th April 2015
Designer Holly Gramazio makes games you play in person, at events and installations. But thanks to a very special set of rules--namely, the long list of sex acts suddenly banned in the United Kingdom --Gramazio was drawn to make a hilarious digital game for the first time.

So when the UK's bizarre list of sex acts banned from pornography began making the rounds, Gramazio saw an opportunity to try making a digital game for the first time ( these sound like bad rules, she thought).

The result is Gramazio's Pornography for Beginners , released late last year. It's a charming game that sees the player visiting a porn shed to find all the little bits that make up a porn, from genitalia to faces and wine glasses. Thanks to the natural limitations of PuzzleScript, the tool Gramazio used to make her game, the genitalia is limited to 25 pixels. Watching your screen fill with tiny dongs is hilarious, as is Gramazio's charming, winking writing.

See game from



Offsite Article: Signs of Growing Up...

Link Here24th April 2015
Full story: PG13ification...Hollywood cramming R rated movies into PG-13
Fifty Shades Darker, Equalizer 2 And The Return Of The R-Rated Franchise

See article from



Offsite Article: Reading over your shoulder...

Link Here24th April 2015
Electronic book lovers beware, your e-reader is watching you: Devices track which novels you read and what time you put it down to go to sleep

See article from



Updated: 'Creative' Market Research...

Open letter to the NSPCC about using questionable evidence from low quality survey to call for more internet censorship

Link Here23rd April 2015
Full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
The letter below was sent to Peter Wanless, CEO of the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), on 10th March. It is signed by leading academics, sex educators, journalists and campaigners.

Dear Mr Wanless,

We write to express our deep concern about a report you published last week, which received significant press coverage. The report claimed that a tenth of 12-13 year olds believe they are addicted to pornography, and appears to have been fed to the media with accompanying quotes suggesting that pornography is causing harm to new generations of young people.

Your study appears to rely entirely on self-report evidence from young people of 11 and older, and so is not -- as it has been presented -- indicative of actual harm but rather, provides evidence that some young people are fearful that pornography is harming them. In other words, this study looks at the effects on young people of widely published but unevidenced concerns about pornography, not the effects of pornography itself.

It appears that your study was not an academic one, but was carried out by a "creative market research" group called OnePoll. We are concerned that you, a renowned child protection agency, are presenting the findings of an opinion poll as a serious piece of research. Management Today recently critiqued OnePoll in an article that opened as follows: "What naive readers may not realise is that much of what is reported as scientific is not in fact genuine research at all, but dishonest marketing concocted by PR firms."

There have been countless studies into the effects of porn since the late 1960s, and yet the existence of the kinds of harm you report remains contested. In fact, many researchers have reached the opposite conclusion: that increased availability of porn correlates with healthier attitudes towards sex, and with steadily reducing rates of sexual violence. For example, the UK government's own research (1) generated the following conclusion in 2005: "There seems to be no relationship between the availability of pornography and an increase in sex crimes ...; in comparison there is more evidence for the opposite effect."

The very existence of "porn addiction" is questionable, and it is not an accepted medical condition. Dr David J Ley, a psychologist specialising in this field, says: "Sex and porn can cause problems in people's lives, just like any other human behavior or form of entertainment. But, to invoke the idea of "addiction" is unethical, using invalid, scientifically and medically-rejected concepts to invoke fear and feed panic." (2)

Immediately following the release of your report, the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced that the Tories would be introducing strong censorship of the Internet if they win the next election, in order to "protect children" from pornography. The Culture Secretary's new announcement would probably lead to millions of websites being blocked by British ISPs, should it come into force. We would point out the experience of the optional "porn filters", introduced in early 2014, which turned out in practise to block a vast range of content including sex education material.

The BBC news website quotes you as saying, in response to the minister's announcement: "Any action that makes it more difficult for young people to find this material is to be welcomed." We disagree: we believe that introducing Chinese-style blocking of websites is not warranted by the findings of your opinion poll, and that serious research instead needs to be undertaken to determine whether your claims of harm are backed by rigorous evidence.

Jerry Barnett, CEO Sex & Censorship
Frankie Mullin, Journalist
Clarissa Smith, Professor of Sexual Cultures, University of Sunderland
Julian Petley, Professor of Screen Media, Brunel University
David J. Ley PhD. Clinical Psychologist (USA)
Dr Brooke Magnanti
Feona Attwood, Professor of Media & Communication at Middlesex University
Martin Barker, Emeritus Professor at University of Aberystwyth
Jessica Ringrose, Professor, Sociology of Gender and Education, UCL Institute of Education
Ronete Cohen MA, Psychologist
Dr Meg John Barker, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, The Open University
Kath Albury, Associate Professor, UNSW Australia
Myles Jackman, specialist in obscenity law
Dr Helen Hester, Middlesex University
Justin Hancock, youth worker and sex educator
Ian Dunt, Editor in Chief,
Ally Fogg, Journalist
Dr Emily Cooper, Northumbria University
Gareth May, Journalist
Dr Kate Egan, Lecturer in Film Studies, Aberystwyth University
Dr Ann Luce, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and Communication, Bournemouth University
John Mercer, Reader in Gender and Sexuality, Birmingham City University
Dr. William Proctor, Lecturer in Media, Culture and Communication, Bournemouth University
Dr Jude Roberts, Teaching Fellow, University of Surrey
Dr Debra Ferreday, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Lancaster University
Jane Fae, author of "Taming the beast" a review of law/regulation governing online pornography
Michael Marshall, Vice President, Merseyside Skeptics Society
Martin Robbins, Journalist
Assoc. Prof. Paul J. Maginn (University of Western Australia)
Dr Lucy Neville, Lecturer in Criminology, Middlesex University
Alix Fox, Journalist and Sex Educator
Dr Mark McCormack, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Durham University
Chris Ashford, Professor of Law and Society, Northumbria University
Diane Duke, CEO Free Speech Coalition (USA)
Dr Steve Jones, Senior Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University
Dr Johnny Walker, Lecturer in Media, Northumbria University

Update: NSPCC's shoddy political campaigning gets picked up by the Independent

13th April 2015.

The open letter has been picked up by both the Independent and the website

The Independent leads

NSPCC accused of risking its reputation and whipping up moral panic with study into porn addiction among children

The NSPCC has been accused of deliberately whipping up a moral panic with a study suggesting a tenth of all 12- to 13-year-olds fear they are addicted to pornography.

In an open letter to the child protection organisation's chief executive Peter Wanless, a group of doctors, academics, journalists and campaigners criticised the NSPCC for suggesting that pornography is causing harm to new generations of young people .

See  article from

Meanwhile note that the NSPCC research was hogwash

How the NSPCC lost its way.

Late last month, the NSPCC released some startling findings. A tenth of all 12-to-13-year-olds were addicted to porn, it found. One in five had been shocked or upset by the things they'd found online. Twelve per cent had made their own porn.

The findings were widely reported . Immediately afterwards, culture secretary Sajid Javid promised new censorship measures, with a regulator ensuring adult sites have age verification technology to prevent young people accessing porn.

The cycle from research to reporting to promises of legislation was accomplished in the space of a morning. It was a remarkably effective operation.

The only problem was, it was all nonsense. The NSPCC research was hogwash.

See  article from

Update: The Guardian enters the fray

14th April 2015.

Children addicted to porn Don't believe everything the surveys say

OnePoll was behind a recent survey revealing that 20% of people believe that smoking has improved their career opportunities . This one was commissioned by an E-cigarette company . A poll commissioned during National Ferry Fortnight for Discover Ferries -- which had just invested heavily in improved seating -- revealed that travellers really hate aircraft seats. You get the picture.

See  article from

Update: The NSPCC responds: The ends justifies the shoddy means

23rd April 2015. See  article from

Dear Mr Barnett

Thank you for your letter detailing your concerns about our recently launched porn campaign for young people and a poll that was published with it.

As you will be aware the NSPCC has a long tradition of campaigning on difficult issues that affect children. Our work is solely designed to make the most difference to the protection of children. Through our various services, including ChildLine, we listen to the voices of children day in day out and it is essential that we respond to their concerns and help them confront and address issues that they find worrisome. Porn is a subject which has always drawn strong debate but that doesn't mean that we should shy away from what children are telling us.

As you will expect we make no judgment on adults viewing porn. But we know through those who call ChildLine, that children can be worried and upset by the effect pornography is having on them. A recent European-wide piece of research into violence and abuse in teenage relationships found a high proportion of boys in England regularly viewed pornography, and one in five harbored extremely negative attitudes towards women. High levels of sexual coercion and in some cases violence within teenage relationships were reported. We believe that as a society we need to ensure that children are both protected and educated in the best way possible. Rather than seek to restrict debate we seek to promote it for it is only when subjects are not allowed to remain in the shadows that they can be properly dealt with.

As a campaigning organisation, the NSPCC uses a wide range of methods to listen to the voices of children, parents, carers and professionals. We continue to explore how sensitive subjects, including pornography, are affecting young people. This will no doubt uncover difficult and complex issues; and we must work together as a society to address these challenges.

Peter Wanless, Chief Executive, NSPCC



Taming the Beast...

A new book on internet porn by Jane Fae

Link Here23rd April 2015

Author Jane Fae says:

Over the last decade or so, politicians, media and public have woken up to the fact that the internet allows individuals to access a range and volume of pornographic material well beyond what was once available in an age of print and cellulose film.

At the same time, they have had to acknowledge that traditional approaches to controlling access to this material have proven legally ineffective. That same period, therefore, has seen a two-pronged attempt to stuff the internet genie back into its virtual bottle. First, through an unprecedented passing of new and ground-breaking laws -- at times, seemingly, a new law every year: and second, through the implementation of technical solutions, including moderation, filtering and blocking to achieve through brute technological force what may not always be achievable through law.

This book is a first attempt to document both these processes. It is not quite an academic textbook. It does, however, set out clearly the main pathways taken by legislators and public servants in attempting to deal with the issue of online porn. It therefore provides a basic roadmap from which those interested in to carry out their own more detailed exploration of the territory can branch out on their own.

In terms of narrative, the book brings us to the end of 2014, at which point the government's central legislative measure â-- the law on possession of extreme porn â-- has been rudely challenged through judicial review. It is also the point at which the public have begun to question the validity of filtering as a generic approach. We are undoubtedly living in interesting times.

See order details at bookTamingtheBeast Facebook Page



Update: One Million Moms Recommend...

Taco Bell

Link Here23rd April 2015

Christian morality campaigners have whinged about a Taco Bell TV advert:

Taco Bell is following a trend in crude commercials. While a few fast food restaurants are cleaning up their ads, Taco Bell decided to air a new ad named Flash to advertise Chickstars.

The ad shows an elderly couple eating Chickstars in their car when the woman lifts up her shirt, implying she is showing her bare chest to the man. Showing a female flashing a man during a television commercial is completely inappropriate. This act has nothing to do with the food product.

Even if the couple is supposed to be married, this ad is in poor taste. It would be something children would duplicate. Everyone knows children repeat what they see. This disgusting advertisement is airing during primetime when children are likely watching



Offsite Article: Is VHS making a comeback?...

Link Here23rd April 2015
Never mind the vinyl revival. Collectors, horror fiends, and even academics are fighting to save VHS movies from the dustbin of history - and not just because of nostalgia

See article from



Offsite Article: Why doesn't the US use YouTube age ratings like the UK?...

Link Here 23rd April 2015
Full story: BBFC Online Music Censors...Scheme for UK music publishers to get BBFC rating for videos
US newspaper eyes the music video age rating scheme initiated in the US

See article from



Offsite Article: Hacking Free Speech...

Link Here23rd April 2015
Chris Dodd outrageously suggests the US government should go after WikiLeaks in some fashion for re-publishing the leaked Sony emails.

See article from



Offsite Article: The Hard to Find Legal Option...

Link Here23rd April 2015
Hollywood blocks non-US users from finding legally available films on internet video

See article from



Update: Promoting violence...

Twitter updates its censorship rules concerning abusive tweets

Link Here22nd April 2015
Full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
Twitter has announced new censorship rules related to tweets deemed to be abusive. Twitter explains in a blog post:

First, we are making two policy changes, one related to prohibited content, and one about how we enforce certain policy violations. We are updating our violent threats policy so that the prohibition is not limited to direct, specific threats of violence against others but now extends to threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others. Our previous policy was unduly narrow and limited our ability to act on certain kinds of threatening behavior. The updated language better describes the range of prohibited content and our intention to act when users step over the line into abuse.

On the enforcement side, in addition to other actions we already take in response to abuse violations (such as requiring users to delete content or verify their phone number), we're introducing an additional enforcement option that gives our support team the ability to lock abusive accounts for specific periods of time. This option gives us leverage in a variety of contexts, particularly where multiple users begin harassing a particular person or group of people.

Second, we have begun to test a product feature to help us identify suspected abusive Tweets and limit their reach. This feature takes into account a wide range of signals and context that frequently correlates with abuse including the age of the account itself, and the similarity of a Tweet to other content that our safety team has in the past independently determined to be abusive. It will not affect your ability to see content that you've explicitly sought out, such as Tweets from accounts you follow, but instead is designed to help us limit the potential harm of abusive content. This feature does not take into account whether the content posted or followed by a user is controversial or unpopular.



Closed World...

Indian film censored by blasphemy mob in Wednesfield

Link Here22nd April 2015
Nanak Shah Fakir is a 2015 drama by Harinder Singh Sikka.
Starring Tanmay Bhat, Gurmeet Choudhary and Amyra Dastur. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

Police were called and a cinema cleared and closed after protestors pushed through the main entrance and headed for the screen showing Bollywood blockbuster, Nanak Shah Fakir.

Once inside the Cineworld multiplex at Bentley Bridge in Wednesfield., the Sikh protestors sat down on the floor and began to shout, refusing to move until cinema bosses met their demands and stopped the screening.

Nanak Shah Fakir, which is directed by Sartaj Singh Pannu, has been mired in a blasphemy controversy since its release last week. Apparently the depiction of the religious figures in human form is considered to be a blasphemy by many Sikhs.

It has been banned in many parts of India and attracted mass protests, while some UK cinemas have refused to show it through fear of religious strife. Cineworld said it has no plans to show the film in future following the incident. Odeon also confirmed it would also cancel planned screenings following the protest.

One cinema goer said he was among dozens of customers asked to leave the multiplex when the commotion ensued. He said:

It was extremely intimidating. For a group of people to be able to get a film stopped and then banned is just ridiculous. It's an attack on freedom of speech. The atmosphere was quite aggressive in there and it's not what you expect to face when you go and watch a film.

Cineworld spokeswoman Liz Larvin, said:

We have taken the decision to cancel screenings of Nanak Shah Fakir because we want our customers to enjoy visiting our cinemas and experience a wide range of films without disruption from others. We apologise to anyone disappointed by this decision and to those customers impacted on Sunday.

The film was passed PG uncut by the BBFC for mild violence. For some reason the film was submitted twice in versions running 138:18s and 146:35s. The BBFC commented:

NANAK SHAH FAKIR is a Hindi language historical drama about the life and teachings of Sikhism founder, Guru Nanak, as he embarks on a spiritual journey during the reign of the Mughal empire.

There is mild violence in a scene in which a yak stamps on a man, who is out to fetch some water in the snow. There are also some images of battle and some rifle gunshots from soldiers, although there is no detail of injury shown.



ASA's Pennyworth...

Advert censor bans FIFA coins advert for the widespread offence of 1 person

Link Here22nd April 2015

Six marketing emails from featured images of women. Some wore underwear and posed provocatively. Others were naked with sports clothing painted onto parts of their body.

A complainant challenged whether the ads were offensive, because they were explicit and objectified women.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA was concerned by FIFA4Coins' lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

The e-mails featured a series of images, which showed women each holding a football in a variety of poses. In some of the images, the women were naked and their body was painted to give the appearance that they wore a sports kit. In others, the women wore sports clothing tailored to partially reveal their breasts, or underwear/swimwear and were posed in a sexually provocative way. The ads had not been targeted over and above the email recipients' subscription to the advertisers' database as a result of previous purchases.

In all examples, the images of the women were sexual in nature and in two of the ads, one in which a woman crouched naked on all fours and another in which a naked woman lay on her back with her legs apart and her hands covering her genitals, the images were sexually explicit. In view of the sexual content, the ads were unsuitable for a general audience. In addition, in all ads the images of the women were used to promote the advertised product, a FIFA Coins collection. In view of the sexual nature of the images, which was explicit in some cases, and given that they bore no relevance to the product, we considered that their inclusion in the ads was likely to be seen as offensively objectifying women.

We concluded that the ads were likely to cause both serious and widespread offence.



Chasing Paradise...

Where one can enjoy life without interfering miserable censors

Link Here22nd April 2015

Filmmaker Barry Wilkinson writes about the showing of his short film on  MADE in Bristol Television:

Here's a funny story for you. My new film Chasing Paradise was shown on TV last night. It went out before the watershed at 8:30pm. I told them it had one f-word in it. Anyway, they said yes, it will be censored. Watched it last night and lo and behold... they forgot to censor it. They got in trouble as apparently there were several complaints made to OFCOM. This morning they were meant to show a repeat at 10am and 7pm, but it was replaced with a different program. Haha.



Offsite Article: Professors of PC Censorship...

Link Here22nd April 2015
If universities censor, they can't complain when the state censors them. By Nick Cohen

See article from



The ABDs of Death 2...

German film censors cut letters from the alphabet

Link Here21st April 2015
The ABCs of Death 2 will be released in a cut version in Germany. Rather than simply cutting specific shots which have been deemed problematic as tends to be the case when films are censored the UK, the German cut of The ABCs of Death 2 will see three whole chapters from the portmanteau removed completely by distributor Capelight under pressure from Germany's censorship board the FSK.

The offending chapters are C is for Capital Punishment, from British director Julian Gilbey; D is for Deloused , a stop-motion animation by another British filmmaker, Robert Morgan; and T is for Torture Porn , by Canadian directorial duo Jen and Sylvia Soska.



Update: Clear Censorship...

Sky cancels Scientology documentary over fears of libel claims via Northern ireland

Link Here19th April 2015
Full story: Scientology Censors...Scientogists quick to litigate against critics
Plans to broadcast HBO's Church of Scientology exposé, Going Clear , have been shelved by Sky Atlantic in a virtual repeat of events two years ago, when UK publishers abandoned publication of the book on which the new TV documentary is based.

Sky originally indicated that the Alex Gibney-directed film, which alleges abusive practices at the 'religion''s US headquarters, would be transmitted in the UK earlier this month in step with its American release.

However, the Observer has learned that because Northern Ireland is not subject to the 2013 Defamation Act, the broadcaster could be exposed to libel claims from David Miscavige, the leader of the church, or others. This appears to have caused the company to postpone transmission, if not to cancel it entirely.

Sky is unable to differentiate its signal between regions, rendering the same programme potentially exposed to pre-reform libel laws in Northern Ireland, but shielded in Britain where, among free-speech safeguards and reforms designed to limit frivolous claims or libel tourism , people or organisations must now show serious harm to reputation.

Scientology leaders said in a statement:

The Church of Scientology will be entitled to seek the protection of both UK and Irish libel laws in the event that any false or defamatory content in this film is broadcast within these jurisdictions.



So which party will support press freedom?...

...Err none! Political parties outline their censorial election promises.

Link Here19th April 2015
Labour Party

We remain strongly committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry. We expect the industry to establish a mechanism for independent self-regulation, which delivers proper redress for individuals, as set out in the Royal Charter, and agreed by all parties in Parliament. We made a promise to victims of the phone hacking scandal. We stand by that promise and will keep it.

Conservative Party

We will defend press freedom We will continue to defend hard-won liberties and the operation of a free press. But alongside the media's rights comes a clear responsibility, which is why we set up the public, judge-led Leveson Inquiry in response to the phone-hacking scandal, created a new watchdog by Royal Charter and legislated to toughen media libel laws.

Because the work of the free press is so important we will offer explicit protection for the role of journalists via the British Bill of Rights and we will ban the police from accessing journalists' phone records to identify whistle-blowers and other sources without prior judicial approval.

We will protect intellectual property by continuing to require internet service providers to block sites that carry large amounts of illegal content, including their proxies. And we will build on progress made under our voluntary anti-piracy projects to warn internet users when they are breaching copyright.

We will stop children's exposure to harmful sexualised content online, by requiring age verification for access to all sites containing pornographic material and age-rating for all music videos.

We will work to ensure that search engines do not link to the worst-offending sites.  

Liberal Democrats

The culture of everyday sexism will be declining, with young people taught in school about respect in relationships and sexual consent.

Online, people will no longer be worried that the government is monitoring their every keystroke, a Digital Bill of Rights will have enshrined enduring principles of privacy and helped keep the internet open.

We share the hope of Lord Justice Leveson that the incentives for the press to sign up to genuinely independent self-regulation will succeed. But if, in the judgment of the Press Recognition Panel, after 12 months of operation, there is significant non-cooperation by newspaper publishers, then -- as Leveson himself concluded -- Parliament will need to act, drawing on a range of options including the legislative steps necessary to ensure that independent self-regulation is delivered. Where possible, we would seek to do this on the same cross-party basis that achieved the construction of the Leveson scheme by the Royal Charter.

Securing liberty online

  • Safeguard the essential freedom of the internet and back net neutrality, the principle that internet service providers should enable access to all lawful content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.

  • Make it clear that online services have a duty to provide age-appropriate policies, guidance and support to the children and young people who use their services.

Green Party

The Green Party supports a world of open, freely flowing information. We don't want disproportionate or unaccountable surveillance or censorship. We want a transparent state but we want control over the data that our digital lives create. We need copyright laws that reward creators but that are consistent with digital technologies. Above all we want democratic political control of this technology. We would:

  • Support and protect internet freedeom

  • Limit the censoring or takedown of content or activity to exceptional circumstances, clearly set out within a comprehensive legal framework.

  • Introduce more satisfactory law on so-called malicious comments made on social media than the blanket and crude section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.

  • Support the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics and for the cross-party Royal charter. But if this is to supported by all the major newspapers we will support legislation to implement the Leveson system of independent press self-regulation.

  • Strengthen controls on advertising directed at children.

UK Independence Party

The manifesto does not comment on censorship policy



So which party will curtail mass snooping?...

The LibDems and Greens actually! Political parties outline their snooping election promises.

Link Here19th April 2015

We will need to update our investigative laws to keep up with changing technology, strengthening both the powers available, and the safeguards that protect people's privacy. This is why Labour argued for an independent review, currently being undertaken by David Anderson. We will strengthen the oversight of our intelligence agencies to make sure the public can continue to have confidence in the vital work that they do to keep us safe. commented:

Labour have provided a rather vague statement on their plans. They call for "strengthening the powers available" but it isn't clear which powers they think need strengthening. We are also unclear on which safeguards they think need to be put into place to protect people's privacy. Improving oversight of the intelligence agencies is an important area to reform. In our view though, it is also important that the powers and capabilities of the intelligence agencies, as revealed by Edward Snowden, are limited to targeted surveillance on people suspected of crimes. Labour have not committed to any change to the bulk collection of our internet use that GCHQ currently undertakes. It is disappointing that a party which makes so much of its support for the Human Rights Act elsewhere in its manifesto does not see the human rights of privacy, freedom of speech and association as important enough to change its approach to state surveillance.


We will keep up to date the ability of the police and security services to access communications data -- the 'who, where, when and how' of a communication, but not its content. Our new communications data legislation will strengthen our ability to disrupt terrorist plots, criminal networks and organised child grooming gangs, even as technology develops. We will maintain the ability of the authorities to intercept the content of suspects' communications, while continuing to strengthen oversight of the use of these powers.

We will ban the police from accessing journalists' phone records to identify whistle-blowers and other sources without prior judicial approval. commented:

The Conservatives want to increase the surveillance powers available to the police and intelligence agencies. Like Labour, there is no detail on which powers they would strengthen in particular. They say they will introduce "new communications data legislation" which we can only assume is a revamped Communications Data Bill - commonly known as the Snoopers' Charter. The bulk collection of the content of our communications revealed in the documents released by Edward Snowden is not addressed. It is right that police should need judicial approval before they can access journalists' phone records but judicial authorisation for surveillance should be sought before surveillance on all of us, not just journalists. There is no explicit mention of David Cameron's previously stated principle that all communications should be accessible by the state even when they have been encrypted.

Liberal Democrats

We will:

  • Ensure judicial authorisation is required for the acquisition of communications data which might reveal journalists' sources or other privileged communications, for any of the purposes allowed under RIPA; and allow journalists the opportunity to address the court before authorisation is granted, where this would not jeopardise the investigation.
  • Ensure proper oversight of the security services.
  • Establish in legislation that the police and intelligence agencies should not obtain data on UK residents from foreign governments that it would not be legal to obtain in the UK under UK law.
  • Oppose the introduction of the so-called Snooper's Charter. We blocked the draft Communications Data Bill and would do so again. Requiring companies to store a record of everyone's internet activities for a year or to collect third-party communications data for non-business purposes is disproportionate and unacceptable, as is the blanket surveillance of our paper post.
  • Set stricter limits on surveillance and consider carefully the outcomes of the reviews we initiated on surveillance legislation by the Royal United Services Institute and the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson QC. We are opposed to the blanket collection of UK residents' personal communications by the police or the intelligence agencies. Access to metadata, live content, or the stored content of personal communications must only take place without consent where there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or to prevent threats to life.
  • Uphold the right of individuals, businesses and public bodies to use strong encryption to protect their privacy and security online. commented:

The Liberal Democrats give much greater detail on what they would like to see on the issue of surveillance than Labour or the Conservatives. This should be welcomed. We are happy to see that they oppose the blanket collection of UK residents' personal communications by the police or intelligence agencies. It will be interesting to see whether they retain their opposition to blanket collection if the reports mentioned above in their manifesto do not share their position. There is also a good commitment to the right to use strong encryption online. We welcome the Liberal Democrat's call for judicial authorisation before journalists' communications data is accessed but we think this should be necessary before bulk collection of our communications is carried out.

Green Party of England and Wales

We would:

  • Oppose any case for secret unaccountable mass surveillance of the type exposed by Edward Snowden. We do accept that government law enforcement agencies may occasionally need to intercept communications in specific circumstances. Such specific surveillance should be proportionate, necessary, effective and within the rule of law, with independent judicial approval and genuine parliamentary oversight.
  • Replace the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which has failed
    • to regulate the deployment of undercover police;
    • to support the confidentiality of journalistic sources;
    • to support legal confidentiality; and
    • to enshrine an open and effective right of redress. commented:

The Green Party have released a manifesto with very strong commitments on surveillance reform in line with the calls of the Don't Spy On Us campaign. They are the only party to mention Edward Snowden in their manifesto! Their calls for targeted surveillance that is proportionate and with independent judicial authorisation are very welcome. They also note the problem that victims of inappropriate surveillance do not currently have a right of redress; another of the Don't Spy On Us principles.


Currently, British intelligence is fragmented between a number of agencies, including MI5, MI6, GCHQ and BBC Monitoring. All have different funding streams and report to different government departments. This generates a significant overlap in work and resources and risks exposing gaps in the system.

UKIP will create a new over-arching role of Director of National Intelligence (subject to confirmation hearing by the relevant Commons Select Committee), who will be charged with reviewing UK intelligence and security, in order to ensure threats are identified, monitored and dealt with by the swiftest, most appropriate and legal means available. He or she will be responsible for bringing all intelligence services together; developing cyber security measures; cutting down on waste and encouraging information and resource sharing. commented:

At our recent civil liberties hustings in Brighton Pavilion, the UKIP candidate said that his party opposes "all general surveillance". There is no sign of that in their manifesto. They say nothing about which surveillance powers GCHQ should have, how they should be overseen and how they should get oversight. There are currently two reviews of surveillance being carried out and their manifesto mentions neither of them. It is surprising, to say the least, that after nearly two years of news about GCHQ surveillance, UKIP's only response is that there are too many intelligence agencies and that too many resources are being wasted.



Geriatric Pediatrics...

Researchers think that assigning ludicrous age ratings to films will somehow effect levels of alcohol use

Link Here19th April 2015

Alcohol Use in Films and Adolescent Alcohol Use by Andrea Waylen, Sam Leary, Andrew Ness and James Sargent

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether exposure to alcohol use in films is associated with early alcohol use, binge drinking, and alcohol-related problems in British adolescents.

METHODS: Cross-sectional study with 5163 15-year-olds from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children in the United Kingdom. We measured adolescent exposure to alcohol use in films, age at onset of alcohol use, and binge-drinking behavior. We adjusted for early childhood social, family and behavioral factors, adolescent tobacco use, and peer drinking.

RESULTS: After adjustment, adolescents with the highest exposure to alcohol use in films were 1.2 times more likely to have tried alcohol compared with those least exposed and 1.7 times more likely to binge drink. They were 2.4 times more likely to drink weekly and 2.0 times more likely to have alcohol-related problems than those least exposed.

CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to alcohol use in films is associated with higher risk of alcohol use and alcohol-related problems in UK adolescents. Our findings provide evidence to support the argument that a review of film-rating categories and alcohol ratings for all films may help reduce problem-related alcohol consumption in young people.

The authors of a new study argue that a movie that depicts any type of drinking should automatically earn an MPAA R rating or BBFC equivalent.

The study , published by the journal Pediatrics , claims that teens who see drinking on the big screen are more likely to drink themselves.

Among a group of 5,163 15-year-olds from England, those who watched the most minutes of drinking on film were twice as likely to have alcohol-related problems as those who watched the fewest. They were also 2.4 times more likely to drink at least once a week and 70% more likely consume five or more drinks in a single day.

The study authors tried to gauge the teens' exposure to drinking in movies. Researchers had watched 366 popular movies and counted up the amount of time that drinking was depicted in each of them. The teens were presented with a random sample of 50 of these movies and asked whether they had seen them. All of the minutes of drinking in all of the movies seen by each kid were added together, and the average was 47.3 minutes.

The 25% of teens with the lowest exposure -- less than 28 minutes in total -- served as the baseline. Those in the group with the highest exposure had seen at least 64 minutes of drinking.

After controlling for a variety of demographic and other factors, the researchers found that the more minutes of drinking the teens had watched, the greater the odds of all kinds of alcohol use. Compared with teens in the lowest-exposure group, those with the highest exposure were 20% more likely to have had a drink at least once; 70% more likely to have a history of binge-drinking; twice as likely to have an alcohol-related problem; and 2.4 times more likely to be drinking at least once a week.

To the extent that movies contribute to teen drinking, one suggested remedy would be to eliminate all drinking in movies made for minors, the study authors wrote. That means any film with even a glass of wine or a can of beer would invoke an R rating from the MPAA (or the equivalent from the British Board of Film Classification ).

It may sound sound ludicrous, but the researchers claim that this is justified because movie rating systems exist to protect children from seeing media that may adversely affect their behavior .

If the MPAA and BBFC were to follow the researchers' advice, a lot of movies would get stricter ratings. A 2011 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that 72% of the top-grossing movies in the United Kingdom between 1989 and 2008 included scenes of drinking, but only 6% of them were rated for adults.

Of course the researchers didn't bother to contemplate the effects of such a loss of credibility so essential to parents use of film ratings.



Streaming Justice...

German troll lawyers set to be ordered to compensate victims of their false copyright claims

Link Here19th April 2015
A German federal court has issued a default judgment against a law firm that sent out 20,000 copyright infringement letters to RedTube users who were notified that they had been viewing streamed porn illegally. This was a false claim as it is not illegal to view streamed video with requiring the copyright holder's permission. (Although making a copy may cause issues).

In 2013, the now-defunct German law firm of Urmann and Colleagues had been able to convince a Cologne federal court that it needed the names and addresses of users associated with IP addresses to commence infringement proceedings against them. The company then sent out the 20,000 letters to victims asking them to settle and pay up per alleged infringement.

Urmann and Colleagues ordered users in Germany to pay up to 1,400 euros to settle copyright claims over adult videos watched on the RedTube website. A year later, in January 2014, Germany's Ministry of Justice gave judicial notice that the mere viewing of a copyrighted video stream without permission is not in itself an act of copyright infringement.

A civil case asking for damages ensued, but Urmann failed to show up in court and the court ordered a default judgment. The next step is for another hearing, as yet unscheduled, to determine the levels of damages.



Update: EU law turns to shite...

Ambulance chasing law firms exploit the EU's right to be forgotten

Link Here18th April 2015
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU

Ambulance-chasing law firms are exploiting the European Court's ruling on the right to be forgotten to drum up business, leading to a rise in the number of newspaper articles being deleted from Google search results.

The companies, some of which have no legal background but say they specialise in reputation management , have sensed an easy opportunity to make money by offering to cleanse the internet of embarrassing references to their clients on a no-win no-fee basis, media lawyers said.

The service can amount to little more than filling in Google's one-page form requesting that a particular link is removed from search results -- which can easily be completed for free by the client themselves.

Last month alone The Independent was informed by Google that links to 13 news articles had been removed from its search results, marking a sudden rise on previous figures when only a handful had been hidden each month. Mark Stephens, a media law specialist at London firm Howard Kennedy said:

You've got ambulance-chasing lawyers who are, I think, trying to attract custom for cases which you don't need a lawyer for. People are being asked to pay for something when there's no good reasons to do so -- you can do this online, for free, for nothing.

He added that the problem was not restricted to the UK, with media organisations across Europe feeling the chilling effects of the ruling as unscrupulous companies realised that citing the ruling could be an easy way to make money.



Update: Religious Music Censors...

Malaysia establishes impossibly moralistic censorship rules for concerts and stage shows by visiting foreign performers

Link Here18th April 2015
Full story: Pop Stars in Malaysia...Malaysia not much into the world of pop stars
Islamic authorities have set new censorship rules for stage shows and music concerts by foreign personalities.

The new rules set out what kind of personality is required, what kind of artistes may perform, the kind of jokes to be allowed, and forbids extreme laughter or being facetious about serious and mournful matters.

An artiste should have a noble personality and be of good morals, and be dressed decently, covering their aurat.  Men and women are now not allowed to interact on stage.

Performances, songs, events and music videos must not insult religious sensitivities, the country and any racial group. Symbolism that went against Islamic teachings and faith was forbidden. Jokes should be sparing, and "toe the line".

Only virtues such as "goodness and pure values , and repentance should be promoted in song lyrics, with music that was positive, bringing peace, and not evoking negative emotions that contradict Islamic teachings.

The rules were relased by Jakim, the federal Islamic affairs department, which has religious authority in the Federal Territories. The new rules were approved by a national fatwa convention in February.

They are not binding in law but federal Islamic affairs minister Jamil Khir Baharom had previously said that approving authorities were advised to ask event organisers to abide by Jakim's rules.



Update: A Censorial Image...

Instagram updates its censorship rules

Link Here18th April 2015
Instagram has updated its censorship rules to give users more insight into how it polices content on its site. Nicky Jackson Colaco, director of public policy for Instagram said:

We're not changing any of the policies. But the company has added in detail around questions we've gotten over and over, and into places where [users] needed more information.

Parent company, Facebook also updated censorship rules several weeks ago. And many of the policies outlined in Instagram's latest guidelines are the same as the one's Facebook explained in its latest rewrite. These include specific prohibitions against messages that support or praise terrorism an or hate groups, serious threats of harm to public or private safety and clear statements against abuse of all kinds. Rules common to both websites say:

We remove content that contains credible threats or hate speech, content that targets private individuals to degrade or shame them, personal information meant to blackmail or harass someone, and repeated unwanted messages.

On the question of nudity, Instagram says that nudity in general-- and pornography specifically -- is off-limits. But photos of post-mastectomy scarring and women actively breastfeeding are allowed, the guidelines say, Nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures is OK, too.



Update: Scammer's Charter...

Tories' election pledge to introduce website age restrictions is more worrying than it appears

Link Here18th April 2015
Full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet



Extract: Willow...

BBFC open their archives and reveal the category cuts required for the cinema and VHS releases of Ron Howard's Willow

Link Here17th April 2015
Willow is a 1988 USA action fantasy by Ron Howard.
With Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Warwick Davis. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

When Willow arrived at the BBFC, it generated much excitement for its fairy tale story, and also for its special effects. The film follows the story of a young dwarf, Willow, who must protect a special baby, Ellora, from the evil Queen Bavmorda, who has been told the baby will grow up to destroy her. Willow is noted by Examiners as being virtually a U film, until the opening of reel 5 when the impressive special effects come into play and the film moves from fairy tale, closer to the realms of horror and darker fantasy drama. The BBFC suggested at least four reductions were suggested to secure the PG requested by the distributor. The reductions aimed to address scenes of violence and intense threat in the film, including a scene of dogs attacking a midwife; a troll turning into a two headed dragon; bloody fights; and characters being turned into pigs by Queen Bavmorda. The BBFC also advised that the soundtrack be softened to reduce the intensity of particular scenes.

...Read the full article



Unhappy Chappie...

Chappie cut for a PG-12 rating in Japan

Link Here17th April 2015
Chappie is a 2015 USA / Mexico action thriller by Neill Blomkamp.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Sharlto Copley. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb
'Chappie' is a robot, and the first true artificial intelligence, able to learn and develop as a human does. Some want to study him, and others want to destroy him. Kidnapped from the scientist who created him, Chappie becomes part of a street gang's dysfunctional surrogate family, who decide that he is too innocent and needs to be toughened up. Meanwhile, there are people hunting for him who believe that artificial intelligence is too unpredictable to be allowed to exist. The latest film from Neill Blomkamp, director of 'District 9' and 'Elysium', 'Chappie' stars Sharlto Copley, Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver.

UK: The cinema release was passed 15 uncut for strong language, bloody violence

US: Rated R for violence, language and brief nudity.

Sony Pictures Japan has released an official statement announcing that Chappie has been cut for Japan to ensure a PG-12 rating. They are open that this has been done to appeal to a wider audience, and imply that the changes were made with the director's approval. But that's far from the truth.

When fans reached out to Blomkamp on Twitter, he was taken by surprise by the news, calling it disturbing and frankly saying that Sony has lied about his involvement.

At this point, it's unclear what changes were made, but they must be significant to ensure a friendlier rating. The film is rife with swearing and pretty graphic violence (including one climactic scene, in particular).



Offsite Article: BlockBot Busted?...

Link Here17th April 2015
A voluntary block list for Twitter users gets a little insulting and comes under fire

See article from




Morally base Russian film censors ban Child 44

Link Here16th April 2015
Child 44 is a 2015 Czech Republic / UK / Romania / USA thriller by Daniel Espinosa.
Starring Tom Hardy, Joel Kinnaman and Noomi Rapace. Youtube link IMDb

Based on the first of a trilogy by Tom Rob Smith and set in the Stalin era of the Soviet Union. The plot is about an idealistic pro-Stalin security officer who decides to investigate a series of child murders in a country where supposedly this sort of crime doesn't exist. The state would not hear of the existence of a child murderer let alone a serial killer. He gets demoted and exiled but decides, with just the help of his wife, to continue pursuing the case.

Russia's Culture Ministry has claimed that Daniel Espinosa's Child 44 distorts historical facts and banned its release. There were concerns about Hardy's character and the plot, set in Stalin-era Russia. A statement suggests the film's release in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two was unacceptable .

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky claims the movie depicts Russians as physically and morally base sub-humans .



Offsite Article: In this age of meddlers, will any politician stand up for individual liberty?...

Link Here 16th April 2015
Interfering in people's lives unnecessarily is surely the short cut to electoral defeat. By Allister Heath

See article from



Green Red Lines...

The Green Party has a few fine words on reducing mass snooping but the miserable gits also want to ban horse racing

Link Here15th April 2015
The Green Party has published its manifesto with the promise to oppose secret unaccountable mass surveillance of the type exposed by Edward Snowden and to replace the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000, which empowers hundreds of UK state agencies to conduct covert mass surveillance on individuals. The manifesto continued:

We do accept that government law enforcement agencies may occasionally need to intercept communications in specific circumstances. Such specific surveillance should be proportionate, necessary, effective and within the rule of law, with independent judicial approval and genuine parliamentary oversight.

This compares with the Conservative manifesto pledge to re-introduce the Snooper's Charter, the Communications Data Bill

The Green Party also pledged to support and protect internet freedom and to limit surveillance - presumably both online and offline - and data retention by government agencies. At the same time, it supported the extension of EU data protection laws and expressed opposition to large US data-driven companies .

It would also oppose efforts to apply patents to software, limit online censorship and the takedown of content or [online] activity . However, the manifesto wasn't explicit in terms of the kinds of content referred to.

The Green Party also pledged to introduce a more satisfactory law on so-called malicious comments made on social media than the blanket and crude section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 .

But the Green Party are ban happy in other areas and it seems that the miserable gits have got horse racing in their sights. Reprehensible!



Update: Up Shit Creek...

Japanese vagina kayak artist appears in court on a ludicrous obscenity charge

Link Here15th April 2015
A Japanese artist who made a kayak modelled on her vagina has denied obscenity charges at the start of her trial in a case demonstrating Japanese censorship and double standards.

Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokudenashiko,  was first arrested last July after distributing 3D scans of her genitalia to people in return for donations to her project to create the unusual kayak.

She was released days later following a public campaign supporting her right to freedom of expression. She was rearrested in December , however, and charged with obscenity.

The artist told the Tokyo district court that her vagina selfies were not obscene. I do not dispute the facts [of the charge], but my artwork is not obscene, Igarashi said.

Igarashi said she had sent the data to people who had donated more than 3,000 yen to the kayak project. She said she was prepared to take her case all the way to Japan's supreme court if necessary.



Update: Miserable Sells...

Sales of the Sun have not apparently been harmed by the loss of Page 3

Link Here15th April 2015
Full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun
The latest newspaper sales figures reveal that the Sun's dropping of Page 3 at the end of January does not appear to have made any discernible difference to its circulation.

In the month of March, the sales audit shows that it sold an average of 1,858,067 copies. That was a slight improvement on the month of February.



Lack of Trust...

Tories keen that the TV censor Ofcom should extend its reach to include the BBC

Link Here14th April 2015

George Osborne has signalled that he favours the handover of BBC regulation from the BBC Trust to the current media censor Ofcom. Speaking to the Radio Times, Osborne said:

The trust arrangement has never really worked. I've never understood why the BBC is so frightened of regulation by Ofcom. It's not as if ITV is poorly regulated. Ofcom has proved itself to be a robust regulator.

The BBC Trust was established in 2007, taking on the responsibilities formerly exercised by the board of governors for setting a strategic direction for the BBC and exercising oversight of its work in the supposed interests of licence-fee payers.



34th International Istanbul Short of Films Festival...

Filmmakers withdraw their films in protest at censorship by the organisers

Link Here 14th April 2015
The makers of 22 domestic films withdrew their movies from this year's 34th Istanbul International Film Festival to protest the removal of a documentary from the lineup, prompting programmers to cancel the national and international feature and national documentary competitions of the 2015 event, as well as this weekend's awards ceremony and closing gala.

The directors who withdrew from the festival, joined by dozens of film professionals from the country's cinema circles, issued a boycott letter in reaction to the programmers' announcement that a festival screening of Kuzey (The North), a film set in the guerilla camps of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), has been banned from screening.

The I.KSV announcement sparked an immediate uproar among the country's filmmaking community. The producers of Kuzey , other film professionals and representatives of several cinema trade unions issued a letter highlighting the censorship at the festival and announcing they are boycotting the event until Kuzey is put back in the program.

Screenings of feature films in the international competition will continue as planned, the festival's programmers said .



Accusing critics of sedition...

Malaysian government ramps up its censorship powers

Link Here14th April 2015
Malaysia's parliament has approved amendments to the country's oppressive sedition law, giving the government broad new powers to censor online media.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the legislative amendments and calls on the government to stop using the law to threaten and persecute independent journalists.

Malaysian lawmakers aligned with the ruling United Malays National Organization voted to stiffen the penalties of the 1948 Sedition Act, according to news reports . The penalties now include mandatory three- to seven-year jail terms for convictions, denial of bail for accusations in the name of the public interest, and allowances for authorities to ban and block online media deemed to be seditious.

Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative, said:

The strengthening of Malaysia's already draconian Sedition Act shows how desperate Prime Minister Najib Razak has become to silence media criticism of his government. CPJ calls on Najib's government to repeal these outrageously punitive amendments to the act and refocus instead on passing laws that guarantee press and online freedoms.

On April 3, Malaysian cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, also known as Zunar, was charged with nine counts of sedition for critical tweets he posted in February about a politically sensitive court decision.\

Earlier this month, police detained three editors and two executives of The Malaysian Insider news portal on accusations of sedition in connection with a report on the proposed introduction of hudud, or punishments meted out under Islamic law, in the country's northern Kelantan state. They were released without charge, according to news reports .



Tartarstan vs xHamster...

Russian Regional court calls on the internet censor to block 136 of the world's main porn sites

Link Here13th April 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media

Vladimir Putin once said half the Internet is nothing but porno materials. While a major academic study in 2010 found that, in reality, just 4% of websites were pornographic, it's an undisputed fact that there is indeed a lot of adult-rated material on the Web.

If the Russian court system gets its way, however, the number of legal pornographic websites on the RuNet could drop to zero. That's right: a district court in Tatarstan has banned 136 porn sites, and the language of its ruling implies that all Internet porn is hereby against the law.

On April 13, 2015, the newspaper Izvestia reported that a court in Tatarstan's Apastovsky district has ordered Roskomnadzor, the federal government's media censor, to add 136 websites to its Internet blacklist, if the sites fail to purge themselves of all pornographic content within the next three days. The list of websites includes xHamster, one of the most popular destinations for pornography in the world.

The local district attorney's office, which petitioned the court to crack down on Internet porn, cited in its suit obscure international agreements from the early twentieth century, Izvestia reported.

First, prosecutors pointed out that international treaties constitute an integral part of Russian law according to the Russian Constitution, even arguing, rather unorthodoxly, that international obligations take priority over domestic legislation, when the two are in conflict. Then, prosecutors cited the Convention for the Suppression of the Circulation of Obscene Publications, signed in Paris in 1910, and the subsequent international agreement signed in Geneva in 1923, both of which ban the production, possession, and distribution of pornographic materials.

The signatories to these international accords were, of course, the Tsarist Empire and the Soviet Union, and the Apastovsky district attorney says today's Russian Federation is still bound by these agreements.

According to an adult-film maker who spoke to Izvestia, Russian law is very vague about regulating pornography. The only law on the books, he says, is Article 242 of the federal criminal code, which delineates several illegal types of distribution, but does not clearly define legal ways to advertise, disseminate, and trade in porn.

How did the Tartarstan prosecutors flag 136 websites, Russia's largest-ever single ban request, for Roskomnadzor's blacklist? The district attorney's office says it searched Yandex (Russia's leading Internet search engine) for the terms Kazan prostitutes and porno video. Film experts at the Ministry of Culture then examined the websites on this list and confirmed that they are indeed brimming with pornographic content.

It remains unclear if Roskomnadzor will block these websites across Russia or only in Tatarstan. It is also unknown if Roskomnadzor and the Apastovsky district attorney will stop with these 136 websites, or wage a larger campaign against the millions of other porn sites online.

Whatever happens, this is just the latest episode in a broader crackdown on the Internet that has taken place in Russia since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012. For some Russian Internet users, like musician Sergei Shnurov, Putin's third presidential term has already spoiled porn, whatever happens in Tatarstan.



Update: Distorted News...

China threatens to punish internet news service that does not censor enough

Link Here12th April 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China's government has threatened to shut down Sina , one of the country's most popular news websites unless it improves censorship , state media reported via the Xinhua news agency. Sina is the fourth most visited website in China, according to ranking service Alexa.

The censors whose job it is to officially distort news facts, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), claimed that Sina:

Distorted news facts, violated morality and engaged in media hype.

The CAC will seriously punish Sina, with possible measures including a complete shut down of its Internet news services , Xinhua added.

The report did not provide specifics on which of Sina's news offerings had fallen foul of censors, but said the CAC accused Sina of spreading illegal information related to rumors, violence and terrorism , and advocation of heresies .



Walmart Recommends...

My Fight/Your Fight by Ronda Rousey

Link Here12th April 2015
Wal-Mart has banned in-store sales of a book by UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

 The upcoming book titled My Fight/Your Fight is scheduled for release on May 12 but won't be sold in stores. However Walmart does stick the book for wensire sales.

The book will undoubtedly highlight Rousey's meteoric rise to MMA superstardom and the Olympic run that preceded it, but if her career has shown us anything in these brief four years since her professional debut, it's that Rousey isn't afraid to speak her mind.



Commented: No Shit!...

Advert censor whinges at lack of age restrictions for 'shit your bed' advert

Link Here12th April 2015

A TV ad for Bedworld featured both sales persons and customers talking about beds and mattresses which were available with free shipping. The ad opened with a family's conversation with a salesman, Ship this bed. Ship this bed? You can ship the bed right here at . The ad cut to two young children who asked, Dad, can we ship this bed? Another salesman said I've just shipped this mattress. An older couple said, We've just shipped this bed ... and it felt great. A further salesman said, I ship thousands of beds and mattresses all over the UK. Visit now and ship your bed for free. Issue

The ASA received 10 complaints.

  1. Ten complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because they believed the word ship had been substituted in place of a swear word.

  2. Five complainants challenged whether the ad had been scheduled inappropriately at times when children may be watching television.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered Bedworld had used word play to draw attention to their offer of free shipping; an offer which we considered was evident from the signage in the showroom and the on-screen text at the end of the ad. We acknowledged that what had been said sounded similar to the expletive shit ; however the actors were, in fact, saying ship/ped . In the context of the ad, we considered that viewers who might have been offended by bad language were likely to recognise the pun being used and therefore were likely to understand what the actors were saying. For those reasons, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Upheld

Five complainants were concerned the ad had been scheduled inappropriately and had been shown at times when children may have been watching. Clearcast cleared the ad without any scheduling restrictions which meant the ad could be shown at any time during the day, including during and around programmes targeted towards or of appeal to children. We understood from the complainants that they saw the ad, before, during and after Coronation Street, during This Morning and shortly before the national news at 6 pm. Based on the complainants' information, we considered the ad had appeared during programmes unlikely to appeal to or be targeted towards children.

As mentioned above, we acknowledged that, while the expletive had not been used, the two words did sound similar; we considered that younger viewers were unlikely to register the distinction between the two when spoken in the ad. We considered that shit was likely to be a word that parents may want their children to avoid, that children may already recognise as bad language and that was unsuitable for them. For those reasons, we considered a scheduling restriction should have been applied and because that was not the case, we concluded the scheduling of the ad breached the Code.

The ad must not be broadcast again without a scheduling restriction.

Comment: ASA talking shit

Thanks to Alan

Do the ASA actually understand the English language?

They refer to shit as an expletive. Only problem is that it usually isn't. Shit is only an expletive when used as such - Oh shit! If I say that I am going for a shit, or that after overdosing on laxative I shit the bed, I'm not using an expletive, but using shit as noun and verb in the literal meaning that it has had for centuries. Likewise, piss and fuck are not expletives if used in their literal sense, referring to having sexual intercourse or urination.

A bonkers decision based on crass ignorance of first-year undergraduate linguistics!



Hulu Hullabaloo...

New Zealand media companies threaten ISPs over their global VPN services

Link Here12th April 2015

Following copyright threats from large media companies a New Zealand ISP has taken down its VPN service. Lightbox, MediaWorks, SKY, and TVNZ had threatened legal action against services that bypass geo-restrictions on sites such as Netflix and Hulu. Other ISPs offering similar products are currently standing firm.

For a relatively small fee, users of the most popular VPN services can tunnel out of their country of origin and reappear in any one of dozens of countries around the world. This opens up a whole new world of media consumption opportunities.

Citizens of the United States, for example, can access BBC iPlayer just like any other Brit might, while those in the UK looking to sample the widest possible Netflix offering can easily tunnel right back into the U.S.

This cross-border content consumption is not popular with entertainment companies and distributors. It not only undermines their ability to set high prices on a per-region basis, but also drives a truck through hard-negotiated licensing agreements. Lightbox, MediaWorks, SKY, and TVNZ said in a joint statement:

We pay considerable amounts of money for content rights, particularly exclusive content rights. These rights are being knowingly and illegally impinged, which is a significant issue that may ultimately need to be resolved in court in order to provide future clarity for all parties involved,

Unlimited Internet became the first ISP to respond to media company pressure by pulling its geo-unblocking service known as TV VPN after receiving a warning letter from a lawfirm. The letter, which has been sent out to several local ISPs, threatens Unlimited Internet that its VPN service infringes the Copyright Act of 1994.

Currently there are no signs that other ISPs intend to follow suit.



Political Correctness Is Devouring Itself...

For years a few of us have warned that modern liberals would live to regret abandoning the principle that you should only censor speech when it incited violence. By Nick Cohen

Link Here12th April 2015



Big Game...

The difference between a 12 and a 15 rating is just a single use of a single word as shown by the latest BBFC category cuts for cinema release

Link Here11th April 2015
Big Game is a 2014 Finland / UK / Germany action adventure by Jalmari Helander.
Starring Samuel L Jackson, Ray Stevenson and Ted Levine. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 12A for moderate violence, bloody injury, infrequent strong language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:

  • 2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • This film was originally seen for advice, at which stage the company was informed it was likely to receive a 15 classification but that their preferred 12A could be achieved by removing a single use of a strong term ('motherfucker'). When the film was submitted for formal classification, this term had been partially obscured and the film was classified 12A.
Summary Notes

A young teenager camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.



Updated: Censorial Gits...

China shows off it technical capability to censor and take down international websites

Link Here11th April 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
The open source code sharing depository, GitHub, has been put under a prolonged distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack seemingly from China.

It seems likely that the attack were targeting GitHub projects that help circumvent the Great Firewall of China.

It appears a JavaScript file served from within China by Baidu's advertising network was intercepted such that internet browsers in China would fire repeated HTTP requests at rather than the usual Baidu advertising servers that are built to cope with the massive load.

Anti-censorship campaign group said in a blog post the attacks are an effort to shut down its GitHub-hosted project , and an extension of an attack on anti-censorship groups by Chinese authorities.

Greatfire goes on to point the finger for the attacks directly to the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The group argues that the CAC is deliberately trying to weaponize its Great Firewall to perform international attacks. The Greatfire team wrote:

This is a frightening development and the implications of this action extend beyond control of information on the internet. In one quick movement, the authorities have shifted from enforcing strict censorship in China to enforcing Chinese censorship on internet users worldwide.

Update: The Great Cannon

11th April 2015. See  article from

China has upgraded the website-blocking systems, dubbed The Great Firewall, so it can blast foreign businesses and organisations off the internet.

Researchers hailing from the University of Toronto, the International Computer Science Institute, the University of California Berkeley, and Princeton University, have confirmed that China is hijacking web traffic and redirecting advert server requests so as to overpower sites critical of the authoritarian state.

This weaponized firewall has been dubbed the Great Cannon by the researchers, and typically hijacks requests to Baidu's advertising network in China. Anyone visiting a website that serves ads from Baidu, for example, could end up unwittingly silencing a foreign site disliked by the Chinese authorities.

...Read the full article



Update: Challenging the Right to Listen to Everything...

Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International have jointly filed a case with the European Court challenging the legality of mass snooping

Link Here11th April 2015
Full story: The Edward Snowden Revelations...Internet Snooping in the US revealed
Rights groups have asked the European Court of Human Rights to rule on the legality of the UK's mass snooping regime.

Amnesty International, Liberty and Privacy International have jointly filed a legal complaint with the court. The three organisations claim that the surveillance carried out by GCHQ breaches the European Convention on Human Rights that enshrines certain freedoms in law.

A similar legal challenge mounted in the UK last year saw judges rule that the spying did not breach human rights.

Nick Williams, legal counsel for Amnesty said in a statement:

The UK government's surveillance practices have been allowed to continue unabated and on an unprecedented scale, with major consequences for people's privacy and freedom of expression.

Information that had come to light in the last 12 months showed, said Amnesty, that there were flaws in the oversight system. One revelation concerned arrangements GCHQ has with its US counterparts to get at data it would be difficult for the UK agency to get permission to acquire. There were also loopholes in UK laws governing surveillance being exploited by GCHQ to expand its spying abilities, it said.



An insult to free speech...

Turkish journalists prosecuted for publishing images of Charlie hebdo

Link Here10th April 2015

Two Turkish journalists have been charged with inciting public hatred and insulting people's religious values , after publishing the cover of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that depicted the religious character Mohammed.

The two columnists, Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya, work for the pro-secular Cumhuriyet newspaper which published a selection of Hebdo's images shortly after the magazine was attacked by muslim terrorists.

Although Cumhuriyet did not publish the image of Mohammed, Karan and Cetinkaya included pictures of the magazineit in their columns, prompting prosecutors to launch an investigation after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government would not allow insults to our Prophet .

Karan told Reuters:

We are being threatened with prison for defending free speech. To threaten a journalist because he or she printed a drawing that does not include an insult can only come from a religious, authoritarian government. Neither of us will abandon our defence of free speech.



Offsite Article: Videogames don't make you violent or sexist...

Link Here10th April 2015
Once, you were a gamer because you liked playing videogames, regardless of non-issues like gender, race or sexuality. However, the politically correct see everything through the warped lens of identity politics. By Stephen Beard

See article from



Stitching up the BBFC...

Censor baiting Human Centipede trilogy announces a grand finale with a 500 link sequence

Link Here9th April 2015
Entertainment Weekly revealed that Human Centipede Part 3 (Final Sequence) will be released to US theaters and VOD on May 22. The film stars Dieter Laser from the original Human Centipede film, Laurence R. Harvey from Part 2, and franchise newbie Eric Roberts. Director Six promises that the movie is 100 percent politically incorrect. An official synopsis reveals:

Bully prison warden Bill Boss (Dieter Laser), leading a big state prison in the US of A, has a lot of problems; his prison statistically has the highest amount of prison riots, medical costs and staff turnover in the country. But foremost he is unable to get the respect he thinks he deserves from his inmates and the state Governor (Eric Roberts). He constantly fails in experimenting with different ideas for the ideal punishment to get the inmates in line, which drives him, together with the sizzling heat, completely insane. Under threats of termination by the Governor, his loyal right hand man Dwight (Laurence R Harvey) comes up with a brilliant idea. A revolutionary idea which could change the American prison system for good and save billions of dollars. An idea based on the notorious Human Centipede movies, that will literally and figuratively get the inmates on their knees, creating the ultimate punishment and deterrent for anyone considering a life of crime. Having nothing to lose, Bill and Dwight create a jaw-dropping 500-person prison centipede.




Iconic censored 1932 film gets a UK cinema re-release

Link Here9th April 2015
  Hollywood Classics is to re-release Tod Browning's 1932 classic Freaks in UK cinemas this June.

Browning's 1932 film about a travelling freak show circus featured characters include The Living Torso, Bearded Lady, Human Skeleton, Half Boy and Stork Woman.

The film was extensively cut by studio MGM in response to test screenings. The original version was considered too shocking and exploitative to be released, and no longer exists. The cuts didn't do the trick and film was not a commercial success.

The final 59-minute cut was released to international audiences but was banned by the BBFC in the UK until 1963 when it received an X-rating. The film was later passed 15 uncut by the BBFC for VHS and has been passed 12/12A uncut since the 2001 DVD release.

In 1994, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant . Hollywood Classics said of the upcoming cinema release:

We feel the cinema-going customers deserve the opportunity to watch it again. Perhaps audiences will draw parallels with a current fascination for the numerous TV documentaries that follow those living with disabilities (eg, BodyShock, Extraordinary People, The Undateables).




EU Commission is considering an EU wide process for complaints about website overblocking

Link Here9th April 2015
The European Commission is considering creating an EU-wide complaint procedure for people whose websites are wrongly blocked by ISPs.

Justice Commissioner Vera Jourová said in a letter that:

The Commission is analysing the need for a specific initiative on notice-and-action procedures to bring legal certainty and transparency to the way online intermediaries take down content that is alleged to be illegal.

The concept will be published in the planned Digital Single Market legislative package, due to be presented next month, but there are no specific details of the process expected as yet.

Council of Europe human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks said two weeks ago:

The blocking of internet sites without prior judicial authorisation which recently started in France is a clear example of the risks that such measures represent for human rights, and particularly for freedom of expression and the right to receive and communicate information

He urged lawmakers to ensure that any blocking measures:

Are subject to effective democratic control and that the persons at whom they are directed have an effective remedy available to challenge them.



State Censorship...

The French Channel TV5Monde was hacked for 3 hours by terrorists

Link Here9th April 2015
The French channel TV5Monde which is internationally broadcast has been hacked by the muslim terrorists of Islamic State.

TV broadcasts were halted for 3 hours and simultaneously the channel's website and Facebook page were hacked.

The hackers posted documents on TV5Monde's Facebook page purporting to be the identity cards and CVs of relatives of French soldiers involved in anti-Isis operations, along with threats against the troops.

Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State! You have the chance to save your families, take advantage of it. The CyberCaliphate continues its cyberjihad against the enemies of Islamic State.

The hackers had accused the French president, Francois Hollande, of having committed an unforgivable mistake by getting involved in a war that serves no purpose . That's why the French received the gifts of Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher in January.



Offsite Article: An Impossible Quandry...

Link Here9th April 2015
US adult industry considers how to respond to age verification issues such as the mass website blocking threatened by Cameron

See article from



A Weighty Decision...

ASA dismisses complaints about a taxi advert noting an overweight lady as unattractive

Link Here8th April 2015

A poster for a taxi company, distributed to various venues around Southampton and Eastleigh, featured an image of a woman making a suggestive gesture. Text stated IF I START TO LOOK SEXY BOOK A TAXI . Smaller text stated Don't make bad decisions because you have had one too many! Don't drive under the influence, book a taxi with us .

Two complainants, who considered the ad was sexist and also portrayed the woman as unattractive because of her size, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

Asa Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that the implied message of the ad was that the woman depicted would normally be considered to be unattractive and acknowledged that that was likely to be distasteful to some audiences. However, we considered that the emphasis of the image was on the unusual pose and styling of the woman featured, who was depicted wearing colourful and clashing clothes and large jewellery and accessories, and that the overall impression of the ad was that, owing to those factors, the particular, fictional, woman shown was not conventionally sexy , rather than that her weight rendered her unattractive. We also considered that the light-hearted intent of the ad was clear and that it would not generally be understood as an objectification of women, either in its intent or its result. Because we were satisfied that it would not generally be perceived as sexist, or as discriminatory on weight-related issues, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.



Update: Down to Earth...

Copies of The Interview sent into North Korea by balloon

Link Here8th April 2015
A South Korean activist, Lee Min-bok, says he has flown thousands of copies of controversial Sony film The Interview over the North Korean border. He said he had carried out the launches at night four times since January.

The Seth Rogen comedy, about a fictional CIA plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, enraged Pyongyang.

Lee, a defector from the North, said he had tied the DVDs to balloons along with bundles of US dollars and leaflets criticising Kim's regime. He told AFP news agency:

I launched thousands of copies and about a million leaflets on Saturday, near the western part of the border.

Lee told CNN that the North hates this film because it shows Kim Jong-un as a man, not a God and that he wanted to tell the truth to North Koreans.

Any North Korean who had access to a DVD player and was found to have watched the film would likely face a lengthy sentence in a prison camp.



Offsite Article: France Etait Charlie...

Link Here8th April 2015
France tables Patriot Act style mass snooping law

See article from



Obituary: Tom Towles...

American character actor noted for work in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer dies aged 65

Link Here7th April 2015
Tom Towles, a noted American character actor, has died aged 65 shortly after suffering a stroke.

Towles appeared in film and television extensively beginning in the 1980s. He was probably best known for his turn in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer as a character modeled after Ottis Toole, Henry Lee Lucas' reputed accomplice in several murders.

He has also appeared in Night of the Living Dead , Fortress , Mad Dog and Glory , Blood in Blood Out , House of 1000 Corpses , and its sequel, The Devil's Rejects . He portrayed a drug trafficking gang leader in the big screen adaptation of Miami Vice and had a cameo in one of the faux trailers Werewolf Women of the SS in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse .



A Picture of Government Repression...

Turkey blocks all social media in an attempt to censor news images that were considered propaganda

Link Here7th April 2015

Turkey got itself in a censorship mess in attempt to block a few news images.

Two gunmen, from a far-left group, took a prosecutor hostage at an Istanbul courthouse last week. Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz was apparently taken hostage because he headed an investigation into the 2013 death of a boy during anti-government protests. Images were published in news reports showing the prosecutor being held at gunpoint. The gunmen and the hostage were later killed in a police 'rescue'.

Turkish authorities decided that the images were anti-government propaganda . and set about censoring them. Newspapers were stopped from printing the images, but it was not so easy to stop the images circulating on social media. So Turkey promptly blocked access to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and others in their entirety. In total, 166 websites which shared the images were blocked by the court order.

The blocks on Facebook and Twitter were later lifted after they both sites later took down the censored images. But not before the Turkish people had come to see how repressive their government has become.

Millions of social media users tried to post comments or videos on their favourite platforms only to find that they were blocked. But the block did not stop people from tweeting. Newspapers and individuals alike shared guidelines on how to circumvent the ban. The hashtag #TwitterisblockedinTurkey became the number one trending topic worldwide.



Offsite Article: Reality Check...

Link Here7th April 2015
Full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
A quick skim over some of the online age verification issues about porn website restrictions

See article from



Offsite Article: US TV censor attempts a land grab on the internet...

Link Here7th April 2015
FCC Proposes Treating Online TV Like Cable TV. Amazon Objects If It'll Stop You From Binge-Watching The Wire

See article from



Offsite Article: Best not to say anything...

Link Here7th April 2015
Teachers complain they're expected to be state informants in the fight against Islamist extremism in schools

See article from



Offsite Article: No Platform...

Link Here7th April 2015
All censorship, including No Platform, is an elitist activity. Censors are generally self-appointed individuals who believe they have the right to decide which viewpoints should not be spoken or heard by anyone. By Jerry Barnett

See article from



Update: Good Question...

Australian Sex Party MP asks why the State of Victorian hasn't yet acted on a Law Reform Commission recommendation to legalise the sale of hardcore porn

Link Here6th April 2015
Last week during the sitting of the Victorian Parliament, Fiona Patten MLC questioned the Attorney General about legalising hardcore porn sales in the state of Victoria (currently sales are only legal in Canberra and the Northern Territories):

In relation to the Australian Law Reform Commission's 2012 Review of Australia's classification system, will the Government legalise X18+ classified films in line with public opinion and, if so, when?

The Victorian government now has 30 days to answer the question.



Update: Martial law continues in Thailand but with a new name...

New Security Law Annihilates Freedom of Expression

Link Here 6th April 2015
Full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup

After eleven months, the Thailand government finally lifted martial law in the country on April 1, 2015; but it quickly signed a new security law which some human rights groups described as even more repressive.

Thailand's army launched a coup last May, purportedly to end the street clashes between opposition and pro-government forces. It imposed martial law, controlled the newsrooms of major media stations, and banned political gatherings. An interim constitution was drafted which led to the establishment of a military-backed civilian government led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha. The new government is known as the 'National Council of Peace and Order'. But martial law remained in effect despite the appointment of civilian authorities.

Invoking article 44 of the interim constitution, Prayuth signed Order Number 3/2558 (3/2015) which repealed martial law but imposed harsher security measures across the country. The new order provides for the appointment of 'peace and order maintenance officers' from the ranks of the military who are delegated with sweeping powers to defend the security of the state. These army personnel can search homes, summon and arrest troublemakers, confiscate properties, and detain suspected individuals in special premises for up to seven days even without judicial authority.

Freedom of assembly is still curtailed as stated in article 12 of the order which bans political gatherings of five or more persons.

The order is also a threat to free speech. Article 5 of the order could be used to stifle dissent. The provision reads:

Peacekeeping Officers are empowered to issue orders prohibiting the propagation of any item of news or the sale or distribution of any book or publication or material likely to cause public alarm or which contains false information likely to cause public misunderstanding to the detriment of national security or public order. (Unofficial translation by iLaw, the Freedom of Expression Documentation Center)

Reacting to this provision, the country's media giants represented by the Thai Journalists Association, National Press Council of Thailand, Thai Broadcasting Journalists Association, and News Broadcasting Council of Thailand banded together and issued a statement which criticized the article as the greater threat to press freedom and freedom of expression than the lifted Martial Law."

They urged the NCPO to clarify the intent of the article and provide a more specific definition of 'national security threat' and 'dissemination of false information':

Without any clear definition of national security threat, cause of public alarm and dissemination of false information, the authorities might over-exercise or abuse their power, which is very contradicting to the NCPO order.

They also warned that this particular provision would affect millions of Internet users:

Civilians are also at risk, as people who communicates and discusses topics through online social media that contain information viewed by the authorities as threat to national security, cause of public alarm, spreading of false information or public misunderstanding will be punished on the same condition.

Referring to the same article, the Southeast Asian Press Alliance asked:

What is the criteria for determining if the content in question 'causes alarm' or is 'false information likely to cause public misunderstanding'? If the content in question is true and factual, can truth be a defense against such a prohibition?

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein was more direct when he assailed the NCPO's new order as a measure that would 'annihilate freedom of expression' in Thailand. He added:

Normally I would warmly welcome the lifting of martial law, but I am alarmed at the decision to replace martial law with something even more draconian, which bestows unlimited powers on the current Prime Minister without any judicial oversight at all.

News about the lifting of martial law in Thailand was initially met with skepticism since it was announced on April Fools' Day. But the Thai junta was clearly not joking when it passed a more brutal law to replace martial law.



Freedom of Expression Legal Framework...

Equality and Human Rights Commission provide a good overview of the current right to freedom of expression in the UK (and how this has been chipped away in the name of political correctness)

Link Here6th April 2015

This guide explains the legal framework which protects freedom of expression and the circumstances in which that freedom may be restricted in order to prevent violence, abuse or discrimination. It explores the boundaries between freedom of expression, unlawful discrimination and harassment, and hate speech. It also considers various contexts in which freedom of expression is curtailed. There are, of course, other aspects of the right to freedom of expression (such as privacy, libel and defamation) which will be covered in future publications.

There is considerable debate at both national and international levels about what types of contentious language or communication should be either permitted or prohibited. This is reflected in different levels of protection in different countries. Here we set out the legal framework in Great Britain.

This guide covers:

  • The legal basis for freedom of expression in England, Scotland and Wales

  • Limitations on freedom of expression in contexts including those relating to hate speech

  • Criminal offences relating to hate speech and sentencing

  • Freedom of expression and the media

  • The role of public bodies in hate speech cases

  • The role of regulators

  • How freedom of expression applies in relation to:

  • Employment situations

  • Service provision

  • Education, and

  • Electoral conduct

  • The role of the Commission



Offsite Article: Doing the Decent Thing...

Link Here6th April 2015
Full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
Calling on porn sites to protect on-line youngsters by blocking links to the Conservative Party

See article from



It's no joke at the BBC...

A multi-level bureaucracy of joke inspectors at the BBC

Link Here5th April 2015
Viewers may be surprised to learn about the lengths the BBC must now to go to get a simple joke on air, with boxes to be ticked right up to the director-general.

An editor at BBC comedy has disclosed the careful compliance procedures as executives fear causing a national scandal with a politically incorrect joke. He said some jokes had to be checked personally by the director of television and even Lord Hall himself.

Speaking at a Bafta event about free speech and television, Chris Sussman, an executive editor for comedy at the BBC, said the corporation is now extra-wary of causing offence in a post-Sachsgate and Twitter world. He told an audience:

At the BBC, it's been a difficult few years and I think that is reflected internally in terms of the processes and procedures we go through when we're making programmes. Certainly since I've been there it's been, I would say, a tougher environment than it has been for a while. To get a certain joke on air, to get a joke approved, we have to go through quite a lot of layers.

We have editorial policy advisors, we have legal advisors, we have to run jokes past the channel. In certain circumstances they'd have to run jokes past the director of television. I've been involved in a programme where it's gone all the way up to the director-general.

He added that all jokes were now considered on the basis of whether they were funny enough to justify any potential offence caused.



Update: Slim models put on the breadline...

France bans slim models from the catwalks

Link Here5th April 2015
France's National Assembly on Friday voted to ban the use of very slim catwalk models, in one of the latest measures aimed at trying to make fat people feel better about being fat.

The ban was proposed as an amendment to Health Minister Marisol Touraine's health reform package by Socialist MP and neurologist Olivier Veran.

Touraine herself backed the proposal that would stop model agencies being able to employ models whose Body Mass Index (BMI) falls below an as yet unspecified level.

Agencies found employing models considered too thin could be liable for a fine of up to 75,000 euros ($85,000) and six months in prison.

The lower house of parliament also backed a law making a retouched photo tag compulsory when people's bodies in commercial images are Photoshopped. No doubt such tags will become as omnipresent as 'beware this product may contain nuts' tags are in the food industry. As if ANY commercial image isn't photoshopped!

The politically correct aim, the Socialist deputies sponsoring the measures said, is to bring body ideals hawked to the public back to a healthy reality.

The penalty for breaking the proposed law could run to a fine of either 37,500 euros or 30% of the budget behind the offending advertising campaign. Even more reason to affix the warning to all images, just in case.

French lawmakers approved another amendment proposed by Veran that would punish people inciting others to extreme thinness to a year in prison and a fine of 10,000 euros. That law was aimed at so-called pro-ana websites that some accuse of encouraging anorexia.



Stereotypically PC...

Rome adopts a policy of not allowing its advertising space to be used for adverts that offends against political correctness

Link Here5th April 2015

A new politically correct censorship policy affecting advertising in the city of Rome will soon come into effect. Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino said advertising space would be prohibited to those:

Who use women's bodies or launch sexist messages. City advertising space will be able to be sold only to those who respect the rules in the new regulatory plan and so a woman's body can't be associated with images that objectify it or portray it in a sexist way.

Marino said. Marino reviewed the city's advertising code with respect to the Friendly Images Award , promoted by the Women's Union in Italy (UDI) and the Office of Information of the European Parliament in Italy, aimed at promoting communication that goes beyond stereotypes .



Update: The Nasty Party...

Tories will block all internet porn if they win the election

Link Here4th April 2015
Full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
The government has been trailing this policy by forcing onerous age verification requirements on British adult Video on Demand websites. Unfortunately there is currently no economically viable way to implement age verification and the net result is that pretty much the entire British VoD business has either been forced to close or else move overseas.

Widening out the policy to all internet porn will not do anything to make age verification practical and so the only possible outcome is that all internet porn will have to be blocked by the ISPs. Perhaps a few sites with a massively comprehensive selection of porn (think porn Amazon) may be able absorb the administrative burden, but they will for sure be American.

Anyway this is what the Tories are proposing:

It's time to protect children online

By Sajid Javi, Culture & Censorship Secretary, writing for the Daily Mail

Imagine a 12-year-old-boy being allowed to walk into a sex shop and leave with a DVD showing graphic, violent sexual intercourse and the subjugation of women.

You would, quite rightly, ask whether society should allow such a young mind to view hard-core pornography. I'm sure we'd all agree that the answer would be an emphatic no .

Yet each and every day children right across our country are being exposed to such images. And it's happening online.

The internet has been an amazing force for good in so many ways. But it also brings new threats and challenges for us to contend with. I'm a father of four young children and I know all too well that the online world can be a worrying place for mums and dads. After all, even the most attentive and engaged parents cannot know for sure which websites our children are visiting and what images they're seeing. Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid is setting out plans to shield youngsters from easy access to hardcore online pornography

Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid is setting out plans to shield youngsters from easy access to hardcore online pornography

In 2015 anyone, regardless of their age, is only ever two clicks away from the kind of material that would be kept well away from young eyes in the high street. And allowing young people to access pornography carries alarming consequences both for individuals and for society. It can lead to children pressuring each other to try out things they've seen online, and sharing inappropriate sexual pictures and videos. And it can lead to children having unhealthy attitudes towards sex AND relationships.

It is because of these types of concerns that we have long restricted and regulated adult content in the offline world -- whether that is magazines, TV programmes, DVDs or video-on-demand content. Such protections are taken for granted, and, as the Daily Mail has argued for years, it's time our approach to the online world caught up.

So today we are announcing that, if the Conservatives win the next general election, we will legislate to put online hard-core pornography behind effective age verification controls.

Of course adults should be perfectly free to look at these sites. But if websites showing adult content don't have proper age controls in place -- ones that will stop children looking at this kind of material -- they should and will be blocked altogether. No sex shop on the high street would be allowed to remain open if it knowingly sold pornography to underage customers, and there is no reason why the internet should be any different.

An independent regulator will oversee this new system. It will determine, in conjunction with websites, how age verification controls will work and how websites that do not put them in place will be blocked.

One thing is absolutely clear: the Conservative Party's commitment to child safety online. For the past five years we have been working with industry on A voluntary basis, an approach that led to the creation of default-on family filters. But filtering is just one way in which we can keep our children safe online. Now we can -- and must -- go further to give our children the best start in life.

There will be some who say that this exercise is futile, that websites and children alike will find ways to get around this law. And I agree that there are always people who try to avoid legal restrictions. But we must not let the best be the enemy of the good.

It is right that we act now and do what we can to restrict this content. It is right that we have the same rules applying online as we do offline. And it is right that we do everything we can to protect our children.

If we fail to take action, there is every chance that the sort of things children see on these websites will be considered normal by the next generation. That is not the sort of society I want to see and it's certainly not the sort of society I want my children to live in.

Over time Britain's laws have evolved to reflect our most deeply held values and beliefs, and the protection of children has long been a sacrosanct principle at the heart of that. I don't believe that we should abandon such an important principle simply because the latest threat to our young people comes from a technology that also brings incredible benefits.

There is a choice at this election, and it is between a party which backs families wants to give children the best start in life, and a chaotic Labour Party with no plan.

We are clear: adults should and will be free to view legal content, but we would never stand by and allow that 12-year-old boy to buy hardcore pornography from a sex shop.

It's time to make sure our children are just as well protected online as they are on the high street.



Undemocratic Censorship...

Authors connected to Hong Kong pro-democracy protests find that book shops won't sell their titles

Link Here4th April 2015

Book publishers and authors are warning that censorship is increasing in Hong Kong . They say bookstores are returning books connected to authors who have been involved in the recent pro-democracy protests. Bookstores are reportedly under pressure to not carry books that may offend the central government in mainland China .

Carmen Kwong Wing-suen is the chief editor of the book publishing company Up Publications. She said her company had hundreds of books returned by Sino United Publishing, which oversees several other publishing companies. Sino United Publishing operates 51 stores through its subsidiaries.

Kwong co-wrote a book on the Occupy Central protests. She said the book received orders for only 28 copies instead of the normal 200 copies. She also said most of the books recently returned by Sino United Publishing were not about political topics .

Bruce Lui Ping-kuen is a former reporter and now teaches journalism at Hong Kong s Baptist University. He said the rejection of books by publishers supportive of the pro-democracy movement is part of the increased censorship in the city and is an example of creative ways to limit or stop voices that are hostile to the Communist Party .



Updated: Unfreedom...

Indian film censors ban lesbian themed thriller

Link Here4th April 2015
Full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Unfreedom is a 2015 USA / India crime romance by Raj Amit Kumar.
Starring Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussain and Bhanu Uday. Youtube link IMDb

In New York arrives a violent and angry man imprisoned by his brutal past, Mohammed Husain. His mission - to kidnap and kill a peaceful Muslim scholar, Fareed Rahmani. On the other side of the world, Leela Singh, a homosexual girl in New Delhi, kidnaps her bisexual lover, Sakhi Taylor. Her mission - to marry her lover and live happily ever after. In a brutal struggle of identities against unfreedom, four characters, in two of the world's largest cities, come face to face with most gruesome acts of torture and violence. The choices they make when they are most cornered in life, expose the blemished reality of contemporary world.

India: Banned by the CBFC, March 2015

The film is the story of a young girl who resists a forced arranged marriage to unite with her lesbian partner. The nudity and lovemaking scenes of the female protagonists, 'outraged' the Indian Board of film censors.

Add to it a parallel story line which revolves around a liberal Muslim kidnapped by a terrorist and the CBFC was up in arms.

Speaking from the US, the director told Mirror, The two stories are juxtaposed and the film challenges the idea of religious fundamentalism and questions its connection with homosexuality which is a biting reality of India.

He added that the film was refused by both the Examining Committee and the Revising Committee. They plainly told me that after watching the film, Hindu and Muslims will start fighting and will ignite unnatural passions. I was aghast as my film is not provocative.

The filmmaker then appealed to the Film Certification Apellate Tribunal (FCAT) but this time too, he was denied a certificate. I'm making an appeal in the High Court now as the Censor Board cannot tell a filmmaker what to make and what not to, said the filmmaker

Update: Director to appeal the ban in court

4th April 2015. See article from

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) recently banned the release of Unfreedom, a film based on a lesbian relationship, on the grounds that it will supposedly ignite unnatural passions . The board reportedly also had a problem with a storyline in which a liberal Muslim girl is kidnapped by terrorists.

Kumar has decided to file court case against the CBFC. I have appealed to the high court asking them to allow me to release the film.

The director said that the board primarily had a problem with the portrayal of religious fundamentalism in the film. Everyone believes that the reason for banning the film is homosexuality, but that's just a part of the problem. The religious fundamentalism, which I am dealing with in the film, bothers them even more, Kumar said.

The chief censor, Pahlaj Nihalani said:

The film was brought to the censor board back in November last year, when I had not even joined office. They (previous panel) had not cleared the film. So, the filmmaker approached the Examining Committee later, which refused a certification to the film. He then went to the Revising Committee, which passed the film with an A certificate, after suggesting a few cuts. However, the producer was still not satisfied, and he approached the tribunal (the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal) in Delhi. And the Tribunal also refused to certify the film. And now, the director is planning to move the court.

Kumar spoke of the cuts requested by the censors:

I don't even want to talk about the kind of cuts they asked me to make in my film. It was not only cutting a few scenes, it was more about removing a particular thought and expression. They have no business telling a filmmaker what to put in his film. They cannot curb our creativity. Who are they to decide what goes in my film and what doesn't.



Censorship Order That Threatened Websites and Message Boards Overturned...

Judge overturns order that censored criticism of a copyright troll

Link Here 3rd April 2015

US rights to express opinions online, for instance, to criticize copyright trolls and their demands for money in hopes of scaring them away, are protected by the First Amendment. The Georgia Supreme Court correctly underscored these protections in a ruling late last week about the state's anti-stalking law. The panel overturned a trial judge's astonishing order directing a website owner to remove all statements about a poet and motivational speaker who had a sideline business of demanding thousands of dollars from anyone who posted her prose online, a practice that had sparked plenty of criticism on the web.

The case, Chan v. Ellis, was initiated by Linda Ellis, an author of the motivational poem The Dash, which is freely available on her website. When others repost the poem, Ellis routinely sent copyright infringement notices, offering to settle the legal dispute for $7,500. This earned Ellis notoriety on Matthew Chan's (ELI) a website dedicated to providing information for recipients of settlement demand letters like Ellis' and featuring a message board used to expose alleged copyright trolls and extortion letter schemes. The site included nearly 2,000 posts about Ellis and her settlement demands, from Chan and others.

In February 2013, Ellis filed a petition for a stalking ex parte temporary protective order, claiming that some of the posts amounted to stalking and cyber-bullying. (The message boards have been taken down, so we can't read what the messages actually said.) A Georgia state court held that the online posts constituted contact with the writer tantamount to stalking and ordered removal of all posts about Ellis, not just threatening ones, n an overreaching ruling impeding freedom of expression and ignoring the legal protections afforded to intermediary publishers of web content,

The case was appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, where, because of the important free speech concerns, the UCLA First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic and Loyola Law School Prof. Aaron Caplan weighed in on the case on EFF's behalf. We emphasized the free speech issues raised if contact under the state's anti-stalking law was interpreted to include online statements about an individual. The Georgia Supreme Court, in an opinion that mirrored our arguments, ruled that posting criticisms of the poet wasn't the type of contact the anti-stalking law prohibits because the comments were for public consumption and not sent directly to her. T he court said:

That a communication is about a particular person does not mean necessarily that it was directed to a person The publication of commentary directed only to the public generally does not amount to 'contact' under Georgia's anti-stalking law.

While Ellis may not have liked what people said about her, that's not enough to stifle publication of opinions expressed to the general public. As the court ruled, Ellis failed to prove that Chan 'contacted' her without her consent and the trial court erred when it concluded that Chan had stalked Ellis.

EFF has called for a federal statute that would nip this type of claim against commentary on websites and blogs in the bud. A federal anti-SLAPP law would provide bloggers and website owners with a defense against expensive legal threats targeting legitimate online content, enabling them to file a request in court to get the cases dismissed quickly. At least 28 states already have such laws against strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPPs. A similar law at the federal level would protect bloggers, website owners, and other creators across the nation, and discourage plaintiffs like Ellis from dragging their targets into court.

The Internet has turned into an unrivaled forum for discussion and debate, and people around the world use the Web to share information about people and businesses they don't think are dealing fairly with others. We are pleased the Georgia court recognized this and protected free speech online instead of dangerously expanding the scope of the state's anti-stalking law.



Not So Good Friday Night Dancing...

Germany struggles with archaic law that bans dancing on Christian special days

Link Here3rd April 2015
The regional government of German state of Baden-Württemberg said it is considering relaxing the state's ban on dancing during Easter and other Christian holidays.

The holiday law, often called the Tanzverbot, or dance ban, is present in some form in all German states. It forces nightclubs to close and in some cases bans live music in rooms where food and drink is served. Punishments vary, but violators can risk fines of up to 1,500 Euros.

Party-central city states such as Berlin have relaxed the law in recent years, but even it doesn't allow dance events to start before 9pm on Good Friday. Baden-Württemberg, a state with a higher Catholic population than most, is among the strictest states, and bans dancing throughout Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Saturday, until 3am on Easter Sunday. It also imposes the ban from Christmas Eve until 3am on 26 December.

The church is not impressed at the state's moves to relax the law. A spokesman for the Rottenburg-Stuttgart diocese told the Stuttgarter Zeitung:

As far as the Catholic church is concerned, Good Friday is not open to debate,

Bavaria has already announced that it would not be changing its rules. Currently the dance ban there lasts four whole days at Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday, and is also imposed on other Christian holy days.



Offsite Article: Are a Tenth of the UK's 12-Year-Olds Really Addicted to Porn?...

Link Here 3rd April 2015
NSPCC commission bollox survey from company specialising in asking the right questions to get the required results. By Frankie Mullin

See article from



Offsite Article: The slippery slope to censorship...

Link Here3rd April 2015
We have been sliding down the slippery slope for as long as I can remember. Isn't it about time that we hit the bottom? Why we should avoid the slippery slope'argument

See article from



Offsite Article: Games: Over-protecting children makes them no safer...

Link Here3rd April 2015
I allow my 16-year-old daughter to play the 18-rated Grand Theft Auto. So should someone call the cops? That's what certain schools in England are threatening to do. By Fionola Meredith

See article from



Offsite Article: Europol chief whinges about computer encryption...

Link Here3rd April 2015
Full story: The Edward Snowden Revelations...Internet Snooping in the US revealed
A European police chief says the sophisticated online communications are the biggest problem for mass snooping by security agencies.

See article from



Obituary: Robert Z'Dar...

The Maniac Cop hands in his badge, aged 64

Link Here2nd April 2015

Robert J. Zdarsky, better known as Robert Z'Dar, was an American actor and film producer, perhaps best known for his role as Matt Cordell in the cult horror film Maniac Cop and its two sequels. He died on the 300th March from a heart attack.

Z'Dar worked mainly in low-budget B-movies and direct-to-video features, but occasionally in mainstream Hollywood films and television. Due to his cherubism, a medical condition resulting in an enlarged jawline, Z'dar had a unique and easily recognizable look with a slightly sinister appearance, which aided his career as he usually portrayed villains.

Z'Dar has appeared in at least one film a year, including: The Night Stalker (1987), The Killing Game (1988), and Dead End City (1988) and Marching out of Time (1993) directed by Anton Vassil. Z'Dar's name became recognizable when he played Matt Cordell in 1988's Maniac Cop, a film about a maniac in an NYPD cop uniform who brutally murders people.[Z'Dar reprised his role in the sequel and Badge of Silence.

It was perhaps Z'Dar's performance in Maniac Cop that landed him the role of Face in 1989's Tango & Cash alongside action stars Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell.[3] In 1991, he shared the screen with F. Murray Abraham, Christian Slater, and Lara Flynn Boyle in Mobsters.



Attitudes to Online and On Demand Content...

Ofcom publish report noting that parents are most worried by their kids watching violent internet video

Link Here2nd April 2015

Parents are more worried about their children being exposed to violent videos than pornography or bad language, according to new research. A report from Ofcom reveals that violent images tops the list of concerns for parents when it comes to their children watching footage on the internet.

The report by the TV censor ranked the concerns of parents, with 39% of those who had expressed worries naming violence as a key issue, sexually explicit content and bad language followed shortly after with 33% and 28% respectively.

Vivienne Pattison, director of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said:

The people that I speak to are terribly concerned because of tablets and smartphones because people can just wander off with them.

This is a whole new level of challenge that parents have never had to deal with before. Devices are so small now and they move, we're still working this out and we're playing catch up.

She added that she was not surprised violence came out on top of the list and said the results chime with her own research.

The Ofcom report, Attitudes to Online and On Demand Content , claimed that more than one in ten people who had watched videos online has seen something that concerned them. An Ofcom spokesman said:

We know children now watch programmes in a variety of ways, and on different devices, and we recognise this poses new challenges for parents and regulators. This is why we're working closely with the Government and other bodies, like the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, to ensure children are protected across different media.



Update: Causing Extreme Discomfort to China...

In addition to American TV, China bans sexy and violent Japanese anime

Link Here2nd April 2015
Full story: Internet TV Censorship in China...Draconian censorship
Some of China's biggest video streaming sites have been warned that they face punishment after failing to remove sexy or violent Japanese cartoon video clips. The ministry noted that 12 offending clips on Todou alone had attracted more than one million hits.

China's Ministry of Culture said the firms had hosted anime that glorified violence and terrorism, and contained vulgar erotic elements. Net firms Baidu, Tencent and Youku were among those named as offenders.

The announcement coincides with the introduction of wider restrictions on the use of foreign online clips. Streaming sites are now censored by publication licences required to be able to add other countries' TV series and movies, which will be censored by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) on an individual basis.

Three specific examples of indecent anime cartoons are mentioned in a statement posted to the Ministry of Culture's website:

  • Blood-C, a series about a sword-wielding teenage girl who fights monsters in her town. It is accused of containing a particularly bloody beheading scene that would cause extreme discomfort
  • Terror in Resonance, a series involving two teenagers who carry out a terrorist attack with a nuclear weapon. Officials said this glorified violence and criminal activities
  • High School of the Dead, a show about a group of students struggling to survive in a world overtaken by zombies. The programme, which was given a certificate 15 when released in the UK.

The firms involved have been told they will learn what penalties they face at a later stage.



Update: Venus's Erotic Grotto...

Russian theatre director sacked over supposedly blasphemous production of the opera Tannhauser

Link Here2nd April 2015
Full story: Blasphemy in Russia...Offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols
Russia's government has fired the head of a theater in Siberia over an opera production that wound up the Russian Orthodox Church and religious activists.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky dismissed Boris Mezdrich as director of the Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet Theater over an updated staging of Richard Wagner's 19th-century opera Tannhauser . The production portrayed the title character as a director making a film about Jesus visiting Venus's erotic grotto.

Mezdrich's dismissal was announced as thousands of people demonstrated outside the theater in the center of Novosibirsk, saying the production was offensive to Christians and reflected the values of a decadent West.

The protests reflected what liberals say is an oppressive atmosphere in Russia, where President Vladimir Putin has portrayed his country as a bulwark against an immoral West and allowed the Russian Orthodox Church increasing sway over everyday life despite the legal separation of church and state.

A local Russian Orthodox cleric filed a lawsuit last month against Mezdrich and the director of the Tannhauser production, Timofei Kulyabin, accusing them of desecrating Christ's image and offending believers. A court in Novosibirsk cleared Mezdrich and Kulyabin on March 10, saying there was no evidence they violated the law.



Commented: Children's 'charities' get nasty about internet censorship...

Seeking onerous age verification that would make it near impossible to have anything adult on the internet

Link Here 1st April 2015
The political organisation, Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, is lobbying parliamentary candidates to sign up for oppressive policies to ban all businesses from working with age restricted websites who don't sign for onerous and unviable age verification requirements.

The political campaign group, Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, is an umbrella organisation funded by Action for Children, BAAF, Barnardo's, Children England, Children's Society, ECPAT UK, Kidscape, NCB, NSPCC, and Stop It Now!

CHIS has launched its Digital Manifesto which it is sending to all the major political parties contesting seats in the forthcoming General Election to the UK Parliament. The manifesto asks the parties to commit themselves to the policy recommendations which are put forward. CHIS has more or less guaranteed political support by cunningly tacking on the internet censorship measures to a raft of measures targeting child porn.

Perhaps the most oppressive section in the document is:

Data protection and access to age restricted goods and services

39. The government should consider ways to ensure stricter compliance with the decision in R v Perrin (CCA 2002)15 in respect of adult pornography sites. Perhaps the Gambling Commission's experience in certifying age verification systems could be brought to bear in this area. The Authority for Television on Demand's remit could be extended to enable them to advise or adjudicate on whether particular sites are covered by the decision in R v Perrin.

40. Legislation should be introduced to make it illegal for any bank, credit card company or other form of business or association to provide any services or facilities to companies or organisations that publish pornography on the internet but do not have a robust age verification process in place.

41. Legislation should be brought forward to provide for the development of regulations governing the online sale of age-restricted goods and services. It should be a crime for any bank, credit card company or other organisation to provide financial or other services to websites selling age restricted goods or services without a robust age verification system in place.

42. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) should issue clear, research-based advice and guidance on the respective rights and responsibilities of all the parties where online data transactions involving children are concerned. These regulations should specifically address but not be limited to data transactions linked to the engagement of children in e-commerce.

43. In particular, the ICO should consider setting, or asking parliament to set, a legally defined minimum age below which verifiable parental consent will always be required in an online environment (though this should be balanced to avoid overly restricting the children's activities online). This should apply for all types of data transactions, or for those transactions linked to e-commerce, or both.

Comment: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

2nd April 2015. Thanks to Alan

Two thoughts spring to mind here.

1. How can these outfits claim to be charities when they are engaged in naked political activity by campaigning for changes in the law? Would it be worthwhile to mount a challenge with the Charity Commissioners?

2. I note their enthusiasm for the decision in R v. Perrin. You covered this case at the time, and it was pretty outrageous. Perrin, a straight Frenchman, had acquired as a going concern an American business, one of whose activities was a gay scat site. (Nothing else it did involved porn.) Perrin ensured that the site complied with American federal law and the law of the states in which the porn was filmed and the servers housed. It was Perrin's misfortune to live in Sussex. He was nicked on the basis that since the stuff could be downloaded here it was published here. The charities are creaming their pants over this case because the jury only found Perrin guilty in relation to the free samples, not the stuff behind the paywall. Incidentally, the case was met with outrage and incomprehension in France, where Le Nouvel Observateur had to explain the bizarre concept of obscene publication to its readers.



Update: Copying Britain...

Australia publishes new draft law to extensively block file sharing websites

Link Here1st April 2015
A draft of new legislation aimed at stopping Aussie consumers accessing pirate sites has been published. The amendments, which contain criteria that could see hundreds of sites blocked by ISPs, is believed to have been reworded to ensure that VPN services don't become caught in the dragnet.

Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull instiugated the process resulting in the legislation.

The site-blocking elements of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 are likely to please rightsholders with their significant reach.

In order to apply for an injunction against an ISP, rightsholders need to show that the provider in question provides access to an online location outside Australia and that the location infringes or facilitates infringement of copyright. The location's primary purpose must be to infringe copyright, whether or not in Australia .

Once an injunction is handed down against an ISP it will be required to take reasonable steps to disable access to the infringing site. What amounts to reasonable will almost certainly be the subject of further discussion as any over-broad moves could result in collateral damage and bad PR.

There will now be a six week consultation period for additional submissions and tweaks.



A Selective First Amendment...

Liberal Democrats propose improved press freedom...but they still have plenty of PC extremists who want to censor the internet

Link Here1st April 2015
A right to protect journalism from state interference and an end to ministers appointing the chef TV censors are set to be proposed by the Liberal Democrats in a new first amendment -style charter on press freedom to be outlined in the party's manifesto.

The Lib Dem policy document is expected to suggest there should be a new statutory recognition of journalism so that newspapers and other media are not required to rely solely on the freedom of expression rights as spelled out under article 10 of the European convention on human rights. Article 10 is weaker than the first amendment of the American constitution, which states that it is illegal for the US Congress to pass any law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press .

The proposed package is also expected to include:

  • An end to the right of ministers to appoint the chairs of Ofcom and the BBC's internal regulator, the BBC Trust. Appointments would be made via an independent body such as the commissioner for public appointments, but would not preclude a politician being appointed.
  • A requirement that any decisions on media takeovers are subject to parliamentary as opposed to ministerial oversight, in a bid to prevent a repetition of the circumstances surrounding News Corporation's proposed takeover of BSkyB, which was going to be waved through by the then culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, until the phone-hacking scandal erupted.
  • An end to the ministerial veto that allows the attorney general to over turn decisions of the information tribunal
  • A requirement for media regulator Ofcom to undertake periodic reviews of media plurality in the UK, independent of any specific takeover bid.

There would also be stronger defences for whistleblowers sending information to MPs and doctors.

The package is also expected to include a statutory public interest defence so that police officers cannot access a journalist's phone records to discover the identity of a source without judicial oversight, after it emerged that the phone records of Sun journalist Tom Newton Dunn had been obtained without his consent by police investigating the Plebgate saga.

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