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Censor Watch

2016: September

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A UK TV reference guide for walking on PC eggshells...

Ofcom categorise words according to their levels of 'offensiveness'

Link Here30th September 2016

Today's viewers and listeners are less tolerant than ever before of discriminatory or racist language, Ofcom research claims.

People also say they are more likely to tolerate swearing on TV and radio provided it reflects real world situations and is set in the 'right' context.

The findings are from new research on people's attitudes towards potentially offensive language and gestures in broadcasting, the biggest study of its kind carried out by Ofcom.

The research used a mixture of focus groups, in-depth interviews, online surveys and discussions involving people from around the UK. It looked at 144 words, exploring what people were likely to find unacceptable, and the reasons why certain words were judged to be offensive.

For the first time the research also included six offensive physical gestures and included some newer and more obscure language than when Ofcom last examined this area in 2010.

The research found that viewers and listeners take into account context, such as the tone, delivery and time of broadcast, when assessing whether offensive language is acceptable. People says they are more likely to tolerate some swearing if it reflects what they would expect to see in real world situations.

Clear racist and discriminatory language was the most unacceptable overall. Such words were viewed as derogatory, discriminatory and insulting. Many were concerned about them being used at any time, unless they were particularly justified by the context. Many said that discriminatory and racist words were harder hitting, carrying more emotional impact than general swear words.

Sexual terms were seen in a similar way to the stronger general swear words. They were viewed as distasteful and often unnecessary, but people said they found them more acceptable if used after the watershed, when they would be more prepared.

Occasional, accidental strong language before 9pm was seen as more acceptable on live TV and radio than in pre-recorded material. People agreed it was sometimes hard for broadcasters to control live programmes, but they were less accepting if they felt broadcasters had acted carelessly or deliberately.

Swearing substitutes, and the bleeping-out of offensive language, were viewed as less acceptable when used frequently. The research found that most people would often understand which word was being substituted, and so the effect was similar to using the actual word being used, especially if it was repeated.

Tony Close, Ofcom's Director of Content Standards Licensing and Enforcement, said:

We set and enforce rules to protect viewers and listeners from potentially harmful and offensive content on TV and radio. To do this, it's essential that we keep up to date with what people find offensive, and what they expect of broadcasters.

These findings will help us strike a balance between protecting audiences from unjustified offence, especially before the watershed, and allowing broadcasters to reflect the real world.

...And lets not forget that oh so important sound bite from Mediawatch-UK. Sam Burnett, of the morality campaign group said:

Ofcom is remarkably out of touch with the viewing public. This is just the latest signal of the declining standards on our screens.



Call for Super Scissor Man...

MPAA upholds PG-13 rating on appeal for Max Steel movie targeting young children

Link Here30th September 2016
Max Steel is a 2016 UK / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Stewart Hendler.
Starring Ben Winchell, Josh Brener and Maria Bello. IMDb

Max Steel is based on the popular Mattel kids action figure line of toys. While the film was developed for the family friendly PG rating release, the MPAA ended up giving the movie a more restrictive PG-13 rating for some sci-fi action violence.

This could have a financial impact for a film trying to attract audiences of younger children, so the studio appealed the rating. However the Classification and Ratings Administration have now turned down the appeal and upheld the PG-13 rating.

It's probably a bit late for remedial scissor work as the movie is scheduled to open in the US on 14th October.



Harry Hill begs Ofcom's pardon for an 8 year old Burp...

Flippant mockery of a trans documentary was acceptable 8 years ago but now has to be censored

Link Here30th September 2016

Harry Hill's TV Burp
Dave, 23 May 2016, 16:00

Dave is a television channel aimed at a predominantly male adult audience.

A viewer alerted Ofcom to an episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp including an item which referred to a Channel 4 documentary entitled The Pregnant Man . The documentary was about Thomas Beatie, a transgender male who was able to conceive and carry a baby because he had chosen to retain his female reproductive organs. The item intercut clips of the Channel 4 documentary with content featuring the comedian Harry Hill as he sat behind a desk in the studio and commented on the various clips.

The viewer considered that the item contained references which were offensive and discriminatory towards the transgender community.

The item started with  brief clip of the documentary including footage of Thomas Beatie and his wife, Nancy, was then broadcast, with the following voice-over from the original Channel 4 documentary: For years, he's been a devoted husband to his wife, so much so that when Nancy discovered she was unable to conceive, Thomas came up with a novel solution . [Images of a pregnant Thomas Beatie were shown]. He got pregnant . [This was immediately followed by laughter from Harry Hill's studio audience]... And continued in pretty much the same vane.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Such material may include, but is not limited to...humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...gender...). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

The Licensee said it had given due consideration to this item prior to its broadcast, and had removed one minute of potentially offensive material from it, because it did stray away from mocking the documentary as a whole to mocking Thomas Beatie personally . UKTV argued that as a result of the edit, any potential offence had been sufficiently contextualised.

The Licensee also referred to the fact this episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp was originally broadcast on ITV in December 2008 and had been investigated by Ofcom following complaints about the programme. Noting that Ofcom had not upheld these complaints, UKTV said that this does suggest that at the time neither the ITV audience nor Ofcom considered Harry's review of The Pregnant Man to be offensive or in breach of the Code .

Nonetheless, the Licensee acknowledged that public awareness of, and attitudes towards trans issues have changed since the episode was originally recorded in 2008. The Licensee therefore asked that Ofcom acknowledge that it had ruled on this episode in February2 2009 and did not find it in breach . It added that it felt that this is a pertinent point as it demonstrates not only that audience attitudes shifted, but those of the regulator have altered too

In conclusion, UKTV said that given the change in public attitudes to trans issues, it had therefore re-edited this episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp to remove this item entirely from any future broadcast.

Ofcom Decision: Resolved

Given all the above, we did not agree with UKTV's argument that Thomas Beatie and his wife were not the object of Harry Hill's mockery. We considered on the contrary that the overall portrayal of Mr Beatie was significantly discriminatory towards him and to transgender people generally. This was because it presented, over a relatively prolonged sequence, Mr Beatie's transition as an object of mockery and humour, and could have been understood by some viewers as making a clear association between Mr Beatie and a Victorian freak show . We therefore considered that the material was clearly capable of causing offence.

Ofcom was of the view that Harry Hill's comments about Thomas Beatie had the potential to cause considerable offence, particularly to transgender people but also to viewers in general. Ofcom noted that the Licensee said it took steps to edit the item before transmission in an effort to limit the potential for offence (because it could have caused offence to the transgender community as it did stray from mocking the sensational titles of Channel 4 documentaries to mocking Mr Beatie personally ). UKTV also acknowledged the change of public awareness and attitudes to trans issues since the original programme was first recorded and broadcast in 2008. We acknowledged that these steps taken by the Licensee helped to mitigate the offence to some extent. However, we considered that, even in its edited version, the item still had the potential to cause considerable offence in particular to the transgender community but also to the audience more widely.

Taking all the elements above into account, we were of the view that the offensive material would have exceeded the audience's likely expectations and was not justified by the context. We concluded that the material was therefore in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

However, Ofcom noted that the Licensee: did take steps to edit the item before transmission; acknowledged the change of public awareness and attitudes to trans issues since the original programme was recorded and broadcast in 2008; and, had therefore edited out this item completely from this episode going forward so the item would not be broadcast again by UKTV.

In light of these steps taken by UKTV, Ofcom's Decision was to consider the matter resolved.



Offsite Article: The Deplorables...

Link Here30th September 2016
Pepe the Frog has been added to a religious campaign group's database as a 'hate symbol'

See article from



Offsite Article: Fun in France...

Link Here30th September 2016
A selection of adverts that have been banned or outraged the politically correct

See article from



Update: Litigation Heaven...

Speculation that Louis Theroux's My Scientology Movie has been banned in Ireland over fears about the country's blasphemy law

Link Here28th September 2016
My Scientology Movie is a 2015 UK / USA documentary by John Dower.
Starring Rob Alter, Tom Cruise and Paz de la Huerta. IMDb

Louis Theroux documents his investigation into what goes on behind the scenes of the infamous church of scientology.

Film distributors In Ireland have decided not to screen Louis Theroux's My Scientology Movie. And the speculation is that the country's recently enacted blasphemy law could be used to stir up hassle for the distributors.

The law, part of the 2009 Defamation Act states that any person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding euro 25,000 . Blasphemous matter is defined as anything that is insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion , and that intends to cause outrage.

The law also states that blasphemy laws do not apply to an organisation or cult that prioritises making financial profit or manipulates followers and new recruits. Scientology isn't officially recognised as a church in Ireland, but it's unclear whether or not it counts as a religion under the acts definitions.

But even if  Scientology doesn't count as a religion, then they can still employ expensive lawyers to make the claim anyway, and that it would then take equally expensive lawyers to counter such a claim.



Obituary: Herschel Gordon Lewis...

Gore film innovator has partaken in his last feast

Link Here27th September 2016
Horror film director Herschel Gordon Lewis has died at his home in Florida. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed. He was 87 years of age.

By 1961, Lewis had made the acquaintance of softcore film producer/director David Friedman, and the pair collaborated on a series of so-called nudie cuties the first of which was Living Venus (1961), a send-up of Hugh Hefner and the founding of Playboy magazine. Several more nudie-cuties followed over the next two years, including the first nudie musical, Goldilocks and the Three Bares .

In 1963, Lewis directed his first (and most famous) horror movie, Blood Feast , considered the first splatter film and described by film critic Roger Ebert as a terrible film, and a historically important one, too --n part because Lewis could sell his horror fare to drive-in movie theaters that wouldn't (or legally weren't allowed) to play his nudie-cuties.

Blood Feast gave Lewis the great accolade of being banned as a Video Nasty during the great moral panic of the early 80's.

His filmography from 1963 reads

1963 Bell, Bare and Beautiful credited as Lewis H. Gordon
Boin-n-g! credited as Lewis H. Gordon
Blood Feast  
Goldilocks and the Three Bares credited as Lewis H. Gordon
Scum of the Earth! credited as Lewis H. Gordon
1964 Two Thousand Maniacs!  
Moonshine Mountain  
1965 Monster A Go-Go uncredited as director
Color Me Blood Red  
1967 A Taste of Blood  
The Gruesome Twosome  
Something Weird  
The Girl, the Body, and the Pill  
Blast-Off Girls  
1968 She-Devils on Wheels  
The Alley Tramp credited as Armand Parys
Just for the Hell of It  
How to Make a Doll  
Suburban Roulette  
1969 The Ecstasies of Women credited as Mark Hansen
Linda and Abilene credited as Mark Hansen
1970 Miss Nymphet's Zap-In credited as Sheldon Seymour
The Wizard of Gore  
1971 This Stuff'll Kill Ya!  
1972 Black Love porn film; credited as R.L. Smith
Year of the Yahoo!  
The Gore Gore Girls  
2002 Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat  
2009 The Uh-Oh! Show  

Coincidently Arrow Films are just about to release a Blu-ray/DVD Combo set of 14 major films from Lewis' career. The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast is collection of films by Herschell Gordon Lewis consisting of:

  • Blood Feast
  • Scum of the Earth
  • Two Thousand Maniacs!
  • Moonshine Mountain
  • Color Me Blood Red
  • Something Weird
  • The Gruesome Twosome
  • A Taste of Blood
  • She-Devils on Wheels
  • Just for the Hell of It
  • How to Make a Doll
  • The Wizard of Gore
  • The Gore Gore Girls
  • This Stuff'll Kill Ya!

See the Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast (RB) Blu-ray/(R2) DVD Combo at UK Amazon released on 24th October 2016



It won't be like the mass surveillance systems in all other countries...honestly...

Swiss voters have approved a new mass surveillance law in a referendum

Link Here 26th September 2016
Swiss voters have approved a new surveillance law backing the government which claimed the security services needed enhanced powers in an increasingly volatile world.

The proposed law won 65.5% support in a referendum called to confirm a mass ssurveillance law already passed by the parliament n 2015.

Switzerland's police and intelligence agencies say they have had limited investigative tools compared to other developed countries as phone tapping and email surveillance were previously banned, regardless of the circumstances.

But the new law will change that. The government insisted it was not aiming to set up a vast data-gathering apparatus, similar to the one developed by the US National Security Agency that came into the public eye in part through former contractor Edward Snowden's revelations. But mass snoopers have not got a track record of publicising or even admitting their capabilities.

The government says that phone or electronic surveillance of a suspect will only be triggered with approval by a federal court, the defence ministry and the cabinet, according to the law. Bern has said these measures would be used only a dozen times a year, to monitor only the highest-priority suspects, especially those implicated in terrorism-related cases. But then again, all the other mass snooping countries have made similar claims, until someone blew the whistle.



Offsite Article: Draw and you'll go to jail...

Link Here26th September 2016
From worried parents to policemen with built-in Satan detectors, underground comics have never lacked enemies. And for 30 years Neil Gaiman and his friends have fought back in the name of free speech

See article from



Offsite Article: Outlaws, Rebels, and Vixens...

Link Here26th September 2016
From a new book about Milwaukee film censors, 1914-1971

See article from



Don't hold your breath...

Sony waste their time appealing for a 15 rating after the New Zealand film censor rants about the violence in Fede Alvarez's Don't Breathe

Link Here25th September 2016
Don't Breathe is a 2016 USA horror thriller by Fede Alvarez.
Starring Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette and Stephen Lang. IMDb

Rocky, a young woman wanting to start a better life for her and her sister, agrees to take part in the robbery of a house owned by a wealthy blind man with her boyfriend Money and their friend Alex. But when the blind man turns out to be a serial killer, the group must find a way to escape his home before they become his newest victims.

New Zealand's Film and Literature Board of Review has upheld the Chief Censor's R18 classification of the Sony Pictures film, Don't Breathe. The classification also carries the warning Contains violence, sexual violence and offensive language .

Sony Pictures appealed the Chief Censor's decision to the Film and Literature Board of Review, and made a submission for a lower classification.

In its decision, the Board of Review noted that their consideration of the movie comes shortly after the government's announcement that domestic violence in New Zealand:

Is at such a level and of such concern that significant political and social measures are necessary to address this problem. Movies which depict extreme violence and sexual violence towards women are of concern to New Zealand society as a whole.

Chief Censor Dr Andrew Jack said in a press release that he welcomes the Board of Review decision, stating that it helps increase New Zealanders' awareness of violent entertainment and supports their right to choose what they and their families are exposed to. He went on to rant that the Classification Office is viewing an increasing amount of horrific and gratuitous sexual violence in mainstream entertainment targeting young people. He concluded: Violent media is helping to shape a violent New Zealand.

In its submission, Sony said they did not agree with the original descriptive note, assigned by the Classification Office, that the movie contained sexual violence . Sony stated there was no sexual violence in the film. They sought an RP15 classification.

For comparison:

  • In the UK, the BBFC rated the film 15 uncut for strong violence, sexual threat, strong language
  • In the US it was MPAA R rated for terror, violence, disturbing content, and language including sexual references.



Judged Offside...

Paul Gascoigne fined 1600 pounds after performing a trivial joke about dark skin

Link Here25th September 2016
Former England footballer Paul Gascoigne has been fined £1,000 for making a joke about a black security guard at a public event.

Gascoigne joked abut Errol Rowe, a security guard, during his An Evening with Gazza show, by asking him: Can you smile please, because I can't see you?

Ordering Gascoigne to pay Rowe £1,000 in compensation, District Judge Graham Wilkinson lectured Gascoigne:

You sought to get a laugh from an audience of over 1,000 people because of the colour of Mr Rowe's skin. Mr Rowe was clearly humiliated on stage, as part of an act.

As a society it is important that we challenge racially aggravated behaviour in all its forms. It is the creeping 'low-level' racism that society still needs to challenge. A message needs to be sent that in the 21st century society that we live in, such action, such words will not be tolerated.

It is not acceptable to laugh words like this off as some form of joke.

Ordering Gascoigne to pay a £100 victim surcharge and a £500 contribution to the cost of the prosecution. Gascoigne has pleaded guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence

Offsite Comment: The state's war on amateur comedians

25th September 2016. See  article from by Andrew Doyle, comedian

Gazza isn't the only one having his collar felt for telling a crap joke

Read the full  article from



Updated: Epic intolerance...

Ben-Hur censored in Malaysia

Link Here24th September 2016
Full story: Censored Films in Malaysia...Film censors and censorship
Ben-Hur is a 2016 USA historical adventure drama by Timur Bekmambetov.
Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell and Rodrigo Santoro. Youtube link IMDb

The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

Malayisia's Film Censorship Board (LPF) said it was not to blame for the censorship of scenes involving Jesus Christ from the Hollywood remake of Ben-Hur .

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid further said he did not recall seeing such scenes from the movie submitted, adding that it was possible the Malaysian version is a different version from those shown elsewhere. He told Malay Mail Online:

Maybe, but not by us, probably by producers when they sent the film to Malaysia, they already cut the scenes, they know (there's) some sensitivities.

Halim said he was certain that the board did not remove the scenes that included Jesus, which were pivotal to the plot of the story.

Local viewers had taken to Facebook to complain of censorship of Ben-Hur, with scenes of Jesus forming key plot points allegedly taken out.

One Facebook user, Jasmine Sia, who watched the film on Friday night, said no scenes involving Jesus was shown at all. she told Malay Mail Online:

I felt cheated. The novel from which this movie is adapted is Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ . It means Jesus is central to the plot. It was censored so much the storyline made no sense! How did Judah's mother and sister get cured from leprosy?

No, they did not show anything with regards to healing. They just appeared at the end of the movie healed. That's why it made no sense.

The local distributor of the film, United International Pictures (UIP) Malaysia, acknowledged on its official Facebook page that the local edition was not identical to that shown elsewhere, after one user named Jerry Terry Derulo pointed out that the runtime here was 11 minutes shorter than listed on movie database IMDB.

Update: Export Version

24th September 2016.  See  article from

Universal has confirmed that there is a special export version of Ben-Hur for intolerant countries that ban the depiction of other religions to their own. The latest Hollywood remake of Ben-Hur has an export version that has been edited to remove scenes featuring Jesus Christ. A Universal spokesman explained:

We submitted into the Censor board a Studio pre-edited version which was available for countries that do not allow the depiction of prophets on film whether by law or due to local sensitivities.

We learned from past titles submitted to the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) that no Prophets are allowed to be depicted on film. In Malaysia, previous films such as Noah and Exodus which depicted prophets were banned by LPF.

UIP Malaysia said the Malaysian version which was pre-cut to a total running time of 114 minutes is also available for other countries.

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid confirmed that LPF adopts the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia's (Jakim) guidelines for films, adding that the body tasked with overseeing religious matters and even the police are sometimes invited to view films together. He added:

But we also have some guidelines from Jakim that any films cannot portray all the prophets or the angels, even the Satan in the context of Islam. Anything mentioned in Quran cannot be visually portrayed in the form of character, figure or drawing.



Commented: Does political correctness ban authors from writing books set in other cultures?...

Author Lionel Shriver comments 'I hope the concept of cultural appropriation is a passing fad'

Link Here 24th September 2016
Author Lionel Shriver comments:

In the latest ethos, which has spun well beyond college campuses in short order, any tradition, any experience, any costume, any way of doing and saying things, that is associated with a minority or disadvantaged group is ring-fenced: look-but-don't-touch. Those who embrace a vast range of "identities" -- ethnicities, nationalities, races, sexual and gender categories, classes of economic under-privilege and disability -- are now encouraged to be possessive of their experience and to regard other peoples' attempts to participate in their lives and traditions, either actively or imaginatively, as a form of theft.

Read the full article from

Update: Will the Left Survive the Millennials?

24th September 2016.  See  article from by Lionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver continues her theme:

I'm dismayed by the radical left's ever-growing list of dos and don'ts -- by its impulse to control, to instill self-censorship as well as to promote real censorship, and to deploy sensitivity as an excuse to be brutally insensitive to any perceived enemy. There are many people who see these frenzies about cultural appropriation, trigger warnings, micro-aggressions and safe spaces as overtly crazy. The shrill tyranny of the left helps to push them toward Donald Trump.

Read the full  article from



Recruiting censors on the cheap...

YouTube to create an army of Stasi snitches and whingers, rewarding them for flagging videos as inappropriate

Link Here23rd September 2016
YouTube is looking for what if calls, heroes to snitch on videos and inappropriate comments, but early feedback has been overwhelmingly negative with users describing it as crowdsourced censorship.

Users who join the Heroes program will earn points for adding captions and subtitles to videos, flagging inappropriate videos and answering questions on the site's Help forum.

Accruing points will earn them with rather underwhelming and cheapo 'privileges' like joining video chats with others in the Heroes program, exclusive previews of upcoming product launches and the ability to flag abusive videos en masse instead of one at a time.

However, YouTube employees ultimately make the final decision on what to do with content marked as inappropriate.

Users on YouTube made their voices heard almost immediately, with an overwhelming number of Dislikes on the announcement video. It currently has over 200,000 Dislikes compared to 3,000 Likes, after nearly 600,000 views.



Traditional censorship...

Silly censors ban silly tourism video using ancient Thai characters in a modern setting

Link Here23rd September 2016
Thailand's Culture Ministry has banned video that promotes Thai tourism through Khon characters.

Scenes showing the Ramakien epic character Thotsakan (Ravana) on horseback, a jet ski, a go-kart, and a tuk-tuk in the music video will be banned. Also facing the axe are scenes showing the imaginary king of giants cooking Thai sweetmeat.

The video's director, Bandit Thongdee, explained:

The Culture Ministry says such scenes are inappropriate. It says Thotsakan should be riding an elephant.

Bandit said the Culture Ministry seemed to want about 40% of the video to be censored.

Culture Ministry permanent secretary Apinan Poshyananda tried to play down the censorship, suggesting that the re-edited version could be even better.



Inappropriate stereotypical fat shaming appropriation...

Disney withdraw Maui costume after PC complaints

Link Here 23rd September 2016
Disney has withdrawn a children's costume depicting the tattooed Pacific demi-god Maui after PC accusations of promoting brownface.

The full-body, zip-up costume, linked to the upcoming animated film Moana , featured brown skin with traditional Pacific tattoos, a grass skirt and bone necklace.

PC whingers accused Disney of cultural appropriation, comparing it to the racially offensive black face make-up once worn by white performers in US minstrel shows.

Disney said in a statement:

The team behind Moana has taken great care to respect the cultures of the Pacific Islands that inspired the film, and we regret that the Maui costume has offended some. We sincerely apologize and are pulling the costume from our website and stores.



ASA vs English Freedom...

Advert censor bans gollywog character from adverts for the Ginger Pop Shop

Link Here22nd September 2016

A press ad for the Ginger Pop Shop seen in the Purbeck Gazette in June 2016 included text which stated Visit our shop and get the tea-towel! and featured an illustration of a golly character holding a pint of ginger beer with text underneath stating ENGLISH FREEDOM .

Two complainants, who believed the depiction of the golly character was racist, objected that the ad was offensive.

Ginger Pop Ltd said they did not accept that the golliwog represented negative racial stereotypes. They provided information about the history of the golliwog character, including his origins in a children's book in the late nineteenth century. They provided a copy of that book and a sequel, with quotes about his origin from the author. They also provided a modern edition of a Noddy Book and The Golly , a collectors' handbook, which showed the variety of golly memorabilia available. They also provided a letter from a supporter and a comments book from their shop, which they said showed that the vast majority of passers-by were positive about the fact they sold golliwogs in their shop. They referred to two online videos they had uploaded about golliwogs. They believed the character as depicted in the original books and on Robertson's marmalade badges was heroic and was an aspirational role model. They acknowledged the character had become stereotyped over time which they said had led some to believe the character was negative. They also said that he was not intended to be seen as a human character but as a magical being, and that many people of all backgrounds had golly toys as children. They supplied a tea-towel which they had produced to celebrate 120 years of golliwogs, which included many adjectives to describe the character and which they were said were far removed from the minstrel doll stereotype.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA understood that there had been some local controversy around the tea-towel produced by Ginger Pop for display and sale in their shop, and that the ad was a reference to that. However, we did not consider that all readers would be aware of that background, or that such awareness would necessarily impact on their reaction to the ad.

The Code required marketers to ensure that ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on various grounds, including race. We noted that the ad featured an image which was recognisably a golly character. We considered that many people were likely to view the character as representing negative racial stereotypes, and its prominent inclusion in a press ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We also considered that the inclusion of the words ENGLISH FREEDOM in the ad was likely to contribute to that offence, because in combination with the image it could be read as a negative reference to immigration or race. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained of.



Update: Porn register...

South Africa works on an internet censorship bill that requires adult video websites to log the names and addresses of all viewers in a register available for government perusal

Link Here22nd September 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
If the Films and Publications Amendment Bill is passed in its current form, South Africans may no longer upload videos to online channels, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram -- unless they register as a distributor and pay a censorship registration fee.

A spokesperson from the Democratic Alliance party, Phumzile van Damme, said that government is increasingly overplaying its hand with regard to freedom of speech:

There seems to be a firm hand in a broader project of censorship that is very worrying.The 'Internet Censorship Bill' in its current form gives government wide-sweeping powers to censor content on the internet.

The bill seeks to restrict the distribution of digital films in that such content needs to be pre-classified by the Films and Publications Board. The terminology used in this provision is broad enough to include all digital videos and films, also user-generated video materia uploaded to social media platforms.

A section in the bill states that any person who distributes a film or game classified as X18 must keep a register when access to the content is granted to a user. The user's name, address and age will be captured in the register and the CEO of the Films and Publications Board will have access to this register.

Van Damme commented:

This is an unjustifiable breach of the right to privacy, which includes the right to not have your private communications infringed.

Meanwhile as the bill is being discussed in parliament, South Africa's film censors have demand that Google censor seraches for adult material.

The Film and Publication Board has stated it is unacceptable for people to be able to access pornography with a Google search. The FPB made the statement during a parliamentary hearing into submissions on what has been called its Internet censorship bill. Lawyer Nicholas Hall quoted the FPB during the IESA's submissions on the FPB Amendment Bill.

FPB: It is unacceptable that you can type in Pornography and get access to porn, Google needs to take steps to address this



Offsite Article: Don't let copyright box us in...

Link Here22nd September 2016
A call to the FCC to disallow big media company copyright control freakery from being applied to Internet TV. By Mark Lemley

See article from



Campiagn: Don't Spy On Us...

Opposing mass surveillance in the UK

Link Here21st September 2016
Full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter

The Government is trying to pass a surveillance law that will give the Government, intelligence agencies and police the kind of powers you would expect in an authoritarian regime. The Investigatory Powers Bill will let the security services, police and government departments snoop on our private communications and Internet use.

Data about your emails, phone calls, texts and Internet use will be hoovered up. Everything you do on the Internet and on your phone will be recorded and stored for a year. This can be trawled through by Government supercomputers. The police and security services can hack your computer or phone.

You don't have to be suspected of a crime for any of these things to happen.

If the #IPBill is passed, the UK will have one of the most extreme surveillance laws in the world. We can't let this happen. Help us to fight the #IPBill.

campaign at



Offsite Article: If You Build A Censorship Machine, They Will Come...

Link Here20th September 2016
EFF notes that MPAA are fighting censorship of smoking on film whilst seeking censorship for uses of film that they do not approve

See article from



Complainants about insults are always right, especially when they are rich...

The Italian Chamber of Deputies has put forward a bill that will allow for rampant, unaccountable censorship of the Italian internet, without rule of law or penalty for abuse.

Link Here 19th September 2016

Under a proposed law supposedly targeting cyber bullying and revenge porn, a website manager of Italian media, including bloggers, newspapers and social networks would be obliged to censor "mockery" based on "the personal and social condition" of the victim -- that is, anything the recipient felt was personally insulting.

The penalty for failing to take action is a fine of ?100,000. Truthfulness is not a defense in suits under this law -- the standard is personal insult, not falsehood.

Let's start with what this won't do: it won't stop bullying, harassment or revenge porn in Italy. The majority of services on which Italians express themselves are not based in Italy, and those with Italian sales-offices, etc, can and will simply move offices rather than face a ?100,000 fine every time someone insults someone else online.

But what it will do is create a tool for easy censorship without due process or penalty for misuse. The standard proposed in the bill is merely that the person on the receiving end of the argument feel aggrieved. Think of the abuse of copyright takedowns: online hosts already receive millions of these , more than they could possibly evaluate, and so we have a robo-takedown regime that lets the rich and powerful routinely remove material that puts them in an unflattering light.

The standard set by the proposed Italian law allows for purely subjective claims to be made, and for enormous penalties to be imposed on those who question them before undertaking sweeping acts of censorship.

Internet-savvy Italian deputy Stefano Quintarelli has proposed an amendment that makes the law marginally saner: under his amendment, failure to act on a censorship notice wouldn't automatically give rise to a fine; rather, it would make the person who ignored the complaint a party to any eventual civil penalty imposed by a court of law.

That is a step in the right direction, but it is really just a plaster over a gaping chasm of bad, reactionary lawmaking. The people who are genuinely aggrieved will continue to struggle for justice; the genuine bad actors (like revenge-porn sites) will continue with impunity out of Italian jurisdiction, and the rich and the powerful will get a force-multiplier for silencing their critics without meaningful penalties for abuse.

The Berlusconi years gave Italy a reputation for political chaos. In the post-Berlusconi era, we'd hoped for better. By seriously considering ideas as bad as this one, the Italian chamber of deputies continues to make Italian politics into a global joke.



Update: Epic intolerance...

Ben-Hur censored in Malaysia

Link Here18th September 2016
Full story: Censored Films in Malaysia...Film censors and censorship
Ben-Hur is a 2016 USA historical adventure drama by Timur Bekmambetov.
Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell and Rodrigo Santoro. Youtube link IMDb

The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

Malayisia's Film Censorship Board (LPF) said it was not to blame for the censorship of scenes involving Jesus Christ from the Hollywood remake of Ben-Hur .

LPF chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid further said he did not recall seeing such scenes from the movie submitted, adding that it was possible the Malaysian version is a different version from those shown elsewhere. He told Malay Mail Online:

Maybe, but not by us, probably by producers when they sent the film to Malaysia, they already cut the scenes, they know (there's) some sensitivities.

Halim said he was certain that the board did not remove the scenes that included Jesus, which were pivotal to the plot of the story.

Local viewers had taken to Facebook to complain of censorship of Ben-Hur, with scenes of Jesus forming key plot points allegedly taken out.

One Facebook user, Jasmine Sia, who watched the film on Friday night, said no scenes involving Jesus was shown at all. she told Malay Mail Online:

I felt cheated. The novel from which this movie is adapted is Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ . It means Jesus is central to the plot. It was censored so much the storyline made no sense! How did Judah's mother and sister get cured from leprosy?

No, they did not show anything with regards to healing. They just appeared at the end of the movie healed. That's why it made no sense.

The local distributor of the film, United International Pictures (UIP) Malaysia, acknowledged on its official Facebook page that the local edition was not identical to that shown elsewhere, after one user named Jerry Terry Derulo pointed out that the runtime here was 11 minutes shorter than listed on movie database IMDB.



Offsite Article: No refuge from mass snooping...

Link Here18th September 2016
Internet exchange DE-CIX challenges the legality of Germany mandating devices to enable mass internet surveillance

See article from



Petitioning for a British exit from democracy...

CPS has yet to reject an anti-democratic petition calling for the prosecution of Nigel Farage for supposedly inciting religious and racial hatred

Link Here17th September 2016

The Crown Prosecution Service is to review anti-democratic allegations that Nigel Farage incited racial and religious hatred during the EU referendum campaign.

The move comes after 42,691 people signed an online petition calling for the former Ukip leader to be prosecuted. The petition cited the Breaking Point poster unveiled by Farage which depicted mainly non-white refugees crossing a border in central Europe, thousands of miles from the UK. The petition stated:

The law states that it is incitement to racial hatred when a person 'intends to stir up racial hatred, or makes it likely that racial hatred will be stirred up. This can include such things as making a speech, displaying a racist poster.'

The law states that it is incitement to religious hatred when a person uses: 'words or behaviour that is intended to stir up religious hatred.'

Nigel Farage, however, told The Independent that he rejected utterly any suggestion that he or any campaign with which he had been involved had incited any sort of hatred. Speaking of those who had asked for him to be prosecuted, he said:

I suggest they all get a life and recognise that this referendum is over. The war is over. So let's get on with building a happy, peaceable multi-racial society.

The call for a prosecution was passed to Westminster Police who initially rejected it, with the investigating detective saying that the Breaking Point poster cannot sensibly be interpreted as incitement or any other offence. However the petition was passed onto the CPS who for some reason didn't immediately reject it and have decided to review it.

Offsite Comment: Investigating Farage for hate speech would be an act of tyranny.

17th September 2016. See article from by Tom Slater

What next: locking up Leavers?



Commented: Police seem to think they can make up the law defining hate crimes...

More police forces consider defining insults against women as a hate crime

Link Here 17th September 2016
Three more police forces are considering expanding their definition of hate crime to include misogyny after an experiment in one city that saw about 20 investigations launched in two months. Devon and Cornwall, Durham and Lincolnshire are reported to be sending officers to Nottingham to discuss the experiment.

Nottingham's action against against supposedly sexist abuse has drawn national interest. The city force introduced specially trained police who targetted behaviour ranging from street harassment to unwanted physical approaches.

Several other forces have confirmed they are sending representatives to Nottingham this month to discuss the introduction of misogyny as a hate crime.

Dave Alton, the 'hate crime manager' for Nottingham police, said:

The number of reports we are receiving is comparable with other, more established, categories of hate crime. We have received numerous reports and have been able to provide a service to women in Nottinghamshire who perhaps wouldn't have approached us six months ago. The reality is that all of the reports so far have required some form of police action.

Melanie Jeffs, local feminist campaigner said:

Women are groped, or groups of lads shout abuse or very sexualised comments at them. We have incidents of sexual touching, women being grabbed and men trying to get women into a car with them.

We know it's a big issue that happens on a daily basis -- it's part of the everyday wallpaper of women's lives. This is about raising awareness, making women feel that they don't have to put up with it -- and that's very empowering. Already women are ringing through to the police saying: 'I want this to be recorded as a misogynistic hate crime'.

Offsite Comment: Protecting women from the world

17th September 2016. See article from by Naomi Firsht

By criminalising sexism, the police are acting like Victorian chaperones.



Update: Deviant censors...

Intolerant Indonesia seeks to ban gay networking apps

Link Here17th September 2016
Indonesia is planning to ban gay networking apps , in the latest demonstration of the country's growing intolerance toward the LGBT community.

A government official confirmed that authorities are already moving to block at least three apps, Grindr, Blued and BoyAhoy.

But the ban could be much broader. According to Buzzfeed , more than 80 websites and applications geared toward sexual and gender minorities could fall under the injunction. AFP cited communications ministry spokesperson Noor Iza as claiming that such websites promote sexual deviancy.

The spokesperson said that letters had been sent to three online service providers requesting that the apps be blocked, but it is unclear whether they will adhere to the bid.



Soaraway Censorship...

Liverpool councillors call for the city's newspaper sellers to ban the Sun in long running dispute over its unfair coverage of the Hillsborough disaster

Link Here16th September 2016
The Society of Editors have condemned a decision by Liverpool councillors to support a ban on retailers selling The Sun in the city, calling it a slide towards censorship .

At a meeting of the full council at Liverpool town hall, councillors backed a motion calling on retailers to stop selling the paper.  It came after the council heard from Ralph Hadley who called on council members to throw their weight behind his Total Eclipse of The Sun campaign . He said around 220 shops had also agreed to stop selling the paper.

According to the Echo, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said he supported Total Eclipse of The Sun 110% and added the newspaper will never, ever, be forgiven .

Speaking to BBC News , Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said that although he recognised the strength of feeling towards the newspaper in the city, it should be a matter of personal choice whether vendors wish to stock the paper and the decision of individuals as to whether they wish to buy it. He said:

I think the issue is beginning to stretch towards censorship. No public organisation should be seeking to restrict a perfectly legitimate newspaper.

Strong feelings towards The Sun stem from its coverage following the Hillsborough stadium disaster on 15 April, 1989. The Sun angered Liverpool supporters when it claimed in a front page story after the disaster that fans of the club had behaved despicably. 23 years later following an independent report into the disaster, the paper apologised for getting it wrong with the headline The Real Truth .



Russia goes down the tube...

Miserable internet censors block major free porn websites, PornHub and YouPorn

Link Here16th September 2016
Russian courts have ruled that two popular adult websites, Pornhub and YouPorn, will be banned in Russia. With access to the troves of free porn suspended, Russian social networks exploded with sarcasm.

Both sites were added to the blacklist of Russian media by internet censor Roskomnadzor on Tuesday.

The agency did not specify why the courts ordered the sites to be blocked, but reiterated its advice from the last time it banned Pornhub in 2015. Answering a person on Twitter who asked whether the watchdog offered any alternative to the adult site, it said the alternative is to go out and meet somebody in real life. [Maybe try Pattaya!].

PornHub also humorously asked Roskomnadzor about the ban:

@Pornhub: if we give you guys a Pornhub Premium account, will you un ban Pornhub in Russia?

@roscomnadzor replied: sorry, we are not in the market and the demography is not a commodity.



Offsite Article: Censor grab on land grab protest...

Link Here16th September 2016
This week, Chinese police carried out a vicious crackdown on demonstrators in the southern Chinese fishing village of Wukan, now the authorities are trying to censor news about the protest

See article from



Copyright reform fails EU citizens in favour of industry...

Open Rights Group and TorrentFreak report on more disgraceful legislation from the EU

Link Here 15th September 2016
Open Rights Group has criticised the European Commission's proposals for the Directive on Copyright in the Single Market, published today.

Executive Director Jim Killock said:

Thousands of EU citizens responded to the consultation on copyright, only for the Commission to ignore their concerns in favour of industry. The Commission's proposals would fail to harmonise copyright law and create a fair system for Internet users, creators and rights holders. Instead we could see new regressive rights that compel private companies to police the Internet on behalf of rights holders.

Failure to introduce EU wide freedom of panorama exception

The failure to introduce a harmonised exception for freedom of panorama is both a lost opportunity and a direct snub to the thousands of people who responded to the Commission's consultation on this. It appears that the Commission has simply ignored their opinions and made no mention of freedom of panorama in its proposals. Freedom of panorama is a copyright exception that allows members of the public to share pictures they've taken of public buildings and art. While this right exists in the UK, many European countries do not have this exception, which means that innocuous holiday snaps can infringe copyright.

Compelling intermediaries to filter content

The proposals aim to compel intermediaries, such as YouTube, to prevent works that infringe copyright from appearing on their services through content identification technologies . This is effect would force sites to police their platforms on behalf of rights holders through filters and other technologies that are a blunt instrument.

Such proposals could place unreasonable burdens on smaller operators and reduce innovation among EU tech companies. They will certainly lead to a greater number of incorrect takedowns, as "Robocopy" takedowns cannot take account of fair quotation, parody, or even use of public domain material.

These plans could undermine the UK's hard-won right to parody copyright works. Folk songs and classical performances by amateurs are often misidentified and removed as infringing 'copies' of performances of professional musicians for instance.

New ancillary copyright for news publishers

The proposals suggest a new right for news publishers, designed to prevent search engines and news aggregators from reproducing snippets at the expense of publishers. Although, this is designed to protect the media industry, it had a disastrous impact on news websites when similar proposals were introduced in Spain and Germany. It is also disproportionate that the proposed right would last 20 years, given that it applies to news.


Open Rights Group is the UK's leading grass roots digital rights organisation, campaigning for the right to privacy and free speech.

ORG's FAQs document on freedom of panorama is available here .

ORG is part of Copyright for Creativity, which campaigns for a new European approach to copyright.

Meanwhile TorrentFreak has been speaking to Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda about the impossibility of the proposals for anyone except for US media giants. TorrentFreak reports:

Today, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal to modernize the EU's copyright law. Among other things, it will require online services to install mandatory piracy filters. While the Commission intends to strengthen the position of copyright holders, opponents warn that it will do more harm than good.

Despite earlier suggestions that geo-blocking would be banned for streaming portals such as Netflix, these ideas haven't made it into the final text. Instead, it introduces a wide range of reforms that improve the position of rights holders.

One of the suggestions that has a lot of people worried is Article 13, which requires online services to police pirated content. This means that online services, which deal with large volumes of user-uploaded content, must use fingerprinting and filtering mechanisms to block copyright infringing files. The Commission demands:

The Commission proposal obliges such service providers to take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure the protection of user-uploaded works, for example by putting in place content recognition technologies.

This could, for example, be similar to the Content-ID system YouTube has in place, which hasn't been without controversy itself. While the Commission stresses that small content platforms won't be subject to the requirement, the proposal doesn't define what small means. It also fails to define what appropriate or effective content recognition systems are, creating a fair bit of uncertainty.

The Commission, however, notes that the changes are needed to reinforce the negotiating position of copyright holders, so they can sign licensing agreements with services that provide access to user uploaded content.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this language is directly aligned with recent calls from various music industry organizations. Just a few month ago the BPI asked for new legislation to prevent platforms like YouTube abusing safe harbor protections in order to create royalty havens . With the current proposal, this wish has been partly granted.

TorrentFreak spoke with Pirate Party Member of Parliament Julia Reda who is fiercely against mandatory piracy filters.

There are countless problems with this approach. First of all, Google spent upwards of $60 million on the development of ContentID. Asking every startup or community project to make the same kind of investment is ludicrous.

Most services that deal with user-uploaded content can't invest millions into content recognition technologies so they would have to license it from others such as YouTube. This will only increase the already dominant positions of the major players.

In addition, she points out that automated systems often lead to overt mistakes and are poorly equipped to deal with the finer nuances of copyright.

Just because part of a copyright-protected work shows up in a video, that doesn't mean that the new work constitutes a copyright infringement.

There are numerous exceptions to copyright such as parody or quotation â?� different in every EU country â?� that could justify the re-use of part of a protected work. An algorithm can't detect that. It will take down lots of legal remixes and mashups, thus stifling freedom of expression.

A valid comment, as we witnessed ourselves just a few days ago when one of our perfectly legal videos was inaccurately flagged as a copyright infringement.

YouTube aside, Reda stresses that there are many other platforms to which automated recognition systems are not well suited. Wikipedia, for example, which uses mostly Creative Commons licensed content, or services such as DeviantArt which hosts user-uploaded artwork, or MuseScore that hosts sheet music.

There is no technology available that would reliably detect copyright infringements in these formats. The Commission is asking Internet companies to do the impossible, thus endangering collaborative communities on the Internet as well as European startups.

And there is already a campaign in place against the EU's nasty proposals. The SaveTheLink campaign via OpenMedia writes:

The EU Commission has officially released some of the worst copyright laws in the world, including unprecedented new Link Tax powers for publishing giants.

Despite opposition from over 100,000 Internet users and dozens of other advocacy groups, the EU Commission has charged ahead with its wrong-headed plan. This will affect Internet users around the world.

This comes on the heels of a major court ruling that undermined our right to use hyperlinks. 4 This means it's more important than ever that EU decision-makers do what they can to stop this dangerous #LinkTax plan. 5

The link tax could make some of your favourite content virtually disappear from search engines. Users all over the world will be impacted.

Join us now at to give decision-makers a clear resounding 'no to the link tax'.



Commented: Undercover censorship...

Ofcom clears a few non explicit, non nude shots suggesting Love Island reality show contestants were having sex

Link Here15th September 2016

Love Island
30 June 2016, ITV2, 21:00

Love Island is an ITV2 reality programme in which a group of young single people look for romance while staying in a luxury villa.

Ofcom received seven complaints about the episode broadcast on 30 June 2016 at 21:00. Viewers objected to a scene in which housemates Emma and Terry had sex. This was broadcast shortly after the watershed.

The individual housemates got into bed with their partners. The lights in the communal bedroom were turned off and the following images were shown in the form of footage taken using night vision cameras:

  • Emma and Terry in bed together and kissing, with their upper bodies visible above the duvet (with Emma wearing a slip);
  • Emma and Terry looking at each other in medium close up;
  • a wide shot from behind of Emma as the duvet slipped from her shoulders down to her lower back, which indicated that under the duvet she was straddling Terry;
  • a series of three brief close-ups of Emma’s back and shoulders as the couple had sex; and
  • a shot from behind of Emma pulling the duvet back up over her shoulders afterwards.

These shots were interspersed with images of the shocked reactions of the other housemates in the villa's bedroom while Emma and Terry had sex, as well as interview footage of them afterwards recounting their view of what had happened.

Ofcom considered rules:

  • Rule 1.6: The transmission to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed…For television, the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.
  • Rule 2.3 In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include, but is not limited to…sex…Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach of Rules 1.6 and 2.3

Rule 1.6

We noted that Love Island is a relatively well-established reality show format and that this episode formed part of the programme's second series (which began on 30 May 2016). The series focuses on the romantic entanglements of a group of young single people, and we recognised that sexual activity between housemates had occurred in this and the previous series, and is often a key element of the programme's ongoing narratives.

We took account of other specific contextual factors that we considered reduced the explicitness and overall sexual tone of the material. In particular, we observed that the images of the sexual activity were recorded using night vision cameras so that they were in monochrome and relatively indistinct, and the shots of Emma straddling Terry while they were having sex were very brief (approximately six seconds in total duration). We also noted that none of this sexual activity was shown in any explicit way: the couple were covered by a duvet below the waist and Emma was wearing a slip throughout, and there were no images of full nudity during these scenes. We considered that the use of music, and the intercutting of the shots of Emma and Terry with the housemates’ reactions, lightened the tone and further reduced the potential impact on viewers of the sequence. We also took account of the clear warning before the programme that alerted viewers to “scenes of a sexual nature”.

Ofcom had regard to the fact that the programme was broadcast on ITV2, a channel that is aimed at a young adult audience. In light of this, much of this channel’s postwatershed schedule includes reality programmes as well as films and comedies targeted at adults. We therefore considered it likely the audience would have a greater expectation for content potentially unsuitable for children to be shown shortly after the watershed on this channel, compared to the audience for the main ITV public service channel.

We also noted that this episode of Love Island was immediately preceded by a double-bill of the sitcom Two and a Half Men. This programme typically includes some limited discussion of adult and sexual themes and does not aim to attract child viewers. We considered these factors helped, in this case, to ensure that the transition to stronger material after the watershed was not unduly abrupt. In addition, given the brevity and relative inexplicitness of the content, we did not consider it amounted to the strongest material . For all these reasons, our Decision was that Rule 1.6 was not breached.

Rule 2.3

We considered that the Licensee had ensured that this potentially offensive material was justified by the context. Therefore, our Decision was that it did not breach Rule 2.3. In the particular circumstances of this case, Ofcom has found this material did not breach of the Code.

However, as noted above, we consider that content including real sex may carry a greater potential to raise issues under the Code than depictions of sex in a drama or film. Broadcasters should take particular care and exercise caution when scheduling material of this type soon after the watershed.

Moralists fall out of love with the TV censors

Of course a few moralist campaigners were non pleased by Ofcom's decision and were happy to provide the Daily Mail with a few sound bites.

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, whinged:

Schools work hard to encourage children not to experiment with sex and these kinds of programmes present sex as some kind of Victorian freak show, offered up for entertainment.

Sam Burnett, acting director of Mediawatch-UK, whinged:

Apparently it's now OK to show two people having sex nine minutes after the watershed as long as you play some jaunty music over the top of it.

Ofcom's lip-service regulation is leading to a freefall in television standards, and it's the viewers who are losing out.

Conservative MP Sir William Cash whinged:

The bottom line is that this was inappropriate. I would agree with those who have said it's deplorable.

Offsite Comment: The Daily Mail has a rant about Ofcom

15th September 2016. See  article from . By Stephen Glover for the Daily Mail

What IS the point of a TV watchdog if it rules a couple having sex on a mainstream programme is acceptable?



Offsite Article: DNS Control...

Link Here15th September 2016
GCHQ worryingly speaks of getting involved in scaled up website blocking systems for ISPs

See article from



'Risk of loss' gives companies a very low threshold to pursue legal action against people...

Open Rights Group identifies serious flaws in the Digital Economy Bill currently being debated in Parliament

Link Here14th September 2016
The Open Rights Group has been keeping a careful eye on the Digital Economy Bill currently being debated in Parliament.

Ten year sentences for Online copyright infringement

Open Rights Group have expressed concerns over the penalties for online copyright infringement on numerous occasions, especially in our response to the government's consultation. The overwhelming majority of respondents objected to the new ten year sentencing powers, on the basis that they are manifestly disproportionate, as the current offence is open to abuse.

Unfortunately, while the government and IPO have tried to solve the problematic part of the offence (that of " prejudicially affecting " the copyright owner) they have merely substituted it for another vague concept: that of creating a "risk of loss" to copyright holders. This creates an extremely low threshold whereby criminal liability may be imposed.

Our concern is that this can be used to target ordinary Internet users by legitimately threatening them with the maximum ten-year prison sentence. Following the consultation responses , the new definition of criminal liability was supposed to expressly state that they would be exempt.

Furthermore, stating that there needs to be "a reason to believe" that infringement will cause a loss or will create "a risk of loss" would capture a wide range of behaviour, particularly file sharing. By its very nature file sharing means that shared music, films or books can be further shared, and therefore a "risk of loss" would occur by definition from this activity.

None of the creative industries have advocated pursuing individual file sharers as criminals for this behaviour, preferring education, persuasion and non-criminal sanctions as means to deal with this unwanted activity.

However, abusive copyright owners will be able to substantiate that file sharing is a criminal matter, punishable by way of a custodial sentence. This would in particular fuel the activities of "copyright trolls". Copyright trolls currently specialise in detecting the sharing of pornographic material and sending legal threats to the potential infringers.

These speculative and threatening letters are sent in bulk to hundreds of account holders after detecting copyright infringement. The copyright trolls gain profits when a certain number respond and pay up to cease troubling them. These accusations are frequently incorrect, misleading and sent to account holders who did not sanction any such file sharing. Sending such speculative threats is unfortunately perfectly legal. This Bill, if it retains the concept of "risk of loss" will aid these threats by enabling the copyright trolls to argue that account holders may face criminal charges and ten year prison sentences.

We believe the easiest fix is to remove the concept of "risk of loss", even if the ten year sentences are retained.



There's no protection for people from age verification identity data exploitation by porn companies...

Open Rights Group identifies serious flaws in the Digital Economy Bill currently being debated in Parliament

Link Here14th September 2016
The Open Rights Group has been keeping a careful eye on the Digital Economy Bill currently being debated in Parliament.

Age verification for online pornography

Compulsory age verification poses serious privacy concerns that are not addressed within the Bill. Commercial pornographic websites may collect the exact identity details of their users, creating clear commercial opportunities for themselves.

Data collection creates inherent risks of data breaches and the lack of safeguards within the Bill creates opportunities for 'Ashley Madison' style data leaks revealing personal sexual preferences; since privacy protections are entirely absent from the Bill.

Amateur and smaller commercial websites will be unduly burdened by the Bill. Imposing the cost of age verification on them will make their existence as free and commercial entities untenable. This may also adversely affect sexual minorities by denying them the means to freely express their sexuality.

While the Bill lacks proposals for blocking websites that do not comply for good reasons, it is proposed that payment providers will also be responsible for enforcement: hardly a bullet-proof solution. Meanwhile, online pornography will still be available to those under 18, without age verification, elsewhere on the Internet.

It is concerning that these age verification solutions have arisen from the government's collaboration with pornographic producers who would themselves be able to raise additional revenue from the data collection itself. The Bill needs to reflect a clear separation of commercial interests and child protection objectives.

The role of the age verification regulator needs to be defined in more detail on the face of the Bill. Such a regulatory body may lack expertise in aspects of age verification. Thus, without clearly defined duties (such as the protection and maintenance of privacy) there is a significant risk that they will adopt superficial solutions to address complex issues.

Child protection should also be addressed from alternative perspectives. Children and young adults should receive effective education and guidance, whilst carers should be encouraged to provide protections suitable to a specific child. Such an approach is more likely to succeed without imposing significant costs, restrictions or risks on a large number of adults.



Government 'data sharing' is effectively an ID Card by stealth...

Open Rights Group identifies serious flaws in the Digital Economy Bill currently being debated in Parliament

Link Here 14th September 2016
The Open Rights Group has been keeping a careful eye on the Digital Economy Bill currently being debated in Parliament.

Data sharing

We have been involved in the process of open policy making on data sharing and we have summarised the concerns in a consultation response .

The Bill would allow for bulk sharing of civil registration data at a request of a Department. The database will include the entire population and easily poses a risk of being misused. There is lack of corresponding safeguards that would reflect the size of the database. The sharing of these common identifiers across government has the whiff of ID Cards by stealth. For these reasons, bulk powers should be removed or at least have strict restrictions posed on their use.

Safeguards for data sharing should be brought on to the face of the Bill instead of being buried in Codes of Practice. Currently the Bill is lacking transparency and for this reason it should reinstate Parliamentary approval for permanent data flows and include sunset clauses.

The proposals to share the data on people's debts across government departments show limited benefits. The provisions in the Bill are not capable of cancelling or prioritising the debt. More changes to how data is handled would be necessary to ensure that benefits are delivered.



Offsite Article: Not much to like about Facebook...

Link Here14th September 2016
Facebook is imposing prissy American censorship on the whole rest of the world. By Jane Fae

See article from



Update: Double Censorship...

Horror Channel put on final warning for showing a version of I Spit On Your Grave without all of the BBFC censor cuts

Link Here13th September 2016
Full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity
This is a fine example of double TV censorship. Ofcom demand that if a film has been subject to censorship then only a BBFC approved version can be shown. But the system is doubly biased in favour of censorship. Ofcom do not accept the converse, that a film approved by the BBFC is therefore suitable showing on TV (at the appropriate hour). Ofcom censorship rules still apply. So broadcasters effectively have to submit their films for both BBFC and Ofcom censorship.

Now Ofcom have put the Horror Channel on final notice for showing a version of the 2010 remake of I Spit On Your Grave that did not include all of the 17 cuts demanded by the BBFC. The Ofcom report is as follows:

Horror Channel is available free to air on cable, satellite and digital terrestrial platforms. The licence for the service is held by CBS AMC Networks.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a broadcast of the film I Spit on Your Grave – a 2010 remake of the 1978 film of the same name. Both films chronicle the sexual torture and subsequent revenge of the principal character Jennifer Hills. The complainant alleged that the version of the film broadcast on Horror Channel contained material that the British Board of Film Classification (“the BBFC”) had required to be cut before the film’s release in the UK.

The BBFC guidelines1 list “material which makes sexual or sadistic violence look normal, appealing, or arousing” as an example of the type of content that may be cut as a condition of classification. The BBFC confirmed to Ofcom that, prior the film’s release in the UK, the BBFC had required 17 cuts to the version of the film submitted by the distributor before it awarded the film an ‘18’ certificate. The BBFC said that cuts were made “in order to remove potentially harmful material (in this case, shots of nudity that tend to eroticise sexual violence and shots of humiliation that tend to endorse sexual violence by encouraging viewer complicity in sexual humiliation and rape)”.

At Ofcom’s request, the BBFC compared the BBFC’s 18-rated version and the version broadcast on Horror Channel. The BBFC confirmed that the version broadcast on Horror Channel was a combination of the distributor’s and the BBFC ‘18’ rated versions because some of the shots that it required to be cut for the film to have been awarded an ‘18’ certificate were still present either wholly or partially in the version broadcast on Horror Channel.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.22:

No film refused classification by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) may be broadcast unless it has subsequently been classified or the BBFC has confirmed that it would not be rejected according to the standards currently operating. Also, no film cut as a condition of the classification by the BBFC may be transmitted in a version which includes the cut material unless:

  • the BBFC has confirmed that the material was cut to allow the film to pass at a lower category; or

  • the BBFC has confirmed that the film would not be subject to compulsory cuts according to the standards currently operating.

Rule 2.1:

Generally accepted standards must be applied to contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.

The Licensee said the BBFC confirmed that the ‘18’ classification of the uncut version of the film related to its UK “theatrical release”.
With regard to Rule 1.22, AMC said that it had acquired the “theatrical release” version of the film from its distributor, which the Licensee “believe[d] complied with rule 1.22 prior to scheduling the film”. It said when initially viewing the content for compliance purposes, it had noted the presence of a “slate prior to the content indicating it as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) R rated version of the film, where the MPAA R rating is defined as ‘Restricted’”. The Licensee confirmed that “no further cuts were made to this content as, following compliance viewing, AMC believed the content complied with the requirements of the Ofcom code”.

AMC said its compliance process in this case included referring to the BBFC website to confirm whether the content had previously been awarded a certificate. It said that in the case of I Spit on Your Grave, the Licensee “found there to be two versions submitted to the BBFC and subsequently awarded an 18 certificate in 2010, one which had been cut by 43 seconds (duration [107 minutes 45 seconds]) and one passed as 18 uncut (duration [103 minutes 24 seconds])”. AMC said by contrast that the MPAA R rated “theatrical release” version of the film which had been broadcast had a duration of 101 minutes and 23 seconds, which was therefore shorter than the two versions described on the BBFC website.

The Licensee said that having been made aware by Ofcom that it had broadcast a version that had not been certified by the BBFC, it submitted this version to the BBFC for classification. AMC said the BBFC required six cuts to this version in order for it to be given an ‘18’ classification.

Ofcom Decision: Breech of ruler 1.22 and 2.1

Rule 1.22

We took into account that the Licensee’s confirmation that “no further cuts were made to this content as, following compliance viewing, AMC believed the content complied with the requirements of the Ofcom code”. We recognised that AMC’s compliance process included viewing the content in full prior to airing. However, we were concerned that the Licensee appeared in part to have based its decision to broadcast this version on the certification rating that had been awarded by an overseas organisation with a different set of standards to the UK’s film classification body. Moreover, particularly given the nature of the film in this case, we were concerned that the Licensee considered overall it had applied a sufficiently robust process to ensure compliance with Rule 1.22.

The broadcast of this material clearly breached Rule 1.22 of the Code.

Rule 2.1

Ofcom next considered whether adequate protection from the inclusion of this potentially harmful material was provided for members of the public. In this case the film was preceded by the following pre-broadcast warning by a continuity announcer:

“Now for a programme with a warning that comes in threes: strong language, violence and scenes of a sexual nature”.

This was followed by an on-screen slate which said:

“The following programme contains scenes which some viewers may find disturbing”.

However, bearing in mind that the version of the film broadcast contained a number of shots which the BBFC had specifically required to be cut as a condition of the award of an ‘18’ certificate, we did not consider that these warnings were sufficient to alert viewers to the potential harmful content within this film. Ofcom therefore considered that the Licensee had failed to provide adequate protection to viewers from potentially harmful material and had consequently not applied generally accepted standards. Accordingly, the material also breached Rule 2.1 of the Code.

Ofcom is concerned about the nature of these breaches and the adequacy of AMC’s compliance processes and therefore puts the Licensee on notice that further compliance failures in this area may result in the imposition of a statutory sanction. Furthermore, we are requesting that the Licensee attends a meeting to discuss the issues raised in this case.



Horror and Cruelty...

New Zealand film censor re-rates Suicide Squad after complaint

Link Here13th September 2016
Suicide Squad is a 2016 USA action crime fantasy by David Ayer.
Starring Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne and Will Smith. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

The film caused a little bit of a stir as a few film censors from around the world decided that the US PG-13 rating was a little low. A selection of international ratings are:

  • US: MPAA rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language.
  • UK: Passed 15 uncut for sustained threat, moderate violence.
  • Australia: Rated M (an advisory PG-15) for violent and offensive language content.
  • Rest of the World: And the world censors seem to have mostly sided with the American film censor. Netherlands (12), Norway (12) , Singapore (PG-13) and Ireland (15A) all being lower than the UK. Russia opted for a higher 16 rating though.

Meanwhile in New Zealand to keep the cost of film censorship down, accept by default the lower Australian rage ratings, unless challenged. In this case a viewer complaint led to a re-rating. The film censors of the OFLC explained:

The complainant felt the unrestricted M rating was inappropriate considering the nature of the supernatural horror and violence in the film, noting that the film had been given a restricted 15 classification in the UK:

Questions that [children in the audience] loudly asked of each other...seemed to suggest that they didn't understand what they were seeing which, when it comes to the themes in the movie leaves me seriously worried for what they might have taken away from the experience, for example in respect of the abusive relationship between Mr J and Harley, or the situation of Diablo and his guilt over having killed his family. To name only two of the rather serious and complex matters raised in the movie. Initial complaint about Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad was originally given an M rating through the cross-rating process -- where a film that has been given an unrestricted rating in Australia is assigned the equivalent rating in New Zealand. This is standard practice for commercial films distributed in New Zealand, however the Classification Office has the authority to classify cross-rated films if there is uncertainty about the appropriateness of the rating. The M rating means anyone of any age can view the film, but that it is more suitable for mature audiences 16 and over.

Following examination by the Classification Office, the original rating -- M violence and offensive language -- was changed to R13 violence, horror and cruelty .



Instagram to offer service to block posts using selected phrases...

I think I will block anyone suggesting a ' petition'

Link Here 13th September 2016
The photo-sharing website Instagram has unveiled a new moderation system which lets users automatically censor unkind or inappropriate comments.

Users will now be able to select words they find troubling or concerning and then ban any comments which use the unmentionable phrase.

The Sun rather 'unkindly' comments:

This is likely to be warmly welcomed by the gentle souls of Generation Snowflake , who have a pathological fear of encountering views they disagree with.

Instagram's guide to banning nasty comments reads:

Go to your Profile and tap the Options menu (gear icon). Click Comments.

There, you can select Hide Inappropriate Comments, which will hide any comments using a standard list of keywords.

You can also add custom keywords you'd like to filter out. Any comments containing these keywords will be hidden.

If a comment is posted with one of these keywords, it will only appear to the commenter and the commenter's followers and will be hidden for everyone else.

This feature will hide violating comments on old and new posts alike.

If you turn the comment filter off or remove custom keywords, any comment with those keywords will be unhidden.



Offsite Article: UK Porn Laws...

Link Here13th September 2016
If you're confused about porn laws, you aren't the only one. Technological developments and changing societal attitudes have left UK legislation dated, contradictory and just plain confusing. By Kink Craft

See article from



Virtual outrage...

A Virtual Reality version of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 will allow players to touch characters 'inappropriately'

Link Here12th September 2016
A new video game set to be released on Playstation's virtual reality system is set to outrage a few feminists.

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 is already controversial on conventional consoles and has been self censored and withdrawn from US and European release.

In a video showing the platform's new VR technology, the man playing clearly uses the motion controller to touch her inappropriately, despite her protests. The feature lets players ogle the female body, even though she tells him in translation: I don't like it . She also uses a word that directly translates to bad that is often used to flatly deny permission.

Founder and Creative Director of Games We Play, Kate Raynes-Goldie complained:

Very often women in video games are sexually objectified and don't have any agency in the game and this is taking that to the next level.

I think that video games play a strong part in contributing to the larger culture and what social norms are. The problem with that is the more you see that the more it becomes ok.

It's normalising it... It's definitely going to be changing the norm and further contributing to that norm that women are objects and no means yes and adding to that problem we have in society.

It is unclear if the Japanese version being demonstrated is the version to be released in the west on October 13.



Room Full of Lawyers...

Sydney Underground Festival aims to show documentary despite likely litigation

Link Here12th September 2016
Room Full of Spoons is a 2016 Canada documentary by Rick Harper.
Starring Juliette Danielle, Robyn Paris and Kyle Vogt. IMDb

Room Full of Spoons makes plain the reasons why The Room is The Room . Through very entertaining interviews with cast and crew, we are let in on the circumstances that lead to some of the most baffling, iconic, and incredibly stupid scenes in Tommy Wiseau's cinematic enigma . The terrible dialog, the TV behind the couch, the breast cancer, the tuxedos, The Denny seemingly inviting himself to a three-way, the chocolates, and that goddamn football

The Room is a 2003 USA drama by Tommy Wiseau.
Starring Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle and Greg Sestero. IMDb

Johnny is a successful banker who lives happily in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée, Lisa. One day, inexplicably, she gets bored of him and decides to seduce Johnny's best friend, Mark. From there, nothing will be the same again.

The Room is notable for being widely regarded as one of the world's worst films. Room Full of Spoons  is a documentary about the 2003 The Room and its eccentric creator Tommy Wiseau.  Now Wiseau is a bit touchy about the criticism and has opposed screenings of the film through legal actions.

Sydney Underground Film Festival has pencilled in a screening but is a little wary of undertaking any expensive litigation.  Festival director Stefan Popescu says the documentary had been pulled from a number of festivals following threats of legal action from Wiseau. He still believes the festival can screen the documentary, but he does not want to be caught up in a lengthy and expensive legal battle. Popescu rather ironically notes:

If we did pull the documentary, there would be a kind of irony to it as over the last 10 years we have taken pride in screening content that was seditious, political, profane, defamatory and at times illegal. Yet it will be the man with the reputation as the world's worst filmmaker that manages to censor our festival for the first time.



Commented: Shoddy standards...

Cheapo Facebook censorship makes the news again for banning iconic war photo

Link Here11th September 2016
Facebook's first line of censorship is handled by cheap worldwide staff armed with detailed rules prohibiting nearly all forms of nudity. If bad decisions get sufficient publicity then the censorship task is escalated to employees allowed a little more discretion. These senior censors than have to laugh off the previous crap decision by saying it was all some silly mistake and that it couldn't possibly be a reflection of Facebook censorship policy.

And so it was Facebook's censorship of an iconic Vietnam war photo featuring a naked girl in the aftermath of napalm attack.

Norway's largest newspaper published a front-page open letter to Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, slamming Facebook's decision to censor the historic photograph of nine-year-old Kim Phuc running away from a napalm attack and calling on the CEO to live up to his role as the world's most powerful editor .

Facebook initially defended its decision to remove the image, saying:

While we recognize that this photo is iconic, it's difficult to create a distinction between allowing a photograph of a nude child in one instance and not others.

On Friday, following widespread criticisms from news organizations and media experts across the globe, Facebook reversed its decision, saying in a statement to the Guardian:

After hearing from our community, we looked again at how our Community Standards were applied in this case. An image of a naked child would normally be presumed to violate our Community Standards, and in some countries might even qualify as child pornography. In this case, we recognize the history and global importance of this image in documenting a particular moment in time.

Because of its status as an iconic image of historical importance, the value of permitting sharing outweighs the value of protecting the community by removal, so we have decided to reinstate the image on Facebook where we are aware it has been removed.

Offsite Comment: Facebook needs an editor

11th September 2016. See  article from

What Facebook has to do now is think very hard about what it really means to be a publisher, said Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. If they don't, she warned, this is going to happen to them over and over again. 'We need more than just algorithms'

Whether Facebook and media executives like to admit it, the social media site now plays a vital role in how people consume news, carrying an influence that is difficult to overstate. Studies have repeatedly found that Facebook has become the primary news source for many people, and that publishers' revenues have been hit hard as a result.

Facebook wants to have the responsibility of a publisher but also to be seen as a neutral carrier of information that is not in the position of making news judgments, said Jim Newton, a former Los Angeles Times editor who teaches journalism ethics at the University of California, Los Angeles. I don't know how they are going to be able to navigate that in the long term.

Bell said Facebook was a spectacularly well resourced and brilliant organization from a technological perspective -- and that its editorial efforts should start to reflect that rigor and dedication. Some have called for someone responsible for tough newsroom decisions to take over: an editor in duties and title.

...Read the full article from



Update: Rajan Zed Recommends...

Jack's Precious IPA

Link Here11th September 2016
Perennial hindu whnger Rajan Zed has urged Belgium based The Musketeers Brewery to apologize and withdraw image of Lord Ganesh from its Jack's Precious IPA beer label, calling it highly inappropriate.

Lord Ganesh's image is shown on Jack's Precious IPA beer label carrying chef knife in one hand and sausage like object on the other, and brewery's trade mark symbol on his head; a product of The Musketeers Brewery.

Zed said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed. Moreover, linking Lord Ganesh with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful, Zed added.



Ofcom press censors...

The government and Ofcom discuss censorship powers for text based internet news

Link Here10th September 2016
Under the BBC's new 11-year operating agreement, known as its royal charter, its governing body -- the BBC Trust -- will be axed next year and censorship powers will be handed to Ofcom.

But industry sources have told us that this has presented a dilemma around online news, which has become a focus of recent discussions between the BBC, government, and Ofcom.

Abolishing the BBC Trust will effectively create a loophole in censorship powers, meaning the BBC will not be accountable to an independent body for the text articles it publishes on Ofcom does not have the power to regulate online news text and, in the case of the BBC, is reluctant to do so. It has no experience of regulating online text and is only set up to regulate video content.

Sources also said that Ofcom has made clear to the government that taking on this task for the BBC could set a tricky precedent. They expressed concern that if Ofcom begins regulating, the door is then open for these powers to be extended to other broadcasters and publishers. Would you end up with Ofcom regulating Mail Online? asked one person with knowledge of the matter.

Discussions are ongoing and no decisions have been made. An Ofcom spokesman said: We're still in discussions with the government on how the content of the white paper will be delivered.

A Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) spokesman said the BBC's draft charter will make clear how we are addressing this issue when it is published later this month.



Update: More Evil Dead...

Fede Alvarez reveals plans for the release of an Extended Cut.

Link Here10th September 2016
  Evil Dead is a 2013 USA horror by Fede Alvarez.
Starring Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez and Jessica Lucas. IMDb

Five twenty-something friends become holed up in a remote cabin. When they discover a Book of the Dead, they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods, which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left intact to fight for survival.

Director Fede Alvarez has been active on the PR circuit of late with his latest film,  Don't Breathe, being a hit. During a promotional interview he announced that:

[The 'Evil Dead'] extended cut will come out on blu-ray. Just a few hours ago we talked about the study and it seems that Halloween will be available.

The theatrical version of Evil Dead was cut to obtain an R rating so there is certainly some additional material available. Actually an extended version was accidentally broadcast on Channel 4, so fans have been keenly awaiting an official release.



No soft landing for Miracle Mattress...

A few Americans get 'outraged' by a jokey advert referencing the Twin Towers attack

Link Here10th September 2016
A few Americans have been 'outraged' by an advert for a mattress store in San Antonio, Texas. Piles of mattresses were knocked over and the store owner, Cherise Bonanno, telling the camera we will never forget .

Miracle Mattress was then subjected to social media 'outrage'' for its twin tower sale advert.

Mike Bonanno, the owner of the Miracle Mattress chain, moved swiftly to issue an apology on behalf of the company.

I say this unequivocally, with sincere regret: the video is tasteless and an affront to the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11.

Furthermore, it disrespects the families who lost their loved ones and continue to struggle with the pain of this tragedy every day of their lives.

We will be silent through the 9/11 Anniversary to avoid any further distractions from a day of recognition and remembrance for the victims and their families.

We take full responsibility for our actions and sincerely regret the hurt and pain caused by this disrespectful advertising campaign, he added.



Offsite Article: It could be you!...

Link Here10th September 2016
Report reveals that 13 innocent people have been held on child sex charges after errors in the use of snooping data

See article from



Big business granted control over internet hyperlinks...

European Copyright Ruling Ushers in New Dark Era for Hyperlinks

Link Here 9th September 2016

In a case which threatens to cause turmoil for thousands if not millions of websites, the Court of Justice of the European Union decided today that a website that merely links to material that infringes copyright, can itself be found guilty of copyright infringement, provided only that the operator knew or could reasonably have known that the material was infringing. Worse, they will be presumed to know of this if the links are provided for "the pursuit of financial gain".

The case, GS Media BV v. Sanoma, concerned a Dutch news website, GeenStijl , that linked to leaked pre-publication photos from Playboy magazine, as well as publishing a thumbnail of one of them. The photos were hosted not by GeenStijl itself but at first by an Australian image hosting website, then later by Imageshack, and subsequently still other web hosts, with GeenStijl updating the links as the copyright owner had the photos taken down from one image host after another.

The court's press release [PDF] spins this decision in such a positive light that much reporting on the case, including that by Reuters , gets it wrong, and assumes that only for-profit websites are affected by the decision. To be clear, that's not the case. Even a non-profit website or individual who links to infringing content can be liable for infringing copyright if they knew that the material was infringing, for example after receiving notice of this from the copyright holder. And anyway, the definition of "financial gain" is broad enough to encompass any website, like GeenStijl, that runs ads.

This terrible ruling is hard to fathom given that the court accepted "that hyperlinks contribute to [the Internet's] sound operation as well as to the exchange of opinions and information in that network", and that "it may be difficult, in particular for individuals who wish to post such links, to ascertain whether [a] website to which those links are expected to lead, provides access to works [that] the copyright holders ... have consented to ... posting on the internet". Nevertheless, that's exactly what the judgment effectively requires website operators to do, if they are to avoid the risk of being found to have knowingly linked to infringing content.

There are also many times when knowingly linking to something that is infringing is entirely legitimate. For example, a post calling out a plagiarized news article might link to the original article and to the plagiarized one, so that readers can compare and judge for themselves. According to this judgment, the author of that post could themselves be liable for copyright infringement for linking to the plagiarized article--madness.

This judgment is a gift to copyright holders, who now have a vastly expanded array of targets against which to bring copyright infringement lawsuits. The result will be that websites operating in Europe will be much more reticent to allow external hyperlinks, and may even remove historical material that contains such links, in fear of punishing liability.



Long running drama...

Continued 'outrage' at gay kiss on Coronation Street

Link Here9th September 2016
Full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges
Another gay kiss on Coronation Street has wound up a few whingers.

145 people have complained about the latest kiss between Billy and Todd, leaving many in the LGBT community wondering what decade we'd time traveled back to.

A spokesperson from TV censor Ofcom told GayTimes that they had received 145 complaints about this episode of Coronation Street on ITV. And that they Will assess these complaints before we decide whether to investigate or not, [before promptly consigning them to the waste paper bin].

Update: And as expected the complaints were rapidly binned

9th September 2016.  See  article from

After an organised complaints campaign, 170 people filed a complaint with TV censor Ofcom, claiming the scenes were inappropriate to air before the watershed

But an Ofcom spokesperson has now said:

We considered a number of complaints objecting to two male characters kissing in this episode, but won't be investigating.

Our rules do not discriminate between scenes involving opposite sex and same sex couples.



More censors to solve Britain's terrorism problem...

Government pushes for the likes of Facebook to employ thousands of censors to vet peoples posts before being published

Link Here8th September 2016
Full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

Government censors are struggling to stop the spread of extremist messages on the internet despite taking down 1,000 videos a week, the Home Secretary has admitted. Amber Rudd said she was in talks with social media websites about setting up a new industry standard board to agree the rules setting out when sites should be taken down.

The new home secretary was grilled by MPs on the House of Commons' Home Affairs committee about what more could be done to force US sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to take action. It is alarming that these companies have teams of only a few hundred employees to monitor networks of billions of accounts Home Affairs select committee report

Rudd said that major internet companies could take more responsibility:

Because the speed these damaging videos get put up and then we manage to take down -- at the moment we are taking down 1,000 a week of these sites -- is too slow compared to the speed at which they are communicated.

I do think more can be done and we are in discussions with industry to see what more they are prepared to do.

We would like to see a form of industry standard board that they could put together in order to have an agreement of oversight and to take action much more quickly on sites which will do such damage to people in terms of making them communicating terrorist information.

Rudd said the new industry standards board could be similar to an existing board which protects children from sexual exploitation, presumably referring to the IWF.

The committee's report said:

It is alarming that these companies have teams of only a few hundred employees to monitor networks of billions of accounts and that Twitter does not even proactively report extremist content to law enforcement agencies.

These companies are hiding behind their supranational legal status to pass the parcel of responsibility and refusing to act responsibly in case they damage their brands. If they continue to fail to tackle this issue and allow their platforms to become the 'Wild West' of the internet, then it will erode their reputation as responsible operators.

Internet companies should be required to co-operate with Britain's counter-extremism police and shut down accounts immediately.



Updated: The threadbare Fabric of British nightlife...

Britain is suffocating its nightclubs with impossibly onerous regulations

Link Here8th September 2016
One of Britain's best known nightclubs, Fabric, has been forced to close permanently after its licence was revoked by the council at the request of the police.

The Metropolitan police had asked the council to shut down the 2,500-capacity nightclub after the deaths of two teenagers in the space of nine weeks. One died after collapsing outside the club in August, while another died in late June.

At a meeting to consider the police request, Islington Borough Council decided that searches by security staff at the London venue had been:

Inadequate and in breach of the licence. People entering the club were inadequately searched.

It added that covert police operations suggested people were openly buying and taking illegal drugs on the premises and that staff should have been aware of it.

Leading figures who played at the venue, one of the most important for fans of electronic music, joined regulars in expressing their sorrow at the decision. A petition to halt the closure of the club had reached almost 150,000 signatures. Jacob Husley, who initiated the petition and has worked at the club's Sunday night party for the past eight years, said of the decision:

We are in shock. I am feeling a mixture of disbelief and anger and sadness ... It would be a devastating blow for London and culture, and clubs across the UK. It sets a precedent.

The chair of the Night Time Industries Association, Alan Miller, said he would start a grassroots fund to help save the club.

Fabric's campaign to stay open had been backed by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan who said:

London's iconic clubs are an essential part of our cultural landscape ... My team have spoken to all involved in the current situation and I am urging them to find a common sense solution that ensures the club remains open while protecting the safety of those who want to enjoy London's clubbing scene.

The MP for Islington, Emily Thornberry, also wrote on Facebook that she believed Fabric should stay open.

Update: What next for the UK's club scene?

8th September 2016. See  article from

The BBC has weighed in with a surprisingly damning indictment of the police and local authorities:

Fabric, one of Britain's best-known nightclubs, has been shut after the deaths of two clubbers. But fans, DJs and venue owners have decried the decision, saying it will not solve the drug problem but will have a chilling effect on the clubbing scene.

Our culture has been torn apart, tweeted dance act Chase & Status , noting that almost all of London's iconic dance venues have now closed their doors.

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh said the decision marked the beginning of the end of our cities as cultural centres .

And a host of other artists and DJs, from Fatboy Slim and the Chemical Brothers to Radio 1's Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw, also expressed their dismay.

Singer Roisin Murphy told the BBC: For London it is a sign of things going downhill, in terms of being a fun place. I think people have seen the same thing happen in New York.

...Read the full article from



Whinges about Crimewatch introducing cliffhanger double episodes...

And drop by next week to see what even sillier things people find to complain about

Link Here 8th September 2016
The BBC has been accused of turning Crimewatch into a soap opera , after leaving viewers guessing over what happened in a historic murder investigation.

The first episode of the revamped series retold the case of Melanie Road, who was raped and killed in 1984 at the age of 17. But viewers complained that the episode ended on a disgraceful cliffhanger , as they were told to tune in next week to see how the case concluded.

The new series of Crimewatch hosted by Jeremy Vine and Tina Daheley will be shown weekly with a new segment on How They Caught various criminals, however some viewers were angry over the soap opera-style cliff hanger following the first episode

A spokesman for morality campaigners, MediaWatch-UK said:

Crimewatch has long provided a valuable service in raising awareness of unsolved crimes, but the BBC is treading a dangerous line between being informative and sensationalist.

The Corporation will undermine its good work by turning tragedy into cliffhanger entertainment.

The BBC defended the format, saying it was necessary to tell the story over two weeks as it involved decades of police investigation.



Offsite Article: Governing Google...

Link Here8th September 2016
Large Internet corporations are increasingly exerting an influence over the social and political aspects of our lives as well as economically influencing the marketplace. Google is foremost among them. By Angela Daly

See article from



Offsite Article: Calling for copyright to Trump fair use...

Link Here8th September 2016
US media industries use to lobby for Clinton and Trump to support their side of the debate about copyright

See article from



Offsite Article: Maldives government recommends...

Link Here8th September 2016
Al-Jazeera documentary, Stealing Paradise

See article from



Big girls blouses...

Advert censors ban Budd Electrical from joking about DD bra size

Link Here7th September 2016

A radio ad for Budd Electrical Ltd, heard in June 2016, stated Yes, everyone's going to Budd Electrical! It's B, U, double D and we all love a double D, right? ... .

Two listeners challenged whether the ad was offensive, because the line It's B, U, double D and we all love a double D, right? was sexist and objectified women.

Budd Electrical Ltd said the ad was intended to be a reference to Double Diamond beer, which was enjoyed by both men and women.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA considered that listeners would understand the double D allusion to be a reference to women's bra cup size. Although the ad was not overtly sexual, it nonetheless drew attention to women's bra cup size, which bore no relevance to the advertised service, and presented women as sexual objects by inviting listeners to focus on their bra size. We considered that the line It's B, U, double D and we all love a double D, right? would be seen to be objectifying women and was therefore sexist and likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Budd Electrical Ltd to ensure that their ads did not cause serious or widespread offence.



Commented: Poking their oar into the Home Affairs chair's affairs...

Keith Vaz meanly outed as a buyer of sex by the Sunday Mirror

Link Here 7th September 2016
Full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim
Keith Vaz use to feature frequently on Melon Farmers due a series of ludicrous whinges blaming video games for all Britain's ills. He has wisely kept quiet on the topic for the last few years though.

Now he has rather rudely been by outed as a gay customer of sex workers by the Sunday Mirror. This rather conflicts with his chairmanship of the influential Commons Home Affairs parliamentary select committee which is looking into Britain's laws governing sex work.

He conceded on Sunday that he would have to relinquish his post as chair committee, at least temporarily. Although he said he would not be making a formal announcement until he meets the committee on Tuesday, he effectively confirmed that he would have to stand aside when he issued a statement saying he did not want to be a distraction .

The Labour MP also condemned the conduct of the Sunday Mirror, saying it was deeply troubling that a national newspaper should have paid individuals who have acted in this way .

Vaz has not been overly hypocritical about sex work law, it is not as if he has been pushing for the criminalisation of people who buy sex. In its interim report on prostitution in July, the home affairs committee said:

We are not yet convinced that the sex buyer law would be effective in reducing demand or in improving the lives of sex workers, either in terms of the living conditions for those who continue to work in prostitution or the effectiveness of services to help them find new ways to earn a living.

Evaluations of the impact of sex buyer laws are largely based on data about street prostitution, and therefore offer little insight into the large parts of the sex industry which take place in various indoor environments, and there are indications that the law can be misused to harass and victimise sex workers, who are the very people whom the law is seeking to protect.

Vaz also argued in parliament that poppers should not be included in a list of substances banned by the Psychoactive Substances Act and in the paper he is quoted as telling the escorts that he did not use them himself.

Chris Ashford in his lawandsexuality blog points out that the Vaz evening of fun was not particularly unusual amongst the gay community:

It actually doesn't sound like that unusual night for many gay men who might engage in group sex bareback encounters, with some guys using class A drugs, many using poppers and perhaps some guys there who are sex workers (who may or may not be performing that identity). The problem here is that Vaz is married to a woman and has as Pink News noted , apparently been outed by this story. Vaz has generally taken liberal positions on sex work and so there's arguably no hypocrisy there.

However Journalist and equality campaigner Paris Lees commented to that Vaz was not totally above a bit of hypocrisy when he grilled her as chainman of the Home Affairs committee. She said:

This is same Keith Vaz who told me, last May, that he 'couldn't believe' I'd never met a prostitute that hadn't been forced into it.

I told him that during my time on the game, I never met a prostitute who HAD been forced into it.

Why is he paying prostitutes for sex if he thinks they are forced into it?

Offsite Comment: The outrage against Keith Vaz is nothing but Victorian puritanism

6th September 2016. See  article from by Ian Dunt

He has a range of views on a range of topics. Some of them, like his obsession with violent games, are very silly. Some are downright morally reprehensible, such as his help in whipping up outrage against Salman Rushdie over the Satanic Verses. Some are perfectly commendable, such as his continued commitment to people lost and betrayed by the asylum and immigration system.

Regardless of their relative validity, they earned him enemies, who will now get involved in picking away at the remnants of his career. Not the least of these will be anti-prostitution groups, who were dismayed by a recent home affairs committee report which recommended decriminalising sex work completely. They are likely to use the story to discredit that report.

See  article from

Offsite Comment: Keith Vaz's sex life does not matter

7th September 2016. See article from

In the wake of the news there are a lot of people saying uninformed shit. People who weren't there trying to rewrite Home Affairs Select Committee's hearings on prostitution. I was called to give evidence. Maybe you remember; it was in a lot of papers. Here is what really happened back in May.

All media coverage from May noted how me and @ParisLees had to stomp hard on bullshit lines of questioning from hostile MPs to get any of our points across. We went there fully expecting, and pretty much got, a beasting. Compare to the easy questions lobbed at Kat Banyard at the first hearing, who was never a sex worker and has never worked with a prostitution charity or far as anyone can tell, her only firsthand experience with sex workers is having met me in a BBC green room once.

When I called out the committee for visiting Sweden and Denmark without meeting local sex worker-led orgs, Keith Vaz had the audacity to claim that they had. I know he was wrong; sex work organisations were shut out of the consultation visits. Why? Because Vaz had been a vocal supporter of the Swedish model. Now people are trying to imply Vaz gave us a helping hand in the results? As if.

...Read the full article from

Update: Banned from Parliament

1st November 2019. See article from

Keith Vaz has been banned from Parliament for six months -- but could still stand for Labour in December's snap election.

The Committee on Standards recommended the record suspension after Mr Vaz was found to have offered to buy cocaine for two male escorts

The Standards Committee report into Mr Vaz said there was compelling evidence he offered to pay for a class A drug and paid for sex.



Updated: Maalik...

Banned by Pakistan's government for portraying a corrupt character a little too closely to an actual minister

Link Here7th September 2016
Maalik is a 2016 Pakistan action thriller by Ashir Azeem.
Starring Ashir Azeem, Farhan Ally Agha and Sajid Hassan. BBFC link IMDb

An Afghan family that escapes from the ravages of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and settles in Karachi. A SSG officer who undergoes a personal tragedy and starts a private security company (Black Ops Pvt. Ltd) in Karachi. His SSG colleagues keep joining the company on their retirements. An idealist school master who suffers greatly under a cruel Feudal lord and settles in Karachi and finally the Feudal Lord who becomes the Chief Minister of Sindh and unleashes a reign of terror on all that cross his path. Maalik is a story of love, loyalty, honor, family value, idealism, courage and dignity against all odds, and across all sections of society from the poor and the struggling to the highest levels of wealth and power.

The film was removed from cinema screens by government authorities a few weeks after its initial premiere on April 8, 2016. This is in spite of it being cleared by all three censor boards.

The film was flagged by the Sindh government after they accused one of the characters portraying a corrupt former Chief Minister as being too similar to the present Chief Minister of Sindh province. A ministry official told local newspapers:

The information ministry reserves the right to ban any film at any time. Maalik has been banned because it shows a former chief minister as a man of corruption and opulence.

Following numerous appeals from Sindh, the film was eventually banned by the Federal Government across the rest of Pakistan.

The Pakistani government later attempted to ban the export of the film on August 9, 2016, barring it from being shown overseas. However, despite these attempts, the film was set for release in the UK and internationally on August 26, 2016.

Director Ashir Azeem commented on the failed attempt to ban the export of the film:

Authorities in Pakistan are very concerned with how they are perceived, especially abroad. Whereas this might be considered an overreaction in some countries, it has become the go-to method for the authorities to ban content they deem offensive or controversial.

Meanwhile in the UK,  the film was passed 15 uncut for strong violence, sexual threat for 2016 cinema release.

Update: Unbanned by High Court

7th September 2016. See  article from

The Sindh High Court has declared the federal government's controversial ban on film Maalik illegal and cleared it to be screened again.

The federal government had banned Maalik, overruling film censors who had cleared it for its release on April 8. The government banned the film after it had been on release for 3 weeks and did not provide any explanation for banning the film in its notification.

Ashir Azeem, the film's director, had challenged the ban in court saying the ban on Maalik had been imposed by the government without having the authority to do. The authority to establish censor boards was a prerogative of provincial governments following the 18th amendment, he had argued.

And Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah duly cleared the film for screening across the country while ruling the ban illegal.



Bad Moms and Bad Puns...

Russian film poster reported to be banned over play on Kunis' name

Link Here7th September 2016
Russian ad agencies have reportedly refused to accept some posters for the US comedy Bad Moms.

Posters is St. Petersburg  were apparently using a strap line making a play on Mila Kunis' surname alluding to the Russian word for cunnilingus. The slogan read: Do you want some Kunis?

St. Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov, known for his highly moralistic attitudes, praised the ad agencies for saving the city's pride.

St. Petersburg is the cultural capital, and you shouldn't bring all kinds of trash here.



Offsite Article: Unverified benefits...

Link Here7th September 2016
The Verified Internet Puts Sex Workers at Risk. By 'Lux Alptraum'

See article from



No shocks there!...

Australian appeals board maintains MA15+ rating for Blair Witch

Link Here6th September 2016
Blair Witch is a 2016 USA horror thriller by Adam Wingard.
Starring Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry. Youtube link IMDb

After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister's experiences in the demonic woods of the Blair Witch, James and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.

Film distributors in Australia appealed against the MA15+ (15A) rating from the Classification Board. Presumably the distributors were hoping for an advisory M (PG-15) rating as per the original film in the series, Blair Witch Project.

However, the Review Board agreed with the Classification Board, and the original rating and consumer advice is maintained, ie MA15+ uncut for strong supernatural themes

It is not entirely clear why the distributors thought the rating could be lowered. The US and UK film censors both awarded ratings closer to MA15+ than M:

  • US: MPAA: Rated R uncut for language, terror and some disturbing images.
  • UK: BBFC: Rated 15 uncut for strong language, threat



Offsite Article: Self Pirating...

Link Here5th September 2016
Warners disgracefully shoddy take down request generator asks Google to de-list its own website.

See article from




How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

Link Here5th September 2016



Henry's 30th Anniversary...

Dark Sky Films go for a splash with a new US theatrical release for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Link Here4th September 2016

It was a true game-changer, a film so upsetting in its blunt depiction of an amoral murderer that it made the slasher films of its time look like cartoons by comparison. HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER became a lightning rod in heated debates about cinema and censorship but has only grown in stature since its first showing in 1986. Now, on the 30th anniversary of its momentous debut, it returns in a 4K restoration re-release nationwide via Dark Sky Films, with major theatrical engagements to begin on October 21, 2016.

The film will come home on October 14, 2016, as Dark Sky partners with the Chicago International Film Festival for a large-scale event including a festival red-carpet premiere and a Q&A with star Michael Rooker and director John McNaughton in attendance.

HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER is a chilling profile of a cold-blooded killer that, 30 years after its historic festival premiere, has lost none of its power to shock. The film, loosely based on a true story, has been hailed as one of the most disturbing and terrifying examinations of mass murderers ever filmed. Henry (Michael Rooker, The Walking Dead ) is a psychopathic drifter who has coldly murdered a number of people for no particular reason and without any remorse. Leaving bodies in his wake, Henry makes his way to Chicago, where his he settles into the run-down apartment of his drug-dealing former prison friend and occasional roommate Otis (Tom Towles).

Also moving into the space is Otis's younger sister, Becky (Tracy Arnold), who is fleeing her abusive husband. As she fends off her brother's incestuous advances, Becky finds herself attracted to Henry -- unaware that he, along with Otis, is continuing their murderous rampage.

Director John McNaughton completed the film in 1986, and it was shown at that year's Chicago International Film Festival. But it wasn't until 1990 that a U.S. distributor was brave enough to give it a wide release. Henry predates the NC-17 rating and received its predecessor, the X rating, on three separate occasions. As a result of it and related issues with Pedro Almodovar's Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down, Phillip Kaufman's Henry & June, and Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, the MPAA created the NC-17 as its replacement on 9/26/1990. Henry's current rating is X (Surrendered) though a renewed rating is pending. The film's violence, and the clinical, detached portrayal of Henry by the unforgettable Michael Rooker, originally earned it the MPAA's highly restrictive NC-17 rating.

The response from both critics and the public was as visceral as the film itself, and it went on to gain praise as one of the most compelling and disturbing films of modern cinema.

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER returns with a thrilling, cinematic presentation that cements its reputation as one of the most harrowing and original American films of all time. Dark Sky Films, a division of MPI Media Group, proudly presents it in a brand-new 4K scan and restoration from the 16mm original camera negatives and featuring a new 5.1 audio mix from the stereo 35mm mag reels, all approved by director John McNaughton.

HENRY opens in New York on October 21; McNaughton will attend the film's New York premiere at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema, and on October 28 McNaughton will present it at the Laemmle NoHo in Los Angeles.

A whole new generation of filmgoers will be introduced to HENRY with an amazing new transfer that puts the film firmly back into the vanguard of contemporary cinematic horror. Daniel M. Kimmel of Variety wrote, [T]his is a movie that will anger and frighten audiences ... Many will also find this one of the most impressive film debuts of the '80s.



Rum Decision...

Advert censor bans Captain Morgan from telling the truth that alcohol boosts confidence

Link Here4th September 2016

A TV ad for Captain Morgan rum, seen on 14 May 2016, featured a party on an old-fashioned wooden sailing ship. A man with Captain Morgan's face, from the advertiser's logo, superimposed over his own was shown dancing with friends, upending a sofa so that someone lying on it was tipped off into standing position, and using a rope to swing from one deck to another, as on-screen text stated CAPTAIN THE DANCEFLOOR and CAPTAIN THE NIGHT . The man was then shown posing with one foot on the railing at the front of the ship, with on-screen text that stated PUT YOUR CAPTAIN FACE ON . An image of a range of Captain Morgan products appeared alongside text stating LIVE LIKE THE CAPTAIN .

Alcohol Concern and a member of the public challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it implied that:

  1. drinking alcohol could contribute to an individual's popularity or confidence; and

  2. the success of the social occasion depended on the presence or consumption of alcohol.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged Diageo's and Clearcast's comments that imposing Captain Morgan's face over that of the central figure was intended to link the man's behaviour and experience to the brand's attitude of fun and living life to the full, and to the historical figure that it was named after, and not to represent drinking. While we agreed that the use of the Captain's face associated the character and his actions directly with the brand, we considered that viewers would equate the brand and the character with the product itself. Viewers were therefore likely to understand that the central figure's behaviour resulted from his consumption of Captain Morgan rum.

We noted that the man with the Captain Morgan face was shown dancing next to a band performing, and then dancing alongside other partygoers. We noted that the body language of the other individuals in the scene did not suggest that they were paying any special attention to him and did not emphasise his popularity. In the scene where the man slid down a rope, we noted that two partygoers looked directly at him as he landed, but it appeared as if their attention had been drawn momentarily by someone appearing on the deck beside them and there was nothing to suggest that the man was being regarded with particular admiration. When he struck a pose at the end of the ad, we noted that the scene did not show others being drawn to him as a result. However, we also noted that the man was shown dancing in an uninhibited way, posing triumphantly at the bow of the ship and acting in a mischievous manner (for example, by upending the sofa), which we considered suggested confidence.

Diageo stated that the strapline CAPTAIN THE NIGHT referred to the fact that the man was acting independently, in control of his actions and taking charge of a night out. We acknowledged that his behaviour and interactions with others demonstrated that he was more concerned with having a good time than gaining social recognition, and could thus be seen as acting independently. However, we considered that the use of captain as a verb to mean being in charge or in control carried connotations of enhanced confidence, dominance, and ability to lead others. As such, we considered that the phrase CAPTAIN THE DANCEFLOOR also implied enhanced confidence and abilities on the dancefloor. In that context, we considered that the phrases PUT YOUR CAPTAIN FACE ON and LIVE LIKE THE CAPTAIN would be understood by consumers as invitations to achieve a confident, uninhibited attitude through consuming Captain Morgan rum. We considered that this impression was reinforced by the image of Captain Morgan products that appeared on screen at the end of the ad alongside the message LIVE LIKE THE CAPTAIN , as well as the repeated use of the word captain , which directly invoked the name of the product in a context of confidence. Although the ad did not explicitly depict drinking alcohol as resulting in a change in the central character's behaviour in a before and after scenario, we considered that the superimposed Captain Morgan face implied that he had already consumed the product and thus linked his confident behaviour to this consumption. We concluded that the ad implied that drinking alcohol could enhance personal qualities and was therefore irresponsible.

2. Not upheld

We noted that the opening shots of the ad showed a ship on which a party appeared to be underway and then a scene of people dancing on the deck, before the man with the Captain Morgan face was introduced. We did not consider that there was any noticeable change in the upbeat, party atmosphere once he appeared. We noted that the party scenes did not show alcohol being consumed, and although we considered that the behaviour of the figure with Captain Morgan's face would be understood as being associated with alcohol consumption, as described above, there was nothing to indicate that his actions had any positive or negative influence on the enjoyment of other partygoers. Therefore we concluded that the ad did not imply that the general success of the party was dependent on the presence or consumption of alcohol.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Diageo not to imply that alcohol could enhance people's confidence.



Trigger Warning Warning...

Feminists consider the word 'trigger' to be too violent

Link Here4th September 2016, which describes itself as an educational platform for personal and social liberation, does not use the term trigger warning in front of its articles, not because it dismisses concerns for distressing readers susceptible to sensitive material, but because the word 'trigger' relies on and evokes violent weaponry imagery.

An editor's note attached to the July 15 essay When You Oppose Trigger Warnings, You're Really Saying These 8 Things, said:

Everyday Feminism definitely believes in giving people a heads up about material that might provoke our readers' trauma. However, we use the phrase content warning instead of trigger warning, as the word trigger relies on and evokes violent weaponry imagery. This could be re-traumatizing for folks who have suffered military, police, and other forms of violence. So, while warnings are so necessary and the points in this article are right on, we strongly encourage the term content warning instead of trigger warning.



Outrageoni Bolloxnese...

Italian earthquake mayor wound up by Charlie Hebdo cartoon likening victims to pasta

Link Here3rd September 2016
The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo , has wound a few Italians with its latest issue containing a cartoon portraying victims of an earthquake that killed almost 300 people as different types of pasta.

The cartoon was titled Earthquake Italian style . It depicted a balding man standing and covered in blood with the moniker Penne in tomato sauce , a badly scratched up woman next to him labelled Penne au gratin . A pair of feet sticking out between the floors of a collapsed building is entitled Lasagne .

The mayor of Amatrice, a town flattened by last week's quake, is famous for the pasta sauce, amatriciana, that carries its name. The town's mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, said:.

How the fuck do you draw a cartoon bout the dead? I'm sure this unpleasant and embarrassing satire does not reflect French sentiment.

The French embassy in Rome published a statement on its website and Twitter, saying the cartoon:

Absolutely does not represent France's position, and is a caricature by the press (and) the freely expressed opinions are those of the journalists.



Offsite Article: We want GCHQ-style spy powers to hack cybercrims...

Link Here3rd September 2016
UK police angle for more internet powers

See article from



Offsite Article: First they came for Gawker , and I did not speak out...

Link Here3rd September 2016
Freedom of the press and the web faces new threats in the US and UK. By Mick Hume

See article from



Vloggers are fuming (but not effing and blinding)...

Changes at YouTube mean that many video makers are now prevented from monetising their videos due to a ban on contentious content in videos deemed suitable for advertising

Link Here2nd September 2016
A change in YouTube's content moderation system has left many video creators uncertain of their place on the platform. Over the past day, users have been posting notices from Google, saying that certain videos were being barred from accepting advertising via YouTube's ad service. The videos were often arbitrarily flagged for reasons that seemed unfair, unclear, or outright censorious.

YouTube have explained that the changes are due to a change of process rather than a change of rules, and have added that a new appeal process has been introduced for those considering that they have been unfairly treated.

The Google rules for videos suitable for advertising are as follows:

Content that is considered "not advertiser-friendly" includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor
  • Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism
  • Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language
  • Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items
  • Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown



Update: Emmerdale left reeling from viewer complaints...

More trivial complaints about trivial jokes on TV soaps

Link Here2nd September 2016

  They said what?

A few Emmerdale viewers were 'outraged' after a trivial joke referring to Hemiplegia, a type of Cerebral Palsy.

The scene in question saw the characters Dan Spencer and Nicola King' drink several bottles of wine, while they giggled at each other's intoxicated states.  Nicola then quipped:

You can't go around like that, all cocked. You look like you've got that, what is it? Himi, Hemi, Hemiplegia?

The Mirror reports that some viewers were so offended they vowed to boycott the show and labelled the joke shameful .

An Emmerdale spokesperson responded:

The character Nicola has hemiplegia, or partial paralysis affecting one side of her body. She is a character well-known for her acerbic humour and it is in keeping with her personality to make light of her own condition in this way. We apologise if anyone found the line offensive.

An Ofcom spokesman told Mirror Online:

We have received 19 complaints about the episode, and will assess these before deciding whether or not to investigate.




Absurd news...

Joe D'amato video nasty passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived

Link Here1st September 2016
Absurd is a 1981 Italy horror by Joe D'Amato (as Peter Newton).
Starring George Eastman, Annie Belle and Charles Borromel. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong gore, violence after previous BBFC cuts waived for:

  • 2016 88 Films video

UK Censorship History

BBFC cuts were required for an 18 rated 1983 cinema release. Later banned as a video nasty in 1983. The BBFC waived their cuts for an uncut 18 rated home video release in 2016. Uncut and MPAA Unrated in the US.

See further details at Melon Farmers Film Cuts: Absurd

Summary Notes

A priest comes to a small town to help get rid of a monster whose blood coagulates very fast. This creates problems as the monster is very hard to kill and then decides to go on a killing spree of its own.



Update: Cameron's dubious exemption from net neutrality rules...

Euro internet and telecoms regulator casts doubt on the legality of UK ISP website blocking systems

Link Here1st September 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
ISPs that block access to websites with adult content or block ads could be breaking EU guidelines on net neutrality even if customers opt in. EU regulations only allow providers to block content for three reasons: to comply with a member state's laws, to manage levels of traffic across a network, or for security.

Blocking websites with adult content has no clear legal framework in UK legislation, and providers have relied on providing the ability to opt in to protect themselves from falling foul of the rules. However, an update to guidelines issued by EU body Berec says that even if a person indicates they want certain content to be blocked, it should be done on their device, rather than at a network level. The updated guidelines say:

With regard to some of the suggestions made by stakeholders about traffic management features that could be requested or controlled by end-users, Berec notes that the regulation does not consider that end-user consent enables ISPs to engage in such practices at the network level.

End-users may independently choose to apply equivalent features, for example via their terminal equipment or more generally on the applications running at the terminal equipment, but Berec considers that management of such features at the network level would not be consistent with the regulation.

Frode Sorensen, co-chair of the Berec expert working group on net neutrality said the updated guidance made it clear that it had found no legal basis for using customer choice to justify blocking any content without national legislation or for reasons of traffic management or security.

David Cameron said in October last year that he had secured an opt-out from the rules enabling British internet providers to introduce porn filters. However, Sorensen said he was not aware of any opt-out, and the net neutrality rules introduced in November, after Cameron made his claim, said they applied to the whole European Economic Area which includes the UK.



Censored by Google...

writer and artist Dennis Cooper had his long running literary blog censored by Google without explanations

Link Here1st September 2016
Artist and author Dennis Cooper has re-launched his popular blog after months of legal disputes with Google who censored his previous blog.

The artist posted a message on the blog's Facebook account o explain Google's reasoning for erasing his 14-year-old blog. According to Cooper, someone had reported a post on DC's Blog, which was hosted on the Google-owned Blogspot, from 10 years ago as they felt it constituted child abuse images, and Google immediately deactivated his account.

Cooper's troubles started two months ago when his Gmail was disabled without reason. He later attempted to log into his blog and received a notice saying it was suspended due to a violation of Google's terms of service. Cooper lost 10 years' worth of correspondence in his emails, all his blogposts, and a gif novel called Zac's Freight Elevator, which was slated for release in the coming months.

Cooper told the Guardian that Google originally provided no explanation for taking down his site and didn't respond to the lawyers he enlisted ; even Google employees who were fans of his work were unable to uncover what happened. According to Cooper's Facebook post, Google began negotiating with his lawyer on 15 July and eventually agreed to provide all the data from his disabled blog, the data from his 10 years of correspondence in his Gmail account and his novel. The data from his site will be put up on a new site, post-by-post.

See new blog at



Coronation Street's bad hair day...

278 complaints about a joke about roots

Link Here1st September 2016
Full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges
Coronation Street aired a scene where character Eva Price made a trivial pun referencing Alex Haley's celebrated book, Roots .

In the scene where she's visiting a hair salon, the character says:

I have more roots than Kunta Kinte.

No idea who that is, by the way, just something my mum used to say.

Kunta Kinte is a central character from the Alex Haley novel.

The show suffered a bit of a twitterstorm with twitters claiming the comment to be offensive.

One viewer asked:

What was Coronation Street on when the writers dropped that roots joke?

Another said:

I am not going 2 lie I am very disheartened by the #KuntaKentie remark It will NEVER be ok to make jokes about slavery EVER.

A spokesman for TV censor Ofcom said that 278 complaints had been received about Coronation Street which will no doubt be promptly binned.

Update: Unbelievably Ofcom have decided to investigate the pun about 'Roots'

30th September 2016. See  article [pdf] from



Update: Bad news in leaked EU Copyright Directive...

Open Rights Group reviews extended copyright powers for big business

Link Here1st September 2016

Leaked EU Copyright Directive ignores ordinary internet users, presents limited reforms to support creators, researchers, teachers and librarians; while providing a sledgehammer of protectionist measures for the incumbent news, music and film industries.

Several documents have been leaked from the European Commission providing a clear picture of the proposed reforms to copyright that will be presented later in the year. The picture is quite negative as the proposals range from the timid to the openly regressive, such as the introduction of a new ancillary right for news publishers. Several key initiatives have been dropped, including changes to the current exceptions for "freedom of panorama" that allow taking pictures of public art and buildings.

The documents leaked include the Impact Assessment on the Modernisation of EU Copyright Rules , prepared by EU officials; an official communication titled 'Promoting a fair and efficient European copyright-based economy in the digital single market' due to be published later this month; and finally the full text of the proposed new Directive on Copyright in the Single Market

The new directive will complement and not replace current legislation such as the Infosoc Directive, although there are some minor technical modifications. Existing directives will not be reopened for discussion, thus limiting the possibilities for reform in key areas such as Digital Rights Management. The directive applies to the European Economic Area (EEA) and will probably be relevant to the UK whatever shape Brexit eventually takes.

These leaks make the past two years of pre legislative discussions about comprehensive copyright reform feel like a waste of everyone's time, except of course for a few industry lobbyists. The EU is about to throw away the first chance in over a decade to adapt copyright to the digital world, instead choosing classic protectionism for incumbent industries. These measures will not promote the creation of a vibrant digital industry in Europe capable of standing to Silicon Valley - as EU policymakers want.

Below we summarise the main contents of the leaked Directive. There are other initiatives in the wider package, including: a Regulation for online broadcasting, implementation of the Marrakesh treaty on accessibility for the visually impaired, a broad package on copyright enforcement and more provisions to promote European works.

The contents of the Directive are a potpourri of initiatives that include some mandatory limited exceptions for culture and education and measures to help improve remunerations for creators, but in the main are openly about supporting right holders and European industry.

Protectionist measures Publishers ancillary right

This is the most controversial "reform": the creation of a completely new intellectual property right that lasts for 20 years specific for news publishers, which adds a new layer of complexity to internet regulation. The new right has the same scope as rights of reproduction and making available and it's covered by the same exceptions, including criticism or review. The EU is open in aiming to support the financial sustainability of news publishers, and the right does not cover scientific or academic publishers. We are not completely clear on the situation of blogs, but the right is meant to cover only publications by a "service provider".

This right is meant to stop internet news aggregators to simply copy a portion of the news article and stopping revenues flowing to the original site. Similar initiatives in Germany and Spain had a disastrous effect on media access, but we will need more time to fully understand how bad this one is. The first analyses are extremely negative as the new right seems even less constrained than previous initiatives.

User uploaded content: Youtube Law

Another major concession to industry aiming to address the "value gap" created by the disparity between the number of people watching content in platforms - basically Youtube - and the revenues received. The Directive forces relevant online platforms to seek licenses from rightsholders. While there may a case for Google to share some of its profits with rightsholders it is unclear that copyright law is the best way to do it. This law will extend beyond Youtube with unpredictable effects on internet activities, as clever lawyers cotton up to the new powers given to industry.

This new power goes to the heart of internet regulation: the (lack of) liability of intermediaries that enables content to be hosted and linked around, expressed in the E-commerce Directive. In principle the new power covers services that go beyond providing "mere physical facilities" and perform and "act of communication to the public" by taking an active role in curating or promoting content, but this is not always clear cut.

The Directive does not include an obligation to monitor preemptively - which would contravene other laws - but it forces the implementation of technological protection measures to protect works, such as Google's Content-ID - with transparency obligations towards rightsholders.

Fair remuneration for authors and performers

There are some positive measures to protect creators that include transparency over online media sales, powers to renegotiate contracts and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Overall they seem positive albeit a bit weak, when compared with the sledgehammers given to news publishers and the music industry.

New mandatory exceptions

These exceptions are positive but in all case limited when compared to the initial demands of libraries, educators and cultural institutions. They do not include many of the more far fetching reforms proposed by civil society and even the European Parliament.

The call for a mandatory exception for "freedom of panorama" campaigned for by many civil society groups including ORG fell on deaf ears. The Commission has simply stated in their documents that the status quo works fine, while politely asking all countries to implement the exception.

Text and Data Mining exception

This exception allows the making of copies to perform analysis for scientific research by non-profit or public interest organisations. There is no compensation for rights holders and an explicit ban on contractual clauses overriding the exception. Technical measures to restrict access or copying are allowed but should not affect the exception.

This is a positive move, although many research organisations and libraries had been asking for a broader scope as they feared that much important research may be excluded.

Online Teaching exception

The rationale for this exception is the lack of clarity on whether existing exceptions in Infosoc and Database Directive apply to online education, particularly cross border access . The exception covers only "educational establishments," which must control access to the resources, and will likely exclude many online educational initiatives. The exception allows for licensing schemes to take precedence over the exception and this could be used to weaken the provisions.

Digital Preservation

Libraries, archives and similar cultural heritage institutions will be allowed to make necessary copies of works for preservation, but only of works in their permanent collections. The exception is only for internal copies and not for online libraries.

Supporting the digital market

A couple of fairly minor initiatives that are positive but of limited impact in the context of the once-in-twenty-years reform of copyright.

Out of commerce works

Libraries have been lobbying for a long time to be allowed to engage in collective licensing deals to digitise and distribute out of commerce works. They see this as both an extension of their mission and an opportunity to generate funds, although in principle this is framed as non-commercial cost recovery of the costs of mass digitisation. The exception only applies to works first published in the EU. This is not a full free copying exception, but the option to enter extended collective licensing deals without the need to get approval from every author. There is a six month compulsory notice in case authors are around and object.

Video on demand

The directive forces member states to create a voluntary "negotiation mechanism" with the support of and impartial body to help parties license work for VoD services.

In summary, a disappointing culmination of a two year discussion that started with high hopes of seeing Europe take bold moves to really modernise copyright. The legislative process starts now however and while the UK is in the EU ORG will continue to try to influence the shape of these laws as they go through the European Parliament. We must also remember that this is all based on leaked documents and the European Commission may still make some changes.

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