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17th December

  Ofcom's New Banner...

Sharon White appointed new chief TV and internet censor
Link Here
sharon white The Ofcom Board has announced the appointment of Sharon White as Chief Executive.

Sharon will join Ofcom in late March 2015 from HM Treasury, where she is Second Permanent Secretary.

An economics graduate, Sharon has 25 years' experience in the public sector and Government, starting with spells in Washington, the No 10 Policy Unit, and the World Bank. Sharon later worked in the Department for International Development, the Department of Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Justice and the Treasury.

Sharon White said:

The communications sector is vital to the economy and delivers essential services to everyone in the UK. I look forward to starting in this fascinating job and building on Ofcom's considerable track record.

Sharon's salary will be £ 275,000 per annum.

The appointment is subject to government approval.

 

17th December

 Updated: Serious Censorship...

Hacker group demands that Sony cancels the release of its new movie, The Interview
Link Here
the-interview Hackers claiming to be those that have seriously disrupted Sony Pictures' computer systems in the biggest corporate hack in history posted a message to the heads of the company telling them to cancel the release of film The Interview .

The group also leaked a trove of emails from senior Sony Pictures employees which include private employee information, the phone numbers of actors and the aliases they use when travelling, film budgets and unreleased scripts. It includes the private information of about 40,000 employees, including home addresses, previous salaries and social security numbers.

The Interview is a North Korea-baiting film that is a reason some have speculated that the country could be involved in the attack.

In a message titled Their Privacy , and written in broken English, hackers said that Sony had refused to give in to its demands to cancel the release of the movie of terrorism. The group signed themselves as From God'sApstls. The message reads:

We have already given our clear demand to the management team of SONY, however, they have refused to accept.

It seems that you think everything will be well, if you find out the attacker, while no reacting to our demand.

We are sending you our warning again.

Do carry out our demand if you want to escape us.

And, Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War!

You, SONY & FBI, cannot find us.

We are perfect as much.

The destiny of SONY is totally up to the wise reaction & measure of SONY.

Update: Violent threats prove to be very effective at censorship

17th December 2014. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

The New York premiere of The Interview, a comedy about the assassination of North Korea's president, has been cancelled amid threats from hackers. A spokesman for the cinema chain due to host the screening said it had been shelved. Hackers targeting Sony Pictures had threatened to attack US cinemas showing the studio's film.

Calling themselves Guardians of Peace, the hackers mentioned the 9/11 attacks in a recent warning, claiming the world will be full of fear . Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time, the hacker group wrote in a message

A spokesman for Landmark, the cinema chain due to host the New York premiere, confirmed the showing had been cancelled but gave no reason, Reuters news agency reported. Executives from Sony had previously said they would not object if cinemas chose not to show The Interview.

 

17th December

 Update: Tough Times...

Turkish police raid newspaper and TV station
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Turkey...Not so free press
zaman Index on Censorship has condemned the recent raid against Zaman newspaper and Samanyolu TV as a blatant violation of media freedom. Turkey is a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights and has the responsibility to uphold the right to freedom of expression. Index calls for the immediate release of all detained media professionals. This is part of a worrying trend, as shown by the recent violations reported on Index's mapping project

On Sunday, December 14, Turkish police raided offices of the newspaper Zaman and of the television network Samanyolu TV. At least 27 people were detained including journalists, producers and directors of TV shows. Zaman is a major newspaper in Turkey with good English language coverage that has featured on Melon Farmers many times.

A large group of protesters gathered outside of Zaman's Istanbul offices, holding signs that read Free press cannot be silenced.

Zaman and Samanyolu TV have been singled out by Turkish President Erdogan for being part of what Erdogan calls a parallel structure affiliated with exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan has accused Gulen of being at the centre of plots to topple the government.

 

17th December

  Researchers with nothing better to do than watch Tom and Jerry all day...

There's more death and mayhem in cartoon's than in films for adults
Link Here
tom and jerry mallet It's something any Tom and Jerry viewer must have known for a long time. Children's cartoons are apparently more violent than films aimed at adults, and filled with murder and mayhem according to 'research'.

Animated characters are more than twice as likely to be killed off than actors in movies aimed at a grown up audience, the study claims. The authors of the research concluded:

Rather than being innocuous and gentler alternatives to typical horror or drama films, children's animated films are, in fact, hotbeds of murder and mayhem.

The study, published in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, assessed the amount of violence young children might be exposed to when watching films targeted at their age group:

Parents of main characters were more than five times as likely to die in children's cartoons as they were in films targeted at adults.

Researchers Dr Ian Colman and Dr James Kirkbride, from the University of Ottawa in Canada and University College London, also found no evidence to suggest that the level of violence has changed in children's films since Snow White.

 

16th December

 Update: Nick Clegg champions people's 'exotic' sexual kicks...

Whilst David Cameron confirms that he is a miserable censorial prat
Link Here  full story: UK Internet Porn Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
nick clegg Nick Clegg has slammed new porn laws which outlaws British websites from hosting supposedly harmful bedroom acts between consenting adults

Nick Clegg today warned prudish David Cameron to keep his nose out of people's exotic bedroom habits. He said:

The Government is not there to stick its nose in the bedroom, as long as people are not doing things which are illegal. It's not really for us to judge how people get their kicks.

Speaking at his monthly press conference, Clegg made clear the face sitting porn protestors have his support:

In a free society, people should be free to do things that many people might find exotic, at mildest, or deeply unappetising at worst. It's their freedom to do so.

But Cameron made clear last week he backs the repressive and business destroying new laws. He told a conference in London:

I feel that it's very important. In Britain we have rules about how you can buy pornography in the shop. I believe we should try and make sure you apply those rules when you buy pornography online.

The PM said it was part of a broader principle that the same laws should apply online as on the high street. Of course it never occurred to him to achieve this by freeing up  the ridiculous prohibitions inflicted on high street stores. Cameron spouted further: 

We're trying to make sure that when something is a crime, it is prosecuted and convicted wherever it takes place. My view is that should happen whether it's online or offline. We should try and apply the same rule whether you're visiting a shop in a high street or visiting a store on the internet.

 

16th December

  Japanese campaigners recommend...

Angelina Jolie's latest movie, Unbroken
Link Here
unbroken Unbroken is a 2014 USA action war biography by Angelina Jolie.
Starring Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson and Jai Courtney. Youtube link IMDb

A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.

Angelina Jolie's latest war movie, Unbroken , has been facing criticism recently from Japanese conservatives for its portrayals of brutality in World War II prisoner of war camps.

There is a movement among Japanese conservatives to ban the film inside Japan, describing its content as racist, immoral, and fabricated.

Anything to do with the country's wartime legacy still stirs up controversy within Japan and some leading politicians openly deny wartime events such as the Nanjing Massacre and claim that the forced prostitution of Korean women known as comfort women never occurred.

Many Netizens have commented in support Jolie and her vision, saying that she is simply showing the truth and that Japan can't hide from its past. However, there are some who pointed out that history has always written by the victors and details easily altered, and drew attention to the fact that Japan was not the only nation to commit atrocities, adding that it is not fair that their country continues to be singled out for its actions in a war that ended over half a century ago.

 

16th December

 Update: Ruling on UK Book Censorship...

The Supreme court will rule on whether a memoir should be banned on grounds that reading it may traumatise the author's son
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in the UK...Books banned by the British courts
Uk Supreme Court A British performing artist who has been prevented from publishing his memoir as a result of legal action brought by his ex-wife is to ask the supreme court to overturn the ban, arguing that it poses a dangerous threat to free speech.

The artist referred to only as MLA, as a consequence of the extensive secrecy surrounding the case,  is being supported by human rights groups and a leading writers' organisation, which also believe that an injunction imposed by a lower court presents a serious risk to the right to freedom of expression.

The temporary injunction was imposed by the court of appeal last October after lawyers representing the artist's ex-wife argued that his book's descriptions of the sexual abuse that he suffered as a child were so disturbing that their son would suffer catastrophic psychological distress if he were to read it.

This claim is disputed by MLA, who also believes that it is particularly important that the voices of survivors of sexual abuse are not stifled. The book recounts the way in which the artist, who is well known in his field, suffered years of sexual abuse while at school, and found a way though his art of dealing with the trauma of his past.

The writers' association English PEN, Article 19 and Index on Censorship, which defend and promote free speech, will seek to join the supreme court hearing, to argue that the court of appeal's judgment could have a chilling effect on other writers tackling difficult subjects, should it be allowed to stand.

The supreme court agreed that it would hear the case in the new year.

 

16th December

  Voted Off...

Hatred video game banned from Steam Greenlight
Link Here
hatred The controversy seeking violent shooter Hatred appeared on Steam Greenlight seeking gamers support for future inclusion on the game distribution service. Not long after, it was yanked by Valve who run the games distribution service. The company commented:

Based on what we've seen on Greenlight we would not publish Hatred on Steam. As such we'll be taking it down.

The Destructive Creations Team responded in a statement:

As you know today we've launched our Steam Greenlight campaign for Hatred. Unfortunately after couple of hours Steam shut it down.

Even though games like Manhunt or Postal are still available on Steam we of course fully respect Valve's decision, as they have right to do so. In the same time we want to assure you that this won't in any way impact the game development, game's vision or gameplay features we're aiming for. The game is still to be released in Q2 2015 as planned.

Moreover we don't treat this as a failure because yet again this showed us a huge community support we're totally overwhelmed with. After only a couple of hours Greenlight campaign being live, Hatred gathered 13,148 up votes and ended up on a #7 on top 100 list. This is the best proof for us that there are diehard Hatred fans out there waiting for this game to be released.

 

16th December

  Sharing Legal Arguments...

MPAA pursues existing law to attempt to block the likes of The Pirate Bay in the US
Link Here

MPAA logo The MPAA is in discussions with the major US movie studios over ways to introduce site blocking to the United States. TorrentFreak has learned that the studios will try to achieve website blockades using principles available under existing law. Avoiding another SOPA-style backlash is high on the agenda.

Mechanisms to force ISPs to shut down subscriber access to infringing sites are becoming widespread in Europe but have not yet gained traction in the United States.

TorrentFreak has learned that during 2013 the MPAA and its major studio partners began to seriously consider their options for re-introducing the site blocking agenda to the United States. Throughout 2014 momentum has been building but with no real option to introduce new legislation, the MPAA has been looking at leveraging existing law to further its aims. We can reveal that the MPAA has been examining four key areas.

...See the full article

 

16th December

 Offsite Article: The Guardian view on the freedom of the internet...

Link Here
The Guardian It's under attack around the world The net is a powerful weapon, and governments don't want it in the hands of their critics

See article from theguardian.com

 

16th December

 Offsite Article: The Attentive Service Sector (ASS)...

Link Here
tilted kilt Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks are slightly sexy US restaurants which are challenging the rather staid Hooters

See article from independent.co.uk

 

15th December

  Extreme Oppression...

Christians and Secularists join forces to point out the nastiness that will surely be enabled by Extremist Disruption Orders
Link Here
Theresa May Anyone who criticises same-sex marriage or Sharia law could be branded an extremist under proposed new powers, Christians and atheists have jointly warned.

The fresh expression of concern comes from The Christian Institute and the National Secular Society who have raised fears over planned Extremist Disruption Orders (EDOs), recently outlined by Home Secretary Theresa May.

EDOs, which are designed to counter Islamic extremism, have been described as a threat to free speech and reminiscent of Tony Blair's notorious religious hatred Bill. Opinion

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, cautioned that Christians who criticise gay marriage or even argue that all religions are not the same could find themselves accused of extremism. He said:

Anyone who expresses an opinion that isn't regarded as totally compliant with the Equality Act could find themselves ranked alongside Anjem Choudary, Islamic State or Boko Haram.

Speaking to The Telegraph Online Keith Porteous Wood, Director of the National Secular Society, warned that secularists might be branded Islamophobic and racist because of their campaigns against the rise of Sharia law. He said:

A much better case needs to be made for introducing draconian measures such as Extremist Disruption Orders, which are almost unchallengeable and deprive individuals of their liberties.

 

15th December

 Update: Passport to Censorship...

Apple change their mind on the censorship of a game with trivial nudity depicting an airport security scan
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone
papers, please Apple's iOS version of the border-guard simulator Papers, Please was set to have been released with bits cut out at the behest of Apple.

Games developer Lucas Pope planned to release Papers, Please on iOS but without the feature that shows immigrants completely nude during the security scan. That's because Apple rejected the app when Pope originally submitted it, and the company explained it was because it is pornographic.

Apple is now stepping back from that classification, according to Pope, with Apple claiming that rejection for porn was a misunderstanding on their part. Apple suggested that the game should be resubmitted complete with the nudity option.

While this is a win for Pope, Apple's control over its closed system will likely continue to trouble other developers. A freelance games designer, Tadhg Kelly wrote an open letter to Tim Cook of Apple on this subject of censorship:

Tim,

I'm a huge fan of Apple's products including my new iPhone 6 Plus. It's gorgeous. I'm even more of a fan of what Apple has done for games in the last half decade. Prior to the App Store, selling games to the mass market was an expensive and difficult mess of approvals by powers-that-be, often at massive disadvantage to the game maker. Apple opened that closed shop, which in turn spawned multiple revolutions. It led to many new kinds of game, new powers, new economics for games and a whole raft of other innovations.

I bring these examples up to frame my appreciation and disappointment appropriately. I think you're doing an incredible job but there is one area in which you're letting me down badly: Censorship.

Movies might get age certificates and music might get stickers warning of offensive lyrics, but they don't get banned. They used to. From the early days of pulping books like Ulysses through to the Comics Code and video nasties , every medium has had to face allegations of offense or indecency. Every one has had to make the case that their material is worthy of being treated as free expression. And -- thankfully -- they've all won. Except games.

Game developers are regularly treated as second class media citizens. It was only in 2011, 40 years after their creation, that video games were finally declared to be a protected form of free speech by the Supreme Court. Throughout the history of the industry we have had self-policing, legal suppression, publisher, platform and retailer demands for creative changes to games based on censorship. Some are ridiculous (bans against showing blood) and some are allegations of prurience (nudity in games) and some are baseless fears of corruption (video game violence).

Whether it's a console or a big retail chain, we game makers have long had to put up with a level of interference that no other medium faces. We're consistently told what our medium should be like, often by people with a poor understanding of it. We frequently get accused of leading the world astray in ways that are not supportable. All this at a time when the first generation of game makers is passing the torch ( Ralph Baer RIP ). The second generation often wants to make fun games, but some of them want to use games for other means. Games like Depression Quest and dys4ia , for example. Games like Papers Please . Games like Sweatshop . Games like Howling Dogs .

But even though Apple has done many amazing things for our industry in liberalizing its economics (with great thanks) the company nevertheless buys into the urge to suppress games. And it's just morally wrong. Tim I don't believe that this is a position that you're actively taking. I think it's happened as a result of a couple of related issues that have bred an awkward censorship.

First there was the issue of trying to keep iOS relatively consumer friendly by keeping porn away. Apple's position has been that people are welcome to go out onto the Web and do as they wish. If they really want their adult material, Safari is their gateway. Second was the fact that because games are made in software there is frequently confusion in many minds over whether they are a medium or a product. Approval of software is essentially a checklist of what's permitted or not, much as a technical requirements, violations, bugs and so on. It's (mostly) entirely binary.

The problem for us game makers is that the Safari answer usually doesn't work for us. Software is not permitted to get to iOS devices via the Web because to do so invites malware, and that would be a major problem for such a high-profile platform. And secondly evaluating games in the manner of software checklists strips them of context. It is literally this game contains boobs as in Lucas Pope's Papers Please . Ban or change.

It doesn't feature whether those boobs are appropriate or not, as they might in other media. Via Apple today I can purchase Game of Thrones episodes or Lady Chatterley's Lover even though both have invited questions of appropriate content in their time. Why? Because Apple understands context. Media gets protected even though some would find it offensive because it matters. Except for games. If a game is philosophically seen as like an app then it falls under a certain remit. If a game is philosophically seen as like a book or album, it goes another way. Shifting from one to the other view is what needs to change.

I imagine that the experience of the team vetting Papers Please was a little like the Fox censor character from the Simpsons . He reads a script and marks no, no, no then sees a joke which makes him laugh out loud before marking it no . I imagine that in playing Papers Please or many of the other banned or censored games on iOS that the team knew it was good but had no option to approve it. It didn't fit the checklist.

I don't mean to make light of your own situation, but Tim you know what it is to express your true self . You know that being free is important, supremely important. Yet through a series of circumstances the company founded by one of the designers of Breakout finds itself in this position of saying no, of insisting that games fit in a box and be culturally relegated. Great revenues maybe, but creatively they're not being allowed to be all they can be on your platform.

Would taking the view that games are media and thus not censoring them alter the bottom line of the App Store? I doubt it. Would it need some thought as regards age categories and appropriate handling? I would think so, yes. So it's likely a net drag to actually do it. But you should do it anyway.

It's been a hard fought battle for some of us within the games industry to get to the point where we're not thought of as drug dealers or child-corrupting monsters. We're trying to overcome that Comics-Code perception, and slowly succeeding even despite resistance within and without. The big platforms often still stand in our way, still act like games should only exist in certain boxes, but they're slowly shifting.

Tim you control the biggest gaming platform in the world. Mobile games will surpass PC and console soon enough, and when they do they will become the new core gaming . The games won't all be just Candy Crush and Clash of Clans forever though, any more than TV stayed as its 1960s incarnation forever. Communities and cultures form around games in a way that's important to the overall culture, and will only increasingly do so.

Given your position of power do you really feel it's your place to stand in the way of the development of a medium? To say game developers you get to live in this box only . I don't think you mean to, but that's kind of where you are. Tim I need Apple to lead on this, as it has so often before.

 

15th December

 Updated: Why, Why, Why?...

Politician whinges as the song Delilah being used as a rugby anthem
Link Here
Delilah Tom Jones Former Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Iwan has claimed that the Tom Jones' classic, and Welsh rugby anthem, Delilah is 'inappropriate' for rugby crowds.

He claims it somehow promotes domestic violence and should be banned for its violent lyrics. He spouted:

It is a song about murder and it does tend to trivialise the idea of murdering a woman. It's a pity these words now have been elevated to the status of a secondary national anthem. I think we should rummage around for another song instead of Delilah.

The Welsh Rugby Union disagrees though, comparing the lyrics to Shakespeare plays such as Romeo and Juliet.

And Tom Jones says he doesn't think rugby crowds really think about the lyrics when singing Delilah. He said he was proud the song was used at rugby matches and said the song's subject matter simply reflected something that happens in life .

The lyrics include the lines:

At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting.

I cross the street to her house and she opened the door.

She stood there laughing... I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more.

Update: ...BUT...

16th December 2014. See  article from  bbc.co.uk . Thanks to phantom

But he told BBC Radio Two's Jeremy Vine there was no campaign and he was only trying to highlight that people do not always listen to the meaning of lyrics in popular songs.

 

15th December

  Sheezus!...

Lily Allen's nativity scene at a gig attracts a couple of whinges
Link Here
Sheezus Lily Allen A few miserable gits have whinged at a show by pop star Lily Allen for a supposedly disrespectful recreation of the nativity at one of her concerts.

At a sold-out show at the O2 Academy in Brixton, she performed her song Sheezus , while sitting in a straw-covered manger. Her back-up dancers were dressed as a traditional donkey, a Christmas cracker and a gift. The stage was illuminated with dozens of giant, lit-up baby bottles and Lily was joined by the Capital Children's Choir.

Conservative MP Martin Vickers whinged:

This could be extremely offensive to many Christians.

It is important that all religions are given the respect they deserve and I can certainly understand why some Christians believe their deeply held views are being squeezed out.

[But religions do get the respect they deserve!...none!]

It's been a long time since we've heard from Stephen Green, of Christian Voice, but it wasn't really worth the wait, he whimpered:

It is tasteless, it is disrespectful and it is crass.

 

15th December

  Caught on CCTV...

Bollox EU privacy law caught harming the people that it is supposed to be protecting
Link Here
European Court of Justice Images captured on a household surveillance camera could breach data-protection rules, the European court of 'justice' (ECJ) has ruled .

By clarifying European legislation, the judgment could have significant consequences for householders in the UK who use CCTV and keep or try to use the images, according to a legal expert.

The case related to a Czech man, Frantisek Rynes, who installed a surveillance camera after he and his family were subjected to attacks by unknown individuals. The camera filmed areas including a public footpath and the entrance to the house opposite. After someone fired a catapult at his home, breaking a window, Rynes gave the recordings to the police, allowing them to identify two suspects, who were subsequently prosecuted.

However, one of the suspects challenged the legality of Rynes recording and holding the images. The Czech office for the protection of personal data, found that although Rynes had been trying to expose the perpetrators of a crime, he had infringed data-protection rules and issued him with a fine.

And of course Euro judges agreed:

The operation of a camera system, as a result of which a video recording of people is stored on a continuous recording device such as a hard disk drive, installed by an individual on his family home for the purposes of protecting the property, health and life of the homeowners, but which also monitors a public space, does not amount to the processing of data in the course of a purely personal or household activity, for the purposes of that provision.

 

15th December

 Offsite Article: The Expendables 3...

Link Here
Expendables 3 Blu ray Sylvester Stallone Extended Movie-Censorship reveals the cuts for a US MPAA PG-13 rating

See article from movie-censorship.com

 

14th December

 Update: Lawyers continue to be enriched by satellite porn in South Africa...

TV broadcaster fails to prevent a revisit of the TV censor's decision to award licences for porn channels
Link Here  full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel
western cape high court Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will have to reconsider a decision to grant Top TV licences to broadcast three pornography channels.

The Western Cape High Court dismissed On Digital Media's application for leave to appeal a ruling that the communications authority must revisit its decision.

A previous court case had decided that the TV regulator had not considered a restriction on porn distribution found in laws pertaining to DVD distribution and the country's film censors.

Judge Lee Bozalek said he was correct in remitting a decision to license On Digital Media's porn channels back to Icasa rather than apply the discretion himself. He said it's not up to the court to sever the good from the bad with regard to a decision to license three porn channels.

On Digital Media, operating as Top TV, was granted three licences in April last year to broadcast adult content pay channels. In its appeal application, On Digital Media said remitting the decision back to Icasa would lead to unnecessary delay, prejudice and cost.

 

14th December

 Extract Lascivious camera shots...

Vivienne Pattison interviewed about 50 years of Mary Whitehouse
Link Here
mediawatch banner logo Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch-UK was asked Would you say things have got better or worse over those years? Pattison replied:

Well it's very easy to have a knee-jerk reaction and think everything has got so much worse, but that really isn't the case. I'm happy that we see a lot less racism and a lot less sexism on television today and I think that that has been a positive thing. But on the other hand I think we're seeing an awful lot more portrayals of violence, particularly sexual violence, which I think is incredibly worrying - and we're also seeing it used almost as a titillation, you know: lascivious camera shots on lots of violent action and violent footage. I don't think that that has been a positive development and I think that television and a lot of the programmes on it have become increasingly sexualised, which we're now beginning to learn, and we're still in the foothills here, but it's really quite damaging for children growing up with these images around them. So tempting though it is to say, No, everything's worse - some things are a lot better and some things really are not.

...Read the full interview

 

14th December

  Religious Censors...

Indian sikhs to set up a unilaterally imposed film censorship board to ensure that movies and books provide positive propaganda for the religion
Link Here
sgpc logo India Sikhs are attempting to unilaterally impose a new Sikh film censor board on Indian films to force them to portray the religion and its followers in a positive light.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will constitute a Sikh Censor Board to clear movies and books touching on the Sikh religion, history and culture. The board will ensure that films, books and entertainment provide positive propaganda for the religion. SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said,

The proposed board is aimed to ensure that the movies made in the future are in accordance with the Sikh 'rehat maryada' (code of conduct). The board will have 11 members, including Sikh intellectuals, historians and experts from various fields, film experts and lawyers.

Akal Takht Jathedar (High Priest) Gurbachan Singh said:

The SGPC was asked to constitute a censor board. Any movie or book related to Sikh history and culture has to be examined to avoid any controversies in the future.

However the unilateral imposition of religious censorship may not have any legal basis whatsoever.

Central Board of Film Classification (CBFC) member Chander Mukhi questioned the legal sanctity behind the proposed censor board by SGPC. He said:

What legal status do they have? Under which law will they enact this board? CBFC is enacted by the Parliament. Any other organisation will come up tomorrow and try to set its own censor board. We have different panels to watch the movies before they are released. The members are different every time. Any objectionable part in the film is cut down.

Makkar admitted that the board would have no legal sanctity:

Filmmakers who don't seek approval from the board would be responsible if there is any controversy. There have been instances in the past when films had to face strong protests.

 

14th December

  Wrapped up in PC Cotton Wool...

Ludicrous sensitivity to swastika forming a small part of an intricate pattern used for wrapping paper
Link Here
gift wrap walgreens Wrapping paper featuring a blue and silver design has been withdrawn from shops after a complaint that the gift wrap featured swastikas.

A shopper noticed the paper in a display for the jewish holiday of Hanukkah  at a branch of Walgreens in California, US, and complained.

Hallmark Cards apologised and said that any similarity to a swastika was unintentional, adding that the pattern has been in the company's reference archives for several years:

As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we began taking steps to remove the gift wrap from all store shelves and we will ensure the pattern is not used on any product formats going forward, a company statement said. We sincerely apologise for this oversight and for any unintended offense.

 

14th December

 Offsite Article: Why Google should leave Europe...

Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google logo The company is under relentless attack by European authorities who won't stop until they do real damage. By Mike Elgan

See article from computerworld.com

 

14th December

 Offsite Article: Soon, the internet will be impossible to control...

Link Here
bitcoin logo From big companies to governments, the ability to censor what we do online is about to get a lot harder. By Jamie Bartlett

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

13th December

  Ofcom Behemoth crushes small website operator...

HardGlam.com falls victim to a 1500 pound censorship fine for not following impossible age verification rules
Link Here
hardglam The adult website HardGlam (at www.hardglam.com and others) has been fined £1500 for transgression of ATVOD's internet censorship rules:

Rule 1: A person must not provide an on-demand programme service unless, before beginning to provide it, that person has given notification to the appropriate regulatory authority of the person's intention to provide that service. A notification must be sent to the appropriate regulatory authority in such manner as the authority may require and must contain all such information as the authority may require.

Rule 4: The provider of an On-Demand Programme Service must pay to the appropriate regulatory authority such fee as that authority may require under section 368NA of the Act.

Rule 11: If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.

The usual complaints about not registering for censorship, allowing hardcore material available without the onerous age verification requirements and not being responsive to the censors finger clicking.

Perhaps more interesting is how Ofcom relates to dealing with an adult industry minnow. Ofcom noted:

The Service Provider submitted written representations to Ofcom on 13 November 2014. The Service Provider also attended an oral hearing on 2 December 2014, supported by two family members.

Firstly, the Service Provider apologised for previous lack of engagement with ATVOD and Ofcom. He explained he had not intended to delay or impede the regulatory process and that there were a number of exceptional personal circumstances which had led to him (in his words) putting his, head in the sand . He noted that he was not well connected in the adult or video on demand industries and had run a business focusing on niche fetishes (principally women smoking) for nine years without realising compliance with ATVOD rules was required. When ATVOD contacted him, he had not known where to turn for advice and, having previously fallen victim to scams, had erroneously believed registration with ATVOD was either a scam or at least not a legal requirement. He said that Ofcom's involvement had alerted him to the seriousness of the situation and, following receipt of documents from Ofcom on 26 October 2014, he had taken steps to disable the websites under referral pending the outcome of Ofcom's sanctions process. Ofcom had noted this on 18 November, and also noted that the services remained unavailable as at the date of the oral hearing.

Secondly, the Service Provider noted that his was a very small business and provided turnover details which were not available to Ofcom at the time of its Preliminary View. The Service Provider said that he had struggled to make a profit with his original company, J&L Visuals Limited, and had liquidated that company in October 2010. He said that with so much content available free over the internet, subscription based providers were now struggling to cover costs. After seeking alternative employment, the Service Provider explained he had returned to the internet business, as sole trader under the HardGlam name. The Service Provider said that he did not have full accounts for the relevant period but he provided information about his very modest sales during the period from 26 April to 13 November 2014 and on his monthly running costs. The Service Provider said the assumptions in Ofcom's Preliminary View massively overstated the size of his business and expressed concerns about his ability to continue the business were a fine over four figures to be imposed.

Thirdly, the Service Provider noted the impact of the steps taken by Ofcom and of his own failure to engage earlier with the process on himself and his business. He said that since Ofcom had taken action in relation to the Service, his main payment provider had suspended payment provision in relation to the Service and he had not been able to receive any income or publish new content, leaving him with the costs for the premises he used for filming but no income to cover those costs. He indicated that he had to borrow money to cover these costs..

 

13th December

  Boyhood somewhere between 13 and 17...

New York cinema overrides overly strict R ratings for Boyhood and Citizenfour
Link Here
Boyhood DVD Patricia Arquette The US film censorship system has a notable large gap between the PG-13 rating and the R rating which would called a 17A in UK terms. There is clearly a need for a rating around the 15 level.

A New York cinema has made the news this week by overriding the MPAA rating for a couple of films that would occupy this 15 rated middle ground. Film ratings are voluntary in the US, so they are legally allowed to do this.

IFC Center, a major independent cinema has decided to defy the MPAA's  R ratings for the documentary on Ed Snowden by Laura Poitras, Citizenfour , and for Richard Linklater's film Boyhood . The cinema announced the decision on notices as follows:

While the MPAA has assigned BOYHOOD a rating of R, recommending that no one under 17 be admitted without a parent or guardian, IFC Center feels that the film is appropriate viewing for mature adolescents. Accordingly, the theater will admit high school age patrons at its discretion.

For comparison the BBFC rated both films 15 as follows:
  • Boyhood. Passed 15 uncut for strong language, sex references, drug use for:
  • Citizenfour. Passed 15 uncut for strong language for:

 

13th December

  Sly Foxes...

Internet browser makers to implement website blocking within the browser software
Link Here
firefox logo David Cameron announced a new law this week defining a new offence of over 18's sending. sexual messages to under 16s.

The Government also announced that revenge porn will also become a specific crime.

And perhaps most interesting a small follow up snippet of news that Microsoft, Google and Mozilla will announce plans to directly block people from accessing websites hosting child pornography from software include as an integral feature in internet browsers. So sounds like another censorship tool that others will soon clamour for its extension to their pet censorship requirements.

 

13th December

 Update: Crap website blocking...

Sounds like Virgin media is blocking parliamentary website because they use words also used by extremist groups
Link Here  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
Account Rendered Extraordinary Rendition Britains At the behest of David Cameron and the Daily Mail, everyone who signs up for an Internet account is asked Would you like to keep 'adult content' blocked on this connection?

It's a misleading question. A more accurate version is Would you like an unnamed third party company to use a secret, arbitrary, ever-changing blacklist to spy on all your clicks and decide which ones are and are not allowed to get through?

Like China's Great Firewall, the UK firewall is a patchwork of rules and filters that are opaque to users and regulators. Every ISP uses its own censorship supplier to spy on its customers and decide what they're allowed to see, and they change what is and is not allowed from moment to moment, with no transparency into how, when or why those decisions are being made.

Case in point: Virgin Media is blocking access to the website of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition . The site hosts Parliament's own documents on extraordinary rendition (this being the favoured government euphemism for sending people to other countries to be tortured ).

There's no way to know why Virgin blocked this. It's probably because much of the vocabulary used, seems to a dumb algorithm, to sound a bit like a website glorifying terrorism. Virgin in fact makes the unlikely sounding claim that the site is serving malware.

Update: Now uncensored

14th December 2014. Thanks to Braintree

The site is now unblocked by Virgin Media.

 

13th December

  Freedom on the Net 2014...

Freedom House surveys the world of internet freedom
Link Here
freedom on the net 2014 Freedom on the Net 2014 is the fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014. The report finds internet freedom around the world in decline for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period.

In a departure from the past, when most governments preferred a behind-the-scenes approach to internet control, countries rapidly adopted new laws that legitimize existing repression and effectively criminalize online dissent.

The past year also saw increased government pressure on independent news websites, which had previously been among the few uninhibited sources of information in many countries, in addition to more people detained or prosecuted for their digital activities than ever before.

Key Findings

  • Between May 2013 and May 2014, 41 countries passed or proposed legislation to penalize legitimate forms of speech online, increase government powers to control content, or expand government surveillance capabilities.
  • Since May 2013, arrests for online communications pertinent to politics and social issues were documented in 38 of the 65 countries, most notably in the Middle East and North Africa, where detentions occurred in 10 out of the 11 countries examined in the region.
  • Pressure on independent news websites, among the few unfettered sources of information in many countries, dramatically increased. Dozens of citizen journalists were attacked while reporting on conflict in Syria and antigovernment protests in Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine. Other governments stepped up licensing and regulation for web platforms.

Emerging Threats

Freedom House identified three emerging threats that place the rights of internet users at increasing risk:

  • Data localization requirements, by which private companies are required to maintain data storage centers within a given country, are multiplying, driven in part by NSA revelations, which spurred more governments to bring international web companies under domestic jurisdiction. These costly measures could expose user data to local law enforcement.
  • Women and LGBTI rights are undermined by digital threats and harassment, resulting in self-censorship that inhibits their participation in online culture.
  • Cybersecurity is eroding as government critics and human rights organizations are subject to increasingly sophisticated and personalized malware attacks, documented in 32 of the 65 countries examined.

Despite overall declines in global internet freedom, pushback by civil society was amplified this year by reactions to the NSA surveillance revelations. Awareness of the threats to fundamental rights expanded beyond civil society, as ordinary users around the world became more engaged in securing their privacy and freedom of expression online. In select cases, long-running internet freedom campaigns finally garnered the necessary momentum to succeed.

 

13th December

  Deeper Thought Required...

New Zealand manager arrested for an ill advised use of Buddha imagery in a Burmese bar promotion
Link Here

buddha headphones A New Zealand bar manager has been detained in Burma for using a commonplace image of the Buddha wearing headphones in a promotion. Police claimed the promotion was an insult to the Buddhist religion.

General manager Philip Blackwood, owner Tun Thurein and manager Htut Ko Ko Lwin were detained for police questioning and the bar was shuttered after a complaint by an official from Myanmar's Religious Department.

The Facebook posting for the newly opened V Gastro bar , a tapas restaurant and nightclub in a Yangon embassy area, showed a psychedelic mock-up of the Buddha wearing DJ headphones to trail a cheap drinks night this Sunday, AFP reported.

The bar deleted the post and wrote an apology on its Facebook page: Our intention was never to cause offence to anyone or toward any religious group. Our ignorance is embarrassing.

 

13th December

  They'll soon be searching for the nose they cut off...

Most companies in the world clamour to get as a ranking as possible in Google Search and pay big money for the privilege, except in Spain where they want Google shut out
Link Here
Spanish flag

 

12th December

  The British Board of World Film Censors...

BBFC category cuts for Pompeii and Hercules are applied to worldwide releases
Link Here
Pompeii DVD Kit Harington BBFC advised category cuts were made for UK cinema and home video releases of Paul WS Anderson's Pompeii .

The BBFC commented at the time of the cinema release:

This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certificate but that their preferred 12A classification could be achieved by making some changes.

The company was advised:
  • to reduce stronger moments of violence where there was a dwelling on particular acts and
  • to reduce the emphasis on blood on bladed weapons.

When the film was formally submitted, changes had been made which addressed these concerns. Consequently, the film was passed 12A.

Now Movie-Censorship.com reveals that the BBFC advised category cuts were adopted for US PG-13 rated release and also for FSK 12 rated release in Germany. Presumably the BBFC cuts therefore apply worldwide.

BBFC advised category cuts similarly found there way into the worldwide Theatrical Version of Brett Ratner's Hercules . But at least in this case there was an Extended Version released on US Blu-ray which restored the cuts. The Extended Version is MPAA Unrated in the US but has not been released in the UK.

 

12th December

 Extract: Dug up form the archive...

The BBFC reveals a 1989 examiners report for Dead Poets Society
Link Here
Dead Poets Society Robin Williams Dead Poets Society is a 1989 USA drama by Peter Weir.
Starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His room-mate, Neil, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each, in their own way, does this, and are changed for life.

The BBFC recalls:

One Examiner report for Dead Poets Society, available here, describes the emotional impact of the film on the Examiners present at its classification. It highlights the suicide in the film, and some very brief nudity, as the key classification issues taking the film to PG.

...Read the full article from bbfc.co.uk

 

12th December

 Extract: No More Page 3's Christmas single...

Even worse than it sounds.
Link Here  full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun

Spiked logo Sometimes, the world looks like a bleak place: the Middle East is still rocked by bloody violence, endangering thousands of innocent lives; millions around the world are still dying from poverty and preventable diseases. And yet, No More Page 3 (NMP3) campaigners are still convinced that the real crisis facing humanity today is the influence of boobs on working-class men.

...Read the full article

 

11th December

  So what censorial nastiness is ATVOD cooking up next?...

Guess who's paying these people to sit around a table dreaming up ideas to censor the internet?
Link Here
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry ATVOD recently published minutes from the September board meeting which predated the recent government censorship decree for internet porn.

The law was discussed at the meeting but this seems a little irrelevant after the law was published. Other related issues that cropped up were:

Secret Censors Pact

The Board NOTED the progress being made with development of a MoU with Ofcom and BBFC. Once finalised the MoU would be published and made available to Industry Forum members.

Move to censor the internet to the same level as TV

The Board AGREED that ATVOD should offer to provide Ofcom with the benefit of its expertise with regard to the work Ofcom is undertaking on a common framework for media standards.

You can run but you cannot hide

The Industry Forum meeting had supported working party proposals for a process designed to confirm whether an on demand service fell under UK jurisdiction. The Board DISCUSSED the details of the scheme. It was expected that the final scheme would be brought to the November Board meeting for approval.

Licence to kill the adult trade

The Board NOTED that there had been no recent communication from DCMS on proposals to consider the feasibility of a licensing scheme for foreign pornographic websites.

More censorship rules to follow

The Board AGREED that finalisation of ATVOD's additional guidance for adult providers should be put on hold until the new AVMS Regulations was introduced.

In league with the devil

BBFC presentation on 18, R18 and unclassifiable material 8.1

Murray Perkins, BBFC, attended the meeting and gave a presentation which included examples of material classified at 18, material classified at R18 and material which had been refused a classification.

 

 

11th December

 Diary: Protest against internet porn censorship...

Friday 12th December at noon outside parliament
Link Here
Sit on my face protest

Protest against internet porn censorship law
12th December 2014, at noon
Old Palace Yard, Parliament, London 

To meet outside parliament and protest against the new sexist laws - This is not supporting sexual equality and something needs to be done! Pornography produced in the UK was quietly censored today through an amendment to the 2003 Communications Act, and the measures appear to take aim at female pleasure.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 requires that video-on-demand (VoD) online porn now adhere to the same guidelines laid out for DVD sex shop-type porn by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC).

Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board's ruling on content that is not acceptable (p.23) effectively bans legal and consensual acts from being depicted by British pornography producers.

The theme of the protest is the Monty Python classic song, Sit On My Face. And couples will be doing as the song suggests, one the ludicrous prohibitions contained in the government censorship decree.

Protest Against The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations

See article from caan.org.uk

The Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) fully support the protest organised outside parliament this Friday against the government's latest ludicrous and hypocritical attempts to clamp down on porn that falls outside a narrow cultural definition of normal sexuality.

According to Jane Fae, co-convenor of CAAN England and Wales:

far from protecting anyone, this is the usual badly thought-out mishmash of irrelevant measures and middle-aged male prejudice. What they mostly dislike are women and individuals from outside the charmed circle of sexuality(*) having any place to explore what turns them on.

Dennis Queen, also co-convenor, seconded this view. She said:

Yet again, the official censors are reinforcing regulations that prevent people from expressing themselves safely while politicians such as David Cameron reward their friends in big porn by making it ever more difficult for anyone else to be involved in creating erotic film.

Equally this prevents a very large constituency of people, both straight and otherwise from accessing material that is fundamentally harmless.

Fae added:

If politicians had even a smidgeon of concern for individuals involved in porn, they would be talking to those already working in the industry and identifying what THEY want to make their workplace safer. As it is, Cameron's enforced introduction of filters has made it far harder for young people -- especially LGBTQ youth -- to obtain vital information and to explore their personal sexuality.

The principal beneficiaries of the government's initiatives in this area have been large US and China based filtering businesses. The government have made no-one safer: they have almost certainly done harm to vulnerable people.

(*) The charmed circle is the idea, proposed by Professor Gayle Rubin, that sexuality can be divided into that which is privileged by society, and is located inside the circle, while all other non-privileged sexually was located outside, and in opposition to it. Within the circle, broadly, are to be found straight, monogamous, vanilla, sex without the use of any aids.

 

 

11th December

 Update: Opposing snooper's charters...

Permission granted for judicial review of DRIPA
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

Old Bailey A judicial review of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) has been granted permission by Mr Justice Lewis in the High Court today. Open Rights Group (ORG) and Privacy International (PI) intervened in the case, which was brought by Tom Watson MP and David Davis MP, represented by Liberty. ORG and PI have now been given permission to make further submissions in advance of the next hearing.

Legal Director Elizabeth Knight said:

After the Court of Justice of the EU declared the Data Retention Directive invalid, the UK government had the opportunity to design new legislation that would protect human rights. It chose instead to circumvent the decision of the CJEU by introducing the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), which is almost identical to the Data Retention Directive.

Through our submission, we hope to help demonstrate that DRIPA breaches our fundamental human right to privacy and does not comply with human rights and EU law.

ORG's submission addresses the EU data protection regime in place before the Data Retention Directive (in particular the Data Protection Directive, the E-privacy Directive and the E-Commerce Directive) and why we consider DRIPA does not comply with the requirements of the regime in light of the clear guidance from the CJEU.

 

 

11th December

 Update: Dictatorship Report...

Thailand slips from 'partly free' to 'not free' in Freedom House report
Link Here  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup
Thailand flag Thailand's internet freedom has slipped from partly free last year to not free this year, placing it among the ranks of China, Vietnam, Iran and Libya in that category, according to the latest annual report by Freedom House. The report notes:

After the coup, the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] made dozens of arrests, stepped up digital surveillance, infringed on online privacy and create a climate of fear where Internet users conducted an on and offline witch hunt against fellow citizens.

Freedom House noted that charges of lese majeste and computer-related crimes brought by Internet users against fellow citizens increased along with political detention:

In the month after the coup, there were at least five cases of a lese majeste charge added when an individual was already in detention. Three notable ones involved digital content.

Even those who use the Internet anonymously have come under threat since the May 22 coup, the organisation noted:

In late May, the MICT reportedly proposed to establish a single national gateway to the International Internet to expedite monitoring and censorship online content that is deemed illegal. Reports in June 2014 said MICT officials were consulting with vendors to implement plans, which would require every Thai citizen to authenticate their identity using their smart ID cards before logging onto the Internet.

 

 

11th December

 Update: Classified as Repressive...

South Africa also plans for the film censors to take control of the internet
Link Here
south africa film censor logo South African film censors from the Film and Publications Board (FPB) plans to extend its censorship control to the digital space and, in a draft policy document, proposes that all online content distributed in South Africa must be censored by March 2016.

However there are concerns that the agency has drafted this online regulation policy without consulting stakeholders and the breadth of its ambit could invite abuse.

The draft policy requires that, as of 31 March 2016, no one will be allowed to distribute digital content in South Africa unless it is classified in terms of the board's guidelines, or a system accredited by the board, and aligned to its classification guidelines, and the Film and Publications Act and its classifications. The FPB logo must also be prominently displayed.

This regulation would clearly apply to major corporates such as Google and Apple, who face sanctions if they don't comply, but it could also affect bloggers or individuals posting video clips online, who in some cases could face legal action.

The draft policy requires that anyone who wants to distribute a film, game or certain publications online will have to apply for an online distribution agreement. A prescribed fee, determined by the minister, will be imposed and, after payment, the distributor can classify content on behalf of the board by using its classification guidelines and those of the FPB Act.

 

 

10th December

  Open Secrets...

Mass internet snooping in the UK cleared by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

Old Bailey The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) gave its judgment in a major surveillance case brought by Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International. Disappointingly, the IPT ruled against the NGOs and accepted the security services' position that they may in principle carry out mass surveillance of all fibre optic cables entering or leaving the UK and that vast intelligence sharing with the NSA does not contravene the right to privacy because of the existence of secret policies.

The decision should enable the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to proceed with hearing the Privacy not PRISM case brought by ORG and others. It also means that Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International may join us in the ECtHR.

The NGOs challenged the government's surveillance practices on the grounds that it breached our rights to privacy and freedom of expression. Read Privacy International's summary of the judgment here.

It is a disappointing decision, but not a surprising one. ORG and the other human rights groups have long argued that the IPT is unable to provide an adequate remedy. It is able to hold secret hearings (as part of the hearing in this case was) without telling the claimant what happened at those hearings. There is no right of appeal from a decision of the IPT. In this case the government refused to divert from its neither confirm nor deny policy regarding the existence of its surveillance programmes, which meant the case had to consider hypotheticals.

ORG, Big Brother Watch, English PEN, Article 19 and Constanze Kurz have a case in the ECtHR that challenges the government's surveillance practices on very similar grounds. Our Privacy not PRISM case questions the human rights compliance of GCHQ's TEMPORA programme, carried out under s.8(4) Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and the use of information obtained from the NSA's PRISM programme. The case has been given a priority status by the ECtHR but is currently on hold pending today's decision by the IPT.

The IPT case has forced the government to disclose previously secret polices, reveal its overly broad definition of external communications and admit that it can obtain communications from the NSA without a warrant. These disclosures will assist all of the rights groups' arguments in the ECtHR.

The decision means that the adjournment of our case is likely to be lifted soon. How soon this happens will depend on whether the claimants in the IPT decide to apply to the ECtHR and whether the court allows them to join our case. Privacy International has already indicated that it intends to complain to the ECtHR.

We await the decision of the ECtHR as to when it will re-start our case and begin its scrutiny of the government's surveillance practices. All parties will now look to the ECtHR to defend our human rights where the IPT has failed to do so.

 

10th December

 Update: Court Judgement Shared...

Pirate bay to be blocked in France
Link Here  full story: Pirate Bay...Pirate Bay, Swedish file sharing site
France flag France has become the latest country to the block world's number one file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay, in an effort to defend copyright-protected content.

The ruling of the Grand Instance Court of Paris ordered the country's leading internet providers, including Orange, Bouygues Telecom, Free and SFR, to ensure all measures are put into place to prevent access (to the site) from French territory . In addition to the main site address, the court banned around 20 mirror websites and 50 proxy servers that allow users to download content from the Swedish site.

Now internet service providers have 15 days to prevent access to the file-sharing site, which some 28.7% of people in France visited at least once a month last year, according to anti-piracy group Alpa.

The court ruling follows legal action by the anti-piracy group La Societe Civile des Producteurs Phonographiques (SCPP), which represents some 2,000 music labels that brought the request before the court this year.