Google has changed its mind about banning sexually explicit blogs on its Blogger platform.
After a ton of feedback the firm has decided to continue with its current policy instead, it says.
Explicit blogs must continue to identify themselves as adult . This means a warning page is shown before readers are transferred to the site. Google also reserves the right to add an adult tag to Blogger blogs if it feels the description is
The acceptable use policy link currently redirects users to a posted message which reads:
We've had a ton of feedback, in particular about the introduction of a retroactive change (some people have had accounts for 10+ years), but also about the negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.
So rather than implement this change, we've decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn.
As long as bloggers have correctly identified their adult blogs they need take no further action, the message adds.
Andrus Ansip, Europe's Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, wants to abolish geoblocking. Restricting user access to content based on their location,
which Netflix, YouTube and others do, is discrimination, he says. I want to pay -- but I am not allowed to. I lose out, they lose out, Ansip notes.
Due to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library. The same is true for many other media services such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Video, and even YouTube.
These regional blockades are a thorn in the side of Andrus Ansip , Vice-President for the Digital Single Market in the European Commission. In a speech this week he explained why these roadblocks should be abolished.
Far too often, consumers find themselves redirected to a national website, or blocked. I know this from my own experience. You probably do as well. This is one of many barriers that needs to be removed so that everyone can enjoy the best Europe has to
offer online. It is a serious and common barrier, as well as extremely frustrating.
The EU is currently discussing how copyright legislation in Europe should be overhauled and the Vice-President for the Digital Single Market hopes that measures against geoblocking will be part of the new rules.
As previously reported, Malaysia's film censors at the Film Censorship Board (LPF) banned the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, claiming it contained unnatural and sadistic sex scenes, including ones involving a woman being bound and
Well it seems that it would have been a bit inconsistent not to also ban the book, so that's exactly what the government has dones
The ministry's order comes 3 years after the book was published in the country.
A federal gazette order issued by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi stated that the books were prohibited because they were likely to be prejudicial to morality .
The three E.L James book, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed , chronicle the bizarre relationship between a female student, Anastasia Steele, and a young billionaire, Christian Grey.
Apart from banning the sale of the books, the government has also prohibited the importation, reproduction and possession of the books.
The ban comes under the Printing Presses and Publications (Control of Undesirable Publications) Order 2015 and is dated Feb 24.
Controversial new rules banning cuss words from all Indian films, issued on the directive of new Central Board for Film
Certification (CBFC) chairman Pahlaj Nihalani, has been put on hold following protests by several board members at a CBFC meeting. This was the first board meeting after Nihalani took over as CBFC chief.
Reportedly, the circular that listed cuss words in Hindi and English, including Bombay , was discussed at the meeting and several board members opposed it.
It was brought to Nihalani's notice that in keeping with the Cinematograph Act 1952, which guides CBFC's functioning, the chairperson does not have the authority to take such decisions and that such powers rested only with the Information and
Broadcasting Ministry. Sources said the circular was put on hold and the board decided to convene another meeting to discuss the issue at length.
A board member, who refused to be named, said:
The role of the chairperson and the board is merely recommending and advising the I&B. This became clear to Pahlaj Nihalani during the meeting. The decision whether or not the circular should be implemented now rests with the ministry.
Follow up meetings have taken place and reports are awaited.
Update: Government rejects loony film censor's ban on strong language
Indian filmmakers are relieved that the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Rathore has announced that Bollywood will not be required to
follow the list of banned cuss words made by the new chief of the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Pahlaj Nihalani. The decision came after certain reputed filmmakers decided to consult the Ministry of I&B after Pahlaj passed the order of
banning cuss words from films.
Pahlaj Nihalani decided to take matters into his own hands when films started using many cuss words as a part of the screenplay and he ordered the ban of over 28 words to be used in the film. It included words like harami , bastard and he
even refused to allow the Bombay to be a part of the film because the city is now termed Mumbai . Bollywood personalities had a meeting with the I&B Ministry after which they reached to the conclusion that Bollywood can do away with the
list and ignore the order.
Public concerns seem lifted straight from feminist PC campaign literature. These are then presented as a series of 'factors' that predictably only the BBFC can arbitrate on. The rules are supposed to let websites and ISPs decide for
Research carried out on behalf of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) confirms public demand for putting certain types of glamour imagery behind adult filters on mobile devices.
The BBFC has been the provider of the Mobile Classification Framework used by Mobile Network Operators in the UK to calibrate their filters since September 2013. This Classification Framework, along with the policies that underpin it, is consistent with
the standards used to classify film and videos.
Very broad patterns about the kinds of images that were thought to be unacceptable for those under 18 are highlighted in the research . An overwhelming majority of participants indicated that images containing sexualised full frontal nudity, sex acts, or
explicit sexual poses were unacceptable. Conversely, images deemed acceptable by the majority of participants tended to depict models who were wearing more clothes, or less explicitly sexualised poses.
Participants in the research showed concern for protecting children aged nine to 13 years old, because they were considered to be the most impressionable. The lack of context for glamour images is also perceived as problematic, in addition to the nature
of viewing content on devices, where parental oversight is less likely and sharing capabilities amongst peers is easy to achieve.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC, said:
The public has given a clear indication of what sort of glamour imagery they would like to see restricted to adults only. We have responded to the research by publishing a policy response which we will apply when considering glamour content under the
BBFC's Classification Framework for mobile content.
Hamish MacLeod, chair of the Mobile Broadband Group, commented:
Mobile operators in the UK have been placing adult content behind access controls since 2005, in accordance with established, independent standards. The BBFC's latest research provides robust and up-to-date evidence to ensure that the standards used will
remain consistent with other media and will continue to meet public expectations
The research reflects wider attitudes around protecting children from inappropriate sexual imagery highlighted in, for example, the independent 2011 Bailey review Letting Children be Children.
The BBFC Mobile Classification Framework, adopted by the UK's four Mobile Network Operators in September 2013, defines content that is unsuitable for customers under the age of 18 and is based on the BBFC's published Classification Guidelines, which are
updated every 4/5 years and based on large scale public opinion research. The last review of the BBFC Classification Guidelines, in 2013, involved more than 10,000 members of the public from across the UK.
The BBFC's policy response to the research (outlined below) covers situations where the BBFC is considering where to draw the line in relation to the classification of glamour content at the adult category or below the adult category, delivered via
mobile networks. The policy takes into account that the content generally features little or no context. The BBFC's consideration is relevant to whether that content sits behind or in front of adult filters operated by the UK's Mobile Network Operators.
About the research 'Filtering Glamour Content on Mobile Devices for Under 18 year olds'
The research was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the BBFC. The methodology of the research comprises an online quantitative survey plus qualitative focus group based research.
The online quantitative survey showed 1,000 participants 30 images and four short video clips. Quotas were in place to ensure participants were a representative spread across Great Britain and includied those with children in their household; 25% with
children at home and 75% without children at home, to reflect the proportion of households in the UK with children under the age of 16 years. The participants were asked whether each should be placed behind an age filter so only 18+ year olds could
access it on mobile devices.
The second qualitative stage of the research comprised of eight single gender mini focus groups in four locations across Great Britain, plus a trio interview. The qualitative stage recruited a mixture of ethnicities, ages, demographics and lifestages
(e.g parents with children at home, non-parents, parents with children who have left home). The focus groups took place in London, Portsmouth, Leeds and Edinburgh.
PUBLIC ACCEPTABILITY OF GLAMOUR IMAGES ON MOBILE DEVICES:
THE BBFC'S POLICY RESPONSE
Research carried out on behalf of the BBFC in 2014 demonstrates that members of the public are concerned by children and young people accessing certain "glamour" content which, in their view, is inappropriate and even has the potential to cause
harm. The public was concerned in particular by glamour content, both still images and videos, that features a sexual invitation and/or an intention to sexually arouse the viewer. The public argued that the sexual invitation may consist of either one
strong sexual element or a mixture of less individually salient elements that combine to make a sexual invitation.
There is support for the use of adult filters to prevent, as far as possible, those under 18 accessing such content.
Some members of the public participating in this research noted the specific nature of viewing content on a mobile device. They considered that the nature of these devices enables children and young people to evade parental oversight, to decontextualise
images and to share them among peer groups. These issues are more problematic in glamour content than other genres, as there is no context or narrative provided for the viewer. Respondents therefore urged the BBFC to take into account the particular
nature of viewing glamour content on mobile devices.
B. The response of the BBFC
The response outlined below covers situations where the BBFC is considering where to draw the line in relation to the classification, delivered via mobile networks, of glamour content at the adult category or below the adult category. This content
generally features little or no context. The BBFC's consideration is relevant to calibrating the filters used by the UK's Mobile Network Operators to restrict access to internet content.
The response does not cover the classification of sex, sex references and nudity in other contexts (for example narrative or documentary films) which may involve richly contextualised material.
The BBFC is unlikely to classify below 18 glamour content, both still images and video, featuring:
A sexual invitation
An intention to sexually arouse the viewer
The following content is unlikely to be acceptable for under 18 year olds to view on a mobile device in a glamour context:
Full frontal nudity in a sexualised manner, or exposure of the genitals
Sexual poses that imply readiness for sex or draw attention to sex organs whether exposed or not, (for example a woman bending over and/or spreading her legs) which heighten the sexual invitation or the arousing nature of an image
Unambiguous sexual fetish themes in an obvious or sustained manner
Beyond these elements, the public remains concerned by the cumulative impact of layering of sexual elements that it wants the BBFC to take into consideration alongside other factors. These include images that:
Play to male fantasies, such as 'girl on girl'
Objectify women and which are primarily about sexual arousal for the viewer, evoking ideas about female exploitation and inequality
Convey an obvious sexual invitation, such as 'come hither', sultry and sexual facial expressions
Feature non explicit but clearly sexual poses
Link sex and with other adult themes, such as drinking or gambling
The BBFC will take account of these factors in considering the classification of glamour material featuring such content.
The Norwegian Parliament adopted a new law on child protection in audiovisual programmes. The Ministry of Culture had presented a White Paper to Parliament
proposing to establish a new Act on the protection of minors on 20 June 2014, the first reading in the Parliament happened on 10 December.
The new law introduces a platform independent approach, child protection measures are unified in one Act regardless of platform. The Act will apply to the communication of audiovisual programmes and connected material to the general public through:
(Linear) television On-demand audiovisual media services
Screenings at a public gathering in Norway (including at a cinema or other screening facility)
Making videos available in Norway (including free distribution of DVD/Blu-ray).
The Act introduces new age limits: All , 6 , 9 , 12 , 15 and 18 .
The Norwegian Media Authority will now develop rules and guidelines for the implementation of the new provisions and conduct information campaigns aimed at industry and the public during 2015. The Act will come into force no earlier than 1 July 2015.
Government proposals to expand the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) will pave the way for a national ID register in Scotland. The
proposals have been made public in a little-known consultation that closes at the end of February. Digital rights campaigners, the Open Rights Group (ORG) believe that the consultation is flawed, misleading and could fundamentally change the relationship
between citizen and state.
Open Rights Group Executive Director, Jim Killock said:
Government proposals that jeopardise our right to privacy need proper consideration. The SNP rejected a national ID register when the UK government tried to introduce ID cards. These proposals could pave the way for a similar scheme in Scotland and are
being introduced without a proper debate by the public or MSPs.
Most Scottish citizens already have a unique identity number in the NHS system. This plan is to share this unique identifier with up to 120 other Scottish public bodies - including Glasgow Airport, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Caledonian Maritime
Assets Ltd. Scottish residents could then be tracked across all their interactions with public bodies, including your benefits, bus pass travel or library usage.
ORG believes that this is building an ID card system in Scotland and that any such changes should be introduced as primary legislation, which would allow a proper public and parliamentary debate.
ORG has published its response
to the consultation.
A TV ad for the Kazam mobile phone. The ad opened with the shot of the back of a woman wearing just her underwear, she was shown walking around a house. The ad cut to a scene where she ran her finger down her cleavage, bit her lip then moved her hand
over her hip and thigh. She picked up and put on a pair of jeans and the camera showed her buttoning them up. The ad then cut to a close-up of her bottom. She then picked up a shirt which she ironed and a close-up showed the iron moving over the pocket.
After she put the shirt on a mobile phone was heard ringing. She searched her jeans pockets before finding it in the shirt pocket. A voice-over stated Introducing the world's slimmest phone.
Eight complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was overtly sexual and objectified women, and because the content bore no relationship to the advertised product.
ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld
The ASA noted that much of the ad focused entirely on the actor in her underwear, including scenes that featured several close-up shots that lingered over her breasts, buttocks and lips, which we considered were sexually suggestive. Additionally, this
was heightened by the suggestive nature of the music and voice-over and further reinforced because the focus on the woman bore no relevance to the advertised product. We therefore considered that the overall style of the ad served to objectify women. We
therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some viewers on the basis that it objectified women.
The ad breached BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Kazam Online Ltd to ensure future ads did not cause offence by objectifying women.
An Australian trade body representing the free-to-air television industry, Free TV, has called for the local TV watershed to be set at the earlier time of 7:30pm rather than the current 8:30pm.
In fact Australia currently has a two tier system with M rated content allowed after 8:30pm and MA rated content allowed after 9pm. An M rating is an advisory 15 rating that would be called PG-15 in US terms. MA is a restricted 15 rating that allows
younger viewers when accompanied by an adult that would be called 15A in UK terms.
M-rated programming includes appropriate coarse language, simulated or restrained depictions of sex and nudity and non-high-impact violence.
MA-rated programming can include very coarse language, so long as it is story-appropriate, and nudity so long as it is relevant to the storyline or program context .
The proposed set of new commercial television guidelines would allow the broadcast of M-rated material after 7.30pm and MA-rated material after 8.30pm. The new code would have to be approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
The proposed new code would also absorb the existing AV adult violence classification - that is, program content that depicts violence in some detail , though neither prolonged nor unduly bloody or horrific - into the MA
The proposed changes are a response to the new media landscape, it says, arguing that content is now available via multiple platforms, including pay TV and the internet, out of a time zone context and, in most cases, without restrictions in place.
The proposal explains:
There are now a range of other options for managing viewing, including dedicated children's channels, ubiquitous availability of parental locks and information contained in electronic program guides
Free TV is now engaging in a six-week public consultation process after which the code must be submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for registration. See further details at
Luxembourg has responded to a European Commission reprimand for not implementing the media censorship required by the Audiovisual Media Services
The resulting draft law introduces a system of self-classification, requiring broadcasters established in Luxembourg to classify their programmes.
The Act sets out five categories of age groups:
(I) no age distinction - programmes appropriate for all audiences;
(II) programmes not suitable for minors under 10;
(III) programmes not suitable for minors under 12;
(IV) programmes not suitable for minors under 16; and
(V) programmes not suitable for minors under 18.
Programmes of the first category are to be exempt from labelling. For the other categories, the obligatory identification is to take two forms: first, the form of pictograms referring to the respective age group in black letters on white ground and,
second, the form of a warning stating not recommended for minors aged below 10/12/16/18 . Content of category II is to be made identifiable by the broadcasting of the corresponding pictogram and the respective warning for one minute at the
beginning of the programme. Those of categories III and IV should be featured during the entire duration of the programme. In addition, the warning should appear for one minute at the beginning of the programme and when the programme resumes after an
interruption (such as an advertising break). Pictograms and warnings will also have to be screened during a trailer for programmes of categories II, III and IV.
Programmes susceptible to harming minors will have to be classified as being unsuitable for minors under 10.
Programmes resorting to physical and psychological violence in a systematic and repeated manner will have to be considered unsuitable for minors under 12. These may not be broadcast in unencoded form between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Programmes of erotic character or great violence will be regarded as harmful to minors under 16 and will only be allowed to be disseminated in unencoded form after 10 p.m. and before 6 a.m.
For the fifth category of programmes, the draft regulation indicates that their dissemination is in principle legal. However, such content should be reserved for an adult audience due to its sexually explicit or highly violent character. Thus, such
programmes shall in every case have to be encoded and, additionally, broadcast only between midnight and 5 a.m. Access shall only be granted to adults by way of a personal access code. The starting screen shall have to display a monochrome image on a
blank screen and no sound in order to discourage providers from screening, for instance, sexually explicit stills and thereby attracting minors' attention.
In addition, the draft regulation contains a rule for broadcasters principally targeting the public of another EU Member State, while established in Luxembourg. As an exception, such broadcasters should be able to opt for the classification system
applied in that particular Member State, provided that an equivalent level of protection is achieved.
Furthermore, providers of on-demand audiovisual media services will also be required to classify their programmes, with a choice between three systems:
first, they may apply the labels as prescribed by Art. 1 of the draft regulation,
second, they may maintain the classification obtained in the country of origin of the work or
third, if the programme is directed to a public in another Member State, they may apply the corresponding system of that Member State.
Providers of non-linear services will be obliged to introduce parental control systems (about which users should be adequately informed), which would restrict access to programmes on the basis of a specific code.
Material not suitable for minors aged below 18 (category V) will have to be presented in a separate space and will only be allowed to be offered in return for remuneration (either upon subscription or as pay-per-view). Access to such content will have to
be permanently blocked and will only be permitted to be accessible after insertion of a special access code, verification of which would take place each time the user returns to the service.
The moralist campaign group One Million Moms whinges:
In Cottonelle's newest advertising campaign Dare to Go Commando, a company spokeswoman asks individuals if they feel cleaner after using Cottonelle because of the ripple texture. The Cottonelle spokeswoman goes so far as to ask another woman if
she feels clean enough to go commando now. The woman agrees and walks back into the restroom to return with her undies in a small shopping bag. The commercial ends with both women pulling down the waistbands of their pants just enough to reveal they
don't have panties on.
Cottonelle is encouraging consumers to go without underwear. Oh, please! This is ridiculous. This type of advertising is extremely inappropriate.
The tissue paper company also has a similar ad, Go Cottonelle. Go Commando. In this ad, the spokeswoman asks a man to go commando, and it ends the same way.
Internet users who look at copyrighted material online aren't breaking copyright by doing so, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)
has declared. This is a useful ruling that will now apply across the EU.
The declaration was part of the British Meltwater case. Meltwater is a Norway-founded media monitoring service that sent out daily digests including the headlines and the first bit of the article of the newspaper stories, together with links to the full
online articles. It did not pay for these snippets. The company found itself sued in the U.K. by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA). The case was really about whether Meltwater could use headlines and portions of articles in a commercial service
without copyright holder's permission but a side issue arose about whether web surfers are allowed to view content without copyright permission.
The NLA claimed that when you look at online content, you're making 2 copies, one on the screen and one in your browser's cache. The agency claimed that this required the authorization of the copyright holders.
But the CJEU ruled:
Article 5 of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society must be interpreted as meaning that the copies on the user's
computer screen and the copies in the internet cache of that computer's hard disk, made by an end-user in the course of viewing a website, satisfy the conditions that those copies must be temporary, that they must be transient or incidental in
nature and that they must constitute an integral and essential part of a technological process, as well as the conditions laid down in Article 5(5) of that directive, and that they may therefore be made without the authorisation of the copyright holders.
Our new report Careless Whispers
has highlighted that 6,329 people have been charged or cautioned under out-of-date communications legislation. Focusing on the impact on communications made on social media, the report highlights an increase in cases.
The report features a foreword from John Cooper QC, Barrister for the defence in the 'Twitter joke trial', who warns that there is "a lack of training in many police forces and the CPS as to how this older law applies to
a very modern medium."
The figures, which were obtained under Freedom of Information law, show that there have been at least 355 social media cases brought under the legislation. Only 13 of the 42 police forces provided details of the number of social
media cases they have been involved with, so the figure is likely to be far higher.
The report focuses on two pieces of communications legislation which were both drafted before the existence of the most widely used social media platforms. Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003, which was created to deal with
public electronic messages that were either grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character and was most famously used in the Twitter joke trial .
And the Malicious Communications Act 1988 was first created to deal with poison pen letters or hate mail but was expanded in 2001 to cover electronic communications. The Act was used in the Poppy Burning case of 2012, when an
individual was arrested for posting an image of a burning poppy on a social network site on Remembrance Day.
Based on the figures contained in the report, Big Brother Watch calls for:
Section 127 of the Communications Act to be repealed, and for the words "grossly offensive" to be removed from the Malicious Communications Act.
A full review of the way communications legislation is being used to police social media.
A common approach to enforcing the legislation by police forces, including introducing a standardised approach to recording social media offences.
ASA has published 2014's top ten most complained about ads. The top three
ads are also the most complained about ads ever. Topping the list is Paddy Power's Oscar Pistorius ad with 5,525 complaints.
The fact that the three most complained about ads ever have appeared in 2014 reflects the rise of social media, which has allowed members of the public to voice and co-ordinate their concerns about ads. Many of the complaints about the Paddy Power ad and
the third most-complained about ad (The Sun's Win a Date with a Page 3 Model') were coordinated via the online petition site, change.org.
2014's ten most complained about ads are:
1. Paddy Power.
5,525 complaints upheld by ASA.
ASA banned this national press ad that offered incentives to bet on the outcome of Oscar Pistorius's murder trial. ASA claimed that the ad caused serious offence by trivialising the issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of a woman and disability.
1,768 complaints not upheld.
This TV and cinema ad prompted complaints that the ad was offensive and encouraged bad language amongst children by using the word booking in place of a swear word. ASA did not uphold the complaints, judging that it was a light hearted play
on words that couldn't be mistaken for an actual swear word. We also ruled that it was unlikely to encourage swearing amongst children; any children that did pick up on the joke were unlikely to have learned bad language through the ad itself.
3. The Sun.
1,711 complaints upheld
An email sent to subscribers of the Sun's Dream Team fantasy football competition featured a prize draw to win a date with a Page 3 model. Winners were also able to pick their date. The complaints, many of which were submitted as part of a campaign led
by SumOfUs.org, believed the ad was sexist and objectified women. ASA upheld the complaints claiming that the email was offensive and irresponsible for presenting women as objects to be won.
4. Sainsbury's in association with The Royal British Legion
823 complaints not upheld
Sainsbury's Christmas TV ad showed a story based on the 1914 Christmas Day truce during the First World War. Most of the complainants objected to the use of an event from the First World War to advertise a supermarket. While acknowledging that some found
the ad to be in poor taste, ASA did not judge the ad to be offensive and in breach of the Code.
5. The Save the Children Fund
614 complaints not upheld
This TV and video-on-demand ad featured a women giving birth to a baby with the help of a midwife and prompted complaints that the scenes were offensive, distressing and inappropriately scheduled. ASA did not uphold the complaints and agreed that the
ad's post 9 pm scheduling restriction appropriately reduced the risk of younger viewers seeing the ads and causing distress.
267 complaints considered resolved
A TV and cinema ad claimed Everyone who works at Waitrose owns Waitrose prompted complaints that it was misleading because they understood that some services, like cleaning, were outsourced. Waitrose greed to amend the ad and ASA considered the
7. VIP Electronic Cigarettes
199 complaints that were upheld
Complaints claimed that two VIP e-cigarette TV ads glamorised and promoted the use of tobacco products. ASA did not uphold the complaints about glamourisation, but did consider the ads depicted the products being exhaled in a way that created a strong
association with traditional tobacco smoking.
8. TADServices Ltd
188 complaints. The first actual real complaint about a reprehensible website.
183 complaints not upheld
This animated TV and YouTube ad for Flora Buttery showed two children making breakfast in bed for their parents and walking in on their parents wrestling . ASA received complaints that the ad was offensive and unsuitable for children to see. While
ASA acknowledged that while the ad was suggestive, it did not contain any sexually graphic or distressing scenes, and so was unlikely to cause undue fear or distress to young viewers.
177 complaints more actual real complaints about a reprehensible website.
CITIZENFOUR , Laura Poitras' riveting documentary about Edward Snowden's efforts to shed light on gross surveillance abuses by
the United States government and its partners, just won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Tonight's Oscar win recognizes not only the incredible cinematography of Poitras, but also her daring work with a high-stakes whistleblower and the journalism that kick-started a worldwide debate about surveillance and government transparency. We suspect
this award was also, as the New York Times pointed out , a way for Academy members to make something of a political statement, without having to put their own reputations on the line.
We're thrilled to see Poitras take home this prestigious award. CITIZENFOUR distilled a multi-year battle against untargeted surveillance and delivered it to the world with a compelling human interest story. The work of Poitras, Snowden, and journalist
Glenn Greenwald helped shape the political course of nations across the globe. That's worth at least an Oscar.
This award means that more people will be no doubt be watching CITIZENFOUR, and thus learning about both Snowden's sacrifice and the surveillance abuses by the United States government. For those watching the movie for the first time, there's often a
sense of urgency to get involved and fight back against mass untargeted surveillance
In an escalating campaign of harassment, Malaysian authorities seized copies of a new volume of political cartoons
by Zulkiflee Awar Ulhaque, also known as Zunar. In the past three weeks, police have confiscated three separate volumes of Zunar's cartoons and detained him for four days on accusations of sedition in connection with critical posts he wrote on social
Police seized approximately 200 copies of Zunar's new book, ROS in Kangkong Land , while they were in transit to a launch event scheduled to occur in Petaling Jaya city, according to news reports.
The book lampoons Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, and also touches on the trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who stands accused of sodomy.
Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative explained:
The ongoing harassment and legal threats against cartoonist Zunar make a mockery of Malaysia's democracy. Prime Minister Najib Razak should use his authority to stop the harassment of Zunar and the bogus sedition investigation against him and instead
return his attention to reforming outdated laws like the Sedition Act that are too often abused to threaten and punish journalists.
A Thai court has sentenced a man and a woman to two years and six months in jail each for damaging the monarchy .
Patiwat Saraiyaem, 23, and Pornthip Munkong, 26, had pleaded guilty to breaking repressive lese majeste laws which protect the royals from criticism and insults.
The charges related to a play they performed at a university in 2013. The play, called Wolf Bride, was set in a fantasy kingdom and featured a fictional king and his advisor. It marked the 40th anniversary of a student pro-democracy protest that was
crushed by a military regime.
The BBC's Jonathan Head, who is at the court in Bangkok, says the two were handcuffed together on arrival, one wearing leg shackles.
However, the full details have not been widely reported because under the laws media coverage which repeat details of the offence is considered the same as the original statement.
Starbucks has withdrawn a poster showing Armenian women in traditional clothing drinking coffee under the crescent and star of
the Turkish flag and apologised to customers for causing offence.
The posters, displayed at at least one coffee shop in Los Angeles , angered easily offended Armenian Americans because of supposed sensitivities around the deaths of more than a million Armenians at the hands of Turkish Ottoman forces in the early 20th
The Armenian National Committee Of America (ANCA) whinged on Facebook:
Why is Starbucks selling coffee using an image of women, dressed in traditional Armenian costumes, celebrating a Turkish state that systematically victimized Armenian women during the Armenian genocide, and that still denies this crime against all
As 'outrage' grew this week, the company posted an apology on the ANCA's Facebook page and promised to remove the offending images.
ESPN is a sports television channel broadcasting a combination of live sports events and sports related programming.
During live coverage of a baseball match in America, the commentators talked very briefly about the pitcher who kept looking at a batter at first base because the batter was attempting to steal base'. This involved the batter moving back-and-forth on
first base in an ungainly manner to distract the pitcher. These movements prompted one of the commentators to say:
"He [the pitcher] might be just looking at him because he looks like such a spaz".
A viewer alerted Ofcom to the reference to "spaz" in the commentary, saying that it was an offensive term to describe someone with physical disabilities.
Ofcom considered 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, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds
ESPN apologised for any offence caused. The Licensee however said that:
the use of this word in America is not seen as offensive as it is here. As a consequence, this presents UK broadcasters, especially in relation to the coverage of live sport, difficult challenges.
ESPN explained its live coverage of Major League Baseball is via an international feed from the US host broadcaster. The Licensee said that during a live programme, if offensive language is broadcast, the US commentator would immediately apologise
. However, in this case, ESPN Limited said the:
US commentator didn't (and wouldn't) apologise because the word spaz in America is largely seen as inoffensive. The Licensee said this word is used [in the USA] to describe someone who is clumsy or un-coordinated and is generally linked with that person
being excessively excited or hyperactive.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 2.3
Ofcom acknowledged that ESPN is an established channel broadcasting American sporting events live. Ofcom understands that, in American slang, the term spaz is largely inoffensive. We noted the Licensee's argument that the US commentator was
referring solely to the player's physical awkwardness rather than making a derogatory comment about disability. However, in our view, a UK audience, even one familiar with ESPN content, would not automatically have understood the different meaning of the
word in the USA and it would therefore have been capable of causing considerable offence. Further, we considered that the fact that the word had been intended to refer to physical awkwardness increased the likelihood that viewers would have assumed that
the reference was linked to disability.
ESPN operates under an Ofcom UK broadcasting licence. It must therefore adhere to generally accepted standards. The Licensee must take UK audience expectations into account when transmitting material broadcast live from America. As pointed out above, the
word spaz can cause considerable offence to UK viewers and listeners, and we noted that no apology to viewers was broadcast in this case.
On balance, Ofcom's view was that the use of spaz in these particular circumstances was not justified by the context and Rule 2.3 was breached.
The French Catholic Church has declined to sign a declaration by the group Reporters without Borders (RSF) challenging faith groups to
pledge unreserved support for free speech or face public pressure to do so.
RSF president Christophe Deloire proposed the declaration after religious leaders, reacting to last month's terrorist attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, backed free speech ...BUT... said it had to be exercised responsibly.
Nobody can impose his concept of the sacred on others, says the declaration, which says some people might be offended by free speech ...BUT... this cannot justify limiting any opinion, even an irreverent one. church-state separation.
This declaration seems to suspect religions of being not very active in supporting free speech, if not actually opposed to it, said Marseille Archbishop Georges Pontier, president of the bishops' conference.
The Church, which reiterated its support for the principle of free speech after the attack, [...BUT...] does not sign declarations it has not helped draft, he said, adding it was regrettable the text was addressed only to religious leaders
and not other civil society personalities.
The heads of France's main Muslim, Protestant and Buddhist groups signed the declaration. Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia said he agreed in principle to it ...BUT... did not sign without all the other religious leaders.
The BBFC regularly answer questions posted on Twitter. A few interesting answers from last weeks questions and answers session:
Q: #askbbfc why have you banned things like female ejaculation and bdsm? Isn't it a bit sexist
A: There is no list of banned acts, but the Classification Guidelines must follow UK law #askbbfc [no list...except of course... urolagnia... and female ejaculation where there no proof it is female ejaculation...and not to mention
fisting, gagging on blow jobs, BDSM activities resulting in welts beyond trifling, playacting close relatives and many others]
A: We cannot classify material likely to be considered in breach of the OPA - this includes urolagnia #askbbfc
A: If there is no on-screen proof it is female ejaculation & not urolagnia we may not classify it #askbbfc
And another couple of questions are of interest:
Q: Is non-sexual nudity, particularly of nipples, treated differently for men and women and, if so, why? #askbbfc
A: Non-sexualised or natural nudity is classified in the same way regardless of gender #askbbfc
A: Even at U occasional nudity, with no sexual context may be acceptable #askbbfc
Q: If a distributor requests a high-end category, eg 18, will the BBFC rate it accordingly even if the content is lower? #askbbfc
A: A film can only be classified in terms of its content #askbbfc ...
A: So even if the distributor wants an 18, if the content is only 15 level, it will be passed at 15 #askbbfc
A: Film classification decisions must be consistent and reflect the BBFC Guidelines #askbbfc
A: it is helpful for us to know what rating a distributor is aiming for #askbbfc
A: but it makes no difference to the final classification #askbbfc
A: Of all the films submitted with a classification request in 2014, 35% received a different classification #askbbfc
PC extremmists have had a whinge at the name of the action movie channel Movies4Men, which is owned by Sony, as offensive and
demographic box-ticking gone mad .
The channel, which is available on Freeview, Freesat and Sky, claims that it is dedicated to supplying non-stop entertainment for men and specialises in action, war, westerns and classic films. It also proudly declares on its website that it is
one of the last places to find quality drama .
Jamie Graham, editor-at-large of Total Film magazine, claimed the name of the channel was outmoded and offensive :
I think it's wrong for everyone involved. It perpetuates this myth that men like one thing and women like another.
Graham added without a trace of irony at the hypocrisy, that there was still room for Hollywood to produce more films aimed at women.
Marie Berry, founding editor of feminist magazine KnockBack, equally unaware of hypocrisy at her magazine's genderist basis spouted:
Gender as a descriptor gets more and more embarrassing as we try to move towards an equal, balanced society. I hope that, by the time the next generation are in charge of such things, they will cringe at names like this.
Fifty Shades of Grey continues to wind up film censors.
UAE's film censors of the National Media Council have required 35 minutes of cuts due to inappropriate scenes, forcing distributor Four Star Films to pull the film. The council's director of media content Juma Al Leem told the paper.
We reviewed the movie in the presence of the distributor and after he realized how many inappropriate scenes there were, he took the decision not to show the movie himself, before we were able to make a decision.
Russia: Not shown in the Caucases
Meanwhile Russian news agency TASS reported that the erotic drama, which opened elsewhere in Russia on Feb. 12 with an 18+ age restriction, has been pulled out by cinemas in the republics of Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya. Ossetian mufti Khadzhimurat
Gatsalov was quoted as saying:
The initiative to send an address to the region's authorities, requesting that the film be banned, came from young people who are concerned about noticeable interest in the movie from those who are in the early twenties,
TASS also quoted Madina Ayubova, a spokesperson for Kinostar, a theater in Chechnya's capital Grozny, as saying that film won't be exhibited in Chechnya:
Because a lot of what is shown in [the film] contradicts the mentality and religion of the majority of the republic's population.
According to Gatsalov, the film is not going to be exhibited in any of the four remaining North Caucasus republics either.
MTRCB, The Philippines censorship group's Chairman Eugenio Toto Villareal told the Inquirer that the board approved the film with no further cuts, but that the producer/distributor (Columbia Pictures) had made pre-cuts prior to review.
As part of the measures, a 10-second notice is flashed onscreen before each screening, disclosing that the film was classified as is and in its entirety with noticeable blurs and screen blocks introduced by the film producer. The notice also
informs the public about the adult content.
Update: Banned in Papua New Guinea and heavily cut in Zimbabwe
Late on in the editing process Warner-Pathe decided to shorten the film. The scenes removed have never been included in any official release and are now considered lost. From IMDb:
There is a missing scene between where Franšoise agrees to join Jim and Henry at their place. This was Ken Russell's favourite scene in the entire movie but it was dropped by the producers, hence the unexplained cut between France and the pier of
Regarding the original 100 minutes, it is known that several scenes and tail ends including the one referenced on IMDb were removed from the cut as the film was considered too long by the original distributor Warner-Pathe that was part owned by
Associated British at Elstree Studios who did not like the film. There are production stills, press shots and amateur photographs from residents of Herne Bay confirming scenes that were deleted.
The late French actress Germaine Delbat is credited in one version of the surviving prints yet is never seen in the film. It is believed that she played a kind concierge who took in Jim Stevens (James Booth) and Henry Ligget (Roy Kinnear) to her
ruined Tudor hotel when they were hopelessly lost on foot in woodland on the road from Boulogne to Le Touquet.
The scene referenced on IMDb was after the two Englishmen found Franšoise Fayol (Marisa Mell) in Le Touquet and brought her back to the hotel for a picnic (production stills exist of this) before returning to England with her the next day. These are the
scenes that were most treasured by Ken Russell and the producer Kenneth Harper, but they to were cut possibly very late in the process hence why Germaine Delbat remains credited in one print as French woman .
The surviving print moves scene via a poorly executed cut from the Englishmen's invitation in Le Touquet straight to their arrival back in England at the end of the pier.
Unfortunately of course all these scenes are believed to no longer exist in any format. Possibly Ken Russell might have owned a personal collection or the original 100 minute print but all of his possessions were destroyed in a catastrophic house fire in
2006. He confirmed that he had lost his copy in 2008 when he came to introduce an outdoor screening in Herne Bay.
UK: With the distributor's cuts included, the BBFC passed the film A (PG) after further BBFC cuts required for an A rating for:
1964 cinema release titled French Dressing (scope)
The BBFC cuts were:
The BBFC removed a scene with Franšoise Fayol (Marisa Mell) dressed as a nun revealing her garter as part of a dream sequence. Ken Russell confirms this in an old Radio Times interview from 30 October 1971 which accompanied a BBC TV
broadcast of the film that week. This scene was later returned in part or in whole to the surviving prints that exist today.
Apart from a number of worldwide television broadcasts of varying runtime, the film has been screened as a double bill (cut even shorter to 60 minutes) in Australia, Argentina, Canada, Germany, Japan and was given limited cinema circuit release in the UK
in part thanks to the sudden popularity of James Booth via Zulu in 1964. There are surviving localised posters for all these releases.
Thanks to Daniel who adds that the film has been on UK TV once for definite. It was on Channel 4 in the early hours of the morning, but the screening was over a decade ago. Daniel notes that it was letterboxed, but cropped to 1.77.
The full 86 minute cut has been screened in local Herne Bay festivals and a BFI screening in 2011, otherwise it was largely buried and forgotten until now.
Network's DVD is the first home video release of the film worldwide since Weintraub Entertainment released a cropped NTSC VHS in Japan circa 1989.
Director Ken Russell's first film is a comedy about the exploits of a deckchair attendant in the fictional English seaside resort town of Gormleigh. Aided by his reporter gilfriend Judy (Alita Naughton), deckchair attendant Jim
(James Booth) dreams up a plan to revitalise the town by organising a film festival centred around French movie star pin-up Franšoise Fayol (Marisa Mell). Travelling to France with entertainments manager Henry Liggott (Roy Kinnear) to enlist the star's
help, the pair finally convince her to return with them to headline the festival. But although Fayol receives a warm welcome in the town, a series of unplanned mishaps see the festival, which up to that point had been a roaring success, descend into
Gypsy campaigners have lost their high court challenge over Ofcom's handling of their complaint about Channel 4's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding television
Mr Justice Ouseley on Friday dismissed a judicial review brought against the TV censor by theTraveller Movement, a group supporting 300,000 gypsies and travellers.
At a hearing in London at the end of last year, its lawyers said that Ofcom unlawfully dismissed its complaint in November 2013 after conducting a procedurally unfair investigation into accusations that the Channel 4 programmes gave a negative portrayal
of Traveller communities and confirmed social prejudices in a way likely to cause harm to children in those communities. The charity had claimed that the Channel 4 broadcasts of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma's Gypsy Girls had depicted children
in a sexualised way and portrayed men and boys as feckless, violent and criminal.
An Ofcom spokesperson said: The court has agreed that Ofcom thoroughly investigated the complaints made against Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma's Gypsy Girls. We are pleased our decision was upheld.
Whereas the rest of Europe has an unwritten blasphemy law enforced by violent religious
intolerants, Malta quaintly has an official blasphemy law enforced by the police.
In the light of the muslim terrorism in Paris, the Maltese press have been noting the irony the country's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat heading off to Paris to participate in a unity rally, whilst presiding over a country with a blasphemy law that makes
it illegal to acquire or distribute the many issues of Charlie Hebdo featuring religious cartoonery.
Uttering any obscene words - although what constitutes obscene words is not defined - in public is one of the contraventions affecting public order included in Article 338 of the Criminal Code. But Article 342 sets out that if the act involves
blasphemous words or expressions, the offender may be jailed for up to three months, although a fine may be levied instead.
Another contravention listed in Article 338 includes ecclesiastical habits or vestments among the uniforms which cannot be worn without the permission of the authorities.
The Criminal Code also includes three articles which specifically address crimes against the religious sentiment. Article 163 and 164 concern the vilification of religion, granting a privileged position to the Roman Catholic religion - declared to
be Malta's religion in the Constitution - in the process.
Article 163 sets out that whoever publicly vilifies the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion which is the religion of Malta, or gives offence to the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion by vilifying those who profess such religion or its ministers, or
anything which forms the object of, or is consecrated to, or is necessarily destined for Roman Catholic worship, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from one to six months. Article 164 criminalises the same behaviour when
directed towards any cult tolerated by law, but in this case, only a maximum jail term of three months is foreseen.
Article 165 criminalises the obstruction of religious services, this time making no distinction between Roman Catholic services and those of other religions tolerated by law. Anyone who obstructs religious services carried out with the assistance of a
minister of religion or in any place of worship or in any public place or place open to the public may be jailed for up to one year, or up to two years if the obstruction involves threats or violence.
A Maltese Charlie Hebdo would clearly fall foul of both Article 163 - the cover of one issue, for instance, carried a depiction of the Trinity engaged in a sexual act - and Article 164.
Due to some of the magazine's more risque content, anyone involved in its production or distribution could also be prosecuted under Article 208, which criminalises the production, acquisition or distribution of obscene or pornographic material, with
offenders liable to imprisonment for up to 1 year.
And it's not as if Maltese blasphemy law is some sort of dormant anachronism from the past. Blasphemy laws are still actively enforced, and a number of people have received suspended jail terms as a result.
A number of people had ended up in Court and charged with vilifying the Roman Catholic religion in the wake of the 2009 Nadur carnival. Then-Archbishop of Malta, Paul Cremona, and Gozo Bishop Mario Grech had jointly urged the authorities to intervene
before the police confirmed that arraignments would take place.
A 26-year-old man who dressed up as Jesus received a one-month jail term suspended for six months after pleading guilty. But a group who dressed up as nuns pleaded not guilty and were acquitted because they were not wearing any religious symbols.
However, another young man received a suspended jail term for vilifying the Roman Catholic religion in 2009: he displayed visuals which included, among other things, Pope John Paul II and a naked woman while DJing at a music festival.
US and UK spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe
An episode of Peppa Pig has been banned from Australian TV after a complaint from a single viewer.
The controversial episode entitled Mister Skinnylegs featured a friendly spider of the same name. Daddy Pig is seen picking up the spider by its thread within the episode, gallantly informing his spouse: Don't be scared, Mummy.
The complainant contacted Australia's ABC network to say the episode was inappropriate for a Down Under audience because it said that spiders were not to be feared.
Australia has some of the most venomous spiders in the world and friendly spiders is perhaps not the best message for Australian children.
The network has already banned the episode from being broadcast again.
And if you were asking what about The Lion King, Tiger Tim and Yogi Bear...well maybe best not to go there.
TV ad and a cinema ad for a travel website, Booking.com:
The TV ad featured scenes of various people arriving at their holiday destinations. The voice-over stated, This holiday has been a year in the planning. And here you are standing, nay staring down your dreams. The rest of your
holiday hinges on the moment you walk through that door. The door opens, you hold your breath and then you realise. You got it right. You got it booking right. Because it doesn't get any better than this. It doesn't get any booking better than this. Look
at the view, look at the booking view. This is exactly what you booking needed. Bask in the booking glory at over half a million properties. Planet earth's number one accommodation site. Booking dot com, booking dot yeah. At the end of the ad
on-screen text stated Booking.com , which was replaced by Booking.yeah in time with the voice-over.
The ASA received 2,345 complaints
The majority of complainants, who believed the word booking had been substituted in place of a swear word, challenged whether the ads were offensive;
A number of complainants challenged whether the ads were irresponsible because they were likely to condone or encourage swearing amongst children;
A number of complainants, some of whom reported seeing ad (a) on the CITV channel or during programmes such as a Harry Potter film, and who understood that children were therefore likely to see the ad, challenged whether it was
A number of complainants, some of whom reported seeing ad (b) during screenings of films including Paddington and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb , and who understood that children were therefore likely to see
the ad, challenged whether it was appropriately placed.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA understood that the repetition of the word booking was intended to raise awareness of the Booking.com brand and had used word play in a comical way to express that message. We noted that the word booking was used throughout
the ad in a variety of contexts that each lent themselves to substitution with an expletive, and that many viewers would understand the use of booking as word play on the word fucking . However, we considered that the voice-over artist
enunciated the word clearly and that it was sufficiently distinct so as not to be generally confused with the word fucking . We also considered that use of the word booking was not gratuitous or out of context because it was directly
relevant to the advertiser's brand name and the URL they were promoting. Although we acknowledged that the placement of the word was redolent of the use of expletives we noted that the ad did not expressly use any explicit language and therefore
concluded that, although some viewers might find the connotation and word play distasteful, it was unlikely that the ad would cause serious or widespread offence.
2. Not upheld
The ASA acknowledged complainants' concerns that the substitution of the word booking could encourage children to swear. However, we considered booking was sufficiently dissimilar to fucking to be unlikely to be recognised as a
reference to a swear word by those who were not already familiar with the word or associated phrases, and therefore considered that children would infer that the term was being used as a reference to the advertiser's brand name. We also considered that
as the ad did not contain an expletive it was unlikely in itself to promote the use of such words and that those children who were old enough to realise the innuendo would be likely to understand that the humour was derived from the substitution rather
than the use of an expletive. We understood that a small number of complainants had reported hearing their children swear after seeing the ad, but considered that because the ad did not contain any expletives this behaviour would not arise from the ad
itself. Although some complainants were concerned that the ad was encouraging children to say booking in the manner of the ad (and that some had reported this happening) we did not consider that this was tantamount to having encouraged these
children to use expletives. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to condone or encourage swearing amongst children.
3. Not upheld
The ASA understood that Clearcast had not applied a scheduling restriction to the ad, and that this was largely based on previous decisions made about other ads that had used similar approaches. We agreed with Clearcast's assertion that booking was sufficiently removed from
fucking that it would not register with younger viewers, and also considered that older children who already knew the expletive implied by the ad would be unlikely to be adversely affected by the content. We therefore concluded that the ad was
acceptable without a scheduling restriction.
4. Not upheld
The ASA understood that the CAA had taken the decision to place the ad during PG film screenings both because the type of humour used was present in films of this rating and because the BBFC had given the ad itself a PG rating, and considered that this
was an appropriate way of determining whether the ad should be placed in such a screening. Again, we considered that younger viewers would not understand that booking was a substitution of an expletive, and that older children who understood the
humour would not be unfavourably affected by the ad. We therefore concluded that the ad had not been irresponsibly placed.
The MPAA R rating is by definition suitable for at least older children, so unsurprisingly, there are severe restrictions on the
depiction of sex. The Hollywood Reporter has been trying to define some of those restrictions.
The R rating can have about 3 or 4 seconds of a scene where it is implied that sex is taking place, and even then the participants must be mostly clothed. The Hollywood Reports writes:
The difference between an R rating and an NC-17 often hinges on the amount of in-and-out action, according to those familiar with the ratings process. Three or four seconds you can get away with, says one source. Linger on it for 30 or 40
seconds, and you're in NC-17 territory. And if a couple is completely naked, forget about it (think of all those half-clad lovers you've seen on the big screen).
And as for oral sex, it's all about how long the scene lasts and how completely the implied action is obscured, Harvey Weinstein successfully appealed the NC-17 given to Blue Valentine because of a scene in which Ryan Gosling's character performs
oral sex on Michelle Williams'. A very vocal Gosling accused the MPAA of misogyny, saying there are countless R-rated movies in which a male character receives oral sex.
Nudity is also largely verboten. Showing genitalia full-on (his or hers) almost guarantees an NC-17, unless it's a fleeting glimpse, as with Sharon Stone's crotch shot in Basic Instinct or Ben Affleck's shower-entry scene in Gone Girl .
Female breasts are R-friendly, of course, one recent example being Oscar-nominated Reese Witherspoon in Wild .
Sex within a monogamous relationship is much preferred by the moralist censors. casual sex acts are judged more harshly by the MPAA, according to insiders who have been through the process. In other words, the ratings board looks more kindly on a sex
scene when the characters are in a marriage or serious relationship. (Same-sex interactions also get more scrutiny than heterosexual encounters.)
The government is not too amused with new censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani's volubility and sources said he may be asked to
pipe down. Nihalani has courted controversy with his list of around 28 cuss words which he wants filmmakers to avoid in their movies.
The list, which includes some 28 cuss words, has angered filmmakers. They have called it absurd, regressive and against creative freedom.
Nihalani said his office had made the list of the most commonly used cuss words:
I have not made up these words. The list was given to me by my office and it was circulated among us. It was not for the media. It was not to be made public. It was given to them to follow the guidelines.
I am just following the guidelines. I am not bringing anything on my own. If the industry people have a problem, they should go to the ministry and get their approval. I will follow it.
Film makers took him up on his words and called on the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry resulting in a meeting between eminent filmmakers and junior minister Rajyavardhan Rathore slated for February 25. Gangs of Wasseypur director
Anurag Kashyap said:
I am against censorship of any kind. The meeting with the minister went off well and for the first time, I feel that we have been able to bridge the gap between the government and the film industry.
Supriyo, who is minister of state for urban development, said he felt for the cause. Referring to Nihalani's diktat, he said, Maybe, some people are speaking out of turn and are not really in tune with the film industry's needs.
No cuss words. No bloodshed. No violence against women. No double meanings. Filmmakers: No movies then!
Besides the ban on certain words, the circular issued by the censor board also says that no Indian male will look at an Indian female, they won't hold hands, they won't smile and he can't breathe into her ear!
Plans to introduce a rating system for movies in the Egyptian cinemas would partly reduced the need for cuts but nudity and explicitly sexual scenes would
still be cut out, according to the head of Egypt's state Censorship Bureau. Abd El Sattar Fathy said:
Of course, if it is a scene of explicit sex it will be removed. Images of male and female genitalia as well as nudity scenes will also be removed, he added.
Any movie that is clearly promoting pornography, homosexuality or that is damaging Egypt's relations with some specific countries will still be rejected.
The new measure would not prevent deleting scenes of atheism or that incite sectarian strife.
Fathy said that Egypt would be implementing a rating system that classifies films into three age categories, 12, 15 and 18.
He also said that the board seeks to implement the classification as soon as possible but that training on this could take two months.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other
TPP signatories to accept the United States' excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains extreme DRM
anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users , likely leading to
more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP's Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that
could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.
Here, we'd like to explore yet another set of rules in TPP that will chill users' rights. Those are the criminal enforcement provisions, which based upon the latest leak from May 2014 is still a contested and unresolved issue. It's about whether users
could be jailed or hit with debilitating fines over allegations of copyright infringement.
Dangerously Low Threshold of Criminality
The US is pushing for a dangerously broad definition of a criminal violation of copyright, where even noncommercial activities could get people convicted of a crime. The leak also shows that Canada has opposed this definition. Canada supports language in
which criminal remedies would only apply to cases where someone infringed explicitly for commercial purposes.
This distinction is crucial. Commercial infringement, where an infringer sells unauthorized copies of content for financial gain, is and should be a crime. But that's not what the US is pushing for--it's trying to get language passed in TPP that would
make a criminal out of anyone who simply shares or otherwise makes available copyrighted works on a commercial scale.
As anyone who has ever had a meme go viral knows, it is very easy to distribute content on a commercial scale online, even without it being a money-making operation. That means fans who distribute subtitles to foreign movies or anime, or archivists and
librarians who preserve and upload old books, videos, games, or music, could go to jail or face huge fines for their work. Someone who makes a remix film and puts it online could be under threat. Such a broad definition is ripe for abuse, and we've seen
such abuse happen many times before.
Fair use, and other copyright exceptions and limitations frameworks like fair dealing, have been under constant attack by rightsholder groups who try to undermine and chip away at our rights as users to do things with copyrighted content. Given this
reality, these criminal enforcement rules could go further to intimidate and discourage users from exercising their rights to use and share content for purposes such as parody, education, and access for the disabled.
Penalties That Must be Sufficiently High
The penalties themselves could be enough to intimidate and punish users in a way that is grossly disproportionate to the crime. Based upon the leak, which showed no opposition in key sections, it seems TPP negotiators have already agreed to more vague
provisions that would oblige countries to enact prison sentences and monetary fines that are sufficiently high to deter people from infringing again. Here is the text :
penalties that include sentences of imprisonment as well as monetary fines sufficiently high to provide a deterrent to future acts of infringement, consistently with the level of penalties applied for crimes of a corresponding gravity;
Already in many countries , criminal punishments for copyright grossly outweigh penalties for acts that are comparatively more harmful to others. So the question as to what crimes copyright infringement corresponds to in gravity is obscure. What's
more alarming is that countries without existing criminal penalties or whose penalties are not sufficiently high to satisfy the US government, may be forced to enact harsher rules. The US Trade Representative (USTR) could use the certification
process , at the behest of rightsholder groups, to arm-twist nations into passing more severe penalties, even after the TPP is signed and ratified. The USTR has had a long history of pressuring other nations into enacting extreme IP policies , so it
would not be out of the realm of possibility.
Property Seizure and Asset Forfeiture
The TPP's copyright provisions even require countries to enable judges to unilaterally order the seizure, destruction, or forfeiture of anything that can be traceable to infringing activity , has been used in the creation of pirated copyright
goods , or is documentary evidence relevant to the alleged offense . Under such obligations, law enforcement could become ever more empowered to seize laptops, servers, or even domain names.
Domain name seizure in the name of copyright enforcement is not new to us in the US , nor to people running websites from abroad . But these provisions open the door to the passage of ever more oppressive measures to enable governments to get an order
from a judge to seize websites and devices. The provision also says that the government can act even without a formal complaint from the copyright holder. So in places where the government chooses to use the force of copyright to censor its critics ,
this could be even more disastrous.
Criminalization of Getting Around DRM
We've continued to raise this issue, but it's always worth mentioning--the TPP exports the United States' criminal laws on digital rights management , or DRM. The TPP could lead to policies where users will be charged with crimes for circumventing, or
sharing knowledge or tools on how to circumvent DRM for financial gain as long as they have reasonable ground to know that it's illegal to do so. Chile, however, opposes this vague language because it could lead to criminal penalties for innocent
The most recent leak of the Intellectual Property chapter revealed new exceptions that would let public interest organizations--such as libraries and educational institutions--get around DRM to access copyrighted content for uses protected by fair use or
fair dealing, or content that may simply be in the public domain. But even if it's legal, it would be difficult for them to get around DRM since they may not be equipped with the knowledge to do it on their own. If someone else tries to do a public
service for them by creating these tools for legally-protected purposes, they could still be put in jail or face huge fines.
Like the various other digital copyright enforcement provisions in TPP, the criminal enforcement language loosely reflects the United States' DMCA but is abstracted enough that the US can pressure other nations to enact rules that are much worse for
users. It's therefore far from comforting when the White House claims that the TPP's copyright rules would not change US law --we're still exporting bad rules to other nations, while binding ourselves to obligations that may prevent US lawmakers
from reforming it for the better. These rules were passed in the US through cycles of corrupt policy laundering. Now, the TPP is the latest step in this trend of increasingly draconian copyright rules passing through opaque, corporate-captured processes.
These excessive criminal copyright rules are what we get when Big Content has access to powerful, secretive rule-making institutions. We get rules that would send users to prison, force them to pay debilitating fines, or have their property seized or
destroyed in the name of copyright enforcement. This is yet another reason why we need to stop the TPP--to put an end to this seemingly endless progression towards ever more chilling copyright restrictions and enforcement.
If you're in the US, please call on your representatives to oppose Fast Track for TPP and other undemocratic trade deals with harmful digital policies.
The British Board of Film Classification was today condemned as irresponsible, ill-informed and hypocritical for apparently endorsing the use of cable ties as a relatively harmless form of bdsm play. Experienced practitioners hit back, claiming cable
ties were inherently dangerous and expressing disbelief that the BBFC, which has recently justified censoring bdsm film content on grounds of potential harm, should have been so permissive in respect of a running joke about cable ties in 50 Shades of
Grey, on general release since Friday.
Today, Dennis Queen, co-convenor of Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) wrote to the BBFC setting out these concerns in detail, and offering to provide the BBFC with advice on safe bdsm practices for the future. She explained:
I am extremely worried to hear that we're seeing a notable increase in emergencies due to ideas from 50 shades of Grey being tried out.
The BBFC view of what is safe is irresponsible and ill-informed. Apparently they consider 'soft' what many of us who are experienced in consensual bdsm would call dangerous and abusive. At the same time, it bans material which it sees as more serious,
but which is actually safer. We urgently need to challenge this problem before someone is killed.
We need people to know cable ties can be dangerous, and people are getting hurt. if you care for your partner, please don't use cable ties, or anything else which can tighten and injure them. Never tie anyone up in something you can't instantly get them
out of in an emergency, and keep safety scissors handy.
We also cannot emphasise enough that the basis of the relationship in this story is abusive and anyone who attempts to stalk you, or control your life in the way this particular movie explores, should be avoided. We reiterate Women's Aid's call to get
help now if you are in a relationship like this.
There is a thriving BDSM community in this country, so if you fantasise about power games, talk to us for more information about how to play more safely and plan your fun, consensually, as equals.
Commenting on their classification, the BBFC said:
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY only features activities at the milder end of the BDSM spectrum and contains nothing that is likely to present any novel ideas or potential dangers to adults. As such there was nothing to stop the film being classified 18.
In respect of their decision to do nothing in respect of the promotion of cable ties, they added:
The BBFC considers such matters in their overall context, include the amount of detail or otherwise in any depiction or reference: in the context of this particular work we did not consider it either justified or proportionate to make an intervention at
the adult level.
When asked what advice they had taken on the matter from experienced bdsm practitioners, they explained that they have long-standing contact with BDSM practitioners, though it is not known what advice, if any, was given in this instance.
Charlotte Rose, who recently organised a protest outside parliament at the extension of BBFC classification to online material, said:
The BBFC approach on this issue is both dangerous and hypocritical.
The film promotes cable ties for bondage play, while simultaneously failing to give the viewer any education into the very real dangers involved. Yet in discussion of recent legislation giving to ATVOD greater powers to ban dvd's not passed for viewing
by the BBFC, their excuse for much of their censorship activity is that it is necessary in order to protect individuals from potential harm.
The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include
media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate.
Top of the list, as so often, are three Scandinavian countries: Finland, which has been in first place for five years in succession, followed by Norway and Denmark. At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, in last place, were
the worst performers. The UK is ranked 34th (down one place), the United States 49th (down three places), Japan 61st (down two places), Brazil 99 (up 12 places), Russia 152 (down four places), Iran 173rd (unchanged) and China 176th (down one place).
The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis, media freedom is in retreat
on all five continents.
The indicators compiled by Reporters Without Borders are incontestable. There was a drastic decline in freedom of information in 2014. Two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed for the 2015 World Press Freedom Index performed less well than in the
previous year. The annual global indicator, which measures the overall level of violations of freedom of information in 180 countries year by year, has risen to 3,719, an 8 percent increase over 2014 and almost 10 percent compared with 2013. The decline
affected all continents.
Police in Copenhagen have killed a muslim terrorist suspected of attacks that left two dead and five injured in a terrorist attack in the Danish capital.
The first attack took place at a free speech event where a Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who depicted the religious character Mohammed as a dog was speaking. Vilks, who has been threatened several times before , hid in a cold room during the
shooting with Helle Merete Brix, one of the event organisers. There is nobody that thinks it is pleasant when somebody tries to attack you. We sat in the cold room holding hands and telling jokes. For what else can you do in such a situation? she
The second attack was at a synagogue.
Each attack left one person dead, with three police officers injured at the Art, Blasphemy and Free Speech debate and two at the synagogue.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's prime minister Tweeted:
This is not a battle between Muslims and non-Muslims. This is a fight between freedom and a dark ideology
The man suspected of killing two people in shootings in Copenhagen was on Sunday identified in several Danish media outlets as Omar El-Hussein. Ekstra-Bladet, a Danish tabloid, reported that the 22-year-old was released from jail only two weeks ago after
serving a term for aggravated assault.
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said:
The use of violence on a gathering exploring the intersection of religious and artistic freedom should send shivers down our spines.
The Charlie Hebdo murders inspired intensified public debate about free speech and its value. Many people who had previously given little thought to free speech were drawn for the first time into online discussions or attended events to help them get a
better understanding of the issues. It would be terrible if violent acts such as that in Copenhagen shut down free speech even further.
The ability to express ourselves freely, to attend meetings and debates without fear of violence, is fundamental to a free society. Free speech must be protected.
This is not just about cartoons or offence. If violence is allowed to win, free speech -- and all of our ability to be who we are, practice what religion we like, have relationships with whomever we want -- dies.
Comment: Copenhagen: the bloody, murderous 'No Platforming' of blasphemers
The moralists of the Parents Television Council are up-in-arms about the jokes in an episode of Family Guy.
In the episode, Quagmire sleeps with what he believes to be a 23-year-old female who ends up actually being 15. A whole slew of situations occur up to the point where Quagmire ends up in court, and his mother gives the judge a fellatio in order to save
her son from jail time.
The Hollywood Reporter got a hold of a statement from the Parents Television Council:
We believe that Family Guy 's description of this explicit sexual terminology violates the broadcast indecency law. And we believe that joking about statutory rape, as Family Guy did throughout this episode, exceeds contemporary community standards of
decency for the broadcast medium. As such, we urge our members, as well as other Americans who agree that the broadcast was legally indecent, to file formal indecency complaints with the FCC.
Sexual assault is an increasingly troubling problem across America. Joking about child rape on TV shows and using such patently offensive sexual dialogue -- especially when they air at such an early hour and when they attract such a young viewing
audience -- is a gross violation of a broadcast licensee's public interest obligation.
A can't image mainstream video on demand companies are very happy about having to fund ATVOD's
expensive moral campaign against the adult trade. But it looks like they will have to stump up more cash as porn companies have been closed or forced to move abroad and hence no longer contribute to the costs.
ATVOD have written in its board meeting minutes for November 2014:
The high number of Super A [top tier of fees] debtors at 60 days or more was noted.
The Board DISCUSSED at length the potential increase in fees in 2015-16, which was likely to be necessary as a result of a shrinking fee base as consolidation took place in a maturing VOD market. It was acknowledged that ATVOD had achieved a good working
relationship with industry, and had established collaboration and built trust. The Board DISCUSSED cost reduction options and the paramount need to ensure that ATVOD had sufficient resources effectively to undertake its functions as a co-regulatory body.
The merits of maintaining a research budget were underlined. It was considered important that ATVOD should be open, honest and transparent about the cost of providing a high quality regulatory service for stakeholders.
The Board CONSIDERED that it was appropriate for stakeholders to be aware of the volatility of fee income from ODPS, and the impact on ATVOD. The Fees Consultation document would continue to provide additional detail about the specific activities that
ATVOD undertakes and the resources required.
Update: A high price to pay for ATVOD's censorship campaign
ATVOD are estimating that as well as suffocating all the small players in the VoD industry that the larger players will merge and consolidate and hence reduce in numbers. This decrease in 'Super A' players is having a deep impact at ATVOD, and to
maintain the lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to, they are proposing a large fee increase.
These Super A companies will be 'asked' to pay up an extra 14.9% whilst the smaller players will be 'asked' for an extra 5.7%.
Unfreedom (aka Blemished Light) is a 2015 USA / India crime romance by Raj Amit Kumar.
Starring Victor Banerjee, Adil Hussain and Bhanu Uday.
In New York arrives a violent and angry man imprisoned by his brutal past, Mohammed Husain. His mission - to kidnap and kill a peaceful Muslim scholar, Fareed Rahmani. On the other side of the world, Leela Singh, a homosexual girl in New Delhi, kidnaps
her bisexual lover, Sakhi Taylor. Her mission - to marry her lover and live happily ever after. In a brutal struggle of identities against unfreedom, four characters, in two of the world's largest cities, come face to face with most gruesome acts of
torture and violence. The choices they make when they are most cornered in life, expose the blemished reality of contemporary world.
Unfreedom , a new Indian film by Raj Amit Kumar has been banned in India. However it will be released in North American theatres and simultaneously on digital channels on May 29.
According to a media release Unfreedom juxtaposes two powerful and unflinching contemporary stories about religious fundamentalism and intolerance. Shifting between New York and New Delhi, one tale follows a Muslim terrorist who kidnaps a liberal Muslim
scholar in order to silence him, while the other charts the travails of a young woman whose devout father tries to force her into an arranged marriage, which she resists because she is secretly in love with another woman.
Recently, Unfreedom was banned in India, where homosexuality was criminalised in 2013, by the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC), rendering much of its content too controversial for general audiences.
One day after pulling Fifty Shades of Grey from its Thursday premiere, cinema chains in Vietnam finally proceeded with a wide release of the erotic
movie, of a cut version of it to be exact.
The new cut, dubbed as the Asian version, is rated 16+ for mature audience but is now advertised as more suitable for the masses.
The last-minute cancelation, which forced theaters to give ticket refunds to many movie fans, has sparked rumor that the movie could not make it pass Vietnam's censorship board.
Meanwhile distributor, Comcast/Universal Pictures, is not pursuing a theatrical release in China. A source with knowledge of the studio's plans explained that sexually explicit films generally do not make it past Chinese government censors.
The distributor in Indonesia said the film would not be shown there as the film did not meet the country's censorship standards.
ATVOD has identified two further adult services that breached its censorship rules requiring unviably onerous age
The findings by the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) - which came on Safer Internet Day - bring to more than 170 the number of porn websites against which the censor has acted over the past three years.
The two online video on demand services, Daisy Rock UK and She Bang TV, were held to be in breach of a ATVOD rule 11 which requires that material which ATVOD considers might seriously impair under 18's can only be made available if access is blocked to
The services each broke the statutory rules in two ways. Firstly, they allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos/trailers or still images featuring real sex in explicit detail. Secondly, access to the full videos
was open to any visitor who paid a fee via the most popular payment method of debit cards, which may be held by under 18s.
It would be interesting to know if any under 18s have ever actually paid for porn with debit cards.
Following enforcement action by ATVOD, the operator of Daisy Rock UK acted to implement the business killing rules and also lodged an appeal with Ofcom against a separate ATVOD ruling that the service falls within what ATVOD claims to be TV-like.
The operator of She Bang TV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD. The service provider has therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction.
An international group of atheists and secularists including the scientists Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker has challenged the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, to hold a referendum to repeal Ireland's blasphemy law which was introduced in July 2009.
Ahead of an historic first meeting between a taoiseach and Irish atheists, the group told Kenny that it was: h
His duty to protect a strong position on behalf of those intimidated in Ireland and, more importantly, on behalf of those facing execution by nations who cite Irish blasphemy laws in justification and mitigation of their behaviour.
The letter to the republic's prime minister, signed by the Irish comedian Ed Byrne and the gay rights activist Rory O'Neill (AKA drag queen Panti), as well as leading figures in science and politics, criticised the Dublin government's decision to renege
on its promise to hold a blasphemy referendum.
Last autumn, the Irish government appeared to suggest that the blasphemy law would be included in a series of national referendums in May, including gay marriage equality and the lowering of the age when an Irish citizen can stand for the presidency.
However, at the end of last year it emerged that blasphemy had been excluded.
Meanwhile Ireland's Islamic Cultural Centre claims the depiction of the prophet Muhammad on the front page of the French satirical publication, which is on sale now in Irish shops, is a clear breach of the country's blasphemy legislation.
The fate of Kate Smurthwaite's comedy show, cancelled by Goldsmith's College in London last month is part of a worrying
pattern of intimidation and silencing of individuals whose views are deemed "transphobic" or "whorephobic". Most of the people so labelled are feminists or pro-feminist men, some have experience in the sex industry, some are
Last month, there were calls for the Cambridge Union to withdraw a speaking invitation to Germaine Greer; then the Green party came under pressure to repudiate the philosophy lecturer Rupert Read after he questioned the arguments put forward by some
trans-activists. The feminist activist and writer Julie Bindel has been "no-platformed" by the National Union of Students for several years.
"No platforming" used to be a tactic used against self-proclaimed fascists and Holocaust-deniers. But today it is being used to prevent the expression of feminist arguments critical of the sex industry and of some demands made by trans
activists. The feminists who hold these views have never advocated or engaged in violence against any group of people. Yet it is argued that the mere presence of anyone said to hold those views is a threat to a protected minority group's safety.
You do not have to agree with the views that are being silenced to find these tactics illiberal and undemocratic. Universities have a particular responsibility to resist this kind of bullying. We call on universities and other organisations to stand up
to attempts at intimidation and affirm their support for the basic principles of democratic political exchange.
Beatrix Campbell, Lynne Alderson, Ruth Ahnert, Dr Lucy Allen, Nimko Ali, Dr Kerri Andrews, Lisa Appignanesi, Prof. John Barrell, Prof Mary Beard, Melissa Benn, Rosa Bennathan, Katie Beswick, Dr Sue Black, Prof Jenny Bourne Taylor, Alison Boydell, Fiona
Broadfoot, Paul Burston, Dianne Butterworth, Prof Deborah Cameron, Ivy Cameron, Dr Rosie Campbell, Cynthia Cockburn, Anna Coote, Caroline Criado-Perez, Hannah Curtis, Dr Liz Davies, Kim Darwood, Dr Sukhwant Dhaliwal, Jane Diblin, Sarah Ditum, Stella
Duffy, Dr Victoria Dutchman-Smith, Louise Evan-Wong, Dr Katharine Edgar, Jayne Egerton, Carol Fox, Kim Graham, Rahila Gupta, Prof Catherine Hall, Prof Jalna Hanmer, Jeremy Hardy, Dr James Harrison, Heather Harvey, Lorrie Hearts, Prof Nicholas Hewitt, Dr
Rachel Hewitt, Deborah Hyde, Bridget Irving, Susan Jack, Darren Johnson MLA, Claire Jones, Jane Clare Jones, Judith Jones, Prof Liz Kelly, Karen Hanna Kruzycka, Jenny Landreth, Claire Lazarus, Kate Leigh, Prof Alison Light, Prof Ruth Lister, Dr Julia
Long, Sonia Long, Prof Joni Lovenduski, David Lusted, Dr Samantha Lyle, Shakila Maan, Dr Finn Mackay, Nancy Mackeith, Rosina Mcrae, Sarah Maguire, Dr Sarah Mansfield, Elizabeth Mansfield, Heather McRobie, Gia Milinovich, Lucinda Montefiore, Dr Helen
Mott, Hannah Mudge, Sonali Naik, Dr Peter Newbon, Jill Nicholls, Sian Norris, Juliet Oosthuysen, Sue O'Sullivan, Femi Otitoju, Ursula Owen, Sue Parrish, Pragna Patel, Louise Pennington, Cat Peters, Prof Jill Radford, Dale Rapley, Dr Rebecca
Reilly-Cooper, Dr Victoria Rimell, Roweena Russell, Dr Adam Rutherford, Gita Sahgal, Dr Joan Scanlon, Sandhya Sharma, Vanessa Shaw, Dr Ben Schiller, Prof Sophie Scott, Shelley Silas, Karen Ingala Smith, Prof Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Sian Steans,
Mary-Ann Stephenson, Prof Ann Stewart, Marina Strinkovsky, Southall Black Sisters, Julka Szymanska, Felicity Tarnell, Peter Tatchell, Steve Trafford, Dr Sue Tate, Dr Matthew Taunton, Lisa-Marie Taylor, Helen Thompson, Dr Megan Todd, Janet Veitch, Judith
Vidal-Hall, Nicky Wallace, Dr Jim Walsh, Liz Waterhouse, Prof Nicole Westmarland, Lisa Whelan, Dr Michael Whitworth, Jim Wild, Dr Heather Williams, Clair Wills, Prof Alan Winfield, Harriet Wistrich, Miranda Yardley
Mediawatch-UK has made the inevitable blog entry about Fifty Shades of Grey and kindly adds some fine piffle to the hype for the movie. The morality campaigners write:
The book on which this film was based glamorised and legitimised both sexual and domestic violence. With the mainstream release and promotion of this film opinion makers, the media and celebrities are legitimising this violence too.
Sexual violence and sexual exploitation are at an all time high, permeating our culture by way of hardcore pornography. This film further legitimises them despite the fact that making violence sexy has significant consequences to individuals,
relationships and society.
This film also perpetuates the fairy tale that women can fix violent, controlling men by being obedient and loving.
Violence is violence and inflicting sexual violence is not sexy. While this should be a black-and-white truth, this film is selling it in all shades of grey.
The BBFC has given the film an 18 certificate because it contains strong sex and nudity, along with the portrayal of erotic role play based on domination, submission and sado-masochistic practices .
We'd like to amend this to read: Promotes torture as sexually gratifying, encourages stalking and abuse of power, promotes female inequality, glamorises and legitimises violence against women.
Samsung is warning customers about discussing personal information in front of their smart television set.
The warning applies to TV viewers who control their Samsung Smart TV using its voice activation feature.
Such TV sets listen to some of what is said in front of them and may share details they hear with Samsung or third parties, it said.
Privacy campaigners said the technology smacked of the telescreens, in George Orwell's 1984, which spied on citizens. Presumably the 'third parties' receiving the data are the likes of GCHQ and the NSA.
If your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.
Soon after, an activist for the EFF circulated the policy statement on Twitter comparing it to George Orwell's description of the telescreens in his novel 1984 that listen to what people say in their homes.
Samsung explained further in response to the international interest:
If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search. At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the
desired content to the TV.
Samsung claimed that it did not retain voice data or sell the audio being captured. But this does not really deny the possibility that the data is passed on to GCHQ.
front of their televisions. Here's what it says now:
To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service provider (currently, Nuance Communications, Inc.) that
converts your interactive voice commands to text and to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you.
The new language appears to indicate that Samsung is only sharing the audio data it captures with a speech recognition provider and not with more sinister partners, such as GCHQ and the NSA.
Millions of Britons are being spied on in their homes by Microsoft's voice-activated Xbox game consoles, Apple smartphones and other hi-tech gadgets.
Kinect-controlled Xboxes listen to everything around them, silently waiting for commands such as Xbox turn on or instructions to load up computer games.
Apple also records what people say when they press a button on their iPhones and issue a command to its voice activation service Siri, but the firm says the data is anonymised, but this can usually be unpicked with information such as GPS location.
According to a source, Apple hangs on to the information for up to two years.
Microsoft's Kinect gadgets are so sophisticated and pervasive that Britain's telecommunications security agency, GCHQ, is even said to have considered using them to monitor families.
Like most gadgets that use voice recognition, Xboxes controlled by Kinect record what people say then translate that information into text commands so that the device knows what to do. Simple commands such as Xbox turn on are recorded and
processed on the spot, but more complicated instructions are sent to powerful remote servers for translation.
Microsoft said its customers can stop Kinect listening by unplugging it.
Grease (1978) came to the BBFC for classification in June 1978. A musical romance, set in the 1950s, and starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, the film follows the story of a pair of teenagers who fall in love despite their differences.
Danny and Sandy's relationship develops across a number of encounters and although, as the Examiner report notes, these scenes are visually discreet, the language used in the film is at the very top end of what was acceptable at the advisory A category,
which admitted children but with parents cautioned that the film may be unsuitable for young children.
The Examiner report for Grease available here, highlights language including frigging A and what do you think this is, an gang bang? , as potentially questionable at the A category, but the overall light touch of the film in its handling of
teenage romance, as well as the musical context which would likely appeal to youngsters, ultimately kept the film in the A category.
'Justice' Secretary Chris Grayling has been speaking of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which was expected to get Royal Assent today,
This bill extends the definition of extreme pornography to include the depiction of rape with vague definitions that will surely see hundreds of people likely to become victims when police make commonplace and routine computer searches.
The government has also increased the maximum penalty to 2 years for those who send internet insults that the authorities deem to be abusive.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2015 USA romance by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and Jennifer Ehle.
The film adaptation of the erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey will be screened uncut in Singapore. It received an R21 rating from the Board of Film Censors, with an advisory that the film has a mature theme and sexual scenes.
Meanwhile in Thailand the film has been given a rare 20 rating. (20 is the age of maturity, similar to 21 in the UK)
For comparison, countries have rated the film as follows:
Australia: rated MA15+ (15A in UK ratings terminology) for strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity
Canada (Quebec) 16+
Canada (Ontario + British Columbia) 18A
China Unavailable as distributors think Chinese film censors would ban it
Czech Republic: 15
New Zealand R18 for sex scenes and offensive language
Philippines R-18 after censorship cuts implemented by blurring
Russia 18+ (banned in Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya)
Singapore R21 uncut for mature theme and sexual scenes
South Korea 18
UK 18 uncut for strong sex
US: R rated (17A in UK ratings terminology) for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language.
Vietnam 16+ after cuts which were required to make the film suitable for the masses
Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2015 USA romance by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and Jennifer Ehle.
The Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) banned the movie with its chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid saying that the board had found the film to be unfit for the Malaysian audience, calling the flick more like pornography than a movie . He
The board made a decision in view of the film containing scenes that are not of natural sexual content. The content is more sadistic, featuring scenes of a woman being tied to a bed and whipped.
Your offer of commemorative badges in support of journalistic freedom highlighting Je suis Charlie , prompts me to suggest a degree of caution
following my experience.
Tongue in cheek, I asked my helpful newsagents to obtain a copy of the edition of Charlie Hebdo issued after the dreadful massacre in Paris, if indeed a copy was ever available in north Wiltshire.
To my surprise, a copy arrived last Wednesday week and although the standard of content in no way matches that of the Guardian I will cherish it.
However, two days later a member of Her Majesty's police service visited said newsagent, requesting the names of the four customers who had purchased Charlie Hebdo. So beware, your badges may attract police interest in your customers.
Update: Police admit that they were monitoring people who bought Charlie Hebdo
A British police force has apologised after a policeman told a newsagent to hand over details of customers who purchased
copies of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Wiltshire police confirmed that a policeman visited a newsagent in Corsham, Wiltshire, to ask for the names of four customers who ordered the commemorative survivors' issue of the magazine.
In a statement, Wiltshire police apologised to the members of the public who may be affected by this and said they had deleted the details from their system. A spokeswoman said:
Following the terrorism incident in Paris, France on 7 January 2015, Wiltshire police undertook an assessment of community tensions across the county. As part of this work, local sector policing teams were asked to be mindful of business premises, in
particular newsagents who may be distributing the Charlie Hebdo magazine and to consider that these shops may be vulnerable.
Several British police forces have questioned newsagents in an attempt to snoop into sales of a special edition of
Charlie Hebdo magazine, the Guardian has learned.
Officers in Wiltshire, Wales and Cheshire have approached retailers of the magazine, it has emerged, as concerns grew about why police were attempting to trace UK-based readers of the French satirical magazine.
In at least two cases, in Wiltshire and in Presteigne, Wales, officers have requested that newsagents hand over the names of customers who bought the magazine.
Paul Merrett the owner of a newsagent in Presteigne, Wales, said a detective and a police community support officer from Dyfed-Powys police spent half an hour asking his wife about the magazine and who bought it. Merrett related:
My wife said, 'Am I in trouble?' because she thought she was in trouble for selling them. They said, 'No, you're not in trouble' but just continued with their questioning for half an hour.
It was all about Charlie Hebdo. I guess they wanted names and addresses of people we sold them to, which we didn't tell them anything like that. We sold 30 copies.
In Warrington, Cheshire, a police officer telephoned a newsagent seeking information about an issue of the magazine for a customer.
Update: Charlie Hebdo sellers should not be asked for readers' details, says top policeman
Police officers should not seek the names of law-abiding Charlie Hebdo readers following the Paris terror attacks, Britain's most senior counter-extremism officer has said.
Sir Peter Fahy, the national police lead for preventing extremism, said he was urgently clarifying guidance to all forces in the UK and acknowledged that it appeared over-zealous and unnecessary for officers to ask newsagents to hand over details
of the French satirical magazine's readers.
The BBC has responded to a few whiges about the recent BAFTA awards ceremony hosted by Stephen Fry:
BBC One, 8 February 2015 BBC Logo
We received complaints from viewers unhappy with some of Stephen Fry's language while presenting the BAFTAs
The BAFTAs is not a BBC event, but during our coverage of the awards ceremony we try to find a compromise between presenting the events of the night as they happened, while remaining within the expectations of the majority of the viewers at home - which
saw over 5.5 million people tuning in to watch. Attitudes to strong language vary enormously and we considered very carefully how to reflect this.
Stephen, whose irreverence and style is extremely well-known to viewers, has presented the BAFTAs for several years. Any strong language was used after the watershed, and there was a presentation announcement at the start of the programme warning viewers
that the broadcast would contain language of this nature.
We accept that some viewers disagreed with this approach, and this feedback has been noted.
As usual the BBC does not outline what was being complained about. But of course the Daily mail is more than happy to glory in the 'outrage':
Host Stephen Fry made a number of risqe and foul-mouthed remarks during Sunday's award ceremony, which was watched by 5.5 million viewers when it was aired on the BBC.
At one point the comedian told the audience it was pissing down with stars inside, while later he introduced Tom Cruise as Tom fucking Cruise when the Mission Impossible star came on stage to present an award.
The comedian, a regular host of the film awards, also raised eyebrows among audience members after apparently imitating scientist Stephen Hawking's electronically synthesised voice.
The BBC confirmed it had received 293 complaints about language during the show .
Two schoolboys who wrote a song about falling out of love with Peppa Pig have been ordered to remove it from iTunes presumably because it is a little negative about the brand.
Joshua Lima, 10, and his brother Noah, eight, wrote the song for their band called Magician's Nephew. The song titled Peppa Pig and used Peppa includes the lyrics:
In the playground of our school Peppa Pig is no longer cool.
The band were initially using artwork featuring Peppa Pig in the video for their song, but they have since replaced it with a broken heart.
The boys were shocked when they received a legal letter from bosses at Entertainment One, the company that licences the brand, ordering them to remove the song. The letter said that Peppa Pig was a valuable property and that the song
breached trademark rules.
The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into anti-Semitism wants prosecutors to examine whether prevention
orders like those used to restrict sex offenders' internet access could be used against people who make remarks taken as insulting about religion. The cross-party group highlighted in particular the use of anti-Semitic terms online.
The Parliamentary inquiry was set up following an unsurprising rise in incidents in July and August last year during Israel's onslaught against Gaza. The hashtags Hitler and genocide featured with high frequency , during the period.
The MPs said social media platforms had increasingly been used for the spread of anti-Semitism . Their report said the terms Hitler and Holocaust were among the top 35 phrases relating to Jews during the conflict.
Although the primary focus of the inquiry was anti-Semitism, one recommendation it made was that those who carry out any kind of hate crime should be prevented from using social media.
About a thousand Muslim protesters gathered outside the gates of Downing Street to protest against free speech and the
depictions of the religious character Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine.
The protestors, many of whom were segregated into groups of men and women, gathered near the Cenotaph.
The protest was organised by the Muslim Action Forum, which said that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons had helped sow the seeds of hatred and had damaged community relations. Strangely not mentioning the fully grown hatred demonstrated by the muslim
murderers in Paris that has damaged community relations far more than a few cartoons.
A welcome new direction of the protest were the appearance of some witty placards. One young child stood next to a placard displaying the message: Charlie and the abuse factory . Another clever 'interfaith' message said: Insult my mum and I
will punch you (Pope Francis)
People convicted of Islamophobia and homophobia would be put on a blacklist to warn future employers of past misdemeanours
under scary new proposals by Labour.
The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, will on Monday reveal a strategy against antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and insult of people with disabilities. The package includes making homophobic and disability hate crimes an aggravated
criminal offence, ensuring that police treat such offences in the same way as racist hate crimes.
Cooper will outline changes to the criminal records framework whereby such offences will be clearly marked on the criminal records. Currently, records checks do not highlight homophobia, disability or transgender identity as a motivating factor in a
conviction, and do not automatically appear in police data used for vetting applicants in sensitive vocations, such as those working with vulnerable people, including the disabled.
Measures to combat the role of social media in disseminating insults will also be unveiled. These include a review of police and guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that crimes such as antisemitism on social networks such as Twitter are
Labour would also introduce programmes in schools to tackle antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobic bullying and targeting of disabled children. We need to look at what more we can do to prevent discrimination, bigotry and hate taking hold in the first
place, said Cooper.
Following an aggressive hack against Sony in the US, The Interview was released on over 200 UK screens on Friday. This is a full cinema release after fading credibility of the hacker threats that curtailed the US cinema release.
However in the US the film was made available to purchase via on-demand services and has already been rented or downloaded 4.3m times and has taken $40m from digital sales and over $6m from cinema takings. Sony have now claimed it is the No 1 online
film of all time , and with the The Interview costing $44m to make, all production costs have already been recouped.
In fact, the whole saga has revealed to have come at barely any financial cost to Sony at all. Announcing their third quarter results on Thursday, Sony said the hack would cost just $15m in investigation and remediation costs and that it doesn't
expect to suffer any long-term consequences, though several employees are believed to have filed lawsuits against the company for failing to protect their personal data.
Sony did play down the UK release a little. The studio has not put on any pre-screenings, or sent out any copies to UK critics. Similarly, no interview opportunities with the cast have been offered to the media, with both James Franco and Seth Rogan
notably absent from the talk show circuit.
Trailers for NEKRomantik 2 and Schramm appear in the latest BBFC database listings
7th February 2015
The BBFC has just recorded 4 related trailers for J÷rg Buttgereit films.
NEKRomantik, NEKRomantik 2, Schramm and Der Todesking had all been submitted by Arrow films. Perhaps a box set is on the way.
NEKRomantik has just been released, Der Todesking was released some time ago, but NEKRomantik 2 and Schramm will presumably soon get their first BBFC approved releases in the UK.
Nekromantik is a 1988 West Germany horror by J÷rg Buttgereit.
Starring Bernd Daktari Lorenz, Beatrice Manowski and Harald Lundt.
Graphic, low-budget gore-shocker about Rob and Betty, a couple of ordinary necrophiles who apparently don't mind if their dead sexual partners are not so fresh. Rob's job affords him the opportunity to bring home corpses and the odd body part; when he
loses his job, he loses Betty, and Rob's life gets REALLY bizarre.
The Death King is a 1990 West Germany horror drama by J÷rg Buttgereit.
Starring Hermann Kopp, Heinrich Ebber and Michael Krause.
Seven episodes, each taking place on a different day of the week, on the theme of suicide and violent death.
Nekromantik 2 is a 1991 Germany horror by J÷rg Buttgereit.
Starring Monika M, Mark Reeder and Lena Braun.
The sexy nurse Monika has a problem, she is dragged between two lovers one alive and one dead. The one alive lover is handsome and trustworthy but is he as good in bed as the dead (and rotting) Rob ?
Schramm: Into the Mind of a Serial Killer is a 1993 Germany horror by J÷rg Buttgereit.
Starring Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Monika M and Micha Brendel.
Lothar Schramm is a simple man with complex problems, yet he seems like such a nice guy. He works as a taxi driver and lives by himself where he is happy to answer his door to strangers and kill them outright. As with many shy loner types he has a
problem dealing with woman so he drugs them and photographs their nude bodies for sexual stimulation. He then murders his helpless victims and so goes the life of a deranged serial killer.
Reporters Without Borders is asking French religious leaders to sign a statement declaring that:
Everyone is free to express criticism of any system of political, philosophical or religious thought.
No one's concept of what is sacred may be imposed on others.
The Declaration on Freedom of Expression is part of the Freedom of expression has no religion campaign.
The push comes amid widespread fears about de facto Islamic blasphemy laws in Europe, and after the Pope made clear his view that freedom of expression has limits where matters of faith and religion are concerned.
The campaign is asking leaders of many different faiths to sign the statement, including Muslims, Christians and Jews. Reporters Without Borders state that they have sought the support of representatives of France's leading religious organizations
and that several senior figures have already signed the statement, including Dalil Boubakeur, head of the Paris Mosque and the French Council of Muslim Worship; Francois Clavairoly, who leads the Protestant Federation and Marie-Stella Boussemart,
president of the French Buddhist Union.
Grand Rabbi Haam Korsia is said to support the declaration in principle, and is calling for a collective response from all members of the French Conference of Religious Leaders , including the French Conference of Bishops and the French
Assembly of Orthodox Bishops.
Reporters Without Borders explain that their goal is:
To draw attention to the close relationship between freedom of expression and religious freedom and to combat the temptation to restrict freedom of expression.
The US moralist group gushes with praise for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue 2015:
The 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue features a model wearing a string bikini top and bottoms so tiny that she is just about n-ked. The bikini bottoms are not much bigger than a Band-Aid plus she has both of her thumbs at the sides pulling them
down as far as she can get away with. It is beyond ridiculous!
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is nothing but soft p-rn and most closely resembles Pl-yboy magazine than resembling an issue about swimming attire. This soft core p-rnography is displayed in many family stores, often at checkout counters which is
offensive, disgusting, and disrespectful to families. This type of publishing is also extremely degrading to women.
Families should be able to enter supermarkets, convenience and drug stores without being subjected to indecency. Since Sports Illustrated is pushing p-rnography, this magazine needs to be removed from stores immediately. Not only should Sports
Illustrated be ashamed, but so should the stores that carry this filthy magazine. Why would a store risk hurting their reputation of being a family-friendly store by being associated with this dishonorable publication?
Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director for Morality in Media, spouts some gloriously ludicrous piffle about the MPAA R rating for Fifty Shades of Grey:
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) gave the film, Fifty Shades of Grey , an R rating, which severely undermines the violent themes in the film and does not adequately inform parents and patrons of the film's content. The MPAA warns that
there is strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity. What the term unusual does not account for is the coercion, sexual violence, female inequality, and BDSM themes from which the entire Fifty Shades
plot is based. Such a vague evaluation puts viewers at risk, sending the message that humiliation is pleasurable and that torture should be sexually gratifying.
The new extended trailer for the film calls it a fairy tale which just further misleads the public into thinking this is simply a love story. The MPAA ratings and fairy tale label mask the true themes of humiliation, manipulation, abuse,
and degradation of women.
Sexual violence and sexual exploitation are at an all time high, permeating our culture by way of hardcore pornography and now praised by films like Fifty Shades of Grey .
We'd like to change the MPAA rating for Fifty Shades of Grey to read:
Promotes torture as sexually gratifying, graphic nudity, encourages stalking and abuse of power, promotes female inequality, glamorizes and legitimizes violence against women.
Is this the description of a movie you'd promote to your son or daughter? What about yourself?
Speaking about his local cinema in Fremont, Michigan showing Fifty Shades of Grey, the president
of the American Decency Association spouted:
It's far more than so-called entertainment. This is not entertainment. This is not about entertainment. This is about pornography. The movie flows out of a very degrading, damaging book.
Bill Johnson said he hasn't read any of the books but he believes the sexually explicit content has no place in a Fremont theater:
We are merely doing what parents, and grandparents have historically done for many, many years, over the course of time. And that it's try to defend, try to protect, try to uphold that which builds up and to stand against that which degrades and
But of course Johnson ludicrously claimed that his group isn't trying to stop freedom of speech:
I'm not saying [the theater's owner] doesn't have the freedom to show this movie. He does ...BUT... with freedom characteristically in this country, historically with freedom is also responsibility.
With the controversial movie Fifty Shades of Grey set to be released in theaters this week, a national medical association
says the film is yet another example of the increasingly dangerous glorification of violence and sex in the media.
Dr. Michelle Cretella, vice president of the American College of Pediatricians, tells OneNewsNow, Not only is the movie normalizing sadomasochism, but it's even romanticizing it or making it look like something exciting, erotic, and desirable. So it's
almost even beyond normalization. Read his medical warning here .
Both movie theaters and moviegoers can stand up to this kind of disgusting content and choose not to show or pay to see the film. 1MM and AFA are publicizing a social media movement that urges the public to donate $50 or more to a domestic abuse shelter
that helps women rather than spending $50 to see Fifty Shades of Grey which glamorizes the abuse of women. The money you would spend on a night out to see the movie will go towards serving victims of abusive relationships. Hollywood doesn't need
your money, but abused women do. Read more here . The twitter hash tag is #50dollarsnot50shades.
For couples who still want to have a date night this weekend, 1MM highly recommends you consider seeing Old Fashioned, which also hits box offices this weekend. Even though this film isn't intended for children, it is a refreshing option for couples this
Valentine's weekend. Old Fashioned highlights courtship and authentic romance that is born out of respect and admiration, not focused on sexual pleasure that causes humiliation and pain for another person. Read the movie review for this romantic film
here . It is obvious which film glorifies God and which one does not.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published new legal guidance on freedom of expression.
Following the recent tragic deaths in Paris, there has been considerable debate both nationally and internationally about free speech. The new guidance aims to help address 'muddle and misunderstanding' around specific areas of Britain's laws on freedom
It explains there are legitimate ways the state restrains what we can say but the test for curtailing freedom of expression in law is a stringent one, and much that is offensive is still legal.
Freedom of expression can however be restricted in certain circumstances. For example, where it incites violence against others or promotes hatred based on the colour of someone's skin or their sexual orientation or their religion.
Chief Executive Mark Hammond said:
The recent tragic events in Paris have again highlighted the importance of freedom of expression in our society. We have a long history of debating free speech in this country and the law recognises its value and importance.
"oday's guidance aims to address any muddle and misunderstanding about the law. What goes beyond causing offence and promotes hatred is sometimes a fine line and the source of intense debate. As an expert body and National Human Rights Institution,
we hope we can play an important role in helping public bodies to understand and navigate this complex area."
The new guidance includes the following key points:-
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right protected under the Human Rights Act 1998 by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is also a fundamental right under common law
Protection under Article 10 extends to the expression of views that may shock, disturb or offend the deeply-held beliefs of others
Any restrictions on freedom of expression must always be clearly set out in law, necessary in a democratic society for a legitimate aim, and proportionate
...BUT...AREN'T CLEARLY SET OUT IN LAW...
The boundary between the expression of intolerant or offensive views and hate speech is not always an easy one to draw. However, a number of factors are likely to be relevant, including the intention of the person making the statement, the context in
which they are making it, the intended audience, and the particular words used
Freedom of expression is protected more strongly in some contexts than others. In particular, a wide degree of tolerance is accorded to political speech and debate during election campaigns
Subject to these conditions, freedom of expression may be limited in certain circumstances, including in order to protect others from violence, hatred and discrimination
In particular, freedom of expression does not protect statements that discriminate against or harass, or incite violence or hatred against, other persons and groups, particularly by reference to their race, religious belief, gender or sexual orientation
Leviafan is a 2014 Russia drama by Andrey Zvyagintsev.
Starring Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Aleksey Serebryakov and Roman Madyanov.
A present day social drama spanning multiple characters about the human insecurity in a "new country" which gradually unwinds to a mythological scale concerning the human condition on earth entirely.
The Oscar-nominated Russian film Leviathan is going on general release in Russian cinemas, but with silence blanking out the strong language. It is a highly controversial film in Russia, portraying a corrupt mayor in the bleak far north bullying a
man trying to keep his property.
Russian law bans swearing in films, TV broadcasts, theatres and the media. Much of the dialogue in Leviathan contains swearing, some of it very strong language. A spokesman for the distributor said Russian viewers will find it easy to lip-read the
swear words .
The film's producer, Alexander Rodnyansky, said interest had surged since a pirated copy appeared on the internet a month ago and the film had become a hot topic of debate.
Some have seen the film as a condemnation of President Vladimir Putin's Russia. A big photo of Mr Putin hangs above the corrupt mayor's desk.However, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he was pleased that Leviathan had triggered such sharp reactions in
An ad for giffgaff, played on YouTube, opened with sounds of a woman screaming for help. She was running along a road at night being pursued by a man who appeared to be holding a chainsaw. As the ad developed, a stream of screaming
characters was introduced, each being pursued by the last. They included the initial woman and man, a clown, a zombie, a pumpkin head, a doll holding a blow torch, a ghost and a man with an upside down head. The collective of characters was then seen as
a mock choir, singing outside a house. On-screen text stated When you're scared, you're not the boss. At giffgaff we're all the boss. giffgaff the mobile network run by you
The ASA received two complaints:
one complainant, whose child had seen the ad before a programme for young viewers, challenged whether it was appropriate for children; and
the second complainant, who had seen the ad on a number of occasions while watching music videos and who pointed out that it was not possible to skip until three seconds had played, challenged whether the ad was unduly distressing.
The opening scene of the ad was tense with a dark background and eerie sound effects before the introduction of the female character, who appeared to be in terror, screaming, Someone please help me . The ensemble of creatures who followed her were
also introduced as menacing and, although it was revealed at the close of the ad that the choir was unthreatening, young viewers were unlikely to understand the plot's twist or recognise that the monsters were not as they appeared. We considered
that the ad was unsuitable for young children to view.
giffgaff had explained that the ad was made available only to YouTube subscribers who were signed into their account, such that their age was verifiable. We also understood from the background information provided that the account holder was served the
ad because they had searched for similar content previously. We understood, however, that the ad was played before a programme of interest to very young viewers. While the account holder was over 18, the content of the programme in which the ad was seen
was unlikely to be of interest to them and any over 18s watching were likely to be doing so in order to accompany young children. Although we acknowledged that the ad had been targeted in line with the profile of the account holder, including their
search history, and that giffgaff had no control over the age of people accessing the account of an over 18-year-old, in view of the content of the programme material being watched at the time, it was reasonable for consumers to expect that only
advertising material that was suitable for a young audience would be shown.
While we recognised giffgaff's efforts to target the ad to over 18s, and understood that they had used YouTube's targeting filters to their full extent, we considered that, ultimately, it had not been targeted appropriately and was therefore in breach of
the CAP Code.
2. Not upheld
We understood that the ad appeared over Halloween and considered that adult viewers were likely to recognise the ad's timed theme. Although we acknowledged that the complainant had found the ad difficult to watch, with particular reference to the woman's
screams, we considered that it was unlikely to cause fear or distress to adults. No graphic imagery was seen in the opening sequence and a skip function was included to enable those who preferred not to see the ad to bypass it. Those who continued to
watch would experience the unfolding of the plot and any menace implied by the introduction was quickly dispelled.
On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.
Andreas Whittam Smith was the editor of the Independent before having a spell as president of the BBFC (at a time
when film censorship was lightening up after the departure of James Ferman).
He used his BBFC experience in an opinion piece in the Independent calling for the banning of news footage of the barbaric murder of a Jordanian pilot. He wrote:
That some images can be too horrific to show is also an issue in the classification of films. I was President of the BBFC for five years stretching into the early 2000s. Relevant here are the guidelines for films classified as 18 . The basic rule
is that adults should be free to see what they want to see in the cinema ...BUT... with some exceptions. Revenge is an inescapable urge, but it can never lead to good You don't need to watch a man burning to find it outrageous We must
report the facts, but not be the conduit for gruesome propaganda
Now the sadistic killing of the Jordanian pilot was fact not fiction. Nonetheless the current BBFC guidelines are of interest. Parts of them are indeed relevant to broadcasters and news organisations. They state that exceptions are most likely where material or treatment appears to us to risk harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society
. This takes us into the second reason for treading carefully - that we may be causing harm to society, as the BBFC would put it, by broadcasting Islamic State videos or by publishing them online or by taking stills from them. They are propaganda and
propaganda will do its job.
What the BBFC has in mind of course is a very different situation from the Islamic State videos. But the BBFC's list of what it considers harmful to disseminate include the detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or portrayals of sadistic
violence which make this violence look appealing, or which invite viewer complicity in, harmful violent activities . This is a useful analysis of how harm to society may arise.
So might the videos of sadistic violence distributed by Islamic State appeal to some viewers in Britain or invite their complicity?
The answer is almost certainly that they would do so. After all, it is estimated that as many as 2,000 Britons are fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq.
Indonesia has formally complained to Malaysia over an advert for a robot vacuum cleaner which told
consumers to Fire your Indonesian maid now .
Indonesia said the advert was very disturbing to the feeling of the people and nation .
The treatment of hundreds of thousands of Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia has been a repeated source of tension between the two countries.
The original advert for RoboVac, showing a white man relaxing in a chair with the vacuum cleaner nearby, has been taken down online, but had been widely shared on social media, generating complaints from Indonesians.
Indonesian Ambassador Herman Prayitno called on Malaysia to ban the advert altogether, and said Indonesia was considering legal action against the company.
An ad on eBay for Lederraeder car steering wheels featured an image of a steering wheel next to an image of a
woman posing in lingerie.
A complainant, who noted the image of the woman did not relate to the product, challenged whether the ad was sexist and therefore offensive.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA considered the image of the women in lingerie bore no relevance to the advertised product, and considered its inclusion was likely to be seen to degrade and demean women and that it was therefore sexist and likely to cause both serious and
widespread offence. We welcomed eBay's actions but noted it was Petersen_project_world's responsibility to ensure its advertising was in compliance with the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).
ITV's This Morning unveiled a segment called Bondage For Beginners , which featured a live demonstration of 50 Shades of Grey inspired sex toys
Phillip Schofield had warned viewers shortly after 10.30am that they would be discussing bondage equipment in three stages -- beginners, intermediate and advanced -- throughout the show with sexpert Annabelle Knight. However he assured them it
would be done in good taste .
And a few miserable viewers were inevitably not amused and took to Twitter to air a few inane and trivial comments. They ludicrously described the programme's content as pornographic and ridiculously inappropriate for daytime TV.
TV censor Ofcom said afterwards that it had received 70 complaints and was assessing whether to start an investigation.
Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK, said the show had set a dangerous example:
It's not enough to say most children will be at school [at that time] because that's just not good enough.
Quite apart from issues of taste and the fact that people might not want to speak to their children about this, I think it is dangerous to normalise this kind of behaviour. [50 Shades Of Grey] is putting across ideas that humiliation is pleasurable and
torture is gratifying and I don't think those are healthy for anybody at all.
But if it is dangerous for adults then it is doubly dangerous for children watching this.
An ITV spokesman said:
This Morning is a lifestyle programme that covers a diverse range of human interest topics. The programme has dealt with advice on sexual matters many times in the past, and a suitable announcement was given at the start.
ITV daytime show This Morning is to be investigated by media regulator Ofcom after it offered viewers a lesson in bondage for beginners featuring sex toys inspired by hit film,
Fifty Shades of Grey.
Ofcom said it had 120 complaints from viewers about the item, fronted by the programme's regular presenters Christine Bleakely and Philip Schofield along with sexpert Annabelle Knight, featuring bondage equipment and other X-rated topics.
The regulator said it was investigating whether the programme was suitable for broadcast before the 9pm watershed.
A music video has been censored in India for the bizarre crime of using the name 'Bombay' instead of the
politically correct name, Mumbai'.
Mihir Joshi's song Sorry was submitted to get the CBFC certificate needed to show the song's music video on television.
On 5th December, Neelima Naik and Deepak Ramakant Tandel of the song review committee cleared the video on condition that Bombay, mentioned once early in the song, be muted or beeped out.
Joshi has made it clear that the only reason he used the word Bombay was because it fit his rhyme scheme and he hadn't anticipated anything in the song could be considered objectionable since both song and album have been out for more than six
The censorship was dictated by the board prior to the recent change of personnel.
The name Bombay hasn't even been officially expunged. A number of institutions, including Bombay High Court for example still use the old name.
Cinemas in Bangladesh will boycott movies starring the nation's top actor after he led protests against the first screening of a Hindi film in
Bollywood blockbuster Wanted opened in cinemas this weekend after Bangladesh's censor board cleared its nationwide release, following a 50-year ban on Hindi-language films.
The screenings sparked protests outside cinemas along with wildcat strikes by hundreds of Dhaka actors, directors and others, who claimed the release would cripple the local film industry, known as Dhallywood.
Actor Shakib Khan led the marches on cinemas, where protesters ripped up Hindi film posters and pleaded with fans queueing at ticket booths to boycott the film.
Bangladesh cinema owners reacted sharply, saying they would not show any movies starring Khan and defended their decision to screen highly-popular flicks from neighbouring India on financial grounds. We've released Hindi films because we're now facing
(an) existential crisis, said Saiful Islam Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Motion Pictures Exhibitors Association. Chowdhury said the country's 350 film theatres have decided not to show any films by Shakib Khan along with Shawdagar and
A court last year ruled Wanted could be shown in Bangladesh, despite a prohibition on Hindi films dating back to a brief war between India and Pakistan in 1965 when Bangladesh was part of East Pakistan. The censor board gave the film the final go
ahead in November for screening this year.
And it does seem that this version is an unreleased Director's Cut or Unrated Version. Anthony wrote to Channel 4 who returned a fascinating reply:
Thank you for contacting Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries regarding Evil Dead.
We apologise for the delay in responding to you, after investigating with our distributor it seems that the incorrect version of the film was supplied, and subsequently broadcast. Unfortunately this means we have had to send the version back and we will
not be able to broadcast it again, nor do we have any further information regarding the incorrect copy.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2015 USA romance by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and Jennifer Ehle.
Literature student Anastasia Steele's life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey.
The BBFC has now passed the cinema release as 18 uncut for strong sex.
The BBFC adds in its Insight comment:
The film contains strong sex and nudity, along with the portrayal of erotic role play based on domination, submission and sado-masochistic practices. There are also strong verbal references to such practices and the instruments used.
No doubt the distributors are pleased as US Hollywood films are very restrictive on the amount of sex allowed and there was a fear that the film was heading towards 15 territory.
For comparison, countries have rated the film as follows:
Australia: rated MA15+ (15A in UK ratings terminology) for strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity
Canada (Quebec) 16+
Canada (Ontario + British Columbia) 18A
Czech Republic: 15
New Zealand R18 for sex scenes and offensive language
Singapore R21 uncut for mature theme and sexual scenes
South Korea 18
UK 18 uncut for strong sex
US: R rated (17A in UK ratings terminology) for strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language.
Four lords who champion the surveillance state have been defeated for a 2nd time in reviving the Snooper's Charter.
Former Tory defence secretary Toim King finally withdrew the massive amendment in the face of defeat by the combined vote of Labour/Tory and LibDem peers.
The amendment would have required every phone and internet company to store for 12 months the entire personal online history or communications data of all their customers, in such a manner as to facilitate invasive database searches for information by
the police and secret services.
Tom King said:
Our failure to take this exceptional opportunity which could have sent this to another place [the Commons] means that the risk to fill this gap will be longer than it need be. We just have to pray that we do not pay too high a price for that.
King was backed by three other senior peers, Labour's Alan West, the Liberal Democrat Alex Carlile and crossbencher Ian Blair, a former Metropolitan commissioner.
David McLean, who chaired the parliamentary joint committee examining the bill, said they had spent six months going through the same proposals in the draft communications bill in detail in 2012 and came to a unanimous verdict. They reported it was too
sweeping in scope, that it failed to address the issue of blogs, that it needed safeguards against fishing expeditions , and that it needed to be substantially redrafted to prevent it being a snooper's charter.
A new project will offer artists, producers and curators help in negotiating controversial issues.
Experts, lawyers and arts practitioners will produce a series of information packs examining the impact of current UK laws on the arts sector's practical freedom to present creative works. The packs will be published by new free expression advocacy
, in collaboration with campaign organisation Index on Censorship and top law firms Bindmans LLP
and Clifford Chance
. The project is supported by Arts Council England. The new guides will be launched in May, with input from leading lights in the arts, civil liberties and legal spheres.
Covering legislation on public order, child protection, obscene publication, racial & religious hatred, and counter-terrorism, the packs will help informed decision making, contingency planning and risk assessment across the sector.
Julia Farrington of Vivarta said:
Arts professionals rarely get any training in legal issues that impact on freedom of artistic expression. These guides will give people across the arts more confidence in making decisions, with greater awareness of their legal rights and the role of the
Index CEO Jodie Ginsberg said:
The shutting down last year of performances like Exhibit B at The Barbican and Israeli hip hop opera The City in Edinburgh demonstrate that artists and venues continue to walk a delicate path when putting on challenging work. Often fear of opposition or
protest forces groups to self-censor. We hope clearer guidance on tackling these issues can help to reverse that trend.
Chortle is reporting
that feminist comic Kate Smurthwaite has had a show cancelled at Goldsmith's, University of London due to safety concerns resulting from threats of aggressive picketing of the event.
Smurthwaite, a feminist and atheist activist, was due to perform at the South London campus on 2nd February. But the show has been pulled after threats of a picket of the venue by some feminist students.
The group disagrees with Smurthwaites views on sex work. Smurthwaite hold the reprehensible belief that buying sex should be criminalised, while Goldsmith's Feminist Society is commedably in favour of legalisation of the sex industry.
However the Feminist Society voted in favour of Smurthwaite's show going ahead but some feminists students insisted they would picket the venue in protest at Smurthwaite's opinions.
In a post on Facebook,
Smurthwaite pointed out the irony that her latest show is about free expression:
The strangest thing is that my show is not about prostitution. I don't even mention it. In a massively ironic coincidence my show is about free speech, it's power and uses and abuses. It is also about Saudi prisoner of conscience Raif Badawi who is now
being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Meanwhile The Guardian reports that research by online magazine Spiked, finds hat 80% of universities are shown, as a result of their official policies and actions, to have either restricted or actively censored free speech and expression on campus
beyond the requirements of the law. Spiked's first ever Free Speech University Rankings
show each university administration and students' union graded green, amber or red based on an assessment of their policies and actions. Institutions have been given an overall ranking based on the two combined.
Essex is among the worst performers in Spiked's research, one of five universities in which the student union and the administration are both assessed as actively preventing freedom of speech. The other four are Portsmouth, Northampton, Bath Spa and the
University of the West of England.
The Universities are pulled up for the like of banning the Sun, Robin Thicke and for extreme political correctness.
Offsite Update: Maybe someone's taking someone for a ride
Iran has launched a cartoon competition centred on the theme of Holocaust denial in reaction to the cartoons of Mohammed that were published in Charlie Hebdo.
The competition, organised by Iran's House of Cartoon and the Sarcheshmeh Cultural Complex, is offering a cash prize of $12,000 to the overall winner, $8,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place, according to the Tehran Times.
The winning artworks will be displayed at the Palestine Museum of Contemporary art in the Iranian capital of Tehran, as well as several other locations across the city.
A video-on-demand (VOD) ad for the video game The Evil Within was seen between 19:00 and 19:30 during an episode of Time Team . The ad began with a shot of a record player and the sound of classical music, which was replaced abruptly by a
shriek and low-pitched atonal music. The ad then showed a metal door with a small window, and a close up of a man making barbed wire. This was interspersed with footage of a platform descending, carrying a figure wearing a bloodied apron, holding a large
mallet and with a metal box covering his head. There was then a shot of a bubbling red pool from which a figure arose, covered in red liquid. This sequence was interspersed with footage of burning flowers, an arm reaching out of the metal door, shots of
the character whose head was covered by the metal box, and an eye with a red iris. During these sequences extracts from three reviews were superimposed over the footage, two of which referred to the horror genre of the game and the third describing the
game as wonderfully vile. The product name was then displayed on screen, alongside shots of the packaging and the PEGI 18 logo. Issue
The complainant, who believed that Time Team was a family programme that children were likely to watch, challenged whether the ad had been responsibly placed.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
The ASA noted that there were no specific placement restrictions applying to non-broadcast ads for PEGI 18-rated games, but that such ads should be placed responsibly to reflect their content. We considered that the tone of the ad was generally menacing
and tense and included shots of a figure covered in a red blood-like substance, although we noted that there was no explicit violence or peril. We considered that it could cause distress to younger children, but was unlikely to do so for older children
and that reasonable steps were necessary to ensure responsible placement away from programming that was particularly likely to appeal to children.
We noted that Time Team , not being obviously adult-themed, had the potential for broad appeal and that care must be taken with the placement of ads around this type of content. We understood that Channel 4 automatically restricted such ads from
appearing around such programmes by preventing them being placed within content that had a 120 child index in linear broadcast, a measure used to demonstrate whether the TV broadcast version of a programme had a significantly higher proportion of
children in the audience than there was in the general population. The linear broadcast audience indices provided by Channel 4 demonstrated very low audience representation for children in general and children under the age of 10 especially. We
considered that this indexing data gave a reasonable indication of a programme's appeal and that it had in this instance demonstrated that children, and young children in particular, were very unlikely to be viewing Time Team on 4OD. Although we
understood that the programme had not been subject to the parental guidance controls available on the platform, we considered that the use of careful and appropriate targeting could mitigate the placement of adult-themed ads in such programming. We
considered that, by targeting audiences over the age of 18 and using linear audience indices to determine the likely appeal of programming and thus avoid programmes with particular appeal to children, the advertiser and Channel 4 had acted responsibly in
placing the ad. We concluded that its placement did not breach the Code.
Four members of the House of Lords have attempted to bring back from the dead the Communications Data Bill --
otherwise known as the Snoopers' Charter. The entirety of the bill that had previously been rejected (or at least put on hold) by Parliament -- some 18 pages in all -- was added as a late amendment to the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill
currently passing through the Lords. This is utterly cynical at best, and a total abuse of parliamentary procedure at worst.
The Communications Data Bill is the one which required ISPs (or any telecommunications provider') to keep a log of all activity associated with an individual or IP address. Whilst ostensibly requested for 'security reasons (being played up again
in the light of the Charlie Hebdo murders in France) -- this mass retention of data is nothing less than oppressive, unwarranted, mass surveillance of the entire populace.
We know all too well from the Snowden revelations that power is abused by those who hold it -- and that there is mission creep in the data retained and the uses to which it can be put. There is no reason to think that this would be any different.
Previously the bill had been rejected in scrutiny by a joint committee of the Lords and Commons for a variety of reasons - amongst them the fact that the Home Office had totally underestimated the cost involved as well as the lack of any evidence that
there is any benefit to be had by requiring ISPs to hold this data. It was also requested that the Independent reviewer on Terrorism legislation, David Anderson, reviewed and commented on the bill and Parliament is still waiting for his response to the
Given all that, it is shocking and simply unacceptable that four unelected Lords are attempting to pass this draconian legislation, not in its own right, but as a late amendment to a current bill. It is a total abuse of parliamentary procedure and means
that this legislation will not suffer the intense scrutiny that a new bill would, but instead would be passed in a backhanded fashion without review and consideration by both Houses.
The House of Lords is intended in our parliamentary system to be a revising chamber -- adding a totally new bill as an amendment to an existing one completely goes against that entire principle. The very fact that they feel it is necessary to
bring the bill in this underhand manner shows that they clearly don't have any faith in the ability of the legislation to stand up to proper scrutiny.
The rushed passing of the #DRIP legislation set the worrying precedent for this kind of action by parliament when seeking to pass contentious legislation that avoids scrutiny. As a party we warned of the dangers of Parliament passing controversial and
oppressive surveillance laws without appropriate time or scrutiny. Despite the calls of both ourselves and others, that bill passed into law.
The House of Lords has rejected amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill which would have introduced substantial parts of the Communications Data Bill, more commonly known as the Snoopers' Charter .
The amendments were withdrawn at the request of Lord Bates, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Home Office, who argued that including the amendments at such a late stage could jeopardise the entire Bill.
Lord Bates promised to investigate the possibility of sharing more widely a redrafted version of the draft Communications Data Bill, apparently written to take into account the Joint Committee's recommendations , but which has so far been kept
under wraps by the Home Office.
China is blocking VPN services that let users skirt online censorship of popular websites such as Google and Facebook.
The virtual private network provider Golden Frog wrote on its blog that the controls have hit a wide swath of VPN services. The popular provider Astrill informed its users this week that the controls have started hitting iPhone access to services such as
Gmail this year.
China-based entrepreneur Richard Robinson said the controls have particularly hurt small- and medium-sized foreign companies that depend on VPNs. Many larger companies can afford direct connections to servers outside the country, he said.
Over the past weeks, Chinese censors have already blocked what remaining access there is to Gmail and other Google products. Google services have been periodically blocked or limited since 2010 when the company said it would no longer co-operate with
China's censors. Robinson explained:
These smaller businesses, they're dependent on Gmail. And it's all in the Google services that people are really screwed.
Xiao Qiang, a professor with UC Berkeley's School of Information gave a little insight into the stepped up censorship.
We all know that China is in the middle of a very ferocious power struggle or political cleansing under the name of an anti-corruption campaign, Xiao said. That to me is a very clearly related fact with the amount of political rumours and information
related to China's high politics showing up in websites outside of China.
And while the controls hurt businesses that depend on online information and tools, Chinese censors are more worried about restricting political information
Not all hope is lost for Chinese users trying to get around the Great Firewall. In fact, the block has affected only popular, commercial VPNs such as Astrill, StrongVPN and Golden Frog. Other alternative, less widespread tools, such as Psiphon, Lantern,
Tor, and other VPN services, in fact, remain active. Moreover, on Friday, two of the affected VPNs announced that they were able to fight back and restore their services, at least partially.
China has always had the ability to block at least some VPN traffic, according to experts consulted by Mashable, so the reasons behind this latest crackdown might be political. And perhaps it was something to do with the VPNs getting a little cocky.
Astrill, a service that suffered disruptions, seemed to mock China's censorship system just last week.
Perhaps, this was all just a warning to VPNs operating in China, just a way for the Chinese government to assert its power and show that, if they want, they can block some of these services. Tools like Psiphon and Lantern were perhaps spared by
obfuscation techniques, which makes it harder for censors to detect the use of these tools. Other VPNs, if they haven't already, will have to follow suit in a seemingly never-ending cat and mouse game.
612Brew has changed the name of its most popular beer, Rated R , after receiving a legal challenge from bullies of the Motion
Picture Association of America .
The Northeast Minneapolis craft brewer got a cease-and-desist letter from the MPAA shortly after it filed to trademark the names of its signature beers a few months ago,
MPAA spokesbully Kate Bedingfield confirmed the film studio organization sent 612Brew such a letter.
612Brew co-founder Robert Kasak said the dispute centered on the word rated , which the MPAA trademarked as a part of its film-rating brand:
[Our beer] could have been PG, PG-13 or R, Kasak said. It didn't matter. As long as it contained the word 'rated' it would still get flagged.
The brewery argued that the two businesses were in completely different industries, to no avail. Ultimately, 612Brew decided to rename the beer Unrated , which is surprisingly not trademarked. The change was effective Jan. 1.