Censor Watch

 2018: June

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  No Pride in Ankara...

Local authorities ban a screening of the British comedy drama, Pride


Link Here 30th June 2018
Pride DVD Pride is a 2014 UK comedy drama by Matthew Warchus.
Starring Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West. Youtube link IMDb

U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.

The Ankara Governor's Office has banned the movie screening event of a LGBT group which was to have been held in the capital city on June 28. The office claimed such events can incite hatred and enmity among different fractions of the society, from which danger can arise. The office said:

It has been evaluated that the events could incite hatred and enmity among different groups of people based on class, racial, religious and sectarian differences.

It also cited public sensitivity and possible security risks from groups who could react against the LGBT event and people attending the movie screening.

The ban came after the Ankara Communist LGBTs community announced they would screen the 2014 British LGBT -related historical comedy-drama film Pride at the Nazim Hikmet Cultural Center on June 28.

Slamming the governor's office's ban, the Communist LGBTs group said the decision ignored and refused to see LGBT members as equal citizens of the society.

 

 Updated: Unstoppable Liberalism...

Indian press note that the BBFC demanded cuts for a 12A rating for Race 3 but, was uncut in India with the same certificate


Link Here 30th June 2018
race 3 salman khan 7Race 3 is a 2018 India action thriller by Remo D'Souza (as Remo).
Starring Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez. BBFC link IMDb

Revolves around a family that deals in borderline crime; ruthless and vindictive to the core.

The BBFC required 1:20s of cuts for a 12A rated cinema release. The BBFC noted that the cut version contained moderate violence, sex references. The BBFC explained the cut saying:

The company has chosen to remove scenes of strong violence in order to achieve a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available

In India the censors have rated the film as U/A uncut. The U/A is equivalent to a 12A rating in that under 12s can only see the film if accompanied by a parent.

The UK cuts have generated interest in India with the perspective that it shows that Indian censors are not strict enough. Free Press Journal reports:

A source from the Indian censor board finds the discrepancy between the Indian and British censor's perception to be disconcerting. Are we to presume that the Indian censor board is more liberal than its British counterpart?

To be honest we did have reservations about certain shots being suitable for a 'UA' certification. But there is a standing instruction from above (meaning the I &B ministry) that nothing should be cut from any film unless absolutely necessary.

We are looking at an era of unstoppable liberalism in the censor board. This is to countermand the sanskari era of Pahlaj Nihalani .

Update: Another example of a higher rating from the BBFC than from the CBFC

30th June 2018. See  article from zeenews.india.com

sanju posterSanju is a 2018 India biography by Rajkumar Hirani.
Starring Ranbir Kapoor, Paresh Rawal and Manisha Koirala. IMDb

Few lives in our times are as dramatic and enigmatic as the saga of Sanjay Dutt. Coming from a family of cinema legends, he himself became a film star, and then saw dizzying heights and darkest depths: adulation of die-hard fans, unending battles with various addictions, brushes with the underworld, prison terms, loss of loved ones, and the haunting speculation that he might or might not be a terrorist. Sanju is in turns a hilarious and heartbreaking exploration of one man's battle against his own wild self and the formidable external forces trying to crush him.

UK: Passed 15 uncut for drug references, drug misuse, infrequent strong sex references for 2018 cinema release.

India: Passed U/A (12A) after 1 cut to delete the sight of an overflowing toilet in a prison cell.

Rajkumar Hirani's Sanju which opened in cinemas on Friday. India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cleared the film with a U/A certificate with just one cut asking the makers to remove the overflowing prison toilet scene from the movie for aesthetic reasons.

U/A is more a less a 12A rating in India and this has now been compared with the 15 BBFC 15 uncut rating for drug references, drug misuse, infrequent strong sex references.

It is the second example this month cited in the India press claiming that the India censors are more liberal than the BBFC.

 

  Terrifying censorship...

Labour MP tables bill amendment requiring social media companies to take down posts within 24 hours of an official complaint


Link Here 29th June 2018  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim
House of Commons logoGoogle, Facebook, YouTube and other sites would be required by law to take down extremist material within 24 hours of receiving an official complaint under an amendment put forward for inclusion in new counter-terror legislation.

The Labour MP Stephen Doughty's amendment echoes censorship laws that came into effect in Germany last year. However the effect of the German law was to enable no-questions-asked censorship of anything the government doesn't like. Social media companies have no interest in challenging unfair censorship and find the easiest and cheapest way to comply is to err on the side of the government, and take down anything asked regardless of the merits of the case.

The counter-terrorism strategy unveiled by the home secretary, Sajid Javid, this month, said the Home Office would place a renewed emphasis on engagement with internet providers and work with the tech industry to seek more investment in technologies that automatically identify and remove terrorist content before it is accessible to all.

But Doughty, a member of the home affairs select committee, said his amendment was needed because the voluntary approach was failing. He said a wide variety of extremist content remained online despite repeated warnings.

If these companies can remove copyrighted video or music content from companies like Disney within a matter of hours, there is no excuse for them to be failing to do so for extremist material.

Doughty's amendment would also require tech companies to proactively check content for extremist material and take it down within six hours of it being identified.

The proactive check of content alludes to the censorship machines being introduced by the EU to scan uploads for copyrighted material. The extension to detect terrorist material coupled with the erring on the side of caution approach would inevitably lead to the automatic censorship of any content even using vocabulary of terrorism, regardless of it being news reporting, satire or criticsim.

 

  Vague language and multiple layers of ambiguity...

Human rights organisations petition the courts to block the US internet censorship law named FOSTA


Link Here 29th June 2018  full story: FOSTA US Internet Censorship Law...Wide ranging internet cesnorship law targetting sex workers

Electronic Frontier Foundation Two human rights organizations, a digital library, an activist for sex workers, and a certified massage therapist have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to block enforcement of FOSTA, the new federal law that silences online speech by forcing speakers to self-censor and requiring platforms to censor their users. The plaintiffs are represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Davis, Wright Tremaine LLP, Walters Law Group, and Daphne Keller.

In Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States , the plaintiffs argue that FOSTA is unconstitutional, muzzling online speech that protects and advocates for sex workers and forces well-established, general interest community forums offline for fear of criminal charges and heavy civil liability for things their users might share.

FOSTA, or the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, was passed by Congress in March. But instead of focusing on the perpetrators of sex trafficking, FOSTA goes after online speakers, imposing harsh penalties for any website that might facilitate prostitution or contribute to sex trafficking. The vague language and multiple layers of ambiguity are driving constitutionally protected speech off the Internet at a rapid pace.

For example, plaintiff the Woodhull Freedom Foundation works to support the health, safety, and protection of sex workers, among other things. Woodhull wanted to publish information on its website to help sex workers understand what FOSTA meant to them. But instead, worried about liability under FOSTA, Woodhull was forced to censor its own speech and the speech of others who wanted to contribute to their blog. Woodhull is also concerned about the impact of FOSTA on its upcoming annual summit, scheduled for next month.

FOSTA chills sexual speech and harms sex workers, said Ricci Levy, executive director Woodhull Freedom Foundation. It makes it harder for people to take care of and protect themselves, and, as an organization working to protect people's fundamental human rights, Woodhull is deeply concerned about the damaging impact that this law will have on all people.

FOSTA calls into serious question the legality of online speech that advocates for the decriminalization of sex work, or provides health and safety information to sex workers. Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international organization that is also a plaintiff, advocates globally for ways to protect sex workers from violence, health risks, and other human rights abuses. The group is concerned that its efforts to expose abuses against sex workers and decriminalize voluntary sex work could be seen as facilitating prostitution, or in some way assisting sex trafficking.

HRW relies heavily on individuals spreading its reporting and advocacy through social media, said Dinah Pokempner, HRW General Counsel. We are worried that social media platforms and websites may block the sharing of this information out of concern it could be seen as demonstrating a reckless disregard of sex trafficking activities under FOSTA. This law is the wrong approach to the scourge of sex trafficking.

But FOSTA doesn't just impede the work of sex educators and activists. It also led to the shutdown of Craigslist's Therapeutic Services section, which has imperiled the business of a licensed massage therapist who is another plaintiff in this case. The Internet Archive joined this lawsuit against FOSTA because the law might hinder its work of cataloging and storing 330 billion web pages from 1996 to the present.

Because of the critical issues at stake, the lawsuit filed today asks the court to declare that FOSTA is unconstitutional, and asks that the government be permanently enjoined from enforcing the law.

FOSTA is the most comprehensive censorship of Internet speech in America in the last 20 years, said EFF Civil Liberties Director David Greene. Despite good intentions, Congress wrote an awful and harmful law, and it must be struck down.

 

  Censors censured...

South Africa's High Court censures the country's film censors for unfair and unlawful procedures in giving a non pornographic film a pornographic rating


Link Here 29th June 2018
The Wound DVD Inxeba (The Wound) is a 2017 South Africa / Germany / Netherlands / France gay romance by John Trengove.
Starring Nakhane Touré, Bongile Mantsai and Niza Jay. BBFC link IMDb

Xolani, a lonely factory worker, travels to the rural mountains with the men of his community to initiate a group of teenage boys into manhood. When a defiant initiate from the city discovers his best-kept secret, Xolani's entire existence begins to unravel.

Award-winning movie Inxeba's reclassification as pornography has been overturned by the High Court in Pretoria' on the grounds that it was procedurally unfair and unlawful.

However, Judge Joseph Raulinga has stressed that Inxeba (The Wound)' which depicts a homosexual relationship between two men at an initiation school' violated the rights to dignity of Xhosa people. Furthermore' he said' if cultural beliefs and practices are to be considered' the film is harmful and disturbing and exposes 16-year-olds to the sexual conduct depicted in the film.

The film included language that was degrading to Xhosa women and further exposes women to societal violence, such as rape. It contains harmful scenes that could cause tensions within the Xhosa community and even within the broader African community. By implication, it has an effect on the rights of the Xhosa traditional group' he said.

Throughout his judgment' Raulinga stressed that the Inxeba filmmakers' rights to freedom of expression could not override the rights to dignity of Xhosa people.

 

  Chemically enhanced translation...

French TV finds that Syrians were overdubbed with words RT wanted to hear, not what they said


Link Here 29th June 2018  full story: Russia Today Propaganda TV...Russia Today, English language international propaganda channel
russia today international logoFrance's TV censor has warned the French arm of the propaganda channel, Russia Today, over a news report that dubbed over the voices of Syrian civilians with words they had not said.

France's Audiovisual Council (CSA) accused the state-backed broadcaster with failures of honesty, rigour of information and diversity of viewpoints.

The news report, aired on 13 April, contested the reality of chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian region of Eastern Ghouta, the CSA said. It noted that the testimony of a Syrian witness had been dubbed with a voice saying words that bore no resemblance with what he had said.

The CSA added that another witness had been dubbed with a voiceover saying that local residents had been ordered by militant group Jaysh al-Islam to simulate the effects of a chemical attack, but the testimony did not mention any particular group.

The CSA further said the report demonstrated an imbalance in analysis of the situation in Syria and that on a subject this sensitive, the different points of view should have been expressed.

 

 Offsite Article: Brexit cannot come soon enough...


Link Here 29th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
Spiked logo No more memes? The EU's latest threat to the net. The EU's new copyright laws will destroy the web as we know it. By Fraser Myers

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  The Pied Piper of Hollywood...

TorrentFreak suggests that the disgraceful EU law to allow censorship machines to control the internet is just to help US Big Media get more money out of US Big Internet


Link Here 28th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
pied piper 
  
What is the mysterious hold that US Big Music has over Euro politicians?
 

Article 13, the proposed EU legislation that aims to restrict safe harbors for online platforms, was crafted to end the so-called "Value Gap" on YouTube.

Music piracy was traditionally viewed as an easy to identify problem, one that takes place on illegal sites or via largely uncontrollable peer-to-peer networks. In recent years, however, the lines have been blurred.

Sites like YouTube allow anyone to upload potentially infringing content which is then made available to the public. Under the safe harbor provisions of US and EU law, this remains legal -- provided YouTube takes content down when told to do so. It complies constantly but there's always more to do.

This means that in addition to being one of the greatest legal platforms ever created, YouTube is also a goldmine of unlicensed content, something unacceptable to the music industry.

They argue that the existence of this pirate material devalues the licensed content on the platform. As a result, YouTube maintains a favorable bargaining position with the labels and the best licensing deal in the industry.

The difference between YouTube's rates and those the industry would actually like is now known as the " Value Gap " and it's become one of the hottest topics in recent years.

In fact, it is so controversial that new copyright legislation, currently weaving its way through the corridors of power in the EU Parliament, is specifically designed to address it.

If passed, Article 13 will require platforms like YouTube to pre-filter uploads to detect potential infringement. Indeed, the legislation may as well have been named the YouTube Act, since it's the platform that provoked this entire debate and whole Value Gap dispute.

With that in mind, it's of interest to consider the words of YouTube's global head of music Lyor Cohen this week. In an interview with MusicWeek , Cohen pledges that his company's new music service, YouTube Music, will not only match the rates the industry achieves from Apple Music and Spotify, but the company's ad-supported free tier viewers will soon be delivering more cash to the labels too.  "Of course [rights holders are] going to get more money," he told Music Week.

If YouTube lives up to its pledge, a level playing field will not only be welcomed by the music industry but also YouTube competitors such as Spotify, who currently offer a free tier on less favorable terms.

While there's still plenty of room for YouTube to maneuver, peace breaking out with the labels may be coming a little too late for those deeply concerned about the implications of Article 13.

YouTube's business model and its reluctance to pay full market rate for music is what started the whole Article 13 movement in the first place and with the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament (JURI) adopting the proposals last week , time is running out to have them overturned.

Behind the scenes, however, the labels and their associates are going flat out to ensure that Article 13 passes, whether YouTube decides to "play fair" or not. Their language suggests that force is the best negotiating tactic with the distribution giant.

Yesterday, UK Music CEO Michael Dugher led a delegation to the EU Parliament in support of Article 13. He was joined by deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and representatives from the BPI, PRS, and Music Publishers Association, who urged MEPs to support the changes.

 

  CALifornia Internet Police against HATE (CALIPHATE)...

California considers a bill to appoint a board of internet censors targeting social media


Link Here 28th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
California state sealCalifornia is considering a bill that would require the state's attorney general to create a board of internet censors that would target social media.

The group would include at least one person from the Department of Justice, representatives from social media providers, civil liberties advocates, and First Amendment scholars, according to CBS13. They would theoretically study how fake stories spread through social media and then advise platforms on how to stop them.

The nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation is already taking a stand against the measure, noting that it violates the First Amendment and make the government responsible for deciding if news is true or false.

 

  A Fair achievement for the EFF...

After More Than a Decade of Litigation, the Dancing Baby Has Done His Part to Strengthen Fair Use for Everyone


Link Here 28th June 2018

dancing baby video Litigation can always take twists and turns, but when EFF filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group in 2007 on behalf of Stephanie Lenz, few would have anticipated it would be ten years until the case was finally resolved. But today , at last, it is. Along the way, Lenz v. Universal contributed to strengthening fair use law, bringing nationwide attention to the issues of copyright and fair use in new digital movie-making and sharing technologies.

It all started when Lenz posted a YouTube video of her then-toddler-aged son dancing while Prince's song Let's Go Crazy played in the background, and Universal used copyright claims to get the link disabled. We brought the case hoping to get some clarity from the courts on a simple but important issue: can a rightsholder use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to take down an obvious fair use, without consequence?

Congress designed the DMCA to give rightsholders, service providers, and users relatively precise rules of the road for policing online copyright infringement. The center of the scheme is the notice and takedown process. In exchange for substantial protection from liability for the actions of their users, service providers must promptly take offline content on their platforms that has been identified as infringing, as well as several other prescribed steps. Copyright owners, for their part, are given an expedited, extra-judicial procedure for obtaining redress against alleged infringement, paired with explicit statutory guidance regarding the process for doing so, and provisions designed to deter and ameliorate abuse of that process.

Without Section 512, the risk of crippling liability for the acts of users would have prevented the emergence of most of the social media outlets we use today. Instead, the Internet has become the most revolutionary platform for the creation and dissemination of speech that the world has ever known.

But Congress also knew that Section 512's powerful incentives could result also in lawful material being censored from the Internet, without prior judicial scrutiny--much less advance notice to the person who posted the material--or an opportunity to contest the removal. To inhibit abuse, Congress made sure that the DMCA included a series of checks and balances, including Section 512(f), which gives users the ability to hold rightsholders accountable if they send a DMCA notice in bad faith.

In this case, Universal Music Group claimed to have a good faith belief that Ms. Lenz's video of her child dancing to a short segment of barely-audible music infringed copyright. Yet the undisputed facts showed Universal never considered whether Ms. Lenz's use was lawful under the fair use doctrine. If it had done so, it could not reasonably have concluded her use was infringing. On behalf of Stephanie Lenz, EFF argued that this was a misrepresentation in violation of Section 512(f).

In response, Universal argued that rightsholders have no obligation to consider fair use at all. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected that argument, correctly holding that the DMCA requires a rightsholder to consider whether the uses she targets in a DMCA notice are actually lawful under the fair use doctrine. However, the court also held that a rightsholder's determination on that question passes muster as long as she subjectively believes it to be true. This leads to a virtually incoherent result: a rightsholder must consider fair use, but has no incentive to actually learn what such a consideration should entail. After all, if she doesn't know what the fair use factors are, she can't be held liable for not applying them thoughtfully.

We were disappointed in that part of the ruling, but it came with a big silver lining: the court also held that fair use is not simply a narrow defense copyright but an affirmative public right. For decades, rightsholders and scholars had debated the issue, with many preferring to construe fair use as narrowly as possible. Thanks to the Lenz decision, courts will be more likely to think of fair use, correctly, as a crucial vehicle for achieving the real purpose of copyright law: to promote the public interest in creativity and innovation. And rightsholders are on notice: they must at least consider fair use before sending a takedown notice.

Lenz and Universal filed petitions requesting that the Supreme Court review the Ninth Circuit's ruling. The Supreme Court denied both petitions. This meant that the case returned to the district court for trial on the question of whether Universal's takedown was a misrepresentation under the Ninth Circuit's subjective standard. Rather than go to trial, the parties have agreed to a settlement.

Lenz v. Universal helped make some great law on fair use and also played a role in leading to better takedown processes at Universal. EFF congratulates Stephanie Lenz for fighting the good fight, and we thank our co-counsel at Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP and Kwun Bhansali Lazarus LLP for being our partners through this long journey.

 

  Sim Censors...

7 countries ban Sims FreePlay mobile game seemingly because of gay and trans characters


Link Here 27th June 2018
the sims freeplayA representative for games developer EA has announced on an online forum that The Sims mobile game The Sims: Freeplay would no longer be available in seven countries: China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt.

A spokesperson said that in light of regional standards the game would no longer be updated.?  EA did not confirm the exact nature of these regional standards, prompting many fans to speculate that the ban was caused by the game's explicit LGBT content. The EA spokesperson wrote:

We've always been proud that our in-game experiences embrace values as broad and diverse as our incredible Sims community. This has been important to us, as we know it is to you.

Users who had already downloaded the game would still be able to use it, however, the game will not be updated and may eventually be rendered obsolete. Players will also not be able to make in-game purchases.

The popular EA life simulation video game includes diverse elements such as same-sex weddings and gay adoptions, and male pregnancies. The game let players pick whether the sim had a feminine or masculine frame and allowed players to decide whether their sim stood to use the toilet.

 

  Censors filled with joy...

Australian games censors to hear appeal against the ban on We Happy Few


Link Here 27th June 2018  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
We Happy Few The Australian Censorship Review Board is currently reviewing the ban on Compulsion Games' upcoming dystopian adventure game We Happy Few .

The review is the result of an appeal from Compulsion Games, as the decision was made due to the appearance of the incentivization of drugs in the game. As the Cesnorship Board's report explained, A player that takes Joy can reduce gameplay difficulty, therefore receiving an incentive by progressing through the game quickly.

The appeal argued that the usage of Joy is indeed negative, as Joy itself is a product of a dystopian society that exercises drug-induced control over its population, and should not in fact be seen in a positive light.

The Board has scheduled a meeting for July 3, where it will review public submissions from those who want to discuss the matter as a interested party to this review, specifically as the process relates to We Happy Few. From there, a decision will be made in the coming weeks following the review.

 

  But Christian clerics have caused far more harm than Christian Grey has ever caused...

Christian campaigners whinge at Sainsbury's prominent sales display for Fifty Shades Freed in the sight of children


Link Here 27th June 2018  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style
Fifty Shades Freed Blu-ray Morality campaigners from Christian Concern have whinged at Sainsbury's for placing copies of a popular erotic romance film in full view of children entering the chain's supermarkets.

A few religious customers were absolutely horrified to find Fifty Shades Freed displayed at kids' eye line in store entrances. featuring cardboard display pictures of  lead characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the same clinch as the movie poster.

Helen Burgess of evangelical interest group Christian Concern said she was absolutely horrified when she saw the display. She said:

Most of us who follow the news know that the 18-rated Fifty Shades Trilogy is clearly porn, with all kinds of distasteful, demeaning and actually dangerous sexual activity in it.

The display was right in the entrance, with a big image of the front cover at children's eye level.

I was so shocked that I asked to see the store manager.

I could cry when I think about the assault on children's innocent minds and pure hearts.

 

 Updated: The Agony and The Ecstasy...

Games developer Madmind cancels patch and announces instead that Agony Unrated will be released on Steam, and later that it is cancelled again


Link Here 27th June 2018
Agony A gony is a 2018 US survival horror by Madmind Studio

Players begin their journey as a tormented soul within the depths of Hell without any memories about their past. The special ability to control people on their path, and possess minded demons, gives the player the necessary measures to survive in the extreme conditions they are in

Last month it was announced that games developer Madmind was forced to cut its Agony game to avoid an uncommercially viable AO (Adults-Only) rating from the US games censors of the ESRB. Madmind promised that the AO version would be restored via a patch.

Madmind have now cancelled the patch citing legal issues. The company have said not quite so much material has had to be cut as first thought. The company said:

The censorship now affects only several seconds from two endings (out of seven) and some scenes that may be unlocked only after the end of the game.

Madmind have said that they will at least explain the cuts in a documentary video that will show the material that had to be cut for an M rating in the US.

The cut version has just been released worldwide and is 18 rated by PEGI for the European region.

Update: May still be the possibility of an uncut version

1st June 2018. See  article from oneangrygamer.net

madmind studio logoDevelopers Madmind signed a distribution deal for the game to appear on the Xbox One , PS4 , and Steam that ended up nullifying their ability to distribute the Adults Only patch as they had originally promised. It seems that this contractual agreement included a ban on patching games appearing on these platforms. However it seems that an uncensored version could appear elsewhere as long as any patches there cannot be applied to the games appearing on Xbox/PS4/Steam.

During a lengthy Q&A session, Madmind attempted to address why the game's uncensored version wasn't made available. They were also asked if it would be possible to release the uncensored content through a GOG.com version. According to Madmind, they responded:

The contract with the publishers did not allow us to make the Adult Only version. We could not do anything about it. Violation of these laws would cause huge financial penalties, which would result in immediate closure of the company and the game would not have been issued. Without publishers -- the production process would be interrupted and the game would not appear. We are in talks with GOG. If they agree, Agony will be released on this platform in a version with all patches and without censorship, with official AO rating.

agony cut scenes Update: Agony's censored scenes published in a video

 1st June 2018. See article from oneangrygamer.net , See video of deleted scenes from vimeo.com

Madmind Studio kept their word and released a video showcasing the original Adults Only content they had to cut in order to secure a Mature rating for the game Agony.

The NSFW video clocks in at 4:48 minutes. It features the content that Madmind had to trim in order to secure the Mature rating, this includes scenes of genital penetration, a couple of seconds of butt physics, various forms of infanticide, as well as a sequence involving demon sex and a succubus giving birth to a demon baby through a mutilated vagina.

Update: Madmind announces that Agony Unrated can now be released on Steam

8th June 2018. See article from steamcommunity.com

steam logoIt is with a great pleasure that we want to inform you we have found a way to publish the unrated version of Agony! Agony Unrated will be a separate title produced and published by Madmind Studio and without the involvement of any publishers. It features additional content and changes suggested by you -- our community -- as nothing is more valuable to us than you.

We are doing our best to offer Agony Unrated to as many people as possible. Our goal is for each person that already owns Agony on Steam to be able to buy Agony Unrated with the biggest discount possible on that platform -- 99% -- or release it as a free DLC . We are currently talking with the Steam representatives to make sure it is doable. Agony Unrated will be released about three months from now and it will include all the updates from the standard version of the game. Agony Unrated also brings:
· Additional sounds in the game and the cutscenes.
· Additional erotic animations for characters in the backgrounds.
· High resolution textures and models -- without any censorship.
· All the scenes that have been removed from the standard version of Agony .
· Agony Mode unlocked from the beginning.
· Additional content for Agony Mode (Setting -- The Forest, Boss Fight -- Baphomet).
· Succubus Mode unlocked from the beginning.
· Additional animations for Succubus Mode .

The whole team is working on patches and fixes for the game and we are planning to be releasing them until the most of you (if not everyone!) in our beloved community is satisfied with our game.

Update: Unrated release is cancelled

27th June 2018. See article from steamcommunity.com

madmind studio logoMadMind Studio has announced:

We regret to inform you that our company is currently struggling with financial problems. Due to technical and legal reasons, Madmind must cancel the development of Agony Unrated.

 

 Updated: Not tippy-toeing around...

Performances of the Billy Elliot Musical in Hungary reduced after negative press campaign claiming it will turn kids gay


Link Here 27th June 2018
billy elliot musicalThe Hungarian National Opera in Budapest has cancelled 15 performances of the musical Billy Elliot , blaming negative campaigning by the local media.

Daily newspaper Magyor Idok ran a series of stories claiming that the show could transform Hungarian boys into homosexuals, and another article said it promoted a deviant way of life.

Szilveszter Okovacs, director of the Hungary National Opera, told Hungarian site 444.hu: As you know, the negative campaign in recent weeks against the Billy Elliot production led to a big drop in ticket sales and for this reason we are cancelling 15 performances in line with the decision of our management.

The show will still play 24 other dates in the city, including one that is sold out.

Update: Billy Elliot gay propaganda row exposes purge in Hungary

27th June 2018. Thanks to Nick. See article from bbc.com

The attack on the head of the Hungarian State Opera was both crude and unexpected. And it came from the mouthpiece of the ruling Fidesz party, Magyar Idok.

Children who watched the opera's performance of the musical Billy Elliot were in danger of becoming homosexual, wrote Zsofia N Horvath in her opinion piece.Even the red stars used in the performance, in Budapest's cavernous Erkel theatre, were attacked in the show as banned symbols.

But another mystery entirely is that there is no known journalist called Zsofia N Horvath. The article fits into a new cultural offensive against the last liberals in a film, theatre and publishing world that is already dominated by Fidesz figures.

Since December the same publication, Magyar Idok, has featured a string of articles with targets including the head of the distinguished Petofi literary museum in Budapest, Gergely Pröhle. Jozsef Palinkas, the head of the National Research, Development and Innovation Office and a one-time Orban education minister, has been sacked.

All areas of cultural life should be purged of those who allow space for liberal, globalist, and cosmopolitan ideas, the writers suggest, including state News Agency MTI, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and even Petofi radio, a public service music channel.

 

  A politically correct version of Zulu...

A horde of 12,000 freedom-loving Folkestone natives take on 28 privilege-demanding elitists cooped up in their ivory tower...and this time the natives win


Link Here 26th June 2018
Zulu DVD More than 12,000 people have hit out at 28 complainers who tried to get a screening of classic movie Zulu scrapped.

The 28 who signed the anti-Zulu petition - accusing it of being racist - have been attacked by thousands of angry fans.

Organisers are standing by their decision to screen the beloved 1964 classic which will be shown at Folkestone's Silver Screen Cinema on Saturday to raise aid for armed forces charity SSAFA.

A poll on this website attracted an astonishing 13,000 votes - with 92% voting in favour of showing the film.

kentonline.co.uk writes:

Whilst the film has caused some discussion in more recent times, it is important not to gloss over parts of our history that make us feel uncomfortable. Rather than censoring a subject, a viewing could form a basis for discussion about the deeper themes in the film.

Despite detractors claiming the film is racist, there are only three slight racial epithets used in the entire 130-minute-long show - and one is directed against the Irish. Another slur was quickly slapped down by another character, while the third was a soldier being called a dozy Welshman because he forgot his rifle.

The classic movie portrays the Zulu warriors as honourable combatants, whose overwhelming numbers are only narrowly defeated by the indefatigable British Empire forces.

The film has a bit of a history of being censored and banned. BBFC cuts were required for the original 'U' rated cinema release in 1964. Then when released in Apartheid South Africa in 1964 the film was banned for black audiences (as the government feared that its scenes of blacks killing whites might incite them to violence), apart from a few special screenings for its Zulu extras in Durban and some smaller Kwazulu towns.

 

  Labyrinthine corporate censorship...

Sony bans video game Omega Labyrinth Z from all western regions


Link Here 26th June 2018  full story: Western censorship of Japanese Games...Japanese games winds up the social justice whingers
D3 Publisher Omega Labyrinth Z PS Vita SONY PLAYSTATION JAPANESE Version Omega Labyrinth Z , an adult-orientated anime dungeon crawler, will not be released on PlayStation 4 or Vita after Sony stepped in and banned the game from all western regions.

The game, which mixes chibi-style dungeon exploration with a slideshow of provocatively-dressed young anime characters, had been set to launch in Europe and North America.

In Europe, Omega Labyrinth Z was given a PEGI 18 rating for sexual content, although a UK launch had already been scrapped after the Video Standards Council (VSC) banned it. Germany, New Zealand and Ireland had also joined the UK in banning the game.

The contentious issue was the young-looking female characters. The characters themselves are of indistinguishable age, but cues from the setting within a 'school' environment rather causes issues.

Distributor PQube announced it will not release the game in the West at all because PlayStation itself intervened.

It is with sadness that we announce that the game is cancelled on both platforms [PS4 and Vita] and all Western regions permanently.

 

  Whining Winnie...

China blocks HBO and social media comments after John Oliver mocks Xi Jinping


Link Here 26th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
last week tonight video An item mocking China, Xi Jinping  and Trump on John Oliver's HBO show Last Week Tonight seems to have wound up China's censors.

HBO's website has been blocked in China and social media censors have been working hard to eliminate comments about the show.

According to the anti-censorship and monitoring group Greatfire.org, HBO's website was completely blocked within China as of Saturday, days after media reports emerged that Weibo had censored new posts mentioning Oliver or his HBO show Last Week Tonight.

In the show, Oliver made fun of the Chinese president's apparent sensitivity over comparisons of his figure with that of Winnie the Pooh. Images of the AA Milne character, used to mock Xi, have been censored in China. Oliver also took a serious tone in the show, criticising Xi for the removal of term limits from the Chinese constitution, the use of political re-education camps in the Muslim province of Xinjiang, and a crackdown on civil society. Oliver noted the continued house arrest of Liu Xia, wife of Chinese dissident and nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo who died last year while serving an 11-year prison sentence.

 

  No more bets please...

Dutch games censors declare that their grace period has expired and they will be enforcing their ban on loot boxes


Link Here 25th June 2018  full story: Loot boxes in video games...Worldwide action against monetisation of video games
Playerunknown's Battlegrounds - Game Preview Edition for Xbox One The Dutch gambling authority will enforce a new ban on loot boxes. They identified four games that offer loot boxes that are considered gambling. According to the public broadcast company these games are FIFA 18, DOTA 2 , PlayerUnknown's BattleGrounds and Rocket League .

These games had until the 20th of June to make changes to the gambling aspect of their loot boxes. Starting from Thursday the gambling authority will enforce the rules. Fines can be 830.000 euro (960.000 dollar) or 10% of the company's worldwide revenue. If they don't make changes, the public prosecutor will look into prosecution.

 

  A censored Netflix...

ASEAN VoD services unite to produce self censorship code


Link Here 25th June 2018
ASEAN flagVideo-on-demand streaming providers in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, including ASTRO, dimsum, Fox+, HOOQ, iflix, Netflix, tonton, TVB and Walt Disney, have joined forces to launch a self-censorship Subscription Video-on-Demand Industry Content Code.

The censorship rules ensure that the content offered on these platforms is authentic, free from hate speech, pornography and other forms of inappropriate content.

Furthermore, the Code also aims to provide users with age-appropriate content advice.

Companies participating in the Code said in a statement:

We share a mutual objective of putting consumer well-being at the heart of our services. This Code demonstrates our commitment to making sure that the consumer is able to make content viewing choices that are right for them and their families.

They also welcome other video-on-demand services to work under their rules.

 

 Offsite Article: How the internet is being mapped in real-time to stop censorship...


Link Here 25th June 2018
netblocks logo A combination of hardware and software is being used to track government censorship of the internet. NetBlocks is taking its censorship monitoring global. By Matt Reynolds

See article from wired.co.uk

 

  Dictator loses his appeal...

German court dismisses Erdogan's appeal for the censorship of comedian who mocked him


Link Here 24th June 2018  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Europe...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany

erdogan poem videoThe Hamburg Higher Court ruled to dismiss Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's appeal to ban German comedian Jan Böhmermann's poem due to claims of insult and mockery.

The court ruled that the poem could not be completely banned due to Germany's laws protecting free speech. However, the court did uphold a ban regarding specific passages within the poem, which associates Erdogan with acts like bestiality and consuming child pornography.

The Turkish president was able to file a case against the German-based comedian due to an obscure German law that deems it illegal for German citizens to insult foreign leaders.

Böhmermann initially presented the poem on 31 March 2016 on his public broadcaster ZDF television programme Neo Magazin Royale . The satirical poem, which accused the Turkish president of repressing minorities and engaging in lewd behaviour, was read aloud by Böhmermann while he sat in front of a Turkish flag and a framed portrait of Erdogan.

 

 Commented: The Drill Squad...

Police set up a 20 strong social media censor initially targeting gang related violence


Link Here 24th June 2018  full story: Drill Music...Drill music videos banned by UK police

Metropiltan Police badgeSocial media censor announced to tackle gang-related online content

The Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced £1.38 million to strengthen the police's response to violent and gang-related online content.

Funding from the government's £40 million Serious Violence Strategy will be used to create a 20-strong team of police staff and officers tasked with disrupting and removing overt and covert gang-related online content.

The social media censor will proactively flag illegal and harmful online content for social media companies to take down. Hosted by the Metropolitan Police, the new capability will also prevent violence on our streets by identifying gang-related messages generating the most risk and violence.

The move follows the Serious Violence Taskforce chaired by the Home Secretary urging social media companies to do more to take down these videos. The Home Secretary invited representatives from Facebook and Google to Monday's meeting to explain the preventative action they are already taking against gang material hosted on their platforms.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Street gangs are increasingly using social media as a platform to incite violence, taunt each other and promote crime.

This is a major concern and I want companies such as Facebook and Google to do more.

We are taking urgent action and the new social media hub will improve the police's ability to identify and remove this dangerous content.

Duncan Ball, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service and National Policing lead for Gangs, said:

Police forces across the country are committed to doing everything we can to tackle violent crime and the impact that it has on our communities. Through this funding we can develop a team that is a centre of expertise and excellence that will target violent gangs and those plotting and encouraging violence online.

By working together with social media companies we will ensure that online material that glamourises murder, lures young people into a dangerous, violent life of crime, and encourages violence is quickly dealt with to cut off this outlet for gangs and criminals.

Looking to the future we aim to develop a world class capability that will tackle the type of dangerous social media activity that promotes or encourages serious violence.

It is already an offence to incite, assist, or encourage violence online and the Home Office is focused towards building on the relationships made with social media providers to identify where we can take action relevant to tackling serious violence.

Comment: Making music videos is not a criminal activity -- no matter what genre

24th June 2018. See  article from theconversation.com

the conversation logoWest London music group 1011 has recently been banned from recording or performing music without police permission. On June 15, the Metropolitan police issued the group, which has been the subject of a two-year police investigation, with a Criminal Behaviour Order .

For the next three years, five members of the group -- which creates and performs a UK version of drill, a genre of hip-hop that emerged from Chicago -- must give 24 hours notice of the release of any music video, and 48 hours notice of any live performance. They are also banned from attending Notting Hill Carnival and wearing balaclavas.

This is a legally unprecedented move, but it is not without context. A recent Amnesty UK report on the Metropolitan Police Gangs Matrix -- a risk assessment tool that links individuals to gang related crime -- stated that:

The sharing of YouTube videos and other social media activity are used as potential criteria for adding names to the Matrix, with grime music videos featuring gang names or signs considered a particular possible indicator of likely gang affiliation.

Furthermore, recent research indicates that almost 90% of those on the Matrix are black or ethnic minority.

For young people who make music, video is a key way to share their work with a wider audience. Online platforms such as SBTV, LinkUp TV , GRM daily and UK Grime are all popular sites. Often using street corners and housing estates as a location, these videos are a central component of the urban music scene. But the making of these music videos appears to feed into a continuing unease about youth crime and public safety.

Fifteen years ago, ministers were concerned about rap lyrics; in 2007 some MPs demanded to have videos banned after a shooting in Liverpool. UK drill music is only the focus of the most recent crackdown by the Metropolitan police, which has requested YouTube to remove any music videos with violent content.

The production and circulation of urban music videos has become a contested activity -- and performance in the public sphere is presented as a cause for concern. This is leading to the criminalisation of everyday pursuits. Young people from poor backgrounds are now becoming categorised as troublemakers through the mere act of making a music video.

See full article from theconversation.com

 

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 84...


Link Here 23rd June 2018
Sholay DVD Bollywood Films, Sholay and Baahubali 2

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: What we object to at the cinema has changed. Movie ratings should too...


Link Here 23rd June 2018
Poster Damo and Ivor the Movie 2018 Rob Burke and Ronan Burke Should we worry less about film censor warnings about sex or violence and worry more about racial stereotyping? By Donald Clarke speaking about the Irish film censor, IFCO

See article from irishtimes.com

 

  Rated 18 for moderate #MeToo issues...

The BBFC is considering higher age categories for references or depictions of sexual violence


Link Here 22nd June 2018
Wind River DVD At a conference organised by the NSPCC, BBFC director David Austin gave the keynote speech and spoke of early results from the organisation's five-yearly public consultation.

In previous consultations, the BBFC commissioned an in-depth survey of a panel of members of the public, and presumably have repeated the exercise this time. Austin reported increased concern about such sexually violent scenes, meaning certification guidelines may become stricter.

The BBFC asked the panel to review its decisions on 15-rated films featuring sexual violence including Don't Breathe , starring Jane Levy, Wind River and The Innocents, a French drama about brutalised nuns during the second world war. They were asked if these titles might have been more appropriately restricted to 18.

In a statement to the Guardian, the BBFC said that a number of the films might have been more appropriately restricted to 18. In the case of The Innocents -- which was given a PG13 certificate in the US -- the initial conclusion was that a 15 certificate was correct. The BBFC statement says:

It is premature to say what adjustments might finally be made to [our] guidelines but it is certainly fair to say that the [research] suggests heightened public concerns about the issue of sexual violence and some desire for a further tightening of our already strict standards at 15.

A BBFC spokesman told the Telegraph:

A general trend we found was that people seemed to find the fact the scenes occurred within recognisable 'real world' settings an aggravating factor, because it made them feel as if this was something that could happen to them.

The BBFC is now partway through the second stage of its consultation, which surveys around 10,000 members of the public, asking them if the BBFC is doing a good job and whether its age rating decisions are generally about right. This larger survey does not address detailed issues such as whether sexual violence should be restricted to an 18 rating.

The press is reporting that the BBFC will automatically award 18 ratings to films with depictions of sexual violence but this is surely bollox, the BBFC will perhaps make a few tweaks to its guidelines but will still take final decisions based on the content of the film.

 

  Let's jail everybody...

Government to introduce a bill to ban upskirting whilst Labour's extreme feminists want to hijack it to ban misogyny and fake porn


Link Here 22nd June 2018
stella creasyA row over Tory MP Christopher Chope blocking a backbench attempt to ban people from taking lewd photographs up women's skirts has spurred the government to adopt the bill.

Speaking in PMQ's this week, Theresa May confirmed the Government was taking on the upskirting campaign. She said:

Upskirting is a hideous invasion of privacy.

It leaves victims feeling degraded and distressed.

We will adopt this as a Government Bill, we will introduce the Bill this Thursday with a second reading before the summer recess.

But we are not stopping there. We will also ensure that the most serious offenders are added to the sex offenders register, and victims will be in no doubt their complaints will be taken very seriously and perpetrators will be punished.

And now extremist feminists are attempting to massively extend the bill to cover their own pet peeves.

Feminist campaigner and academic Clare Ms McGlynn, claimed the draft law created an opportunity to tackle so-called deepfake pornography. She said:

It would be easy to extend the bill so that it covers images which have been altered too and clearly criminalise a practice that victims say they find incredibly distressing.

And Labour MP Stella Creasy demanded misogyny is made a hate crime to ensure the law keeps up with abuse of women. She claimed outlawing hatred of women - by bringing it in to with race and equality laws - would be more effective than one-off bans for offences like upskirting.

 

  With pals like that, who needs enemies...

Paypal decides to censor the games company behind Active Shooter


Link Here 22nd June 2018  full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors
active shooterAcid Software, the developer of a shooting simulator recently removed from Steam, will now struggle to sell its products online thanks to censorship by PayPal.

The Active Shooter developer said this week that purchases of its highly controversial game were temporarily disabled while it tried to resolve issues with PayPal.

Paypal has confirmed it has banned the account saying:

PayPal has a longstanding, well-defined and consistently enforced Acceptable Use Policy, and regardless of the individual or organisation in question, we work to ensure that our services are not used to accept payments for activities that promote violence, PayPal said in a statement.

Acid Software spokesperson Ata Berdyev told the Associated Press the future of the game is now in doubt.

 

  Don't feed the trolls...

Indian court dismisses petition that a magazine cover showing breastfeeding was somehow obscene


Link Here 22nd June 2018
grihalakshmi breastfeedingThe Kerala High Court has refused to categorise the cover of the March issue of Grihalakshmi magazine showing a woman breastfeeding her baby as obscene, noting that shocking one's morals is an elusive concept, and that one man's vulgarity is another man's lyric.

The Bench observed:

We do not see, despite our best efforts, obscenity in the picture, nor do we find anything objectionable in the caption, for men. We looked at the picture with the same eyes we look at the paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. As the beauty lies in the beholder's eye, so does obscenity, perhaps.

Petitioner Felix M.A. had contended that the magazine cover violated provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Rules, as well as Section 45 of the Juvenile Justice Act. He had also alleged violation of provisions of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, and an Article of the Constitution of India.

 

 Offsite Article: Choked Out by the Digital Content Gatekeepers...


Link Here 21st June 2018
Troma's War Blu-ray Troma Entertainment and many more Independent Filmmakers are being strangled by the likes of YouTube. An essay by Lloyd Kaufman

See article from troma.com

 

  Censorship machines mass ready for the internet killing fields...

European Parliament committee passed vote to hand over censorship of the internet to US corporate giants


Link Here 20th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
European Parliament logoThe European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) has officially approved Articles 11 and 13 of a Digital Single Market (DSM) copyright proposal, mandating censorship machines and a link tax.

Articles 11 and 13 of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market have been the subject of considerable campaigning from pro-copyleft groups including the Open Rights Group and Electronic Frontier Foundation of late.

Article 11, as per the final version of the proposal, discusses the implementation of a link tax - the requirement that any site citing third-party materials do so in a way that adheres to the exemptions and restrictions of a total of 28 separate copyright laws or pays for a licence to use and link to the material;

Article 13, meanwhile, requires any site which allows users to post text, sound, program code, still or moving images, or any other work which can be copyrighted to automatically scan all such uploads against a database of copyright works - a database which they will be required to pay to access.

Both Article 11 and Article 13 won't become official legislation until passed by the entire European Parliament in a plenary vote. There's no definite timetable for when such a vote might take place, but it would likely happen sometime between December of this year and the first half of 2019.

 

 Extract: Scarborough Unfair...

Sargon of Akkad no-platformed because a Labour councillor doesn't like what he has to say


Link Here 20th June 2018

scarborough spa complexUp until this week, I had never heard of a man with the username Sargon of Akkad. Apparently, he is a political YouTube blogger, and seems to have an opinion on everything.

From my research, he is disliked by the far right and the far left. He gives his opinions in an honest way and invites debate. Nothing I have seen so far shows he is a hateful person. A lot of what he says I totally disagree with, but he certainly has a right to say it.

I heard of him because he was due to appear last week at Scarborough Spa. The event was cancelled following a risk assessment. The risk appears to be a campaign by a local left wing group to stop him appearing, and it worked.

Labour councillor Rob Barnett said: Scarborough Spa are to be congratulated for refusing to allow their stage to be used. We don't need division -- we need unity to fight for a better society.

Obviously, the society that Mr Barnett wants is one where censorship rules over freedom of speech. I find it very worrying that a political group should seek to censor those who do not agree with them.

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

 

  Adventure in Sahara...

1938 action film just cut by the BBFC for animal cruelty


Link Here 20th June 2018
Adventure in Sahara DVD Adventure in Sahara is a 1938 USA action romance by D Ross Lederman.
Starring Paul Kelly, C Henry Gordon and Lorna Gray. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed PG for mild violence, language after 2s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:

  • 2018 Powerhouse Films UK [4:3] video
The BBFC commented:
  • Cut required to remove sight of a horse being tripped and made to fall onto its head and neck..
Summary Notes

Agadez is a lonely French outpost baking under the desert sun and commanded by the cruel and oppressive Captain Savatt (C. Henry Gordon). To it comes, at his own request, Legionnaire Jim Wilson (Paul Kelly soon followed by his fianc39e, Carla Preston (Lorna Gray), who has been tracing him from post to post. Legionnaires seize the fort and turn Savitt loose in the Arab-haunted desert with only a fraction of the water and food needed to get back to civilization. But Savitt gets through and returns to the fort at the head of an avenging troop of men. But Arabs surround Savitt and his men, and the mutineers, knowing that to leave the fort and aid them means their own death...

 

  Distressful advertising...

A few criticisms for United Colors of Benetton adverts featuring migrants


Link Here 20th June 2018
benetton migrantsA few people have taken offence after Italian clothing firm United Colors of Benetton launched an advertising campaign featuring images of welfare seekers rescued from the Mediterranean.

The group behind the rescue, SOS Méditerranée, condemned Benetton for using pictures of people in distress.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini later tweeted:

Am I the only one to find this despicable?

Neither seems to have explained clearly why such uncontentious and commonplace imagery should not be used in a commercial setting.

The ads, which appeared online and in Italian newspaper La Repubblica, feature two separate images captured on 9 June.

 

  Unstoppable Illiberalism...

In two days, an EU committee will vote to crown Google and Facebook permanent lords of internet censorship


Link Here 19th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

European Parliament logoOn June 20, the EU's legislative committee will vote on the new Copyright directive , and decide whether it will include the controversial "Article 13" (automated censorship of anything an algorithm identifies as a copyright violation) and "Article 11" (no linking to news stories without paid permission from the site).

These proposals will make starting new internet companies effectively impossible -- Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and the other US giants will be able to negotiate favourable rates and build out the infrastructure to comply with these proposals, but no one else will. The EU's regional tech success stories -- say Seznam.cz , a successful Czech search competitor to Google -- don't have $60-100,000,000 lying around to build out their filters, and lack the leverage to extract favorable linking licenses from news sites.

If Articles 11 and 13 pass, American companies will be in charge of Europe's conversations, deciding which photos and tweets and videos can be seen by the public, and who may speak.

The MEP Julia Reda has written up the state of play on the vote, and it's very bad. Both left- and right-wing parties have backed this proposal, including (incredibly) the French Front National, whose Youtube channel was just deleted by a copyright filter of the sort they're about to vote to universalise.

EU voting on censorship machines

So far, the focus in the debate has been on the intended consequences of the proposals: the idea that a certain amount of free expression and competition must be sacrificed to enable rightsholders to force Google and Facebook to share their profits.

But the unintended -- and utterly foreseeable -- consequences are even more important. Article 11's link tax allows news sites to decide who gets to link to them, meaning that they can exclude their critics. With election cycles dominated by hoaxes and fake news, the right of a news publisher to decide who gets to criticise it is carte blanche to lie and spin.

Article 13's copyright filters are even more vulnerable to attack: the proposals contain no penalties for false claims of copyright ownership, but they do mandate that the filters must accept copyright claims in bulk, allowing rightsholders to upload millions of works at once in order to claim their copyright and prevent anyone from posting them.

That opens the doors to all kinds of attacks. The obvious one is that trolls might sow mischief by uploading millions of works they don't hold the copyright to, in order to prevent others from quoting them: the works of Shakespeare, say, or everything ever posted to Wikipedia, or my novels, or your family photos.

More insidious is the possibility of targeted strikes during crisis: stock-market manipulators could use bots to claim copyright over news about a company, suppressing its sharing on social media; political actors could suppress key articles during referendums or elections; corrupt governments could use arms-length trolls to falsely claim ownership of footage of human rights abuses.

It's asymmetric warfare: falsely claiming a copyright will be easy (because the rightsholders who want this system will not tolerate jumping through hoops to make their claims) and instant (because rightsholders won't tolerate delays when their new releases are being shared online at their moment of peak popularity). Removing a false claim of copyright will require that a human at an internet giant looks at it, sleuths out the truth of the ownership of the work, and adjusts the database -- for millions of works at once. Bots will be able to pollute the copyright databases much faster than humans could possibly clear it.

I spoke with Wired UK's KG Orphanides about this, and their excellent article on the proposal is the best explanation I've seen of the uses of these copyright filters to create unstoppable disinformation campaigns.

Doctorow highlighted the potential for unanticipated abuse of any automated copyright filtering system to make false copyright claims, engage in targeted harassment and even silence public discourse at sensitive times.

"Because the directive does not provide penalties for abuse -- and because rightsholders will not tolerate delays between claiming copyright over a work and suppressing its public display -- it will be trivial to claim copyright over key works at key moments or use bots to claim copyrights on whole corpuses.

The nature of automated systems, particularly if powerful rightsholders insist that they default to initially blocking potentially copyrighted material and then releasing it if a complaint is made, would make it easy for griefers to use copyright claims over, for example, relevant Wikipedia articles on the eve of a Greek debt-default referendum or, more generally, public domain content such as the entirety of Wikipedia or the complete works of Shakespeare.

"Making these claims will be MUCH easier than sorting them out -- bots can use cloud providers all over the world to file claims, while companies like Automattic (WordPress) or Twitter, or even projects like Wikipedia, would have to marshall vast armies to sort through the claims and remove the bad ones -- and if they get it wrong and remove a legit copyright claim, they face unbelievable copyright liability."

 

  Don't MEPs watch the movies?...

Nascent censorship machines already rise up against the stupid politicians that support their Genesis


Link Here 18th June 2018

terminator battle machinePoliticians, about to vote in favor of mandatory upload filtering in Europe, get channel deleted by YouTube's upload filtering.

French politicians of the former Front National are furious: their entire YouTube channel was just taken down by automatic filters at YouTube for alleged copyright violations. Perhaps this will cause them to reconsider next week's vote, which they have announced they will support: the bill that will make exactly this arbitrary, political, and unilateral upload filtering mandatory all across Europe.

The French party Front National, now renamed Rassemblemant National (national rally point), which is one of biggest parties in France, have gotten their YouTube channel disappeared on grounds of alleged copyright violations. In an interview with French Europe1, their leader Marine Le Pen calls the takedown arbitrary, political, and unilateral.

Europe is about to vote on new copyright law next week. Next Wednesday or Thursday. So let's disregard here for a moment that this happened to a party normally described as far-right, and observe that if it can happen to one of France's biggest parties regardless of their policies, then it can happen to anyone for political reasons 204 or any other reason.

The broadcast named TVLibert39s is gone, described by YouTube as YouTube has blocked the broadcast of the newscast of Thursday, June 14 for copyright infringement.

Marine Le Pen was quoted as saying, This measure is completely false; we can easily assert a right of quotation [to illustrate why the material was well within the law to broadcast].

She's right. Automated upload filters do not take into account when you have a legal right to broadcast copyrighted material for one of the myriad of valid reasons. They will just assume that this such reasons never exist; if nothing else, to make sure that the hosting platform steers clear of any liability. Political messages will be disappeared on mere allegations by a political opponent, just as might have happened here.

And yet, the Rassemblemant National is going to vote in favor of exactly this mandatory upload filtering. The horror they just described on national TV as arbitrary, political, and unilateral.

It's hard to illustrate clearer that Europe's politicians have absolutely no idea about the monster they're voting on next week.

The decisions to come will be unilateral, political, and arbitrary. Freedom of speech will be unilateral, political, and arbitrary. Just as Marine Le Pen says. Just as YouTube's Content ID filtering is today, as has just been illustrated.

The article mandating this unilateral, political, and arbitrary censorship is called Article 13 of the upcoming European Copyright bill, and it must be removed entirely. There is no fixing of automated censorship machines.

Privacy remains your own responsibility. So do your freedoms of speech, information, and expression.

 

  All fired up...

German rappers escape prosecution for lyrics containing trivial references to the Holocaust


Link Here 18th June 2018
Jung Brutal Gutaussehend 3 Award winning rappers Farid Bang and Kollegah will not face prosecution over lyrics that referenced Auschwitz and the Holocaust .

A few people were offended  when Kollegah and Farid Bang compared their bodies with those of Auschwitz prisoners, and also by a suggestion that they were doing another Holocaust.

However, prosecutors have said their artistic freedom was guaranteed by the constitution, and while the rap lyrics were deemed offensive, they did not amount to Holocaust denial or incitement of violence.

Dusseldorf prosecutor's office spokesman Ralf Herrenbruck told German media that while the words may have been vulgar, misogynistic and homophobic, it would not be possible to bring charges, saying it was neither an endorsement nor a trivialisation of the Nazi regime and its genocide. A statement explained:

The comparison of a concentration camp inmate with their own body may be tasteless, but it does not represent denial of the Holocaust.

The two 'offending' lines from their latest album J BG3 (Young, brutal, good looking 3).

  • One track includes the words: My body is more defined than those of Auschwitz inmates.
  • Another has the lyric: I'm doing another Holocaust, coming with the Molotov.

 

  The UN shames the EU...

The UN's free speech rapporteur condemns the EU's censorship machines that will violate human rights


Link Here 17th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
UN logoDavid Kaye, the UN's Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression has now chimed in with a very thorough report, highlighting how Article 13 of the Directive -- the part about mandatory copyright filters -- would be a disaster for free speech and would violate the UN's Declaration on Human Rights, and in particular Article 19 which says:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.

As Kaye's report notes, the upload filters of Article 13 of the Copyright Directive would almost certainly violate this principle.

Article 13 of the proposed Directive appears likely to incentivize content-sharing providers to restrict at the point of upload user-generated content that is perfectly legitimate and lawful. Although the latest proposed versions of Article 13 do not explicitly refer to upload filters and other content recognition technologies, it couches the obligation to prevent the availability of copyright protected works in vague terms, such as demonstrating best efforts and taking effective and proportionate measures. Article 13(5) indicates that the assessment of effectiveness and proportionality will take into account factors such as the volume and type of works and the cost and availability of measures, but these still leave considerable leeway for interpretation.

The significant legal uncertainty such language creates does not only raise concern that it is inconsistent with the Article 19(3) requirement that restrictions on freedom of expression should be provided by law. Such uncertainty would also raise pressure on content sharing providers to err on the side of caution and implement intrusive content recognition technologies that monitor and filter user-generated content at the point of upload. I am concerned that the restriction of user-generated content before its publication subjects users to restrictions on freedom of expression without prior judicial review of the legality, necessity and proportionality of such restrictions. Exacerbating these concerns is the reality that content filtering technologies are not equipped to perform context-sensitive interpretations of the valid scope of limitations and exceptions to copyright, such as fair comment or reporting, teaching, criticism, satire and parody.

Kaye further notes that copyright is not the kind of thing that an algorithm can readily determine, and the fact-specific and context-specific nature of copyright requires much more than just throwing algorithms at the problem -- especially when a website may face legal liability for getting it wrong.

The designation of such mechanisms as the main avenue to address users' complaints effectively delegates content blocking decisions under copyright law to extrajudicial mechanisms, potentially in violation of minimum due process guarantees under international human rights law. The blocking of content -- particularly in the context of fair use and other fact-sensitive exceptions to copyright -- may raise complex legal questions that require adjudication by an independent and impartial judicial authority. Even in exceptional circumstances where expedited action is required, notice-and-notice regimes and expedited judicial process are available as less invasive means for protecting the aims of copyright law.

In the event that content blocking decisions are deemed invalid and reversed, the complaint and redress mechanism established by private entities effectively assumes the role of providing access to remedies for violations of human rights law. I am concerned that such delegation would violate the State's obligation to provide access to an effective remedy for violations of rights specified under the Covenant. Given that most of the content sharing providers covered under Article 13 are profit-motivated and act primarily in the interests of their shareholders, they lack the qualities of independence and impartiality required to adjudicate and administer remedies for human rights violations. Since they also have no incentive to designate the blocking as being on the basis of the proposed Directive or other relevant law, they may opt for the legally safer route of claiming that the upload was a terms of service violation -- this outcome may deprive users of even the remedy envisioned under Article 13(7). Finally, I wish to emphasize that unblocking, the most common remedy available for invalid content restrictions, may often fail to address financial and other harms associated with the blocking of timesensitive content.

He goes on to point that while large platforms may be able to deal with all of this, smaller ones are going to be in serious trouble:

I am concerned that the proposed Directive will impose undue restrictions on nonprofits and small private intermediaries. The definition of an online content sharing provider under Article 2(5) is based on ambiguous and highly subjective criteria such as the volume of copyright protected works it handles, and it does not provide a clear exemption for nonprofits. Since nonprofits and small content sharing providers may not have the financial resources to establish licensing agreements with media companies and other right holders, they may be subject to onerous and legally ambiguous obligations to monitor and restrict the availability of copyright protected works on their platforms. Although Article 13(5)'s criteria for effective and proportionate measures take into account the size of the provider concerned and the types of services it offers, it is unclear how these factors will be assessed, further compounding the legal uncertainty that nonprofits and small providers face. It would also prevent a diversity of nonprofit and small content-sharing providers from potentially reaching a larger size, and result in strengthening the monopoly of the currently established providers, which could be an impediment to the right to science and culture as framed in Article 15 of the ICESCR.

 

  With all due respect...

Dozens rally against censoring of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers and particularly his jokes about Trump which got him sacked


Link Here 17th June 2018
rob rogers sackedA cartoonist who lost his job at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes his searing portrayals of Donald Trump were the most likely cause of his firing.

Rob Rogers was terminated on Thursday by the paper for which he had worked for 25 years, after six cartoons in a row were spiked and his employer tried to change his terms of working, he said.

His last cartoon depicted a bloated man representing the USA, impaled on a steel girder with trade war written on it, waving the Stars and Stripes and saying: Take that, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

Rogers's departure prompted uproar from fans including the mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto. In a statement, he said: The move today by the leadership of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to fire Rob Rogers after he drew a series of cartoons critical of President Trump is disappointing, and sends the wrong message about press freedoms in a time when they are under siege.

 

  Old Traditional Censorship...

UK's drinks censor publishes its annual report covering 2017


Link Here 17th June 2018  full story: UK Drinks Censor...Portman Group play PC censor for drinks
portman group annual report 2018 Nostalgic references to the sweets, clothes and cartoons of yesteryear saw a number of drinks fall foul of the alcohol marketing rules last year, according to the Portman Group's annual report.

The Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, Jenny Watson CBE, has urged marketers to be careful if they use retro designs which appeal to an adult's inner child because they may inadvertently also appeal to children today.

Three of the five cases that came before the Independent Complaints Panel in 2017 were about the use of nostalgia-based designs with complainants concerned that references to retro sweets, clothes and cartoons could have particular appeal to children. In two of the cases, the complaints were upheld.

The majority of complaints received were under Code rules about particular appeal to under-18s and whether the alcoholic nature of the drink was communicated with clarity.

The Portman Group is currently updating its Code of Practice with the consultation running until the 6th July.

 

 Offsite Article: How China censors the net: by making sure there's too much information...


Link Here 17th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China's Great Firewall A remarkable new book by Margaret Roberts reveals a detailed picture of networked authoritarianism in action. Roberts's book is a magisterial summary of what we have learned so far.

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Weapons drill...

Court bans London gang from producing drill music video featuring violence


Link Here 16th June 2018  full story: Drill Music...Drill music videos banned by UK police
1011 intent to survive video Five gang members caught with machetes and baseball bats have been banned from making drill music glorifying violence.

Members of the 1011 gang were jailed or detained for conspiracy to commit violent disorder, in Notting Hill.

The Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs), thought to be the first of their kind, bans the group from mentioning death or injury in songs or on social media. Three leaders will also be required to inform police of new music videos and upcoming performances.

Recorder Ann Mulligan at Kingston Crown Court issued the three-year CBOs, following an application by the Metropolitan Police's Trident gang unit.

Mic, a rapper and producer form north London, said the order sets an ugly precedent. He said:

There is a censorship problem in the country. There are a lot of young musicians in this country whose only outlet for expressing themselves is music. It might be violent but what do you expect in the Britain we're in right now?

 

 Offsite Article: Germany's Deletion Centre...


Link Here 16th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Facebook logo A report about 1200 internet censors working in Germany to delete Nazi symbols and insults of migrants

See article from independent.co.uk

 

  Downloaders downed...

More YouTube video and audio download sites closed down following legal pressure from the music industry


Link Here 15th June 2018
pickvideo logoSeveral video downloading and MP3 conversion tools have thrown in the towel this week, disabling all functionality following legal pressure. Pickvideo.net states that it received a cease and desist order, while Video-download.co and EasyLoad.co reference the lawsuit against YouTube-MP3 as the reason for their decision.

The music industry sees stream ripping as one of the largest piracy threats. The RIAA, IFPI, and BPI showed that they're serious about the issue when they filed legal action against YouTube-MP3, the largest stream ripping site at the time.

This case eventually resulted in a settlement where the site, once good for over a million daily visitors, agreed to shut down voluntarily last year.

YouTube-MP3's demise was a clear victory for the music groups, which swiftly identified their next targets, putting them under pressure, both in public and behind the scenes.

This week this appears to have taken its toll on several stream ripping sites, which allowed users to download videos from YouTube and other platforms, with the option to convert files to MP3s. The targets include Pickvideo.net , Video-download.co and Easyload.co , which all inform their users that they've thrown in the towel.

With several million visits per month, Pickvideo is the largest of the three. According to the site, they took the drastic measures following a cease -and-desist letter.

 

  Who pays the blocker?...

UK Supreme Court rules that the cost of website blocking should not be borne by ISPs, and indirectly, internet users


Link Here 14th June 2018
Old BaileyThe UK Supreme Court has today ruled that trade mark holders are not able to compel ISPs to bear the cost of implementing orders to block websites selling counterfeit goods.

Jim, Alex and Myles at the Supreme CourtOpen Rights Group acted as an intervener in this case. We argued that Internet service providers (ISPs) as innocent parties should not bear the costs of website blocking, and that this was a long-standing principle of English law.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group said:

This case is important because if ISPs paid the costs of blocking websites, the result would be an increasing number of blocks for relatively trivial reasons and the costs would be passed to customers.

While rights holders may want websites blocked, it needs to be economically rational to ask for this.

Solicitor in the case David Allen Green said:

I am delighted to have acted, through my firm Preiskel, successfully for the Open Rights Group in their intervention.

We intervened to say that those enforcing private rights on internet should bear the costs of doing so, not others. This morning, the UK Supreme Court held unanimously that the rights holders should bear the costs.

The main party to the case was BT who opposed being forced to pay for costs incurred in blocking websites. Now rights-holders must reimburse ISPs for the costs of blocking rights-infringing material.

Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption, one of five n the panel, ruled:

There is no legal basis for requiring a party to shoulder the burden of remedying an injustice if he has no legal responsibility for the infringement and is not a volunteer but is acting under the compulsion of an order of the court.

It follows that in principle the rights-holders should indemnify the ISPs against their compliance costs. Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 allows rights-holders to go to court and get a blocking order -- the question in the current case is who stumps up for the costs of complying with that order?

Of course this no asks the question about who should pay for mass porn website blocking that will be needed when the BBFC porn censorship regime stats its work.

 

  Brawl in Cell Block 99...

Already released 18 uncut for cinema and home video but now a 15 rated version has just been passed by the BBFC with cuts for category


Link Here 14th June 2018
Brawl In Cell Block 99 Blu-ray Brawl in Cell Block 99 is a 2017 USA action crime thriller by S Craig Zahler.
Starring Jennifer Carpenter, Vince Vaughn and Tom Guiry. BBFC link IMDb

A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.

The BBFC has just passed  a video with a 15 rating for strong violence, threat, language, injury detail, sex and drug references after 44s of BBFC category cuts with some cuts substituted for:

  • 2018 Universal video

The DVD and Blu-ray has already be released in uncut 18 rated DVD and Blu-ray form. It is not yet clear where this cut 15 rated version will be used.

The BBFC commented:
  • Distributor chose to reduce or remove moments of stronger. sadistic violence and injury detail in order to achieve a 15 classification. An uncut 18, in line with previous versions of the work, was available.

 

  Silence the people from talking about problems and the problems will magically go away...

Germany's cultural elites suggest that TV talk shows about refugees and islam should be banned


Link Here 14th June 2018
deutscher kulturrat logoThe German Culture Council  (Deutscher Kulturrat) is the umbrella organization of the German cultural associations such as groups representing art galleries and TV companies. It is a political and lobbying association and is funded by taxpayers.

Olaf Zimmermann, the head of the powerful cultural body has called for the banning of the nation's multitude of political talkshows for a year, claiming that they have helped fuel the rise of the far right.

Zimmermann said that public broadcasters needed to step back and rethink a format that has helped cement gloom-ridden public attitudes towards refugees and Islam, and propelled the Alternative f3cr Deutschland party into parliament at last September's election. He said:

I'd suggest for them, take a break for a year ... though the length of the intermission isn't the decisive factor. What is crucial is that they return with new talkshow concepts and try to come up with more suitable contents with regards to social cohesion in our society.

He particularly singled out public broadcasters ARD and ZDF as being obsessed with refugee-related issues, often framing them negatively.

Last week, ARD's main talkshow Hart Aber Fair - Hard But Fair - led with the question: To what extent is it possible to integrate young men who have fled from war and archaic societies? How unsafe is Germany as a result of them? The programme was triggered by the murder of a 14-year-old German girl whose body was discovered in Wiesbaden last week. An Iraqi man is set to face trial.

 

  Audience calls for sacking...

More appropriate for a Kuwaiti TV presenter than a pretty white dress


Link Here 14th June 2018
amal al awadhi banned dressA female TV game show host in Kuwait has been fired after viewers reportedly complained about her supposedly inappropriate outfit.

Amal Al-Awadhi was shocked when controllers of the government-owned channel ordered a live broadcast to stop immediately.

Viewers had allegedly complained that her white knee-length dress with sleeves was inappropriate, saying she should have been more modestly dressed for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The 29-year-old presenter reportedly took to Snapchat to complain about the decision:

I heard someone saying, Take Amal Al Awadhi off air now, or I'll shut down the channel.

She said she's still unsure as to why she was fired from her job.

 

  Kiss of box office death...

Irish distributors unsuccessfully appeal against an 18 rating for the cinema release of Kissing Candace


Link Here 13th June 2018
Poster Kissing Candice 2017 Aoife Mcardle Kissing Candice is a 2017 Ireland / UK drama by Aoife McArdle.
Starring Ann Skelly, Ryan Lincoln and Conall Keating. IMDb

17 year old Candice longs to escape her seaside town and finds solace in her imagination. When her disillusionment calcifies into an obsession with a troubled stranger, she becomes entangled with a dangerous local gang.

THE Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) has upheld an 18 rating for an Irish film by a debut director Aoife McArdle despite the film being given a 15 rating in the UK.

Kissing Candice is a youth oriented film about a young girl in a border town who first dreams of and then meets a young boy who's connected to a gang that is terrorising her town.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and has been shown at other youth-orientated festivals.

Wildcard Distribution is the Irish distributor for the film and its managing director Patrick O'Neill has said that the company was surprised when it was given an 18 cert:

We just thought the rating was a little harsh for the film, we just thought something along the lines of a 15A or a 16 would have been more in keeping with the content of the film.

IFCO's 18 rating has the consumer advice:  contains scenes of strong drugs abuse, strong violence and language and strong sex references.

The UK's BBFC was less severe in its rating of the film, giving it an uncut 15 rating for  very strong language, strong threat, drug misuse.

Kissing Candice is released in Irish cinemas on 22 June

 

  The Rise of the Machines...

Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, and Dozens of Other Computing Experts Oppose Article 13 of the EU's new internet censorship law


Link Here 13th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

European Parliament logoAs Europe's latest copyright proposal heads to a critical vote on June 20-21, more than 70 Internet and computing luminaries have spoken out against a dangerous provision, Article 13, that would require Internet platforms to automatically filter uploaded content. The group, which includes Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, the inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, co-founder of the Mozilla Project Mitchell Baker, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, cryptography expert Bruce Schneier, and net neutrality expert Tim Wu , wrote in a joint letter that was released today :

By requiring Internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet, from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.

The prospects for the elimination of Article 13 have continued to worsen. Until late last month, there was the hope that that Member States (represented by the Council of the European Union) would find a compromise. Instead, their final negotiating mandate doubled down on it.

The last hope for defeating the proposal now lies with the European Parliament. On June 20-21 the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee will vote on the proposal. If it votes against upload filtering, the fight can continue in the Parliament's subsequent negotiations with the Council and the European Commission. If not, then automatic filtering of all uploaded content may become a mandatory requirement for all user content platforms that serve European users. Although this will pose little impediment to the largest platforms such as YouTube, which already uses its Content ID system to filter content, the law will create an expensive barrier to entry for smaller platforms and startups, which may choose to establish or move their operations overseas in order to avoid the European law.

For those platforms that do establish upload filtering, users will find that their contributions--including video, audio, text, and even source code --will be monitored and potentially blocked if the automated system detects what it believes to be a copyright infringement. Inevitably, mistakes will happen . There is no way for an automated system to reliably determine when the use of a copyright work falls within a copyright limitation or exception under European law, such as quotation or parody.

Moreover, because these exceptions are not consistent across Europe, and because there is no broad fair use right as in the United States, many harmless uses of copyright works in memes, mashups, and remixes probably are technically infringing even if no reasonable copyright owner would object. If an automated system monitors and filters out these technical infringements, then the permissible scope of freedom of expression in Europe will be radically curtailed, even without the need for any substantive changes in copyright law.

The upload filtering proposal stems from a misunderstanding about the purpose of copyright . Copyright isn't designed to compensate creators for each and every use of their works. It is meant to incentivize creators as part of an effort to promote the public interest in innovation and expression. But that public interest isn't served unless there are limitations on copyright that allow new generations to build and comment on the previous contributions . Those limitations are both legal, like fair dealing, and practical, like the zone of tolerance for harmless uses. Automated upload filtering will undermine both.

The authors of today's letter write:

We support the consideration of measures that would improve the ability for creators to receive fair remuneration for the use of their works online. But we cannot support Article 13, which would mandate Internet platforms to embed an automated infrastructure for monitoring and censorship deep into their networks. For the sake of the Internet's future, we urge you to vote for the deletion of this proposal.

What began as a bad idea offered up to copyright lobbyists as a solution to an imaginary " value gap " has now become an outright crisis for future of the Internet as we know it. Indeed, if those who created and sustain the operation of the Internet recognize the scale of this threat, we should all be sitting up and taking notice.

If you live in Europe or have European friends or family, now could be your last opportunity to avert the upload filter. Please take action by clicking the button below, which will take you to a campaign website where you can phone, email, or Tweet at your representatives, urging them to stop this threat to the global Internet before it's too late.

Take Action at saveyourinternet.eu

 

  Digging a hole for themselves...

Insidious: The Last Key trailer found to be unsuitable to show before Minecraft, Frozen and Lego videos on YouTube


Link Here 13th June 2018

Insidious: The Last Key DVD Two pre-roll ads seen on YouTube in late December 2017 and early January 2018 for the 15-rated (PG-13 rated in the US) horror film, Insidious: The Last Key . Both ads featured a number of scenes in quick succession and tense sound effects:

  • a. The ad opened with a shot of a house in the dark and then showed a young woman walking through it. She was shown looking at some medical instruments on a table before being thrown backwards by a force. She was then depicted lying on the floor screaming whilst a humanoid creature with claw-like fingers probed at her throat. Further scenes included a creature hanging upside down, the same woman screaming on a hospital bed and a clawed hand emerging from a sleeve. Another female character said, People who need help with hauntings come to me, but this house is my family's house. I'm going to find it and I'm going to finish it. In the final scenes of the ad a male character said, Lisa there's someone right in front of you. Lisa replied, I don't see anything. A hand was shown reaching out to her in the dark and then a sudden shot of a grinning creature with fanged teeth was shown next to a woman.

The ad was seen before a video of songs from Frozen, a video about how to build a Lego fire station and a video of the children's cartoon PJ Masks.

  • b. The ad opened with a young woman lying on a floor immobile, bloodied and distressed while a humanoid creature crept towards her and then probed at her with claw-like fingers and pierced her skin. At the same time another female character said, People with matters that can't be explained, come to me. But this one is different. This was my family's house. A male character than stated, I'm going to count back from five, four, three, two and a number of brief scenes were shown, including a woman's eyeballs turning to white, a huddled female figure on the floor in the dark, a woman lying on a bed screaming and a screaming woman appearing and then disappearing behind someone. In the final scene of the ad a woman was shown slowly opening a suitcase and a creature suddenly leapt from it.

The ad was seen before two Minecraft videos.

The ASA received five complaints, three of which were from parents who said their children saw the ads and two from adults who said they had found the ads distressing. They objected that:

  1. the ads were irresponsibly targeted because they were seen before videos which were of appeal to children; and

  2. the ads were unduly distressing.

Columbia Pictures Corporation Ltd t/a Sony Pictures Releasing UK said they had targeted the ads on YouTube to an adult audience, by excluding audiences below 18 years and preventing the ads being shown before content with unknown audiences. They said their agency had also added a layer of safety by using further YouTube targeting, including content exclusions such as content that was suitable for families, over 1,000 negative keywords exclusions including keywords with appeal to children, over 40 negative topic exclusions including religion, politics, news and children's content, and they opted out of all display network content to ensure they had control over websites and apps with audiences aged under 18 years.

YouTube said that advertisers administered their own campaigns, and were responsible for determining the appropriate targeting, and could control what types of users saw their campaigns and against what types of content they did not want their campaigns to appear. They said advertisers could target specific demographics, excluding anyone who was not logged-in with a declared or inferred age of over-18.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

1. & 2. Upheld

The ads were for a 15-rated horror film and featured a series of clips from the film. The ASA recognised the complainants' concerns that both ads were seen before content on YouTube with particular appeal or interest to children, including videos of songs from Frozen, of the cartoon PJ Masks and videos relating to Minecraft and Lego. We considered that the ads were unsuitable for children because they were excessively frightening and shocking, and were likely to cause fear and distress, most notably the scenes with the woman on the floor screaming and in distress while the humanoid creature approached her and clawed at her throat, and in which the creature's face appeared suddenly.

We noted that three complainants also believed the ads were unduly distressing for adults and two stated that they had suffered particular distress from viewing the ads. We understood that ad (b) had been cleared for TV with a post 11 pm scheduling restriction by Clearcast, which indicated that it contained the strongest allowable content of a graphic or distressing nature for TV. Ad (b) featured in particular a close-up shot of the humanoid creature's claw piercing the woman's throat, and built suspense with sound effects and screaming, and a voice-over countdown, at the end of which a creature suddenly jumped out of a suitcase. We considered that ad (a), although slightly less graphic, contained a similar level of frightening content. Furthermore, both ads contained other content which was shocking in nature. Several scenes featured the sudden appearance of the creature's face or a woman with white eyeballs, together with tense sound effects.

We considered that the ads may have been appropriate to show before limited content on YouTube with similar themes and imagery that was intended for adults. However, when seen by the complainants the ads were juxtaposed against unrelated content such as Minecraft videos. They also were not skippable until five seconds into the ads and did not contain any warning regarding their content. We therefore considered that the ads, in that context, were likely to cause excessive fear or distress for some adults without justifiable reason, because they were unexpectedly shocking and frightening.

We understood that Sony Pictures Releasing UK had identified and restricted the YouTube content before which the ads should not be shown, in particular putting in place topical and demographic exclusions on content with appeal to children or with unknown audiences. However, the ads had appeared before various videos that were highly likely to be of appeal or interest to children, and we noted that one of the complainants viewed ad (b) when they were not signed in to YouTube. The ads were also likely to be unduly distressing to some adults in the context in which they appeared. For those reasons, we concluded that the ads had not been targeted appropriately and were likely to cause undue distress, and therefore were in breach of the Code.

We told Sony Pictures Releasing UK to ensure that future ads that were unsuitable for viewing by children were appropriately targeted, and that similar future ads were targeted appropriately to ensure they did not cause undue distress to their likely audience without justifiable reason.

 

  Banning anything that creates difficulties for the authorities...

Vietnam passes a new internet censorship law where almost all online posts will be illegal


Link Here 13th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Vietnam...New law requiring websites to delete content
Vietnam flagThe Committee to Protect Journalists condemned a new cybersecurity law passed today by Vietnam's National Assembly as a clear threat to press freedom and called on the Vietnamese government immediately to repeal it.

The legislation, which goes into effect January 1, 2019, gives broad powers to government authorities to surveil the internet, including the ability to force international technology companies with operations in the country to reveal their users' personal information and censor online information on demand, according to news reports said.

The law's vague and broad provisions ban any online posts deemed as opposing the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, or which [offend] the nation, the national flag, the national anthem, great people, leaders, notable people and national heroes, according to the reports. The same sources state that the law's Article 8 prohibits the use of the internet to distort history, deny revolutionary achievements or undermine national solidarity.

The law also prohibits disseminating online incorrect information which causes confusion among people, damages socio-economic activities [or] creates difficulties for authorities and those performing their duty, according to reports.

After January 1, 2019, companies will have 24 hours to remove content that the Information and Communications Ministry or the Public Security Ministry find to be in violation of the new law.

Shawn Crispin, CPJ's Southeast Asia representative said:

Vietnam's new cybersecurity law represents a grave danger to journalists and bloggers who work online and should be promptly repealed. We expect international technology companies to use their best efforts to uphold their stated commitment to a free and open internet and user privacy and to resist any attempts to undermine those commitments.

 

 Updated: The latest betting in the Swiss online gambling referendum...

State Monopoly is 4/6, Total Censorship is 5/4, and Online Freedom is a non-runner


Link Here 12th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Switzerland...Starting with blocking foreign gambling sites
bookies boardSwiss voters will decide on Sunday whether to back a new gambling law designed to restrict online gambling to a state monopoly or reject what opponents say amounts to internet censorship.

Recent polls indicate a clear majority plan support the new law, which has already been passed by both houses of parliament, and now is being put to a referendum.

The Swiss government says the Gambling Act updates legislation for the digital age. If approved by voters, the law would be among the strictest in Europe and would only allow casinos and gaming companies certified in Switzerland to operate, including on the internet. This would enable Swiss companies for the first time to offer online gambling, but would basically block foreign-based companies from the market.

Bern also wants all of the companies' proceeds to be taxed in Switzerland, with revenues helping fund anti-addiction measures, as well as social security and sports and culture programmes.

The new law represents a windfall for Switzerland's casinos, which had put huge amounts of money into campaigning.

Opponents have slammed Bern for employing methods worthy of an authoritarian state, with a measure that they claim is censorship of the internet.

Update: State Monopoly wins by a distance

12th June 2018. See  article from globaltimes.cn

Swiss voters have overwhelmingly approved blocking foreign-based betting sites in a referendum on a new gambling law designed to create a local monopoly.

72.9% of voters came out in favor of the new gambling law.

The law, which is set to take effect next year, will be among the strictest in Europe, allowing only casinos and gaming companies certified in Switzerland to operate in the country, including on the internet.

It will enable Swiss companies for the first time to offer online gambling, but will basically block foreign-based companies from the market.

 

  Plover lover...

Sketch ruffles a few feathers in Singapore


Link Here 12th June 2018
vincent leow sketchEsplanade in Singapore has censored a drawing by artist Vincent Leow after concerns about bestiality'

A moralist group named Singaporeans Defending Marriage and Family flagged the painting in a Facebook post, accusing the Esplanade of promoting bestiality and expressing concerns that the artwork could likely be seen by children during the school holidays.

Ms Yvonne Tham, Esplanade chief executive-designate, said that after discussing with Mr Leow:

We have agreed to not continue displaying the drawing, given that the public space at Esplanade's Community Wall does not allow opportunity for an advisory and is visited by a wide range of visitors, including families.

We wish to assure the public that in presenting the exhibition, we had no intent to promote or advocate for any stance. As is often the case with art, viewers are free to draw their own interpretations of a drawing that is not a realistic rendering.

In this case, in view of the strong feedback we have received from some members of the public, the Community Wall may not be the most appropriate space to present this drawing, as it is a public thoroughfare with no opportunity for an advisory. This is solely Esplanade's error of judgement.

 

 Offsite Article: Fake news...


Link Here 12th June 2018
New York State seal Hollywood is not impressed by a New York State bill banning deep fakes on the grounds they like to do a little deep fakery themselves

See article from skjbollywoodnews.com

 

  Wild Thoughts...

Turkey's TV censor fines radio stations for broadcasting a Rhianna song


Link Here 11th June 2018

DJ KHALED - RIHANNA - BRYSON TILLER / WΙLD ΤHΟUGHTS / Single CD Standard Turkey's state media censor, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), fined two music stations last week over what it deemed explicit content in the lyrics of the song Wild Thoughts by American musician DJ Khaled and singer Rihanna as well as Sex, Love & Water by Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren.

According to Hürriyet daily columnist Cengiz Semercioglu, Turkish music stations have been cutting or censoring foreign music videos, including sexy dance scenes, for a long time now. However, this is the first time that RTÜK has decided to issue fines over the English lyrics. To understand them, one has to know English very well, Semercioglu added. The most obviously censorable lines from Willd Thoughts are:

Ayy, I heard that pussy for the taking
I heard it got these other niggas goin' crazy
Yeah I treat you like a lady, lady
Fuck you 'til you're burned out, cremation
Make it cream, yeah, Wu-Tang
Throw that ass back, bouquet
Call me and I can get it juicy

Semercioglu also said since RTÜK has started to issue fines over lyrics, TV and radio stations might not be able to find any songs to play and might even have to drop several movies from their lineup in order to avoid fines.

Last week, police arrested a Turkish rapper known as Ezhel for lyrics in his songs that "promoted drug use." Prosecutors were asking for up to 10 years in prison for the artist, whose real name is Ömer Sercan Ipekcioglu since the Prime Ministry was receiving complaints about his videos on YouTube, the state agency wrote.

 

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 83...


Link Here 11th June 2018
Wonder Woman DVD Wonder Woman and Avengers Infinity War

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: The Daily Mail must be doing something right...


Link Here 11th June 2018
The Guardian Giving voice to the opinions of ordinary folk has certainly riled the intolerant, authoritarian left, as shown by this opinion piece by Roy Greenslade of the Guardian

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Offsite Article: What's really behind the EU law that would ban memes. And hw to stop it...


Link Here 11th June 2018  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
juia reda Big corporate lobbies are demanding these new copyright laws, hoping to make additional profits and gain more control over the web. By MEP Julia Reda

See article from juliareda.eu

 

  Corporate takeover of our internet...

The EU's Copyright Proposal is Extremely Bad News for Everyone, Even (Especially!) Wikipedia. By Cory Doctorow


Link Here 10th June 2018  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

wikipedia logoThe pending update to the EU Copyright Directive is coming up for a committee vote on June 20 or 21 and a parliamentary vote either in early July or late September. While the directive fixes some longstanding problems with EU rules, it creates much, much larger ones: problems so big that they threaten to wreck the Internet itself.

Under Article 13 of the proposal , sites that allow users to post text, sounds, code, still or moving images, or other copyrighted works for public consumption will have to filter all their users' submissions against a database of copyrighted works. Sites will have to pay to license the technology to match submissions to the database, and to identify near matches as well as exact ones. Sites will be required to have a process to allow rightsholders to update this list with more copyrighted works.

Even under the best of circumstances, this presents huge problems. Algorithms that do content-matching are frankly terrible at it. The Made-in-the-USA version of this is YouTube's Content ID system, which improperly flags legitimate works all the time, but still gets flack from entertainment companies for not doing more.

There are lots of legitimate reasons for Internet users to upload copyrighted works. You might upload a clip from a nightclub (or a protest, or a technical presentation) that includes some copyrighted music in the background. Or you might just be wearing a t-shirt with your favorite album cover in your Tinder profile. You might upload the cover of a book you're selling on an online auction site, or you might want to post a photo of your sitting room in the rental listing for your flat, including the posters on the wall and the picture on the TV.

Wikipedians have even more specialised reasons to upload material: pictures of celebrities, photos taken at newsworthy events, and so on.

But the bots that Article 13 mandates will not be perfect. In fact, by design, they will be wildly imperfect.

Article 13 punishes any site that fails to block copyright infringement, but it won't punish people who abuse the system. There are no penalties for falsely claiming copyright over someone else's work, which means that someone could upload all of Wikipedia to a filter system (for instance, one of the many sites that incorporate Wikpedia's content into their own databases) and then claim ownership over it on Twitter, Facebook and Wordpress, and everyone else would be prevented from quoting Wikipedia on any of those services until they sorted out the false claims. It will be a lot easier to make these false claims that it will be to figure out which of the hundreds of millions of copyrighted claims are real and which ones are pranks or hoaxes or censorship attempts.

Article 13 also leaves you out in the cold when your own work is censored thanks to a malfunctioning copyright bot. Your only option when you get censored is to raise an objection with the platform and hope they see it your way--but if they fail to give real consideration to your petition, you have to go to court to plead your case.

Article 13 gets Wikipedia coming and going: not only does it create opportunities for unscrupulous or incompetent people to block the sharing of Wikipedia's content beyond its bounds, it could also require Wikipedia to filter submissions to the encyclopedia and its surrounding projects, like Wikimedia Commons. The drafters of Article 13 have tried to carve Wikipedia out of the rule , but thanks to sloppy drafting, they have failed: the exemption is limited to "noncommercial activity". Every file on Wikipedia is licensed for commercial use.

Then there's the websites that Wikipedia relies on as references. The fragility and impermanence of links is already a serious problem for Wikipedia's crucial footnotes, but after Article 13 becomes law, any information hosted in the EU might disappear--and links to US mirrors might become infringing--at any moment thanks to an overzealous copyright bot. For these reasons and many more, the Wikimedia Foundation has taken a public position condemning Article 13.

Speaking of references: the problems with the new copyright proposal don't stop there. Under Article 11, each member state will get to create a new copyright in news. If it passes, in order to link to a news website, you will either have to do so in a way that satisfies the limitations and exceptions of all 28 laws, or you will have to get a license. This is fundamentally incompatible with any sort of wiki (obviously), much less Wikipedia.

It also means that the websites that Wikipedia relies on for its reference links may face licensing hurdles that would limit their ability to cite their own sources. In particular, news sites may seek to withhold linking licenses from critics who want to quote from them in order to analyze, correct and critique their articles, making it much harder for anyone else to figure out where the positions are in debates, especially years after the fact. This may not matter to people who only pay attention to news in the moment, but it's a blow to projects that seek to present and preserve long-term records of noteworthy controversies. And since every member state will get to make its own rules for quotation and linking, Wikipedia posts will have to satisfy a patchwork of contradictory rules, some of which are already so severe that they'd ban any items in a "Further Reading" list unless the article directly referenced or criticized them.

The controversial measures in the new directive have been tried before. For example, link taxes were tried in Spain and Germany and they failed , and publishers don't want them . Indeed, the only country to embrace this idea as workable is China , where mandatory copyright enforcement bots have become part of the national toolkit for controlling public discourse.

Articles 13 and 11 are poorly thought through, poorly drafted, unworkable--and dangerous. The collateral damage they will impose on every realm of public life can't be overstated. The Internet, after all, is inextricably bound up in the daily lives of hundreds of millions of Europeans and an entire constellation of sites and services will be adversely affected by Article 13. Europe can't afford to place education, employment, family life, creativity, entertainment, business, protest, politics, and a thousand other activities at the mercy of unaccountable algorithmic filters. If you're a European concerned about these proposals, here's a tool for contacting your MEP .

 

 Updated: Love, Simon...

Gay teen romance banned by India's film censors


Link Here 10th June 2018  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Love, Simon DVD Love, Simon is a 2018 USA gay drama by Greg Berlanti.
Starring Katherine Langford, Nick Robinson and Jennifer Garner. BBFC link IMDb
From the producers of The Fault in Our Stars comes the relatable and heartfelt coming-of-age film LOVE, SIMON. Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon, it's a bit complicated. The gay teenager hasn't come out yet, and doesn't know the identity of the anonymous classmate he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues will be a hilarious, scary, life-changing adventure.

The film was banned by the film censors of the Central Board of Film Certification on the day of its release. The CBFC has said little so far beyond noting that the film was banned for gay content.

The film contains no explicit content although there is a kiss between the two lads.

In the UK the cinema release was passed 12A uncut for moderate sex references, infrequent strong language.

In the US the film was rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual references, language and teen partying

Update: Film censor says that the ban is not down to him

10th June 2018. See  article from deccanchronicle.com

CBFC chairperson Prasoon Joshi has completely denied that the CBFC has banned on Love, Simon. He said that an adults-only CBFC 'A' certificate has been given to Love, Simon four months ago, on February 6, 2018 after 2 cuts described as minor.

Another source from the CBFC says, This is one more attempt to use the censor board to gain publicity for a film.

However it is has not been made clear an alternative reason for the film being pulled from cinema s at the last moment.

 

 Offsite Article: Winners and Losers...


Link Here 10th June 2018
pride and prejudice penguin Author Lionel Shriver attacks Penguin publisher's discrimination policy

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: The consequences of police stitching innocent people up for crimes they did not commit...


Link Here 10th June 2018
Spiked logo Why Brits are turning against the police. Even respectable society now hates the rozzers. By Patrick West

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Commented: Lush for censorship...

Cosmetics chain's criticism of deep cover policing is censored after intimidation from ex-police officers


Link Here 9th June 2018
spy copsCosmetics chain Lush has removed its controversial campaign posters from some shops after it claimed to have been facing intimidation from ex-police officers.

The company outraged the authorities, including the Home Secretary Sajid Javid, after launching the #SpyCops campaign, which saw posters placed in shop windows featuring police officers and the words paid to lie, along with faux police tape emblazoned with the words: Police have crossed a line.

The campaign has been described by Lush as an attempt to raise awareness of the ongoing undercover policing scandal where officers have infiltrated the lives, homes and beds of activists.

In a statement the company said:

Whilst intimidation of our shop staff from ex-police officers and unhelpful tweets from those in high office are ongoing, not all of our shops feel able today to have the campaign window in their shops.

Update: Censored by police

8th June 2018.See  article from metro.co.uk

The cosmetics retailer Lush has now removed posters highlighting the misconduct of undercover police from the windows of all its stores after saying that shop staff had been intimidated by former officers.

The chain told of the posters' removal on Thursday, saying it needed to protect staff in its 104 stores. The move came less than a week after it started the campaign to publicise the alleged wrongdoing of undercover officers who had infiltrated political groups.

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: Cops, grow a backbone

9th June 2018. See  article from spiked-online.com by Fraser Myers

The police response to Lush's ads is utterly out of order.

 

 Offsite Article: The world of film censors...


Link Here 9th June 2018
film ratings array Detailed report on how film censors are moving with the times

See article from screendaily.com

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship in the Age of Large Cloud Providers...


Link Here 9th June 2018
telegram logo An interesting and detailed account of the battle between Russia's internet censors and the Telegram messaging service. By Bruce Schneier

See article from lawfareblog.com

 

  Changing liability law to force companies to censor swathes of the internet...

UK government publishes its intentions to significantly ramp up internet censorship


Link Here 8th June 2018
internet strategy Who is liable if a user posts copyrighted music to YouTube without authority? Is it the user or is it YouTube? The answer is of course that it is the user who would be held liable should copyright holders seek compensation. YouTube would be held responsible only if they were informed of the infringement and refused to take it down.

This is the practical compromise that lets the internet work.

So what would happen if the government changed the liability laws so that YouTube was held liable for unauthorised music as soon as it was posted. There maybe millions of views before it was spotted. If YouTube were immediately liable they may have to pay millions in court judgements against them.

There is lot of blather about YouTube having magic Artificial Intelligence that can detect copyrighted music and block it before it us uploaded. But this is nonsense, music is copyrighted by default, even a piece that has never been published and is not held in any computer database.

YouTube does not have a database that contains all the licensing and authorisation, and who exactly is allowed to post copyrighted material. Even big companies lie, so how could YouTube really know what could be posted and what could not.

If the law were to be changed, and YouTube were held responsible for the copyright infringement of their posters, then the only possible outcome would be for YouTube to use its AI to detect any music at all and block all videos which contain music. The only music allowed to be published would be from the music companies themselves, and even then after providing YouTube with paperwork to prove that they had the necessary authorisation.

So when the government speaks of changes to liability law they are speaking of a massive step up in internet censorship as the likely outcome.

In fact the censorship power of such liability tweaks has been proven in the US. The recently passed FOSTA law changed liability law so that internet companies are now held liable for user posts  facilitating sex trafficking. The law was sold as a 'tweak' just to take action against trafficking. But it resulted in the immediate and almost total internet censorship of all user postings facilitating adult consensual sex work, and a fair amount of personal small ads and dating services as well.

The rub was that sex traffickers do not in any way specify that their sex workers have been trafficked, their adverts are exactly the same as for adult consensual sex workers. With all the artificial intelligence in the world, there is no way that internet companies can distinguish between the two.

When they are told they are liable for sex trafficking adverts, then the only possible way to comply is to ban all adverts or services that feature anything to do with sex or personal hook ups. Which is of course exactly what happened.

So when UK politicians speak of  internet liability changes and sex trafficking then they are talking about big time, large scale internet censorship.

 And Theresa May said today via a government press release as reported in the Daily Mail:

Web giants such as Facebook and Twitter must automatically remove vile abuse aimed at women, Theresa May will demand today.

The Prime Minister will urge companies to utilise the same technology used to take down terrorist propaganda to remove rape threats and harassment.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Quebec, Mrs May will call on firms to do more to tackle content promoting and depicting violence against women and girls, including illegal violent pornography.

She will also demand the automatic removal of adverts that are linked to people-trafficking.

May will argue they must ensure women can use the web without fear of online rape threats, harassment, cyberstalking, blackmail or vile comments.

She will say: We know that technology plays a crucial part in advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls, but these benefits are being undermined by vile forms of online violence, abuse and harassment.

What is illegal offline is illegal online and I am calling on world leaders to take serious action to deal with this, just like we are doing in the UK with our commitment to legislate on online harms such as cyber-stalking and harassment.

In a world that is being ripped apart by identitarian intolerance of everyone else, its seems particularly unfair that men should be expected to happily put up with the fear of online threats, harassment, cyberstalking, blackmail or vile comments. Surely laws should be written so that all people are treated totally equally.

Theresa May did not say to much about liability law directly in her press release, but it is laid out pretty clearly in the government document just published, titled Government response to the internet strategy green paper [pdf]:

Taking responsibility

Platform liability and illegal harms

Online platforms need to take responsibility for the content they host. They need to proactively tackle harmful behaviours and content. Progress has been made in removing illegal content, particularly terrorist material, but more needs to be done to reduce the amount of damaging content online, legal and illegal.

We are developing options for increasing the liability online platforms have for illegal content on their services. This includes examining how we can make existing frameworks and definitions work better, as well as what the liability regime should look like in the long-run.

Terms and Conditions

Platforms use their terms and conditions to set out key information about who can use the service, what content is acceptable and what action can be taken if users don't comply with the terms. We know that users frequently break these rules. In such circumstances, the platforms' terms state that they can take action, for example they can remove the offending content or stop providing services to the user. However, we do not see companies proactively doing this on a routine basis. Too often companies simply do not enforce their own terms and conditions.

Government wants companies to set out clear expectations of what is acceptable on their platforms in their terms, and then enforce these rules using sanctions when necessary. By doing so, companies will be helping users understand what is and isn't acceptable.

Clear Standards

We believe that it is right for Government to set out clear standards for social media platforms, and to hold them to account if they fail to live up to these. DCMS and Home Office will jointly work on the White Paper which will set out our proposals for forthcoming legislation. We will focus on proposals which will bring into force real protections for users that will cover both harmful and illegal content and behaviours. In parallel, we are currently
assessing legislative options to modify the online liability regime in the UK, including both the smaller changes consistent with the EU's eCommerce directive, and the larger changes that may be possible when we leave the EU.

Worrying or what?

 

 Updated: France proposes 'fake news' law that would immediately ban the Daily Mail...

The government seeks to ban false information in the run up to European elections


Link Here 8th June 2018
headline in google newsIs there an internet equivalent of a Freudian slip? Well if so, Google obliged with this listing on its Google News service.

Perhaps Google should have pointed out that such a ban false information will also usefully silence all politicians from all parties in the run up to elections.

Politicians in France have proposed introducing a new law to fight fake news in the run up to an election next year. The draft law, designed to stop what the government calls manipulation of information in the run-up to elections, will be debated in parliament Thursday with a view to it being put into action during next year's European parliamentary polls.

The idea for the bill came straight from President Emmanuel Macron , who was himself targeted during his 2017 campaign by online rumours that he was gay and had a secret bank account in the Bahamas.

Under the law, French authorities would be able to immediately halt the publication of information deemed to be false ahead of elections. Social networks would have to introduce measures allowing users to flag up false reports, pass their data on such articles to authorities, and make public their efforts against fake news. And the law would authorise the state to take foreign broadcasters off the air if they were attempting to destabilise France - a measure seemingly aimed at Russian state-backed outlet RT in particular.

The government claims measures will be built into the law to protect freedom of speech, with only reports that are manifestly false and that have gone viral - notably with the help of bots - taken down.

Update: French MPs criticise 'fake news' censorship law

8th June 2018. See  article from theguardian.com

assemblee nationaleThe French government was accused by right and leftwing opponents of trying to create a form of thought police and institute censorship, as parliament began debating Emmanuel Macron's proposed law to ban 'fake news' on the internet during election campaigns.

The draft law would allow political parties to complain about widely spread assertions deemed to be false or implausible and a French judge could immediately move to stop their publication.

President Macron has personally backed the censorship law after he complained his presidential campaign was targeted by online fake news rumours, including that he was gay and that he had a secret bank account in the Bahamas. He has claimed a law was needed against the spread of 'fake news' in order to protect democracy.

The government wants the law to come into force before next spring's European parliament elections . It is likely to pass because Macron has a parliamentary majority.

 

 Commented: Steam Gets Steamy...

Games distributor Steam decides to end the censorship of games. If its legal and honest it can appear on Steam


Link Here 8th June 2018
steam logoThe trouble with games shops imposing their own censorship rules is that the only brownie points to be won for censoring games are from the type of folks who don't buy games. Their own customers are highly unlikely to be impressed by unnecessary censorship.

Anyway Steam has explained its new non-censorship policy in a blog post:

Recently there's been a bunch of community discussion around what kind of games we're allowing onto the Steam Store. As is often the case, the discussion caused us to spend some time examining what we're doing, why we're doing it, and how we could be doing it better. Decision making in this space is particularly challenging, and one that we've really struggled with. Contrary to many assumptions, this isn't a space we've automated - humans at Valve are very involved, with groups of people looking at the contents of every controversial title submitted to us. Similarly, people have falsely assumed these decisions are heavily affected by our payment processors, or outside interest groups. Nope, it's just us grappling with a really hard problem.

Unfortunately, our struggling has resulted in a bunch of confusion among our customers, developer partners, and even our own employees. So we've spent some time thinking about where we want to be on this, and we'd like to talk about it now. But we also think it's critical to talk about how we've arrived at our position, so you can understand the trade-offs we're making.

The challenge is that this problem is not simply about whether or not the Steam Store should contain games with adult or violent content. Instead, it's about whether the Store contains games within an entire range of controversial topics - politics, sexuality, racism, gender, violence, identity, and so on. In addition, there are controversial topics that are particular to games - like what even constitutes a game, or what level of quality is appropriate before something can be released.

Common questions we ask ourselves when trying to make decisions didn't help in this space. What do players wish we would do? What would make them most happy? What's considered acceptable discussion / behavior / imagery varies significantly around the world, socially and legally. Even when we pick a single country or state, the legal definitions around these topics can be too broad or vague to allow us to avoid making subjective and interpretive decisions. The harsh reality of this space, that lies at the root of our dilemma, is that there is absolutely no way we can navigate it without making some of our players really mad.

...

So we ended up going back to one of the principles in the forefront of our minds when we started Steam, and more recently as we worked on Steam Direct to open up the Store to many more developers: Valve shouldn't be the ones deciding this. If you're a player, we shouldn't be choosing for you what content you can or can't buy. If you're a developer, we shouldn't be choosing what content you're allowed to create. Those choices should be yours to make. Our role should be to provide systems and tools to support your efforts to make these choices for yourself, and to help you do it in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

With that principle in mind, we've decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling. Taking this approach allows us to focus less on trying to police what should be on Steam, and more on building those tools to give people control over what kinds of content they see. We already have some tools, but they're too hidden and not nearly comprehensive enough. We are going to enable you to override our recommendation algorithms and hide games containing the topics you're not interested in. So if you don't want to see anime games on your Store, you'll be able to make that choice. If you want more options to control exactly what kinds of games your kids see when they browse the Store, you'll be able to do that. And it's not just players that need better tools either - developers who build controversial content shouldn't have to deal with harassment because their game exists, and we'll be building tools and options to support them too.

As we mentioned earlier, laws vary around the world, so we're going to need to handle this on a case-by-case basis. As a result, we will almost certainly continue to struggle with this one for a while. Our current thinking is that we're going to push developers to further disclose any potentially problematic content in their games during the submission process, and cease doing business with any of them that refuse to do so honestly. We'll still continue to perform technical evaluations of submissions, rejecting games that don't pass until their issues have been resolved.

...

In the short term, we won't be making significant changes to what's arriving on Steam until we've finished some of the tools we've described in this post. As we've hopefully managed to convey, navigating these issues is messy and complicated. Countries and societies change their laws and cultural norms over time. We'll be working on this for the foreseeable future, both in terms of what products we're allowing, what guidelines we communicate, and the tools we're providing to developers and players.

Offsite Comment: But there a few pro-censorship gamers that beg to differ

8th June 2018. Thanks to Craig. See article from eurogamer.net

Many gamers will be applauding the new policy on Steam. Straight away it seems to have heralded the release of an uncut version of Agony . Yet their are some that prefer their games censored...

eurogamer logoSteam's content policy is both arrogant and cowardly

Yes, game creators have a right to free speech, to make games on any topic they like, as transgressive and offensive as the law allows. ...BUT... they do not have a right to publish these games on Steam. For Valve to confuse these two things is a deluded fallacy, and for it to offer this delusion as an excuse for an abandonment of moral values and an abdication of social responsibility is rank cowardice.

 

 Offsite Article: The false alarm over fake news...


Link Here 8th June 2018  full story: Fake news in the UK...Government sets up fake news unit
Spiked logo The voter-blaming elites have really lost touch with truth and reality. By Mick Hume

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Video: What Koreans Think Of Porn Censorship?...


Link Here 8th June 2018
porn censored in korea video And how they work around it with VPNs and peer to peer downloads

See video from YouTube

 

  Batty censors...

ASA bans LingsCars joke about BMW drivers


Link Here 7th June 2018

lingscars A Facebook ad for the lease of a Fiat Spider by LINGsCars, a car leasing company, seen on 23 February 2018, featured text which stated These Fiat Spiders must be registered by the end of March on current reg [sic] plate, but are you that anal about number plates? Who needs a V8 Kia Stinker or a BMW bum boy car, when you have the best small convertible ever?

A complainant challenged whether the reference to a BMW bum boy car was offensive.

LINGsCARs.com stated that they aimed to target their ad at people above the age of 24 and to those who had an interest in cars. They did not believe the term BMW Bum Boy was offensive and thought it was a well-known term for someone who owned a modified BMW vehicle and drove aggressively. They suggested changing the wording to the term BMW Batty Boy.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA considered that bum boy was widely understood as a derogatory term directed at homosexual men and that the use of that term to describe a vehicle would therefore be regarded as homophobic by many people. Whilst we acknowledged Ling's Cars comments on their target audience, we considered that a person's age and their interest in cars had no relevance as to whether or not they would be offended by homophobic language. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some readers.

We acknowledged Ling's Cars suggested change of wording to BMW Batty Boy, but considered that was not significantly different to the original term and was equally offensive for the same reason.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told LINGsCARS.com Ltd to ensure their future advertising was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society, and that it did not cause serious or widespread offence.

 

 Offsite Article: Season of the Witch...


Link Here 7th June 2018
Season Of The Witch Blu-ray A in-depth look at several versions of George Romero's film, originally titled Jack's Wife

See article from syfy.com

 

 Offsite Article: How Walled Gardens Like Facebook Are Cannibalizing Media Publishers...


Link Here 7th June 2018
Facebook logo A call for social media like software to be developed for small publishers outside of the control of large internet corporates

See article from forbes.com

 

  The Silly Season...

Lingerie shops poster banned for the widespread offence of a single complainant and a board PC censors


Link Here 6th June 2018

silks tease the seasonAn outdoor poster ad for Silks of Glasgow, a lingerie store, seen in December 2017, featured an image of a woman in lingerie, leaning forward to emphasise her bust. The image poster featured the woman's body only and not her head or face. The image was accompanied by the text Tease the Season.

A complainant, who believed the ad objectified women, objected that it was offensive.

Silks did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

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

The purpose of the ad was to advertise a collection of lingerie and therefore we considered it was reasonable to feature a woman in limited amounts of clothing. The ad did not show the model's face, and focused only on her body which was posed leaning over in a way that emphasised her chest. The ASA considered that the model's pose and the image, combined with the text Tease the season, was sexually suggestive. We considered that, by focusing entirely on the model's body without showing her head, and in the context of a sexually suggestive pose and byline, the image invited viewers to view the woman's body as a sexual object.

For those reasons, we considered that the ad objectified women and we therefore considered that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Silks not to use ads that objectified women and that were therefore likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.

 

  Judgement day nears for the latest EU internet censorship law...

TorrentFreak explains the grave threat to internet users and European small businesses


Link Here 6th June 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

European Parliament logoThe EU's plans to modernize copyright law in Europe are moving ahead. With a crucial vote coming up later this month, protests from various opponents are on the rise as well. They warn that the proposed plans will result in Internet filters which threaten people's ability to freely share content online. According to Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, these filters will hurt regular Internet users, but also creators and businesses.

September 2016, the European Commission published its proposal for a modernized copyright law. Among other things, it proposed measures to require online services to do more to fight piracy.

Specifically, Article 13 of the proposed Copyright Directive will require online services to track down and delete pirated content, in collaboration with rightsholders.

The Commission stressed that the changes are needed to support copyright holders. However, many legal scholars , digital activists , politicians , and members of the public worry that they will violate the rights of regular Internet users.

Last month the EU Council finalized the latest version of the proposal. This means that the matter now goes to the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament (JURI), which must decide how to move ahead. This vote is expected to take place in two weeks.

Although the term filter is commonly used to describe Article 13, it is not directly mentioned in the text itself .

According to Pirate Party Member of Parliament (MEP) Julia Reda , the filter keyword is avoided in the proposal to prevent a possible violation of EU law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. However, the outcome is essentially the same.

In short, the relevant text states that online services are liable for any uploaded content unless they take effective and proportionate action to prevent copyright infringements, identified by copyright holders. That also includes preventing these files from being reuploaded.

The latter implies some form of hash filtering and continuous monitoring of all user uploads. Several companies, including Google Drive, Dropbox, and YouTube already have these types of filters, but many others don't.

A main point of critique is that the automated upload checks will lead to overblocking, as they are often ill-equipped to deal with issues such as fair use.

The proposal would require platforms to filter all uploads by their users for potential copyright infringements -- not just YouTube and Facebook, but also services like WordPress, TripAdvisor, or even Tinder. We know from experience that these algorithmic filters regularly make mistakes and lead to the mass deletion of legal uploads, Julia Reda tells TF.

Especially small independent creators frequently see their content taken down because others wrongfully claim copyright on their works. There are no safeguards in the proposal against such cases of copyfraud.

Besides affecting uploads of regular Internet users and smaller creators, many businesses will also be hit. They will have to make sure that they can detect and prevent infringing material from being shared on their systems.

This will give larger American Internet giants, who already have these filters in place, a competitive edge over smaller players and new startups, the Pirate Party MEP argues.

It will make those Internet giants even stronger, because they will be the only ones able to develop and sell the filtering technologies necessary to comply with the law. A true lose-lose situation for European Internet users, authors and businesses, Reda tells us.

Based on the considerable protests in recent days, the current proposal is still seen as a clear threat by many.

In fact, the save youri nternet campaign, backed by prominent organizations such as Creative Commons, EFF, and Open Media, is ramping up again. They urge the European public to reach out to their Members of Parliament before it's too late.

Should Article 13 of the Copyright Directive proposal be adopted, it will impose widespread censorship of all the content you share online. The European Parliament is the only one that can step in and Save your Internet, they write.

The full Article 13 text includes some language to limit its scope. The nature and size of online services must be taken into account, for example. This means that a small and legitimate niche service with a few dozen users might not be directly liable if it operates without these anti-piracy measures.

Similarly, non-profit organizations will not be required to comply with the proposed legislation, although there are calls from some member states to change this.

In addition to Article 13, there is also considerable pushback from the public against Article 11, which is regularly referred to as the link tax .

At the moment, several organizations are planning a protest day next week, hoping to mobilize the public to speak out. A week later, following the JURI vote, it will be judgment day.

If they pass the Committee the plans will progress towards the final vote on copyright reform next Spring. This also means that they'll become much harder to stop or change. That has been done before, such as with ACTA, but achieving that type of momentum will be a tough challenge.

 

  Circumventing freedom...

Russian parliament approves fines for using VPNs to circumvent state website blocking


Link Here 6th June 2018
Russian Duma logoLawmakers in Russia's State Duma have adopted a final draft of legislation that imposes fines on violations of Russia's ban on Internet anonymizers that grant access to online content blocked by the state internet censor.

According to the bill, individuals who break the law will face fines of 5,000 rubles ($80), officials will face fines up to 50,000 rubles ($800), and legal entities could be fined up to 700,000 rubles ($11,230).

Internet search engines will also be required to connect to the Federal State Information System, which will list the websites banned in Russia. Failure to connect to this system can result in fines up to 300,000 rubles ($4,800).

Russia's law on VPN services and Internet anonymizers entered force on November 1, 2017. The Federal Security Agency and other law enforcement agencies are authorized to designate websites and online services that violate Russia's Internet censorship.

 

  Fifty Threes Shades of Blue...

Americans grow ever more tolerant of pornography, especially those identifying as Democrats


Link Here 6th June 2018
us democratic party logoA new Gallop poll has been published surveying the opinions of Americans on the subject of pornography.

For the first time, a majority of Democrats do not have moral qualms about pornography. The poll found that 53%t of Democrats see pornography as morally acceptable, an 11 point spike from last year and the biggest jump since Gallup began taking the survey in 2011.

Across a number of issues related to sexuality and sex, Americans have been adopting a more permissive viewpoint.

The percentage of all Americans who view pornography as morally acceptable jumped 7% this year to 43%. Previously the supportive fraction has risen only one or two percentage points each year.

Republican acceptance of pornographic material has also increased but remains relatively low at 27%.

 

 Offsite Article: Smart-Home Spies...


Link Here 6th June 2018
Amazon Echo The only thing worse than getting a bad night's sleep is to subsequently get a report from my smart-bed telling me I got a low score and missed my sleep goal.

See article from gizmodo.com

 

 Offsite Article: Island mentatlity...


Link Here 6th June 2018
amazon large logo Not quite censorship, but Australians will be denied a whole load of choices as Amazon will block its international stores over refusal to implement new sales tax rules

See article from superdeluxeedition.com

 

  No order in court...

The Open Rights Group finds that nearly 40% of court order blocks are in error


Link Here 5th June 2018  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

open rights group 2016 logo Open Rights Group today released figures that show that High Court injunctions are being improperly administrated by ISPs and rights holders.

A new tool added to its blocked.org.uk project examines over 1,000 domains blocked under the UK's 30 injunctions against over 150 services,

ORG found 37% of those domains are blocked in error, or without any legal basis. The majority of the domains blocked are parked domains, or no longer used by infringing services. One Sci-Hub domain is blocked without an injunction, and a likely trademark infringing site, is also blocked without an injunction.

However, the list of blocked domains is believed to be around 2,500 domains, and is not made public, so ORG are unable to check for all possible mistakes.

Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group said:

It is not acceptable for a legal process to result in nearly 40% maladministration. These results show a great deal of carelessness.

We expect ISPs and rights holders to examine our results and remove the errors we have found as swiftly as possible.

We want ISPs to immediately release lists of previously blocked domains, so we can check blocks are being removed by everyone.

Rights holders must make public exactly what is being blocked, so we can be ascertain how else these extremely wide legal powers are being applied.

ORG's conclusions are:

  • The administration process of adding and subtracting domains to be blocked is very poor

  • Keeping the lists secret makes it impossible to check errors

  • Getting mistakes corrected is opaque. The ISP pages suggest you go to court.

Examples Some are potential subject to an injunction, which has not been sought, for instance: http://www.couchtuner.es One directs to a personal blog: http://kat.kleisauke.nl

Full results and statistical breakdowns https://www.blocked.org.uk/legal-blocks/errors

Export full results https://www.blocked.org.uk/legal-blocks

For a list of UK injunctions, see:

The UK has 30 copyright and trademark injunctions, blocking over 150 websites.

https://wiki.451unavailable.org.uk/wiki/Main_Page

 

  Sound judgement...

Spotify reverses censorship based on artist controversy


Link Here 5th June 2018
spotify logoSpotify recently shared a new policy around hate content and conduct. And while we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn't spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines.

It's important to note that our policy had two parts. The first was related to promotional decisions in the rare cases of the most extreme artist controversies. As some have pointed out, this language was vague and left too many elements open to interpretation. We created concern that an allegation might affect artists' chances of landing on a Spotify playlist and negatively impact their future. Some artists even worried that mistakes made in their youth would be used against them.

That's not what Spotify is about. We don't aim to play judge and jury. We aim to connect artists and fans 203 and Spotify playlists are a big part of how we do that. Our playlist editors are deeply rooted in their respective cultures, and their decisions focus on what music will positively resonate with their listeners. That can vary greatly from culture to culture, and playlist to playlist. Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists. Therefore, we are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.

The second part of our policy addressed hate content. Spotify does not permit content whose principal purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As we've done before, we will remove content that violates that standard. We're not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content 203 we're talking about hate speech.

We will continue to seek ways to impact the greater good and further the industry we all care so much about. We believe Spotify has an opportunity to help push the broader music community forward through conversation, collaboration and action. We're committed to working across the artist and advocacy communities to help achieve that.

 

 Updated: The dog's bollocks...

The children's film Show Dogs falls victim in the US to the dirty minds of Morality in Media. The BBFC doesn't concur and the film will be screened uncut in the UK


Link Here 5th June 2018  full story: Morality in Media...Misreable campaigners for censorship
show dogsShow Dogs is a 2018 USA comedy by Raja Gosnell.
Starring Stanley Tucci, Natasha Lyonne and Will Arnett. BBFC link IMDb

Max, a macho, solitary Rottweiler police dog is ordered to go undercover as a primped show dog in a prestigious Dog Show, along with his human partner, to avert a disaster from happening.

The studio behind new family comedy Show Dogs has agreed to a last-minute edit in response to morality groups and bloggers claiming that the film might suggest to children that sexual molestation is something that should be silently endured.

Global Road Entertainment have now confirmed they would be cutting two scenes that some have deemed not appropriate for children. The scenes in question are thought to involve Max, a police rottweiler who has his genitals groped by cop Will Arnett as part of his training to go undercover at dog shows. Initially, Max is upset by the intrusion, but is instructed to go to a zen place. Global Road said:

The company takes these matters very seriously and remains committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film's rating. We apologise to anybody who feels the original version of Show Dogs sent an inappropriate message. The revised version of the film will be available for viewing nationwide starting this weekend.

In the US, Morality in the Media, now going by the name National Center on Sexual Exploitation, flagged the film for the similarity of tactics used with Max and abusers grooming children, telling them to pretend they are somewhere else and that they will get a reward for withstanding the discomfort.

In the UK, the film was seen by the BBFC some weeks ago and was passed PG uncut. The UK and Irish distributors intend to stick with the BBFC/IFCO approved uncut version. A spokesman for Entertainment One said:

We are taking the BBFC/IFCO guidance on this matter in the UK and Ireland and will be releasing the original version that has been censored and reviewed.

The BBFC said in a statement that:

The scenes in question are entirely innocent and non-sexual and occur within the clear context of preparation for and judging in a dog show. We regard the comments made about the film as suggesting 'grooming' as a misinterpretation of the scenes in question.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, Chief Censor David Shanks made the unusual decision to call the film in for review following a number of complaints. Normally, films rated G or PG arrive in New Zealand without requiring a localised classification. Shanks said in a statement:

We understand the film's distributors are currently re-editing this film in response to public concern. We can confirm that the version distributed in New Zealand will be classified, regardless of any edits made prior to release, the office said in a statement.

Update: Resubmitted to the MPAA

30th May 2018. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com

In the latest rating bulletin, the MPAA have confirmed that the film has been resubmitted after cuts.

It has again been PG rated for suggestive and rude humor, language and some action.

Update: Collective Shout recommends Show Dogs and kindly details the US cuts

5th June 2018. See  article from melindatankardreist.com

collective shout logoOpen Letter to Australian Cinemas: Don't screen Show Dogs movie

We are writing to you in regards to the children's film Show Dogs, due for release 5 July. Upon its release in the US, it attracted substantial criticism from parents and child advocates over concerns of grooming children for sexual abuse.

The film tells the story of a police dog going undercover at a dog show. There are reportedly several scenes in which the dog, Max, has to have his genitals inspected. When he is uncomfortable and wants to stop he is told to go to a zen place. When he submits and allows his genitals to be touched, he is rewarded by advancing to the next level of the show.

In response to the global backlash, the production company withdrew the film, promising to re-cut it to remove the scenes in question. The film has been re-released, however the scenes remain, with only the encouragement to go to a zen place (essentially, to dissociate) being removed. The meaning remains intact, that unwanted sexual touching is to be endured and may be rewarded.

The film sends a disturbing and dangerous message to children about sexual touching. In Australia, one in five children are thought to be victims of sexual abuse. This film undermines efforts in prevention and education to address the scourge of child sexual abuse.

Collective Shout: for a world free from sexploitation is calling on Australian cinemas to take a stand against child sexual abuse and refuse to screen the film. We hope that cinemas will be prepared to take a role of leadership in the community, to stand up for the rights of children and refuse to profit from this film.

 

  Squeaky clean...

Ofcom bins a few more whinges about soaps Emmerdale and Coronation Street


Link Here 5th June 2018  full story: Emmerdale...Viewer whinges about ITV soap
emmerdale murderOfcom has rejected about 100 complaints about a recent murder scene in Emmerdale .

Ex-prisoner Gerry Roberts, played by Shaun Thomas, was killed by Lachlan White (Thomas Atkinson) in a scene broadcast last month.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said complaints were dismissed because they found no graphic details were shown on screen. She said:

We carefully assessed complaints that scenes involving violence were not suitable for broadcast before the watershed. The scenes were also part of a long-running storyline, which would have been within regular viewers' expectations.

Ofcom also received 11 complaints about a male suicide storyline in Coronation Street, where Aidan Connor, played by Shayne Ward, took his own life. The Ofcom spokeswoman said:

We considered a small number of complaints about this storyline involving a character ending his life. However, neither the suicide nor the body were shown. We also took into account that clear warnings were provided at the start of the programme, and that ITV worked closely with the Samaritans when creating the storyline.

 

 Offsite Article: The Google MAFIA (Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram and Apple)...


Link Here 5th June 2018
comment is free logo The power of corporate giants like Amazon and Facebook is unparalleled. A regulatory assault seems urgent, inevitable -- and impossible. By Rafael Behr

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Dark days...

China deploys facial recognition glasses that link to a central database to provide extensive information about the subject


Link Here 5th June 2018
chinese surveillance glassesChinese police are using dark sunglasses equipped with facial recognition technology to spot criminal suspects.

The glasses are linked to a central database which contains details of criminal records. Wearing the technology, police can almost instantly view an individual's personal details, including name, ethnicity, gender and address.

Police at the Zhengzhou East Railway Station arrested seven people who were suspected of being involved in kidnapping and hit-and-run cases during an operation in January. They have also held another 26 people who were using fake identification cards.

Pictures of the operation, which were published online by the web version of China's People's Daily newspaper, show a female police officer wearing dark black sunglasses which have a small camera attached on the right-hand lens. The camera is connected by an electronic lead to a hand-held device. The device has an app where police officers can process images they have taken of suspicious individuals. The facial information captured by the glasses will be sent back to a database which provides information on whether the suspect is on the run from police, and even their recent Internet history.

 

  Public Consultation on Classification Guidelines...

The BBFC launches its 5 year update of its rules


Link Here 4th June 2018

BBFC logo Classification Guidelines - Public Consultation 2018 - 4 June - 31 August 2018

The BBFC makes classification decisions in accordance with our published Classification Guidelines. It's important that these Guidelines reflect public opinion, which we know evolves over time. In order to ensure our Classification Guidelines are still relevant and in line with public opinion, we undertake large scale public consultation exercises every four to five years. The current Classification Guidelines were introduced in 2014 and we intend to publish new Classification Guidelines in early 2019.

As part of the public consultation process that will lead to those new Guidelines we're asking visitors to our website to take a short survey to let us know their views about classification. The survey should take no more than six to eight minutes to complete.

But be warned the survey is a bit crappy. I tried it out and was underwhelmed. It asks a few questions about whether you think age ratings are very, critically or overwhelmingly important and whether you think the BBFC is doing a prefect, brilliant or exceptional job.

Then it asks which films you have watched from a list of children's, superhero, blockbuster, and a few worthy films selected by the Guardian's high priestesses of PC. Then you are asked how much you agree with BBFC ratings: a lot, mostly or spot on. If you do happen to disagree there is no way of explaining what you disagree about.

The survey concludes with a load of divisive impertinent personal questions about your class and religion etc. Why ask about religion for a survey on film classification? It either gives the impression that the BBFC want to prioritise the views of certain sections of the population, or else they want to tick all the boxes to say how 'inclusive' the survey has been. Either way it comes across as a dodgy survey like what Cambridge Analytica would design.

And to cap it all it failed with an internet 404 error: Page not found just as you submit all your efforts.

Update:

I tried again to complete the survey on the following day and found a different list of films, this time with more popular appeal. The religion question had reduced to 'Do you practice a religion?' and the survey submitted without error at the end.

 

 Offsite Article: Article 13 could destroy the internet as we know it...


Link Here 4th June 2018
EU flag What is it, why is it controversial and what will it mean for memes? Critics of the proposed EU directive on copyright warn that it will censor internet users

See article from alphr.com

 

  Veere Di Wedding...

Popular Indian female focus movie banned in Pakistan


Link Here 3rd June 2018
veere di weddingVeere Di Wedding is a 2018 India comedy by Shashanka Ghosh.
Starring Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and Swara Bhaskar. IMDb

Four girls on their way to find true love. However friendship this strong does have its consequences.

A Bollywood chick flick titled Veere Di Wedding has been banned from airing in Pakistan, according to sources at the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC).

Images reports that CBFC Chairman Danyal Gilani said: Members of the board have unanimously decided to not allow the film for public exhibition in the cinemas as per Censorship of Film Code 1980.

According to the Economic Times , the film has been banned due to its vulgar language. An official of the Censor Board added that the film also contained objectionable sexual dialogue.

Veere Di Wedding has done good business in India has become the third highest opening Bollywood film of 2018. The movie has also debuted in top 10 in countries like UK, Australia and New Zealand.

For the record the film was passed 15 uncut by the BBFC for strong language, sex references, sex. In India the film was given an adults only uncut 'A' rating by the CBFC.

 

 Extract: Video killed the censorship tsar...

When DVDs arrived in Ireland 20 years ago, they meant the end of the transformative era of the video cassette. Damian Corless recalls the magic of the VCR and the dawn of the video nasty


Link Here 3rd June 2018

the graduate...In common with the internet, this lightning take-up of VHS bypassed barriers built to meet the threat outlined by the Council of Irish Bishops in 1927. They warned:

The Evil One is ever setting his snares for unwary feet. At this moment his traps are chiefly the dance hall, the bad book, the indecent paper, the motion picture, the immodest fashion in female dress - all of which tend to destroy the virtuous characteristics of our race.

The Free State quickly appointed its first film censor, James Montgomery, who worked tirelessly to turn back the tide of foreign filth. Montgomery proudly boasted:

I know nothing about films but I do know the Ten Commandments.

And so it remained into modern times, with the Nanny State taking a firm hand in protecting the Irish people from themselves. While Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft were being nominated for Oscars for The Graduate in 1968, Irish cinema audiences were watching a version in which the seduction scene between the two - the pivotal point on which the whole movie hinges - was ripped out to protect public morals.

...Read the full article from independent.ie

 

 Offsite Article: Signing Away Our Lives on Facebook...


Link Here 3rd June 2018
university of kings college logo The social media giant collects huge quantities of data to target advertising--and that has implications for our lives, our society, and our democracy. By University of King's College

See article from thewalrus.ca

 

  Changes submitted...

Australia tweaks film censorship law to avoid the need to resubmit films when format, colour, visual effects or audio changes


Link Here 3rd June 2018
australian film classification board logoThe Australian government has modified film classification laws as follows:

The following new exceptions have been added to the Instrument to cover modifications that consist of:

  • format changes;

  • colour grading, visual effects or audio level changes;

  • omitting footage or audio.

These types of modified films do not have to be submitted for classification and take the same classification and consumer advice as the original classified film, provided that the modification is not likely to cause the modified film to be given a different classification to the original film.

If a film's title is changed or a film is modified by adding footage or audio, the film will need to be submitted for classification.

 

  Left without a leg to stand on...

The BBFC puts the Guardian right about an article about cuts to real vs faked animal cruelty


Link Here 2nd June 2018
larsvontrier duckA letter to the Guardian responding to an article inspired by faked animal cruelty in Lars von Trier's upcoming The House That Jack Built:

Anne Billson asserts that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) still cuts non-faked animal abuse, although it is more lenient on arthouse than horror . The article goes on to cite Sátántangó (1994) and Oldboy (2003) as examples of our alleged leniency towards "arthouse" films, in contrast to our long history of intervention with The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978) and Cannibal Ferox (1981). I am afraid this statement is incorrect and no preferential treatment is given to "arthouse" films.

Sátántangó was only classified uncut after we received detailed assurances from the film-makers regarding how the scenes with the cat were prepared and filmed in such a way as to avoid cruelty to the animal involved. Those assurances were consistent with the onscreen evidence. Oldboy was classified uncut because the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937, which is mentioned in the article, only applies to "protected animals" as defined by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Currently invertebrates, such as octopuses, are not covered by the 2006 act and we therefore had no grounds on which to intervene.

By contrast, The Mountain of the Cannibal God and Cannibal Ferox both feature scenes of animal cruelty that are clearly real, that involve vertebrate animals and that certainly appear to have been deliberately orchestrated by the film-makers. Indeed, the makers of those films have confirmed that this is the case.

 

 Offsite Article: Whatever happened to...


Link Here 2nd June 2018  full story: Playboy in Indonesia...Non-nudity playboy offends the extremists
playboy indeonesia the editor of Indonesian Playboy

See article from sea-globe.com

 

 Offsite Article: The internet of snooping things...


Link Here 2nd June 2018
which logo Which? investigation reveals staggering level of smart home surveillance

See article from which.co.uk

 

 Extract: Who will speak for the European working class?...

The decline of trade unionism reflects a left that has given up on workers.


Link Here 1st June 2018

Spiked logoItalian workers, like their British cousins, do not have a political means through which they might express their interests. Parties that still call themselves left have lost interest in the working class and the poor. The Labour Party, like so many other social-democratic parties, has become wedded to identity politics. It devotes its energy to promoting multiculturalism, diversity, LGBTQ-related issues, feminism and anti-racism, but seems to find industrial issues boring.

See full article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: Three Massive Threats to Online Liberty in the UK...


Link Here 1st June 2018
sex and censorship 2016 logo Age verification, online safety and a British FOSTA

See article from sexandcensorship.org

 

 Updated: Addicted to self importance...

American Heart Association whinges that Hollywood has ignored a deadline to implement R ratings for films with smoking


Link Here 1st January 1970  full story: Smoking in the Movies...Ludicrous calls fo an adult rating for films with smoking
american heart association logoLast August, the American Heart Association and 16 other health and medical groups bought trade ads and sent a letter to the six major movie studios represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, urging them to apply an R rating to any motion picture with tobacco imagery submitted for classification after Friday. The only exceptions would be biographical films about people who smoked or when the film depicted the dangers of smoking.

But with the June deadline here, Chris Ortman, vice president of corporate communications for the MPAA, declined to comment.

Health campaigners always seem to think that their pet issue is the most important thing in the world and to hell with any other opinion. If R ratings are doled out indiscriminately, parents will simply lose faith with the ratings and ignore them. Film ratings need credibility so if parents see examples like 101 Dalmatians being R rated, they will soon concur that R ratings can safely be ignored.

Update: Burnt out thinking

5th June 2018. See  article from sj-r.com

Seven U.S. senators sent a letter on Monday to the MPAA to take action to restrict depictions of smoking, including e-cigarette use, in youth-rated movies.

The letter, citing a University of California, San Francisco study claiming that nearly six in 10 PG-13 movies depict tobacco use. The senators wrote:

Although the evidence connecting smoking imagery to youth smoking initiation is strong, MPAA has yet to take meaningful action to discourage tobacco imagery in films or effectively warn viewers and parents of tobacco's presence in a movie. Our nation's dramatic decline in youth tobacco use is a tremendous achievement, but on-screen depictions remain a threat to this progress and threaten to re-normalize tobacco use in our society. We cannot afford to lose any ground in this area.

 

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