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  A stitch in time...

European court overrules a Maltese ban on staging the play Stitching my Anthony Nelson


Link Here 16th May 2018  full story: Stage Censorship in Malta...Maltese censors ban stage play Stitching, then get disbanded
Stitching The European Court of Human Rights has overturned the Maltese courts' decision to ban the play Stitching, eight years after the controversial judgment had incensed the local artistic scene.

The ECHR awarded €10,000 as legal costs as well as €10,000 in moral damages jointly to Unifaun Theatre Productions Limited, as well as director Chris Gatt and actors Pia Zammit and Mike Basmadjian. The court's decision was unanimous, including Maltese judge Vincent de Gaetano.

Unifaun's production had been banned in 2010 by the Maltese court, a decision confirmed by the Constitutional Court of Appeal, after it was flagged by the now defunct Film and Stage Classification Board.

The Maltese court had ruled in 2010 that it was unacceptable in a democratic society founded on the rule of law for any person to be allowed to swear in public, even in a theatre as part of a script. He pointed out that the country's values could not be turned upside down in the name of freedom of expression.

The censorship of Stitching had a knock on effect to media censorship in Malta. The government had in 2012 changed the censorship laws , effectively stopping the possibility of theatrical productions being banned and lightening up on film censorship bringing it more in line with other European countries.

 

  FSK...

An update of the workings of Germany's film censor


Link Here 6th May 2018
fsk germany logoBefore a movie is released in German theaters, the Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Fernsehen  ( FSK) decides on an age rating so as to protect children from 'harmful influences'.

The FSK is based on voluntary self censorship to buffer the local film industry from controversy and state censorship. The organisation is based in the German Film House in Wiesbaden. Around 280 volunteers review thousands of films every year and decide which age groups to show - from age 6, age 12, age 16 or 18.

FSK's 280 volunteers have no connection to the film industry. They pursue different professions, but have experience in dealing with children and adolescents, and know their stages of development. FSK spokesman Stefan Linz told DW:

Five days a week, we carry out investigations in various committees.

The basis for the work of the FSK is the German Youth Protection Act, which provides for different age ratings for media. The color white means that there are no restrictions for a movie. For the age group of six to twelve years is yellow. Green requires parenting for ages of six or twelve. From the age of 16, the category is blue, while red indicates that a movie is not considered suitable for young people under the age of 18.

The law also defines the rules of assessment of media. For example, a film may not be shown to children of a certain age group if the examiners believe that it could affect their development as self-responsible and socially competent people. Linz commented:

Of course this is totally abstract to the assessment of content that could potentially be problematic. But not only can we say that about us, but about all forms of protection of minors around the world, especially the portrayal of violence, sexuality, the use of drugs, alcohol and nicotine, bad role models and antisocial behavior or threats to others.

The origin of the FSK dates back to the postwar period. At that time, the Allies strove to denazify all social and social aspects in Germany, and to build the then West Germany as a democratic state with freedom of expression. Representatives of the German film industry, who had come back from exile, together with American occupation authorities in 1948 built a voluntary self-control system for the film industry after the model of the American system of that time.

From these initiatives finally the FSK was born, which gave its first film evaluation on 18 July 1949. The film Intimitäten by Paul Martin (1944) was not suitable for young people under 16 - and may not be shown on some religious holidays.

In the former GDR, all films were controlled by socialist authorities, until after the reunification of the new states joined the FSK.

German age guidelines differ those of the USA. For example the German film Toni Erdmann , which was produced in 2016 and became a worldwide hit and received an Oscar nomination, was rated R by the MPAA in the USA. This stipulates that young people under the age of 17 are only allowed to watch the movie when accompanied by an adult. The rationale was: The film contains heavily sexualized content, graphic nudity, violent language and short scenes of drug abuse. In Germany, the FSK judged the same film as suitable for adolescents from the age of 12, this restriction being justified by a somewhat strange, emotionless sex scene without intercourse. The aspects cited by MPAA , that is, language, drugs and nudity, played no role for the FSK - despite a rather extensive naked party scene.

According to Stefan Linz, the differences between age ratings by the FSK and MPAA are explained by cultural attitudes. In particular, Germans and Americans have a completely different attitude to nudity. While there has long been a large naturist scene in Germany, public nudity in the US is still considered scandalous.

The FSK does not classify nudity in itself as problematic, says Linz, referring to documentation on nudist communities that have been released for all ages. However, FSK is less generous when nudity in a movie has a sexual meaning or occurs in a sexualized context.

Linz is also of the opinion that attitudes to linguistic usage also differ in the German and English-speaking world. However, this aspect also points to differences in the approach of FSK and MPAA. In the eyes of the American institution, the repeated use of sexual terms as a swear word justifies an age restriction.

By contrast, in the FSC, numerical ratios are irrelevant when assessing language. Instead, more emphasis is placed on the specific context. Who speaks like the swear word? When a couple of bad words fly back and forth between friends, for example in hip-hop circles, that has a very different meaning than if the same nasty word is used in a discriminatory or even directly offensive manner, says Linz.

In 2002, the movie Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets caused a change in the rules. From then on, children between the ages of six and twelve were allowed to watch films for children from the age of 12 if accompanied by a parent.

 

  Nazi censors...

German politician gets name calling censored as required under new internet censorship law, but she is now demanding that it should be censored worldwide, not just in Germany


Link Here 5th May 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
internet censors in training
  Internet censors in training

It hasn't taken long for Germany's new internet censorship to be used against the trivial name calling of politicians.

A recent German law was intended to put a stop to hate speech, but its difficult and commercially expensive to bother considering every case on its merits, so its just easier and cheaper for internet companies to censor everything asked for.

So of course easily offended politician are quick to ask for trivial name calling insults to be taken down. But now there's a twist, for an easily offended politician, it is not enough for Facebook to block an insult in Germany, it must be blocked worldwide.

Courthouse News Service reports that a German court has indulged a politician's hypocritical outrage to demand the disappearance of an insulting comment posted to Facebook.

Alice Weidel, co-leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, objected to a Facebook post calling her a dirty Nazi swine for her opposition to same-sex marriage. Facebook immediately complied, but Weidel's lawyers complained it hadn't been vanished hard enough, pointing out that German VPN users could still access the comment.

Facebook's only comment, via Reuters, was to note it had already blocked the content in Germany , which is all the law really requires.

Of course once you allow mere insults to be censorable, you then hit the issue of fairness. Insults against some PC favoured groups are totally off limits and are considered to be a PC crime of the century, whilst insults against others (eg white men) are positively encouraged.

 

  The rise of the machines...

147 European organisations oppose a disgraceful new EU copyright law that will give rise to machines to automatically censor people's internet posts


Link Here 27th April 2018  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

stop censorship in the guise of copyright logoDirective on copyright in the Digital Single Market destined to become a nightmare

OPEN LETTER IN LIGHT OF THE 27 APRIL 2018 COREPER I MEETING

Your Excellency Ambassador, cc. Deputy Ambassador,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you ahead of your COREPER discussion on the proposed Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market.

We are deeply concerned that the text proposed by the Bulgarian Presidency in no way reflects a balanced compromise, whether on substance or from the perspective of the many legitimate concerns that have been raised. Instead, it represents a major threat to the freedoms of European citizens and businesses and promises to severely harm Europe's openness, competitiveness, innovation, science, research and education.

A broad spectrum of European stakeholders and experts, including academics, educators, NGOs representing human rights and media freedom, software developers and startups have repeatedly warned about the damage that the proposals would cause. However, these have been largely dismissed in rushed discussions taking place without national experts being present. This rushed process is all the more surprising when the European Parliament has already announced it would require more time (until June) to reach a position and is clearly adopting a more cautious approach.

If no further thought is put in the discussion, the result will be a huge gap between stated intentions and the damage that the text will actually achieve if the actual language on the table remains:

  • Article 13 (user uploads) creates a liability regime for a vast area of online platforms that negates the E-commerce Directive, against the stated will of many Member States, and without any proper assessment of its impact. It creates a new notice and takedown regime that does not require a notice. It mandates the use of filtering technologies across the board.

  • Article 11 (press publisher's right) only contemplates creating publisher rights despite the many voices opposing it and highlighting it flaws, despite the opposition of many Member States and despite such Member States proposing several alternatives including a "presumption of transfer".

  • Article 3 (text and data mining) cannot be limited in terms of scope of beneficiaries or purposes if the EU wants to be at the forefront of innovations such as artificial intelligence. It can also not become a voluntary provision if we want to leverage the wealth of expertise of the EU's research community across borders.

  • Articles 4 to 9 must create an environment that enables educators, researchers, students and cultural heritage professionals to embrace the digital environment and be able to preserve, create and share knowledge and European culture. It must be clearly stated that the proposed exceptions in these Articles cannot be overridden by contractual terms or technological protection measures.

  • The interaction of these various articles has not even been the subject of a single discussion. The filters of Article 13 will cover the snippets of Article 11 whilst the limitations of Article 3 will be amplified by the rights created through Article 11, yet none of these aspects have even been assessed.

With so many legal uncertainties and collateral damages still present, this legislation is currently destined to become a nightmare when it will have to be transposed into national legislation and face the test of its legality in terms of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Bern Convention.

We hence strongly encourage you to adopt a decision-making process that is evidence-based, focussed on producing copyright rules that are fit for purpose and on avoiding unintended, damaging side effects.

Yours sincerely,

The over 145 signatories of this open letter -- European and global organisations, as well as national organisations from 28 EU Member States, represent human and digital rights, media freedom, publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers.

EUROPE  1. Access Info Europe. 2. Allied for Startups. 3. Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER). 4. Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties). 5. Copyright for Creativity (C4C). 6. Create Refresh Campaign. 7. DIGITALEUROPE. 8. EDiMA. 9. European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA). 10. European Digital Learning Network (DLEARN). 11. European Digital Rights (EDRi). 12. European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA). 13. European Network for Copyright in Support of Education and Science (ENCES). 14. European University Association (EUA). 15. Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU 16. Lifelong Learning Platform. 17. Public Libraries 2020 (PL2020). 18. Science Europe. 19. South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO). 20. SPARC Europe. 

AUSTRIA  21. Freischreiber Österreich. 22. Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA Austria). 

BELGIUM  23. Net Users' Rights Protection Association (NURPA)

BULGARIA  24. BESCO -- Bulgarian Startup Association. 25. BlueLink Foundation. 26. Bulgarian Association of Independent Artists and Animators (BAICAA). 27. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. 28. Bulgarian Library and Information Association (BLIA). 29. Creative Commons Bulgaria. 30. DIBLA. 31. Digital Republic. 32. Hamalogika. 33. Init Lab. 34. ISOC Bulgaria. 35. LawsBG. 36. Obshtestvo.bg. 37. Open Project Foundation. 38. PHOTO Forum. 39. Wikimedians of Bulgaria.  C ROATIA  40. Code for Croatia

CYPRUS  41. Startup Cyprus

CZECH R EPUBLIC  42. Alliance pro otevrene vzdelavani (Alliance for Open Education)
 43. Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic. 44. Czech Fintech Association. 45. Ecumenical Academy. 46. EDUin. 

DENMARK  47. Danish Association of Independent Internet Media (Prauda) E STONIA. 48. Wikimedia Eesti

FINLAND  49. Creative Commons Finland. 50. Open Knowledge Finland. 51. Wikimedia Suomi. 

FRANCE  52. Abilian. 53. Alliance Libre. 54. April. 55. Aquinetic. 56. Conseil National du Logiciel Libre (CNLL). 57. France Digitale. 58. l'ASIC. 59. Ploss Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (PLOSS-RA). 60. Renaissance Numérique. 61. Syntec Numérique. 62. Tech in France. 63. Wikimédia France. 

GERMANY  64. Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Medieneinrichtungen an Hochschulen e.V. (AMH). 65. Bundesverband Deutsche Startups. 66. Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e.V. (dbv). 67. eco -- Association of the Internet Industry. 68. Factory Berlin. 69. Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL). 70. Jade Hochschule Wilhelmshaven/Oldenburg/Elsfleth. 71. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). 72. Landesbibliothekszentrum Rheinland-Pfalz. 73. Silicon Allee. 74. Staatsbibliothek Bamberg. 75. Ubermetrics Technologies. 76. Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg). 77. University Library of Kaiserslautern (Technische Universität Kaiserslautern). 78. Verein Deutscher Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare e.V. (VDB). 79. ZB MED -- Information Centre for Life Sciences. 

GREECE  80. Greek Free Open Source Software Society (GFOSS)

HUNGARY  81. Hungarian Civil Liberties Union. 82. ICT Association of Hungary -- IVSZ. 83. K-Monitor

IRELAND  84. Technology Ireland

ITALY  85. Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights. 86. Istituto Italiano per la Privacy e la Valorizzazione dei Dati. 87. Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CILD). 88. National Online Printing Association (ANSO). 

LATVIA  89. Startin.LV (Latvian Startup Association). 90. Wikimedians of Latvia User Group. 

LITHUANIA  91. Aresi Labs. 

LUXEMBOURG.   92. Frënn vun der Ënn. 

MALTA
  93. Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning

NETHERLANDS  94. Dutch Association of Public Libraries (VOB) 95. Kennisland. 

POLAND  96. Centrum Cyfrowe. 97. Coalition for Open Education (KOED). 98. Creative Commons Polska. 99. Elektroniczna BIBlioteka (EBIB Association). 100. ePan@stwo Foundation. 101. Fundacja Szkola z Klasa@ (School with Class Foundation).  102. Modern Poland Foundation.  103. Os@rodek Edukacji Informatycznej i Zastosowan@ Komputerów w Warszawie (OEIiZK). 104. Panoptykon Foundation. 105. Startup Poland. 106. ZIPSEE. 

PORTUGAL  107. Associação D3 -- Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D3). 108. Associação Ensino Livre. 109. Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL). 110. Associação para a Promoção e Desenvolvimento da Sociedade da Informação (APDSI). 

ROMANIA  111. ActiveWatch. 112. APADOR-CH (Romanian Helsinki Committee). 113. Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) 114. Association of Producers and Dealers of IT&C equipment (APDETIC). 115. Center for Public Innovation. 116. Digital Citizens Romania. 117. Kosson.ro Initiative. 118. Mediawise Society. 119. National Association of Public Librarians and Libraries in Romania (ANBPR). 

SLOVAKIA  120. Creative Commons Slovakia. 121. Slovak Alliance for Innovation Economy (SAPIE). 

SLOVENIA  122. Digitas Institute. 123. Forum za digitalno dru@bo (Digital Society Forum). 

SPAIN  124. Asociación de Internautas. 125. Asociación Española de Startups (Spanish Startup Association)
 126. MaadiX. 127. Sugus. 128. Xnet. 

SWEDEN  129. Wikimedia Sverige

UK  130. Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA). 131. Open Rights Group (ORG). 132. techUK. 

GLOBAL  133. ARTICLE 19. 134. Association for Progressive Communications (APC). 135. Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). 136. COMMUNIA Association. 137. Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA). 138. Copy-Me. 139. Creative Commons. 140. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). 141. Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL). 142. Index on Censorship. 143. International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR). 144. Media and Learning Association (MEDEA). 145. Open Knowledge International (OKI). 146. OpenMedia. 147. Software Heritage

 

  Censor Overwatch...

Belgian censors identify 3 video games that must be censored for loot boxes, or else


Link Here 26th April 2018
FIFA 18 Belgium has declared the loot box systems in FIFA 18, Overwatch , and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive illegal under Belgium gambling laws.

Belgium's Minister of Justice, Koen Greens stated that the offending content must be removed from the games. Failure to do so could result in fines of up to 800,000 euros and imprisonment.

To determine whether the loot box systems were illegal the Belgium Gaming Commision looked at two factors -- whether a purchase could lead to a profit or loss and whether or not the results of the "bet" were based on skill or merely luck. It was decided that FIFA 18, Overwatch and CS:GO all had elements of chance in their MT systems and as such fall under the gambling laws of the country.

Belgium has not set a deadline for the removal of the loot boxes but is rather looking to open a discussion with game makers regarding the issue.

 

 Offsite Article: Germany and the perils of online censorship...


Link Here 26th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
Spiked logo When social-media giants become the corporate wing of state censorship. By Steve Bremner

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  Pots call fake kettles black...

The EU Security Commissioner threatens censorship laws if social media companies don't censor themselves voluntarily


Link Here 24th April 2018  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
european commission logoBrussels may threaten social media companies with censorship laws unless they move urgently to tackle supposed 'fake news' and Cambridge Analytica-style data abuse.

The EU security commissioner, Julian King, said short-term, concrete plans needed to be in place before the elections, when voters in 27 EU member states will elect MEPs.

Under King's ideas, social media companies would sign a voluntary code of conduct to prevent the misuse of platforms to pump out misleading information.

The code would include a pledge for greater transparency, so users would be made aware why their Facebook or Twitter feed was presenting them with certain adverts or stories. Another proposal is for political adverts to be accompanied with information about who paid for them.

 

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