Kevin Martin, the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission has revised his proposal to roll out a free (and adult content-free) wireless broadband service. In an effort to corral more votes, Martin has already circulated a new version of
the plan, one that removes the controversial filtering requirement.
Why the change? I'm saying if this is a problem for people, let's take it away, Martin said: A lot of public interest advocates have said they would support this, but we're concerned about the filter. Well, now there's an item in front
of the Commissioners and it no longer has the filter. And I've already voted for it without the filter now. So it's already got one vote.
The FCC's outgoing boss has been championing a proposal to auction off a hefty chunk of the Advanced Wireless Services 3 band (2155-2180MHz) for a free service that (until now) was to come complete with adult content filtering.
The license winner would be required to offer the service at a minimum 768Kpbs; it's obviously not the fastest rate in town, but it meets the FCC's new and improved definition of "basic" broadband. The provider will have to honor a
Carterfone-style rule that allows any application or device to connect to the network, and the license will last for ten years, with ten-year renewal periods. The licensee must roll out coverage to half of the US population within four years and
reach 95% of the country by the end of the first decade.
Under the guise of Fairness , our Congress Critters are considering forcing radio and TV stations to balance their hourly lineups across the ideological spectrum. One hour of conservative programming followed by one hour of liberal
programming would be an example of fairness and balance . The on/off switch would no longer be necessary with the federal government protecting us from speech and thoughts that they think would contaminate our minds.
The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says in part, Congress shall make no law. abridging the freedom of speech, Yet our Congress Critters are considering abridging freedom of speech. Last year Speaker Pelosi (D-Ca) blocked an
attempt that would have prevented the government from resurrecting the practice of controlling ideological speech on the broadcast media. Senator Schumer (D-NY) suggested that regulating political content was the same as regulating pornography.
Senators Dick Durbin (D-Il), John Kerry (D-Ma), Barbara Boxer (D-Ca), Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca), and Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are a few in the Democratic leadership that believes that the federal government should control ideological
But Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Ca) goes even further. She said she planned to introduce legislation to control speech on broadcast stations (AM and FM) in addition to cable TV and satellite radio. Eshoo said, It should, and will, affect
Once the federal government heads down the path of censoring speech where will it end? FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said that the speech limits may even extent to the Internet. McDowell also warned when you have the federal government
dictating content you have a First Amendment problem. Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair.
Be very afraid when the federal government wants to mandate fairness. Censorship is the modus operandi of a totalitarian government.
The virtual nurse-in to protest Facebook's ban on breast-feeding photos has taken off, with hundreds hourly joining a group that crept toward 70,000 members Saturday evening.
A real-life, street protest drew fewer placards than photojournalists Saturday, with only a handful turning out to sing, chant and breast-feed in front of Facebook's California headquarters. A handful of peaceful pickets discreetly tucked away in
a University Avenue plaza with placards reading Hey Facebook, Breast-feeding is not Obscene . A member of the Raging Grannies, the Midpeninsula activists who stage various theatrical protests, showed up to proclaim in song that our
breasts aren't porn.
It's hard to say whether either demonstration will move Facebook executives to lift the site's prohibition of breasts displayed on members' profiles and albums. Facebook says the areola, the dark skin around the nipple, violates a policy on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit
On their Facebook group site, which also serves as an open petition to the company, nursing advocates by Saturday evening had posted more than 10,000 wall comments, two dozen videos and nearly 3,000 photos of breast-feeding, while starting more
than 1,500 discussion threads. Facebook, it seemed, was not removing them.
All this might not have happened had the social networking site simply answered Heather Farley's e-mail asking why the networking giant in October removed photos of her breast-feeding her baby. When she posted another photo and then received a
letter threatening to delete her account, she went public.
Heather Farley, a self described avid user of Facebook with 200 online friends, said she doesn't know how far she'll pursue her protest. She doesn't want to lose her Facebook account, which is the primary way she keeps in touch with high
school and college friends and is the place she and her husband post their family photos.
Still, she's blogged about her disputes with Facebook. And although the company still hasn't answered any of her electronic messages, she's now hearing from people worldwide.
Apple have rejected an iPhone-based version of a book because it contained strong language.
Citing a clause in the iPhone development kit that states applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or
materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement (sic) may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users, Apple rejected Knife Music by David Carnoy, going so far as to provide a sample of one particularly graphic section.
Alex Brie, developer of the application, believes Apple is checking for such content using word-matching software because it would be difficult to believe that Apple has staff with the time to manually read each book submitted. Apple's staff
shouldn't be allowed to refuse to publish works of literature based only on word matching.
Apple offers both movies and music on the iTunes Store containing similar language to that found in Carnoy's book, although in those cases it is able to either mark the content explicit or rely on the MPAA's movie ratings; there is no equivalent
ratings system for books.
A federal appeals panel has affirmed the first child-porn anime conviction under the PROTECT Act.
A 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals panel voted to dismiss the appeal of Dwight Whorley of Richmond, who is serving 20 years in prison for using a public computer for jobseekers at the Virginia Employment Commission to receive 20 anime images.
The illustrated images depicted young girls being forced to have sex with men. (Whorley also received digital photographs of actual children engaging in sexual conduct and sent and received emails graphically describing parents sexually molesting
Whorley's federal public defender Rob Wagner argued that anime is protected under the 1st Amendment because they do not depict real children and claimed the statute is unconstitutional because text-only emails cannot be obscene.
Judges Paul V. Niemeyer and James P. Jones rejected those arguments, but Judge Gregory agreed with Whorley on those issues. The court ruled. We also reject his arguments that textual matter cannot be obscene under § 1462 and that cartoons
depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct must depict real-life minors to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1466A(a)(1).
Niemeyer noted in the majority opinion that the statute under which Whorley was convicted, the PROTECT Act of 2003, clearly states that : it is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exists.
The US Justice Department has released revised Section 2257 regulations and they are expected to go in effect in three months.
The 167-page draft includes a change that enables for third-party recordkeeping, attorney J.D. Obenberger told XBIZ.
It means individuals and small companies will be able to contract with a third party with the necessary records, giving them added privacy and security and reduction in compliance costs, he said.
The revised regulations are more stringent with the application of Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006, which requires notices to be placed on each page of every adult website.
Webmasters will now need to post a link to the disclosure statement on all pages where 2257-triggering content appears, attorney Larry Walters from FirstAmendment.com told XBIZ. This is a change from the prior method of posting a link
only on the home page.
Walters added that there are several other interesting nuggets in the regulations, and the comments, such as the determination that videos embedded on Web pages from sites like YouTube.com need to be accompanied by full 2257 compliance
efforts, even if the originating site may be exempt from compliance.
The Detroit Prosecutor came to fame in the 2007 holiday shopping season. At the time she was blaming games for the crime problem in Detroit and pushing an outdated list of ten games to avoid.
Ms. Worthy is back, reports the Detroit Free Press, with a brand-new list but the same old line: The last year has convinced me more than ever that children are at risk of becoming desensitized to violence and can exhibit more aggressive
behavior if they repeatedly play certain violent video games.
This year's edition is cadged from the National Institute on Media and the Family's 2008 Annual Video Game Report Card:
The Hard2Find Videos owner Loren Jay Adams was sentenced to 33 months in prison for violating federal obscenity laws. Adams was convicted Sept. 30 on six counts of transporting obscene material through the mail.
US District Chief Judge John Bailey also ordered Adams to serve three years supervised release and to forfeit his domain name and all copies of the indicted movies.
Adams, who operated Hard2Find Videos used the US mail to ship the videos from Martinsville, Indiana, to Martinsburg, West Virginia,
Unfortunately, this case is another in a line of victories for the government in recent obscenity cases, First Amendment lawyer Lawrence G. Walters told XBIZ after Adams' conviction. The nature of the content was not widely publicized,
but apparently included some fisting material. That activity, on its own, has not been the focus of obscenity prosecution for a number of years now. However, West Virginia is generally a conservative Bible Belt area, so federal obscenity cases
can be difficult to defend in that kind of jurisdiction. Since this case involved the mailing of DVDs, it does not appear that this conviction will be tremendously precedential for the adult Internet industry.
The Justice Department's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force prosecuted the case.
The US plan to institute a free Internet service has been a bumpy road. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a plan to auction off the existing air waves that would become available as many stations plan on switching to digital.
The FCC have now cancelled an upcoming meeting where it planned to vote on the controversial free Internet service.
The FCC planned to auction off 25 megahertz of wireless spectrum in the 2155MHz to 2180MHz band. In exchange for auctioning off this spectrum, the commission came up with the condition that the license holders must offer a certain portion of the
usage for free wireless broadband service.
However the plan has been met with much opposition from politicians, wireless providers and even civil rights activists. The FCC requires the license holders to provide a filter for pornography and materials not suitable for children. Civil
rights groups are up in arms because this would mean that the government would be capable of censoring information. These feelings undoubtedly stem from observing other countries like China where a super filter is in place to prevent certain
information from reaching its citizens.
The House Committee of Energy and Commerce recently accused FCC Chairman Kevin Martin of mismanagement and abusing his powers. A detailed report was released this past Tuesday, alleging that Martin withheld information from Congress about a
In light of all the protests and accusations, Senator John Rockefeller and Rep. Henry Waxman sent a letter to Martian asking him not to make any decisions or actions regarding controversial proposals. That same day, the FCC announced that
it would be cancelling the upcoming meeting to vote of the free Internet service.
With the state facing a dire budget crisis, a California politician plans to introduce new legislation that would tax consumers of adult entertainment.
Democrat State Assemblymember Alberto Torrico said he plans to push for new legislation that would place a tax on the goods and products associated with the adult entertainment industry.
Torrico's spokesman Jeff Barbosa said the amount of the tax had not been determined, but the legislation could be introduced within a few weeks.
The timing of Torrico's proposal comes on the heels of a similar bill's defeat in August. A 25% excise tax on adult products and productions proposed by Assemblyman Charles Calderon gained no traction in the assembly and died in committee.
A new target in Iran's long-running grievance about its negative portrayal in popular western cinema is, The Wrestler , a film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Mickey Rourke, due for release in the US on December 17.
Newspapers and websites have alerted readers to the anti-Iranian film by highlighting a scene in which Rourke's character, Randy "the Ram" Robinson, violently breaks a pole bearing an Iranian flag across his knee, after his
opponent tries to use it to put him in a stranglehold.
Perhaps to avoid offending Iran's clerical rulers, no mention has been made of the screen name of Rourke's antagonist, the Ayatollah, played by Ernest Miller.
But the Miller character's wrestling attire, a skimpy leotard in the pattern of an Iranian flag with the alef character - representing the first letter of the word Allah - emblazoned front and back on his loins, has been condemned by Borna News,
a state-run website.
The pole-breaking scene occurs against the explicitly nationalistic backdrop of an animated crowd chanting, USA, USA. It is intended to represent the final triumph for Rourke's character, who comes out of retirement following a heart
attack for one last confrontation with the Ayatollah, a rival from his wrestling heyday.
While there is virtually no chance of The Wrestler being given official screening permission in Iran, many Iranians have become familiar with it through promotional trailers shown on broadcaster, Voice of America's Persian-language satellite
The social networking site Ning has announced that it will discontinue hosting adult-oriented networks in its Red Light District as of January 1.
Ning was designed to allow anyone to create a social network on its platform. Network creators were allowed to do their own moderating.
Ning claims the decision was informed by the practical, not the philosophical. CEO and co-founder Gina Bianchini described the move as a logical step, taking into account all the problems adult content has caused for the site, including sub-par
ad revenue, an increase in illegal adult social networks, and numerous DMCA take-down notices.
We're not discontinuing the Red Light District because we no longer believe in the freedom to create your own social network for anything as long as it's legal. We do. Practically though, supporting adult networks no longer makes sense, Bianchini wrote on the Ning blog.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is apparently ready to vote on a proposal that could conceivably bring free nationwide wireless broadband service to U.S. consumers.
According to a report in USA Today, the FCC, at its Dec. 18 meeting, will vote on whether to auction off a portion of unused spectrum called Advanced Wireless Service-3 (AWS-3) to the highest bidder.
But there are plenty of strings attached to the auction, which is expected to be held in early 2009. For example, the FCC will reportedly require the winner of the AWS-3 auction to devote 25% of the bandwidth to free wireless nationwide broadband
with a downstream speed of 768 Kbps.
Predictably, carriers and service providers aren't happy about this, even though they'll be able to use the remaining 75% to sell faster, commercial services.
Clearly, it's the 'free' part of the equation that's keeping C-level service provider executives awake at night. But another thorny issue is the FCC requirement that the winner will have to keep the free wireless service free of pornography and
illegal content, a stipulation that has added complex socio-political issues to the technological issues posited by the carriers.
President Bush has signed the Child Safe Viewing Act, requiring the Federal Communications Commission to explore the market for technologies that allow parents to censor the programming their children watch.
The new law requires the FCC to issue a notice of inquiry to examine what advanced content-blocking technologies are available for various communication devices and platforms. It also calls for the FCC to consider how to encourage the development
and use of such technologies without affecting content providers' pricing or packaging.
The term advanced blocking technologies is defined in the law as technology that enables parents to protect their children from any indecent or objectionable video or audio programming, as determined by such parent, that is transmitted
through the use of wire, wireless, or radio communication.
The FCC will have to report its findings to Congress within 270 days.
Look through your comic book collection. Do you have Alan Moore's Lost Girls ? Any of S. Clay Wilson's Underground Comix ? Even Neil Gaiman's Sandman series? If the prosecution of manga collector Christopher Handley
sticks, all of that and more could be considered obscene, Gaiman told MTV.
I wrote a story about a serial killer who kidnaps and rapes children, and then murders them, Gaiman said, referring to a storyline in The Doll's House . We did that as a comic, not for the purposes of titillation or anything like
that, but if you bought that comic, you could be arrested for it? That's just deeply wrong. Nobody was hurt. The only thing that was hurt were ideas.
Gaiman's currently supporting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's fight to defend Handley, who was arrested in Iowa for possession of obscene material based on his private collection, which included lolicon and yaoi manga. Lolicon focuses on the
Lolita complex, where yaoi features male homosexual romance for a primarily female audience.
There is explicit sex in yaoi comics, Handley's lawyer Eric Chase told MTV. And the men are drawn in a very androgynous style, which has the effect of making them look really young. There's a real taboo in Japan about showing pubic
hair, so they're all drawn without it, which also makes them look young. So what concerned the authorities were the depictions of children in explicit sexual situations that they believed to be obscene. But there are no actual children. It was
all very crude images from a comic book.
Despite the argument that there was no actual children portrayed in the manga, Handley faces felony obsenity charges, including the receipt and possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children. The case is going to
trial on December 2. The jury will determine whether the manga is obscene or if it has artistic value. If found guilty of the charges against him, Handley faces a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.
Evil Angel Productions owner John Stagliano will have his first formal chance to get the charges against him dismissed on Tuesday, Nov. 25, when his attorney Allan B. Gelbard will mount a multi-faceted attack on the government's contention that
two DVDs sent by Evil Angel to FBI agents in the District of Columbia, and one trailer downloaded there, are obscene.
Gelbard's introduction to his Motion sets out the major arguments he will use before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon
Initially, all charges based on the downloading of the Internet trailer from the Evil Angel website are constitutionally impermissible as any finding of obscenity requires the work(s) must be 'taken as a whole' and evaluated based on
'contemporary community standards', Gelbard summarizes: Both terms have been found unconstitutionally vague as applied to Internet speech. Additionally, their cumulative effect, in combination with the government's ability to 'forum shop'
the prosecution, further exacerbates the due process violation.
The nutter Senator Ted Stevens, has been sacked by his electorate. He has regularly featured on Melon Farmers calling for FCC censorship of cable television and generally bad mouthing anything to do with sex, violence and TV
Senator Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in Senate history, narrowly lost his re-election bid Tuesday, marking the downfall of a Washington political power and Alaska icon who couldn't survive a conviction on federal corruption
Stevens' ouster on his 85th birthday marks an abrupt realignment in Alaska politics and will alter the power structure in the Senate, where he has served since the days of the Johnson administration while holding seats on some of the most
influential committees in Congress.
YouTube has removed a number of videos 'glorifying' the Columbine High School killers, after a BBC investigation.
Videos found on the site praised Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold - also known as Reb and Vodka - for carrying out the shooting, in which 13 people died.
The killings near Denver, Colorado nine years ago, were romanticised in some of the videos which have now been removed.
The BBC Six O'clock News discovered that nine years on from America's worst high school shooting there is a thriving online community obsessed with teenage gunmen Harris and Klebold.
Many tribute videos found on YouTube 'romanticise' the killers who shot 12 pupils, a teacher and wounded 23 others before shooting themselves.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, said it was grateful to the BBC for bringing the videos to its attention. Peter Barron, Head of Communication for Google UK, owners of the site said: We do not tolerate videos that glorify school shootings
and have removed the videos that fall into that category.
The US games rating organisation, ESRB, has begun a new program to add summaries of why each game has earned its rating.
Research shows that the vast majority of parents who purchase games for their kids are aware of and regularly check ESRB ratings, but parents can always use more help when making choices as to which games are right for their children, said
Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB: With our new rating summaries, which provide exclusive and unprecedented insight into the nature of the content that triggered a given rating assignment, parents will be that much more empowered in making
Games rated from July 1 of this year will have a summary available, and the ESRB has also launched a mobile site to make these summaries accessible from cell phones. If you want this information while at a game store, simply look up the game on
your cell phone.
An example database entry now looks like this
Platform : Windows PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Rating : Mature
Content descriptors : Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
Rating summary : Dead Space is a third-person action game that takes place in a mysterious space station. The protagonist searches for clues found in the form of audio/video clips and various other items while avoiding hazards and fighting
alien monsters. He uses several types of guns, lasers and flame throwers to defeat enemies. Characters lose limbs and heads, accompanied by sprays, stains, and gushes of red blood. Dismembered alien and human corpses appear regularly. Strong
profanity (e.g., "sh*t" and "f*ck") can be heard in dialogue and seen in graffiti.