YourChoice
Adult DVDs
Satisfaction Guaranteed
Your Choice Viewers' Wives
YourChoice

 US Censorship News

   2010: Oct-Dec

Adult DVD+VoD
Online Shops
Shop Reviews
New & Offers
 
Sex Machines
Sex Machines
  Home  US Film Cuts
  Index  World  Nutters
  Forum  Media Liberty
   Info      
   UK      
Sex News
Sex+Shopping 
MelonnFarmers.com


21st December   

Florida's Naked Prudery...

YourChoice


Adult DVDs

Satisfaction Guaranteed


Your Choice Viewers' Wives
YourChoice

 

More naked art nonsense as society chooses to grovel at the feet of the easily offended
Link Here

mary eiland art A Boca Raton city employee has decided that Mary Eiland's art was inappropriate for public display at Patch Reef Park.

Eiland's two naked female torso statues were stashed away out of public view.

Buddy Parks, deputy director of Recreational Services, said he was unaware of any visitor complaints about the sculptures. It was staff members at the center who considered the pieces inappropriate for public display because they were clearly nudes, he said.

The smooth stone 24 inches high sculptures, Hazel and Lady in Stone, were displayed at Patch Reef in 2008 and 2009, each time for a month, and no one objected.

All I can say is staff screwed up, Parks said.

Boca Raton's Art in Public Places regulations allow the city to reject any artwork considered inappropriate for public display, but there's no criteria for what's allowed and what's not.

Eiland was not impressed by the prudery and said: If someone has a problem with these sculptures, then they'd better not watch any television or go on the computer or go to a mall.

 

18th December   

Updated: Blue Valentine...

YourChoice


Adult DVDs

Satisfaction Guaranteed


Your Choice Viewers' Wives
YourChoice

 

Publicity friendly NC-17 re-rated to a box office friendly R rating
Link Here  full story: Blue Valentine...Movie initially given publicity friendly NC-17

blue valentine The MPAA has overturned the NC-17 rating for Blue Valentine. Much more box office friendly for the producers, the Weinstein Co

The Classification and Rating Appeals Board swapped the NC-17, given in October for a scene of explicit sexual contact, for an R attributed to strong graphic sexual content, language and a beating.

No edits were made to the film to secure the rating.

The MPAA's decision came following an appeal made by Harvey Weinstein. After presenting our case to the MPAA appeal board today, they were convinced of the artistic nature of Blue Valentine and recognized that it was consistent with the kind of movies for which the Weinstein Company is known, said a statement from Harvey Weinstein, who led the appeal with a team of attorneys.

According to chief operating officer David Glasser, Weinstein laid out a case based on clips from past R-rated films as well as on moviegoers' support for an R rating for Valentine, as registered via a Twitter campaign and an audience survey at a recent screening.

Update: UK Rating

18th December 2010. See  article from  bbfc.co.uk

BBFC logo Blue Valentine has just been passed 15 uncut by the BBFC for a cinema release.

The BBFC noted:

Contains strong sex and strong language, once very strong

 

17th December   

Trust...

YourChoice


Adult DVDs

Satisfaction Guaranteed


Your Choice Viewers' Wives
YourChoice

 

Trust the US censor to play it safe with an R Rating
Link Here

trust Millennium Entertainment have announced that it will challenge the R rating given to its upcoming drama Trust .

The film's executive producer Avi Lerner will appear before the ratings Appeals Board on December 22, 2010 to pursue a PG-13 rating.

Directed by David Schwimmer of Friends fame, Trust centers on a 14-year-old girl's encounter with a cyber predator.

The producers say they are pursuing the lesser rating so it can be screened for teens, in order to raise awareness about the dangers of online predators.

While we respect the MPAA's rating system, we must appeal the 'R' rating given to Trust . This film exposes the true threats posed by cyber predators. It sends a clear message to teens and parents; to be aware of the real dangers of cyber space, Lerner said in a statement: Teens must be allowed to see Trust. They need to know the truth.

According to the MPAA: Trust received an R rating because of a difficult scene portraying the assault of a teenage girl, language, sexual content and some violence.

 

16th December   

Update: Threat Saw...

MPAA suggests that it is rethinking the wide envelope for R rated horror
Link Here  full story: Blue Valentine...Movie initially given publicity friendly NC-17

MPAA logo When the Weinstein Co. won an R rating for Blue Valentine last week after objecting to its original NC-17, it was a signal that perhaps the industry's ratings board is easing up.

As one insider notes of the initial rating: The feeling was that they got it wrong with this one.

What the board's decision didn't do is instill any additional confidence in the NC-17 rating.

Ratings board chair Joan Graves admits moviegoers have a skewed perception of the NC-17 rating.

I do regret that it's treated as the pariah of the ratings system, she says. All we need is one popular NC-17 rating to take that scent away.

The board also contends with charges that it has a double standard when it comes to violence.

Graves says the org is taking steps to correct some of those issues. For instance, the MPAA plans to revisit its stance on horror pics, which have evolved considerably from spooky frights to torture porn.

I do think the R has a very big envelope for that genre, Graves admits.

...Read the full article

Update: On Second Thoughts...

16th December 2010. Based on article from  dreadcentral.com

Horror-Movies.ca sent an email to the MPAA in the wake of the story about 'big envelope for R rated horror.

Here's what came back from Vice President of Corporate Communications, Elizabeth Kaltman:

Because filmmakers don't want to accept the NC-17 they are squeezing as much as they can into the R. The Ratings Board does not treat genres differently. Ratings are assigned based on the content of a particular movie and taken on a case-by-case basis.

As far as any plans to change policy regarding horror films, we are always looking at ways to ensure the system evolves and responds to the biggest concerns of the day for parents. We have no changes in the works but are talking to parents about what matters to them.

 

16th December   

Update: Operation Dark Heart...

Author sues military censors in the hope of an uncut paperback release
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship by US Security...Book censorship over military operations

Operation Dark Heart Frontlines Afghanistan Anthony A. Shaffer has filed suit against the Pentagon for what he feels is uncalled for censorship of his book, Operation Dark Heart .

Shaffer's book details his time in Afghanistan and the war being fought there. In September of this year, the Pentagon purchased the entire first print run, spending $47,300 for the copies and then destroying them, stating that Shaffer had listed classified information in the text.

The book became an instant bestseller after publisher quickly reprinted a redacted version.

Shaffer's suit claims that very little, if any, of the redacted material was actually classified and that the Pentagon is unfairly censoring his work.

Shaffer's lawyer, Mark S. Zaid, said that while his client agreed to allow publication of the hardback with the government's redactions, we reserved the right to come back and challenge the decision in court.

A paperback edition is scheduled for publication next year, and Shaffer is asking the court to order the Pentagon not to require the redactions in the new edition and not to pursue civil or criminal penalties against him for releasing it.

Update: Permission to Sue

25th November 2012. See  article from  countercurrents.org

A former intelligence officer with the US Department of Defense has been given the go-ahead by a federal judge to sue the Pentagon and the CIA for censoring his best-selling account of the war in Afghanistan * .

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer can follow through with his plans to take his former employers to court, US District Judge Rosemary Collyer decided this week, ruling against the government's arguments that the author of Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan and the Path to Victory had no standing to sue.

 

16th December   

Updated: Death of the Dollar...

Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art erases wall mural
Link Here

blu los-angeles Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has made its impact in a bad week for censorship in the US.

MOCA whitewashed a mural painted by internationally known street artist BLU.

The mural, originally commissioned by MOCA for their upcoming Art in the Street exhibit, faces the Veterans Administration healthcare building on Temple Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

The news of the whitewashing has spread like wild fire on arts blogs and LA blogs throughout the day. So like GOOD asks, was the mural too politically charged for members of the MOCA team?

Update: Censored in the name of easy offence

16th December 2010. Based on article from  ncacblog.wordpress.com

Italian street artist Blu was commissioned by LA MOCA to paint a mural on one of the walls of the museum's building. Work on the mural, which depicted coffins draped in American one-dollar bills, referring to the familiar image of flag-covered coffins of soldiers killed in wa.

As reported by the LA Times, once MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, who was in Miami for an annual art fair, returned home and saw Blu's handiwork, he said no. Deitch later explained that he made the decision to remove the mural very quickly, unprompted by complaints…

After several days silence, the Museum issued an official statement, explaining that the decision to paint over the mural was made because:

The Geffen Contemporary building is located on a special, historic site. Directly in front of the north wall is the Go For Broke monument, which commemorates the heroic roles of Japanese American soldiers, who served in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, and opposite the wall is the LA Veterans' Affairs Hospital. The museum's director explained to Blu that in this context, where MOCA is a guest among this historic Japanese American community, the work was inappropriate. MOCA has invited Blu to return to Los Angeles to paint another mural.

Blu has refused to return to paint another mural stating:

It is censorship that almost turned into self-censorship when they asked me to openly agree with their decision to erase the wall. In the Soviet Union they were calling it self-criticism.

Comment: Was this an act of censorship or an exercise of legitimate curatorial control?

The National Coalition Against Censorship commented:

If we define censorship as suppression of speech or ideas considered disagreeable, offensive or otherwise objectionable, this is, indeed, censorship.

So, the answer is, yes, LA MOCA has censored its Art in the Streets exhibition, even before the show has opened – not great advertising for a show on an art form that is notoriously political, provocative and unfriendly to the rules of polite behavior.

Public art is frequently subject to controversy especially when it concerns political subjects and does not just celebrate community or decorate a wall. A political statement writ large is sure to offend those who disagree with it whether a memorial is close to it or not. A museum can make the decision to show safe art in public and reserve it's riskier gestures for its galleries (or avoid them altogether). But when planning a groundbreaking street art show, is that a good idea?

The relative silence around the removal of Blu's work begs the question: have we reached a point where the consensus is that strong political statements should be avoided and where the potential that a war veteran may possibly be bothered by the idea that US soldiers are sent to die for economic interests is reason enough to whitewash an artwork? Are we no longer allowed to be angry?

 

15th December   

Update: US News Censorship...

Newspaper websites blocked at the US Air Force
Link Here  full story: US vs Wikileaks...US aggressively attacks Wikileaks over leaked cables

China flag The US air force has blocked employees from accessing the websites of the Guardian, the New York Times and other news organisations carrying the WikiLeaks US embassy cables.

At least 25 sites that have posted WikiLeaks files had been barred, said Major Toni Tones of the US air force's space command in Colorado. He siad this was on grounds of hosting inappropriate materials .

According to the Wall Street Journal, staff who attempt to access the blocked sites instead see an on-screen message saying: Access denied. Internet usage is logged and monitored.

The air force's move follows instructions by the government that staff should not access the cables.

Update: Twitter supporters under US pressure

12th January 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

An Iceland MP who is also a former WikiLeaks volunteer says the US justice department has ordered Twitter to hand over her private messages.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP for the Movement in Iceland, said on Twitter that the USA government wants to know about all my tweets. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?

She said she was starting a legal fight to stop the US getting hold of her messages, after being told by Twitter that a subpoena had been issued. She wrote: department of justice are requesting twitter to provide the info – I got 10 days to stop it via legal process before twitter hands it over.

 

15th December   

Updated: Smithsonian Shies away from Controversy...

Fire in My Belly by David Wojnarowicz censored from art exhibit
Link Here

fire in my belly david wojnarowicz A work of video art briefly depicting a figurine of Christ with ants crawling on it has been yanked from the Smithsonian's Portrait Gallery after complaints from a Catholic group and members of Congress.

The four-minute video titled Fire in My Belly was made by the late New York City artist David Wojnarowicz. It features an 11-second segment of a small crucifix teeming with the insects. It had been on exhibit since Oct. 30 as part of a show on sexual difference in American portrait art.

The piece was labeled hate speech by Catholic League president William Donohue who also claimed that it was designed to insult Christians.

After he was alerted to the piece, Donohue began a campaign to urge Congress to cut public funding for the Smithsonian museum complex, he told The Associated Press: This is not the first time the Smithsonian has offended us, he said. I'm going to cast my net much wider. Why should the government pay for this? ... How dare they take our money to fund attacks on (our religion).

The call was taken up by the office of House Representative John A. Boehner.

While the amount of money involved may be small, it's symbolic of the arrogance Washington routinely applies to thousands of spending decisions involving Americans' hard-earned money, said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Boehner, the likely next Speaker of the House.

Smithsonian officials told the Post they removed the offending piece to make sure the show's other pieces weren't overshadowed by the controversy.

The decision wasn't caving in, claimed museum director Martin E. Sullivan: We don't want to shy away from anything that is controversial ...BUT.. we want to focus on the museum's and this show's strengths.

Update: Art sponsors not pleased by censorship

15th December 2010. Based on article from  sfist.com
See also Large crowd of Houston art lovers protest Smithsonian censorship of A Fire in My Belly from  culturemap.com
See also Canadian artist wants work pulled from U.S. exhibit marked by controversy from  montrealgazette.com

Rep. John Boehner was unhappy that some Catholics found the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's LGBT-themed Hide/Seek exhibit offensive. Boehner threatened increased scrutiny of the museum's funding as a roundabout way of getting the Gallery to pull works that don't jive with his constituency.

Except taxpayer dollars don't pay for the exhibitions or the works themselves, only the museum facilities. (Which are admittedly fairly important for holding an exhibition.)

The Andy Warhol Foundation, on the other hand, does provide a great deal of private funding to the museum - over $375,000 in the past three years to be exact - and they're not happy about seeing A Fire in My Belly disappear from the exhibition.

In a letter from President Joel Wachs sent to Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough, the Warhol Foundation spoke out saying:

Such blatant censorship is unconscionable. It is inimical to everything the Smithsonian Institution should stand for, and everything the Andy Warhol Foundation does stand for. ...we cannot stand by and watch the Smithsonian bow to the demands of bigots who have attacked the exhibition out of ignorance, hatred and fear.

Within the Smithsonian, at least one member of the Museum's advisory panel has resigned in protest. In an email posted on the Washington Post, commissioner James T. Bartlett wrote: I believe it is a fundamental right of museums and their curatorial staffs to make such decisions [about exhibition content], even if some art is deemed objectionable by external critics. I choose firmly and resolutely not to be part of an institution that is and can be put ad infinitum in this position.

 

14th December   

Update: Linked to Obscenity...

Obama signs law against animal crush videos
Link Here

Barack Obama President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill that outlaws the creation and distribution of so-called animal crush videos, a response to an April 20 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Stevens) that struck down an earlier federal law that banned a more broadly defined description of animal cruelty.

The new law specifically addresses creating and distributing videos and ties it to obscenity - saying that these kinds of videos - involving burning, crushing and mutilating animals appeal to a particular sexual fetish.  The act is linked to obscenity so as to make it an exception to the first amendment.

 

12th December   

Update: In the Name of Diversity...

FCC again considering government controls for US news
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Fairness...Demands that radio and TV should be fair to all views
angry woman

You will ALL promote diversity in
EXACTLY the way we tell you 

The concept of the news or press has expanded to include all forms of media - print and digital. However, the one common denominator shared by news media is that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seems to think all should meet a prospective set of federal criteria.

Representative Joe Barton questioned an  idea from an FCC commissioner that the government should create new regulations to promote diversity in news programming.

Barton was reacting to a recommendation made last week by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who suggested in a speech that broadcasters should be subjected to a new public values test every four years.

I hope … that you do not mean to suggest that it is the job of the federal government, through the [FCC], to determine the content that is available for Americans to consume, Barton said in a letter to Copps.

Copps has suggested that his proposed test would make a broadcaster's license renewal depend upon showing proof that they meet a prospective set of federally mandated criteria.

Copps said that those groups that wish to be considered news outlets should be mandated to do the following: prove that they have made a commitment to public affairs and news programming (like showing a proper ratio of women and minorities), report to the government about which shows they are planning on airing, require greater disclosure about who is funding political ads and devote 25% of their prime coverage to local news stories.

It is doubtful that anyone would be able to escape the FCC' grasp under the proposed rules since the regulations would apply to all news outlets operating on the public airwaves. And there are a good amount of politicians who consider the Internet to be public airwaves, and who feel that government should have a monopoly on deciding what happens over those airwaves.

Barton also asked if five commissioners can do a better job of ensuring that Americans have access to a wide diversity of content and viewpoints than Americans can themselves by expressing their preferences ... in the vigorously competitive marketplace.

The FCC has a project that is ongoing about media diversity that promises to issue a report on whether or not Americans have access to adequate sources of news. The effort has seen strong criticism and the FCC has not said when their report will be released.

 

10th December   

A Bellyful of Censorship...

Internet hosting company threatens to take down NCAC archive of world censorship cases
Link Here

NCAC logo Censorship incidents on the web are more and more common, but it's still rare when they happen to an anti-censorship organization like the NCAC.

Network Solutions, a company providing web services, has threatened to remove TheFileroom.org, an interactive archive of worldwide censorship cases administered by the National Coalition Against Censorship, unless a photograph of two naked children by Nan Goldin, contained on the site, is taken down.

Thefileroom.org was created in 1994 by Spanish-born artist Muntadas, and was one of the first Internet art projects. NCAC has been hosting and maintaining the site since 2000.

The Goldin photograph, entitled Klara And Edda Belly-Dancing (1998), which shows two naked girls laughing and playing, was included in the site in 2007, after the Elton John-owned photograph was seized by police in the UK at a gallery as part of a child pornography probe. The case was dropped.

The photograph had also been investigated in 2001 when it was part of another exhibition at the Saatchi gallery in London and was found not to be indecent. The image can be found in the monograph of Goldin's works entitled The Devil's Playground (Phaidon, 2003), has been offered for sale at Sotheby's New York in 2002 and 2004, and has previously been exhibited in Houston, London, Madrid, New York, Portugal, Warsaw and Zurich. It is currently in an exhibition in Berlin.

In attempting to justify the take-down request, Network Solutions referred to its acceptable use policy, which prohibits the Transmission, distribution, uploading, posting or storage of any material in violation of any applicable law or regulation is prohibited. This includes, … material that is obscene, defamatory, libelous, unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening, harmful, vulgar, constitutes an illegal threat, violates export control laws, hate propaganda, fraudulent material or fraudulent activity, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable material of any kind or nature.

When NCAC informed Network Solutions that the photograph is not obscene, a company associate responded That's your opinion. However, the photograph's wide distribution and occasional review by legal authorities is clear evidence of its undisputed legality. This arbitrary act to request the removal of an artwork, accompanied by a threat of the immediate deletion of thefileroom.org domain name from the Network Solutions registry, denying access to information about over a thousand censorship incidents, is a sinister sign of a growing trend where private web companies are becoming the new arbiters of what is moral or legal disregarding national or international free speech protections.

 

9th December   

Update: Student Warning...

US students warned that online discussions related to Wikileaks may endanger future security clearance
Link Here  full story: US vs Wikileaks...US aggressively attacks Wikileaks over leaked cables

us dept of state logo A State Department official warned students at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs this week that discussing WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger their employment prospects.

The official, a former student of the school, called the career services office of his alma mater to advise students not to post links to Wikileaks documents, nor to make comments on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

The school careers office passed on the message to students:

From: Office of Career Services

We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

 

6th December   

Film Makers at a Loss...

MPAA ban poster over weapon held by child
Link Here

bereavement Bereavement , writer/director Stevan Mena's gruesome prequel to Maleviolence , hasn't gone before the MPAA yet, but the US film censor has already turned thumbs down on the movie's poster.

The MPAA has banned the poster for depicting a child holding a weapon, Mena tells Fangoria: It's hugely disappointing, because that poster really encapsulated the plot of the film with an intriguing image. It's a real setback for us, considering the challenges we already face competing for attention with a small budget.

Bereavement explores the childhood of serial killer Martin Bristol, when he is kidnapped by a psychopath and forced to witness horrible acts of murder.

 

3rd December   

Update: Wikiprats...

US senator proposes a bill censoring publishers of leaked data
Link Here  full story: US vs Wikileaks...US aggressively attacks Wikileaks over leaked cables

jor lieberman With Amazon dumping Wikileaks due to pressure from Senator Joe Lieberman, it seems to have only emboldened Lieberman to shred more of the First Amendment he's supposed to be protecting.

First, he has continued pressuring other companies to not host Wikileaks content.

This has resulted in Tableau Software removing a graph of embassies most often appearing in the Wikileaks Cable data. People have pointed out that there was no sensitive data in what it had published, but because of Lieberman's grandstanding, the company felt the need to remove the chart.

Lieberman has now introduced an anti-Wikileaks bill, which would expand the Espionage Act to make it a criminal act if you publish the name of a US intelligence source. Note that it is already illegal to leak such a name, but this bill seeks to make it illegal to publish the names after they've been leaked.

This seems like a classic violation of the First Amendment. As Wired notes, something like this would make it illegal for a newspaper to publish the fact that former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreiga was once a paid CIA intelligence source.

 

30th November   

Update: Claiming Dominion...

US customs seize domain names of 86 websites accused of copyright infringement
Link Here  full story: Online Infringement Act...Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

homeland security logo The Homeland Security Department's customs enforcement division has gone on a Web site shutdown spree.

To date, 82 domains have been seized after being accused of selling counterfeit goods, with products sold ranging from music, DVD box sets and software to clothing and sporting goods.

Others linked to copyright-infringing file-sharing materials, at least one site was a Google-like search engine, causing alarm among web freedom advocates who worry the move steps over the line into censorship.

All the shut sites are now displaying a Homeland Security warning that copyright infringers can face up to five years in prison.

According to a report at TorrentFreak, the search engine that was shut down -- Torrent-Finder.com -- neither hosted copyrighted material nor directly linked to places where it could be found. Instead, the site opened new windows to sites that did link to file-sharing materials.

Homeland Security's ability to shut down sites without a court order evidently comes from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a Clinton-era law that allows Web sites to be closed on the basis of a copyright complaint. Critics have long assailed the DMCA for being too broad, as complainants don't need to prove copyright infringement before a site can be taken down.

Earlier this week, Homeland Security shut down a popular hip-hop music site, RapGodfathers.com, which had nearly 150,000 members. The site claims it is compliant with copyright laws, as it doesn't host copyrighted materials. However, its users posted links to file-hosting services such as Rapidshare and Megaupload, where copyrighted material may have been shared.

These domains are now the property of Homeland Security, writes Gareth Halfacree at Thinq.co.uk, And there's no indication that their original owners will ever be able to get them back.

 

 

27th November   

Update: Be Proud of Your Body Scan...

Airports ban Peta adverts having fun with invasive security checks
Link Here  full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media
peta be proud advert

   Be Proud of Your Body Scan: Go Vegan

PETA, the animal rights organization that never shies away from controversy, has produced sone new ads that make light of invasive body scanners and pat downs.

The Boston Herald writes that one of these ads, a video featuring Pamela Anderson as a sexy TSA agent removing leather and fur from travelers, has been banned at Logan Airport. It doesn't sound like an appropriate ad for the airport environment, says Massport spokesman Matt Brelis.

PETA's also trying to launch a body scan-mocking ad campaign featuring still photographs. One shows a scan of a woman wearing only a bra that's emblazoned with the words Be Proud. Elsewhere, the true message of the ad is visible: Be Proud of Your Body Scan: Go Vegan. The Associated Press writes that airports in Las Vegas, Charlotte, N.C. and New York City have all refused to display these ads.

Update: Hong Kong

31st December 2010. See  article from  cnngo.com

Pamela Anderson has made a new video promoting PETA causes with an airport security checkpoint theme. But Hong Kong Airport won't be playing the video, because it has been deemed too racy.

In the video, Anderson is a half-dressed airport security checkpoint officer who gives the yea or nay to passengers according to whether or not they're wearing fur, leather or other animal skins.

One couple does manage to pass through the security check without a glitch -- they're completely nude. Their naked tushies are shown on screen and were probably what crossed the line for JCDecaux, the ad agency responsible for what airs in Hong Kong Airport.

 

21st November   

Update: Dangerously Extendable Powers...

US bill to allow authorities wide powers to close down websites looks delayed for the moment
Link Here  full story: Online Infringement Act...Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

US Senate 19 members of the Senate Judiciary unanimously voted to move forward with the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) this week, despite a letter sent to them by a large number of law professors explaining the unconstitutionality of COICA, and earlier protests by 96 Internet engineers, and Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the Web.

However t doesn't appear it will pass through the full Senate, at least for now.

COICA targets piracy, but it is very broad in its definition of what that means. Copyright infringement could include not just hosting torrents, downloads or streams of copyrighted materials, but also providing a link or aggregated links to other sites or Internet resources for obtaining access to such copies.

In other words, as defined, it could be interpreted that a news site that linked to The Pirate Bay or other BitTorrent site would be in violation. COICA would empower the attorney general to be able to get court orders to blacklist sites out of the DNS (Domain Name Service) system, meaning you wouldn't be able to type in their name and reach them, on the Web. Naturally, organizations such as the MPAA and RIAA love the idea.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has announced that he was going to take the necessary steps to stop [COICA] from passing the United States Senate. He added: It seems to me that online copyright infringement is a legitimate problem, but it seems to me that COICA as written is the wrong medicine. Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile. The collateral damage of this statute could be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said: Blacklisting entire sites out of the domain name system is a reckless scheme that will undermine global Internet infrastructure and censor legitimate online speech.

As noted, the bill passed out of the committee unanamously, which translates to having full bipartisan support. That's pretty unusual in these contentious political times, and points to the support of major industry organizations such as the previously mentioned RIAA and MPAA. While probably dead for this session due to Ron Wyden's opposition, it might show up again in the next.

 

20th November   

Updated: Anti-Crushing Bill Crushed...

Animal cruelty bill looks stalled due to unnecessary over broadening
Link Here

US Senate Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal statute outlawing the creation and sale of videos depicting animal cruelty, and the ruling didn't sit well with various members of Congress. But the bill designed to narrow the law to simply ban crush videos —videos where, typically, a woman in high-heeled shoes crushes a rodent—may have to be re-presented next year since Congress appears to be running out of time this term to vote on revisions to the bill.

Authored by California Rep. Elton Gallegly, H.R. 5566, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, would ban the creation, sale, trading or distribution of videos depicting actual conduct in which 1 or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury, or the advertising of same.

The delay was caused when senators added language that would make it a federal crime, punishable by up to seven years in jail, to attempt or conspire to create or distribute a crush video—an amendment Gallegly considers unnecessary, since it's already a crime to conspire to violate any federal criminal law.

So Gallegly had that language stripped out of the bill, the House passed it in that amended form, but now the bill must go back to the Senate for approval of the final version—but with just eight days left in this Congress's lame duck session, the Senate is unlikely to take the bill up again before adjourning for the year.

Update: Anti-Crushing Bill Un-Crushed

20th November 2010. Based on article from  business.avn.com

Congress found time to pass H.R. 5566, the Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010.

The bill cleared when the Senate concurred with a new House version which stripped out a previous Senate amendment, and the bill is now cleared to be signed by President Obama.

 

18th November   

Offsite: Crumbling Credibility...

Film classification by f-word counting discredited
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

kings speech Hollywood's controversial ratings system has been under fire for years, but this autumn, it appears to have done the biggest damage yet to its crumbling credibility.

That's because of the continuing furor over the decision by the Motion Picture Association of America to slap a Restricted, or R, rating on one of the year's most acclaimed movies — The King's Speech.

To call the decision crazy and unhinged would be to let the MPAA off too lightly, said Patrick Goldstein, the influential film industry columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Like other fans of the British film, which tells the real-life story of King George VI's heroic efforts to conquer a disabling stutter, Goldstein believes it deserves to be seen by all ages.

...Read read the full article

 

16th November   

Updated: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy...

Banned album covers
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

my beautiful dark twisted fantasy Kanye West's new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is due out shortly. He claims the cover has already been banned. So Nirvana can have a naked human being on their cover, but I can't have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings, he ranted.

...read the full article

Update: More

6th November 2010. See  article from  blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com

Amorica Black Crowes Black Crowes - Amorica

Lifted straight from a 1976 cover of Hustler magazine the image of the cover models pubic hair poking out of her American flag bikini bottoms caused quite the controversy back in 1994. The record label eventually blacked out the offending images and the album went on to reach number 11 on the Billboard 200.

 

 

 

Update: Apple get in on the censorship

16th November 2010. Based on article from  bnet.com

itunes logo Rapper Kanye West is being muzzled again, this time by Apple over the vaguely nude cover to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . The censored album art shows Apple is sliding into yet another dangerous arena of judgment.

Designed by critically-acclaimed artist George Condo, the cover features a cartoon West being ridden by a wingless, semi-nude phoenix.

Apple decided to blur out the image, so customers only get a heavily pixellated version of the cover when they download it Nov. 22.

More perplexing to the blurred cover decision is that Apple had a choice: There are actually five covers to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . West's label Def Jam encouraged him to present alternatives to family friend;y nutter venues like Walmart and Target, and nearly all the other options, including a depiction of a blushing ballerina, are as tame as a Jonas Brothers CD.

Why did Apple bother to blur out the one potentially offensive cover? Either it was too lazy to update the picture or it wanted to send a message for other artists interested in pushing controversial art.

 

15th November   

Film Censors or Bean Counters...

US censors over react to strong language in How Do You Know
Link Here

how do you know poster After losing an MPAA against an R-rating, Columbia Pictures will be recutting James L. Brooks' upcoming romantic comedy How Do You Know .

The film was slapped with a R-Rating a few weeks ago, evidently because of three 'fucks' utilized in the pic, and having lost the appeal to overturn the ruling, Columbia will now be trimming two 'fucks' so they can secure a PG-13 rating.

Update: Cut

18th November 2010. See  article from  blogs.indiewire.com

After three f-bombs in the upcoming dramedy How Do You Know earned the film an R-rating from the MPAA, James L. Brooks was forced to go back into the edit bay and deliver a cleaner cut of the film. Well, the MPAA is now pleased not to have their ears soiled with those egregious words and have blessed Brooks' film with a PG-13 rating.

 

10th November   

Offsite: Travel Censors...

US censors websites promoting travel to Cuba
Link Here

us treasury seal logo Stephen Marshall, a British entrepreneur known as a pioneer of e-commerce ventures in Cuba, has been battling the U.S. Treasury Department for years.

A member of Havana's expatriate investor community since the mid-1990s, is best known for his online Cuba travel booking site GoCubaPlus.com.

Along with that, Marshall — whose British Virgin Islands-based firms included Digital Panorama SA and Tour & Marketing International Ltd. — had over 100 other Cuba themed sites providing tourism-related information on Cuba. They also were aimed at driving Internet traffic to GoCubaPlus.com. In time, Marshall became a target of Washington's efforts to unplug any Internet ventures involving Cuba. As far back as Fall 2004, Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control added GoCubaPlus.com and related websites onto its list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN). This meant individuals subject to U.S. jurisdiction were barred from doing business with any entity or person on that list.

... Read the full article

 

9th November   

Update: Burning Issues...

ACLU to sue company denying free speech to Koran burning employee
Link Here  full story: Koran Burning...Symbolic gesture and easy offence

aclu logo The American Civil Liberties Union is suing NJ Transit for firing an 11-year employee after he burned a Koran in a Ground Zero mosque protest in September, according to NJ.com.

On the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, then-NJ Transit employee Derek Fenton was photographed burning three pages of a Koran in front of the space where the proposed Ground Zero mosque will be built. Soon after, he was fired from NJ Transit for violating their 'ethics' codes.

The ACLU is saying that Fenton deserves his job back, as NJ Transit has infringed on his right to free speech, the website reports.

If you allow governments to censor one kind of speech, you open the door to censorship of all kinds of speech, Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the ACLU in New Jersey, told the site. Our individual right to free speech depends on everybody having it.

When the train line fired Fenton, it released a statement saying that, NJ Transit concluded that Mr. Fenton violated his trust as a state employee.

 

8th November   

Blue Valentine...

Supporting the hype for the NC-17 rated movie
Link Here  full story: Blue Valentine...Movie initially given publicity friendly NC-17

blue valentine Actress Michelle Williams is urging producers not to edit her harrowing new film Blue Valentine in order to get the movie a lower rating - because she'd prefer cinemagoers saw it as it was intended.

Officials at the Motion Picture Association of America's Classification and Rating Administration have awarded the movie a restrictive NC-17 rating because of a drunken sex scene featuring Williams and her co-star Ryan Gosling.

Producer Harvey Weinstein is challenging the movie censors' over the ban for under-17s, and an appeal hearing will take place on November 10th.

Williams said of the MPAA rating: It seems like such a condemnation. It feels like such a slap on the hand, like you've been a bad kid or something.

 

3rd November   

Update: Shock Therapy...

US Censors give an R rating to The King's Speech
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

kings speech The King's Speech is the true story of how England's King George VI overcame a devastating speech impediment, it's a wonderfully acted (by Colin Firth as the king, Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist, and Helena Bonham Carter as his wife, the future Queen Mum) slice of history.

But the ever-clueless members of the MPAA ratings board are concerned about teenagers seeing this film --- because of one scene in which the king, in the course of his treatment, lets fly a string of swear words. Because, of course, no teenager has ever heard the F-word.

So The King's Speech gets an R -- the same rating, as Saw 3D .

Tom Hooper, director of The King's Speech, spoke about his disappointment:

What I take away from that decision, is that violence and torture is OK, but bad language isn't. I can't think of a single film I've ever seen where the swear words had haunted me forever, the way a scene of violence or torture has, yet the ratings board only worries about the bad language.

An MPAA spokesperson told the L.A. Times that the board is merely being consistent: We've made clear what our language guidelines are, and it's not fair, in fact it would look arbitrary, if we threw it out for just one film.

But LAT Times' Patrick Goldstein points out that the guidelines are, indeed, arbitrary: More than one use of the F-word, for example, earns an automatic R, but there's no rule about how many, say, gunshots or gallons of blood quality for a PG-13 or an R.

 

3rd November   

Update: Taking Ages...

US Supreme Court reviews Californian law imposing age restrictions on computer games sales
Link Here  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

US Supreme Court Retailers who sell the latest Halo or Call of Duty video games to children would face big fines under a law being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Despite receiving sympathy from some justices, the California law that aims to keep kids from buying ultraviolent video games faces a steep constitutional hurdle.

The high court has been reluctant to carve out exceptions to the First Amendment, striking down a ban earlier this year on so-called crush videos that showed actual deaths of animals.

California officials argue they should be allowed to limit minors' ability to buy violent video games because of the potential damage. The games are especially harmful to minors, said Zackery Morazzini, a California deputy attorney general.

The law would bar anyone under 18 from buying or renting games that give players the option of killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.

Parents would be able to buy the games for their children, but retailers who sell directly to minors would face fines of up to $1,000 for each game sold.

Some justices wondered where the regulation would stop. What about films? asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What about comic books? added Justice Antonin Scalia, wondering if movies showing drinking and smoking might be next.

Lower courts have said the law violates minors' constitutional rights, and courts in six other states struck down similar bans.

The Supreme Court's decision is expected next year.

 

30th October   

Updated: Political Wrestling...

Bringing the WWE school of showmanship to the political arena
Link Here

wwe brock pain World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon says his company's fans are being discriminated against in Connecticut and their right to vote is being threatened.

He's responding to the secretary of the state's advice to local voting officials that they can ask people wearing WWE garb to cover it up while voting.

A spokesman for the secretary of the state's office says that's because Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon is so closely associated with WWE, which she left last year to run for office.

State law prevents political advertising within 75 feet of the polls.

Update: Lawsuit

30th October 2010. Based on article from  prowrestling.net

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has announced that he has filed a lawsuit against Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, who previously announced that poll registrars have the right to ask voters to cover up WWE logos.

McMahon issued the following statement on the WWE corporate website: On behalf of myself, my company, WWE fans and any Connecticut citizen who wants to exercise their constitutional right to vote, I have filed a lawsuit today asserting that Susan Bysiewicz's directive that allows poll workers to refuse registered voters wearing WWE merchandise the right to vote is a flagrant act of censorship and discrimination.

 

29th October   

Updated: Internet for Kids...

Imminent hearing for opposition to Massachusetts internet censorship law
Link Here  full story: Internet Minors...Criminalising internet comms harmful to minors

Massachusetts state seal A coalition of booksellers and Internet content providers will ask a judge to stop Massachusetts from enforcing an expansion of state obscenity law to include electronic communications that may be harmful to minors.

The content providers say recent changes to state law amount to broad censorship that effectively bans from the Internet anything that may be considered harmful to minors, including material adults have the right to view.

Supporters claim the new law closes a loophole . The state's highest court had overturned the conviction of a man accused of sending sexually explicit instant messages to someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

Update: Unconstitutional

29th October 2010. Based on article from  xbiz.com

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction this week against a new Massachusetts law aimed at protecting children from online sexual predators by banning anything that may be considered harmful to minors, including adult material.

Internet content providers, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and others sought to block enforcement of the law as it applies to broad-based Internet communications. They did not seek to bar enforcement against sexual predators or others who use the Internet to send harmful material to minors.

U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel ruled that the law, as it is now written, violates the 1st Amendment.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said that her office will draft an injunction that addresses the concerns raised in the ruling and will examine if the law needs to be changed to be sure law enforcement has the necessary tools to protect children online.

The content providers argue that the new amendments amount to a broad censorship law that would ban from the Internet a variety of information that could be seen as harmful to minors, including material about contraception, pregnancy, literature and art that adults have a 1st Amendment right to view.

They also argue that people who disseminate information through a generally accessible website cannot discern the ages of those who view the information and that, as a result, the law inhibits the free speech of adults.

 

26th October   

Updated: Meat the Censor...

Not what a US ferry company wants their customers to view
Link Here

patty murray seattle weekly The current issue of Seattle Weekly has been pulled from the shelves on all Washington State Ferries.

WSF spokesperson Marta Coursey said that although WSF did not receive any complaints, the issue was pulled because: I don't want to have to receive a complaint about it.

We removed it because of the photo of Patty Murray. We thought it was distasteful. We pulled one I think three years ago when it was a caricature of Sweeney Todd slashing Santa's throat during the holidays. We decided to pull it because we thought it was denigrating to women. It was not in keeping with what we want our customers to have to view. I thought it forwarded a disrespectful attitude toward a public figure.

Update: Apologies

26th October 2010. Based on article from  straight.com

The operator of Washington state ferries has expressed regrets after banning an issue of a weekly paper that depicted Sen. Patty Murray dressed in raw pork, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

We probably shouldn't have pulled it, Steve Pierce, communications director for the Washington State Department of Transportation, told the newspaper.

Washington State Ferries reportedly refunded Seattle Weekly's fee for operating a kiosk on the boats.

 

25th October   

Albuquerque Censors Pornotopia...

Porn film festival banned in the name of zoning
Link Here

pornotopia logo Pornotopia, which is scheduled for Nov. 5-7, is no longer welcome at its previous home, the Guild Theater in Nob Hill, Albuquerque.

The council claim it is not zoned for adult entertainment, just like 90% of the town and doubt the remaining 10% has no suitable venues.

A notice on the Pornotopia website that reads, We regret to announce that this year's celebration of erotic film is being postponed indefinitely. The City of Albuquerque's highly restrictive zoning regulations have effectively banned the festival from all potential venues, despite all efforts by the planning committee to find a suitable location within city limits.

Pornotopia Co-Director Molly Adler has intimated that a censored version of the show may take place next month at the Sunshine Theater, featuring comedy sketches, burlesque and more.

In the meantime, the organizers will be looking for a venue outside city limits at which to hold the real Pornotopia.

 

24th October   

Analyse That...

US radio news analyst fired for stating that he was nervous of muslims on plane
Link Here

Enough Dead End Movements Undermining America  US National Public Radio has fired news analyst Juan Williams for saying on Fox News that he gets nervous if he sees Muslims on a plane.

Williams, who has written several books on the US civil rights movement, made the remarks last week on chat show The O'Reilly Factor.

NPR said in a statement that Williams's contract had been ended.

Fox News later signed Williams up as a contributor on a multi-year contract.

In a discussion on Muslims and 9/11 on the O'Reilly Factor , outspoken conservative presenter Bill O'Reilly said: The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.

Williams said he concurred with O'Reilly: I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country . But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

In its statement, NPR said Williams's comments were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR .

 

21st October   

Update: Censorship by Violence...

Man pleads guilty of encouraging attacks on South Park writers
Link Here

south park jail A US man has pleaded guilty to supporting a Somali Islamist militant group and encouraging attacks on the writers of cartoon show South Park.

Prosecutors said Zachary Adam Chesser was 'outraged' by the cartoon's perceived mockery of Muhammad.

US investigators said Chesser was a follower of radical US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Chesser sought twice to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabab, which the US designates as a terrorist group.

Prosecutors said Chesser also posted to an Islamist militant website the personal contact information of people who had joined an Everybody Draw Muhammad Day Facebook group.

Zachary Chesser seriously endangered the lives of innocent people who will remain at risk for many years to come, US Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement: His solicitation of extremists to murder US citizens also caused people throughout the country to fear speaking out - even in jest - lest they also be labelled as enemies who deserved to be killed.

In addition, Chesser pleaded guilty to urging people to plant suspicious packages in public places in order to densensitise police so a real bomb would escape notice.

Chesser pleaded guilty to two counts of communicating threats and soliciting crimes of violence, as well as to supporting an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group. The American Muslim convert faces up to 30 years in prison.

 

18th October   

Update: Spitting at the Censors...

Steven Monroe's I Spit on Your Grave opens unrated
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

Spit Your Grave Sarah Butler Sarah Butler, the star of I Spit On Your Grave, which released last weekend in theaters, is happy with the decision to release it unrated.

She says that the MPAA required more than 100 cuts to give it an R rating, and that would be like cutting the legs off this film.

It's an extremely gory movie, and the rape scene is extraordinarily hard to watch, as they don't just rape her, they torture her too. By the time she starts getting revenge, you're ready to take a hacksaw to the guys yourself.

She also told USA Weekend: Why go through the whole thing of shooting a film and really committing yourself to the violence and everything, and then just go and cut it all up to pieces? It's pointless.

 

17th October   

Terrorist, Gangster and Thief...

US anti-Obama billboard causes a stir in Grand Junction
Link Here

anti obama billboard advert The owner of a Grand Junction company located beneath a controversial billboard of President Barack Obama is glad the sign is now gone.

Doris Downey, owner of J&S Fence Company said the owners of the billboard company, Bud's Signs, removed it after receiving threats from people who didn't care for it.

Its artist, Paul Snover, said that the controversial billboard that depicted Obama in several caricatures would remain for at least a month. Snover, who received numerous hate e-mails of his own about the sign, said he hoped to see it travel to other cities after the Nov. 2 elections.

The billboard depicted Obama as a terrorist, a gangster, a Mexican bandit and a gay man.  Snover said the message was to highlight some of Obama's programs that his client, whom he declined to identify, doesn't care for.

 

14th October   

Cartoon Justice...

US man falls victim to Simpsons porn nonsense
Link Here

Simpsons Season 8 DVD A former man has pleaded guilty to possession of visual representations of child sex abuse.

The U.S. Attorney's office said Steven Kutzner had downloaded 70+ animated cartoon pornographic images on his computer. Many of them depicted child characters from The Simpsons.

Kutzner was a middle school teacher in Meridian but he resigned immediately after the search warrant was served at his home.

Kutzner will be sentenced Jan. 5, 2011. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

 

12th October   

Male Members Only...

MPAA to inform parents whether exposed bits are dangly or not
Link Here

Eat Pray Love Julia Roberts What do Jackass 3D, Eat Pray Love , and Grown-Ups have in common?

They're the first three films to receive the gender-specific warning of male nudity from the MPAA in conjunction with their ratings, an odd distinction that isn't made when actresses disrobe.

Parents requested specifically after the movie Brno that we provide such information, said ratings-board spokesman Craig Hoffman of the Sacha Baron Cohen film, which received a ratings notice last year that warned of pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language, yet mentioned nothing specifically about twirling penises shot in close-up.

 

11th October   

Updated: Primarily Nutters...

Kentucky nutters claim ban on faith promoting number plates doesn't apply as their primary message is anti-porn
Link Here

in god we trust number plate A Kentucky nutter group has filed a lawsuit after being denied a request to create a specialty license plate bearing the motto, In God We Trust.

Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (ROCK) says it first applied for a Kentucky In God We Trust speciality license plate in 2007.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet creates specialty plates to spotlight various non-profit organizations. Motorists can purchase the plates in the process and may choose to make an additional donation to the non-profit in question.

ROCK said it planned to use those donations for education regarding the dangers of pornography and to provide help for women and children victimized by pornography and the sex industry.

But even though ROCK claimed the application met all statutory requirements, the Transportation Cabinet denied it in 2008, saying the plate was designed to promote Christianity, Fox41.com reported.

They stated that our primary purpose was the advancement of a particular religion because there is one bible verse that appears on the ROCK website, MaryAnn Gramig, director of policy and operations for ROCK, told FoxNews.com.

Kentucky law says in order to be eligible to create specialty license plates, a group must, among other things, be a non-profit based in Kentucky, contain no discrimination against any race, color, religion, sex or national origin, not be affiliated with any political party, and not be created by a group that, has as its primary purpose the promotion of any specific faith, religion or antireligion.

It was the judgment of the special plate committee in this cabinet that it just did not meet the statutory criteria that this panel laid out, Chuck Wolfe, a spokesman for the Transportation Cabinet told Fox41.com, saying the group violated the last tenet.

Gramig says ROCK does meet the religion clause. Even though ROCK is a faith-based organization, that's not our primary purpose…we focus on areas of decency, she said.

ROCK has now filed a motion for summary judgment in Franklin Circuit Court last week requesting the court overturn the Transportation Cabinet's decision.

Oral arguments in the case have been set for December 13.

Update: Meanwhile in Vermont

11th October 2010. Based on article from  christianpost.com

Vermont state seal A federal appeals court has ruled that faith-based lettering on vehicle license plates is allowed under the First Amendment, but emphasized that its ruling is limited to Vermont's ban on religious messages.

In ruling in favor of Shawn Byrne, the three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reversed the decision of a federal judge who rejected Byrne's 2005 claim that the state discriminated against him when it rejected his application for a license plate that would read JN36TN – a reference to the popular Bible verse John 3:16.

The appeals court noted how Vermont allows its residents to request vanity plates that convey messages on a variety of topics, including statements of personal philosophy and taste, inspirational messages, and statements of affiliation with or affirmation of entities, causes, and people. The state does not, however, permit any combination of letters or numbers that refer, in any language, to a ... religion or deity.

The state (Vermont) rejected Byrne's message only because it addressed ... areas of otherwise permissible expression from a religious perspective, wrote the appeals court. This the state cannot do.

Update: Nutters Foiled

20th April 2011 See  article from  business.avn.com

Kentucky state seal The Louisville nutter group called Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (ROCK) had the idea that it could promote the 'glory of God', make some money and fight the 'devil's work', porn, all at the same time, by sponsoring a specialty Kentucky license plate adorned with the words, In God We Trust.

Great idea, except for the fact that a judge just nixed the plan, siding with the state's Transportation Cabinet, which rejected ROCK's 2008 application on the grounds that the group promotes religion.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd found the group's claim that the plate was intended only to oppose porn and not to promote religion farfetched, writing, in his ruling, The phrase 'In God We Trust' does not indicate to anyone who views the plate that the holder of the specialty plate supports the goal of abolishing pornography and the sex industry in the commonwealth.

 

8th October   

Comment: Right to Hate...

US Supreme Court to consider the free speech rights of the Westboro Baptists
Link Here

US Supreme Court On October 6, the US Supreme Court takes up a case examining whether members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, went too far when they staged a protest at a fallen marine's funeral in Maryland. The demonstrators hoisted signs proclaiming: You Are Going to Hell and Thank God for Dead Soldiers.

Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro church, has made a career out of using blunt and offensive statements to try to shock Americans into joining his crusade against gay rights. His followers show up at military funerals and announce that God is killing American soldiers for the sins of the country. Funeralgoers are urged to repent... or else.

In Maryland, it was too much for the grieving father, Albert Snyder, to endure. He sued. The case pits Snyder's First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in a church to mourn his son's passing against the Westboro protesters' right to chant harsh slogans and display shocking signs in their campaign for moral salvation of the nation.

I suspect neither Phelps nor Snyder will change their point of view no matter what happens in the case, says Christina Wells, a law professor and First Amendment scholar at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law: Somebody is going to be unhappy . But the debate [surrounding the case] hopefully will foster understanding of why we have the First Amendment we do.

...Read the full article

Comment: Supreme Court appears inclined to rule against funeral protesters

8th October 2010. See  article from  religionnewsblog.com

Despite free-speech concerns, Supreme Court justices sounded sympathetic to a lawsuit filed by the father of a Marine killed in Iraq whose funeral was picketed by protesters .

The justices appeared inclined to set a limit to freedom of speech when ordinary citizens are targeted with especially personal and hurtful attacks. The 1st Amendment says the government may not restrict free speech, but it is less clear when it shields speakers from private lawsuits.

Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer, usual defenders of the 1st Amendment, said they thought people could be sued for outrageous personal attacks. Kennedy said certain harassing conduct was not always protected as free speech. Torts and crimes are committed with words all the time, he said, referring to legal wrongs that result in lawsuits. The 1st Amendment doesn't stop state tort law in appropriate circumstances, Breyer added.

It will be several months before the court makes a ruling in the case.

 

6th October   

Update: Axed...

Unrated Hatchet II release suffers an early end
Link Here

hatchet 2 For a brief moment this past weekend, the impossible happened - the unrated Hatchet 2 opened in over 60 theaters and became a cause for celebration among horror film fans, who viewed the release as a possible way to break the seemingly arbitrary MPAA chokehold that they see as part of the decline of the horror genre.

Hatchet 2 is one of the few times in the last twenty-five years that an unrated film has gotten any sort of theatrical release and the horror launched a Twitter and Facebook campaign to support it.

Leading horror website DreadCentral.com had even asked fans to buy tickets for Hatchet 2 online even if they aren't near a theater showing it as a way to send a message to Hollywood that there's a market for unrated horror.

That dream barely made it through the weekend; the theater chains that were carrying Hatchet 2 pulled it without explanation by Monday morning. It's tough to really know the specific box office numbers since several theaters - in Canada, specifically -- wound up pulling the film right away due to fear of being fined for showing an unrated film, says Green. We're hearing that others decided to only show Hatchet 2 at specific times due to the hassle of having to have someone guard the cinema door to check IDs. When I saw the film in Los Angeles there was a guard at the door for the entire movie checking ticket stubs and IDs where necessary. It was kind of crazy.

Update: Poor Box Office

8th October 2010. See  article from  ifc.com

Adam Green and his marketers pinned their hopes for that miracle on AMC, and an ad campaign that specifically tied Hatchet II 's lack of a rating (I saw posters for the film at Fantastic Fest that even used the tagline Support Unrated Horror ). If nothing else, Hatchet II 's $52,000 weekend gross proves that turning a gory, tongue-in-cheek slasher movie into a referendum on free speech isn't a shortcut to box office gold. Those uncut and unrated slogans are on DVDs because people want to see extreme blood and guts, not because they're looking to strike a blow against organized censorship. They're horror fans, not freedom fighters.

Offsite: Adam Green Speaks

9th October 2010. See  article from  reelzchannel.com by Adam Green

The sad truth of the matter is that no one at [distributor] Dark Sky has been able to tell me the exact reasons behind why the film was pulled (they have not gotten a clear explanation whatsoever) and I only know what I am hearing from the public on Twitter and AMC's response to the press of we base our decisions on performance which does not add up given that we know of at least two theaters that had pulled the film after just 24 hours and given the grand scheme of things, other genre titles performed worse per screen, even though they had bigger budgets and traditional spends on marketing campaigns as opposed to ours.

All signs would point to AMC being unhappy with how vocal I was about the MPAA and not wanting to deal with the controversy — which if the case, is their given right. Had the film grossed millions, maybe it would be a different story with them, but given the size of our release and the nature of what this is, all we ever could have hoped for was a few grand per screen in a realistic scenario.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Adam Green Speaks About Hatchet III

3rd October 2011. See  article from  fearnet.com

When Hatchet II came out, they [the MPAA] were under fire because of the torture-porn that was getting through. But the reason that torture-porn was getting through was because it was being distributed by a studio that pays their salaries, so they couldn't stop it. So there is all this backlash from parents, and I come along with a swamp monster with a gas-powered belt sander, killing comedians like Monty Python, and they came down on me!

But they fucked with the wrong guy because I beat them. I got my film into theatres unrated - which hasn't happened in 30 years - for 48 hours. Then I became the first movie to ever get pulled from theatres. There was all this bullshit that it wasn't performing but in fact it did so great that, within 72 hours of the DVD release, a third one got greenlit. So the MPAA can eat a fucking dick. Hatchet III is coming, so I win, they lose.

...Read the full article

 

4th October   

Updated: Persona Non Grata...

Newspaper editors fearful of cartoon with the word Mohammed in it
Link Here

gsrv.gocomics.com Several papers (upwards of 20) asked for a replacement for Sunday's Non Sequitur cartoon strip because it mentioned the word Muhammad.

The cartoon by Wiley Miller depicts a lazy, sunny park scene with the caption, Picture book title voted least likely to ever find a publisher… 'Where's Muhammad?' Characters in the park are buying ice cream, fishing, roller skating, etc. No character is depicted as even Middle Eastern.

Responding to the news that his strip may not appear in some papers, Wiley tells me, the irony of editors being afraid to run even such a tame cartoon as this that satirizes the blinding fear in media regarding anything surrounding Islam sadly speaks for itself. Indeed, the terrorists have won.

 

3rd October   

Comment: Hatchet II and Unrated Horror...

An appeal for US horror fans to change the rules
Link Here

unrated horror I'm sick of PG-13 horror. Ugh! Another remake? Screw going to the theatre, I'll just wait to see the unrated edition on DVD or Blu-ray.

How many of you have said such things? The sad part is we've gotten used to it. The MPAA has beaten back the genre countless times with their double standards and self given right to deem for us what is acceptable and what is not. No one dared to challenge them, no matter how much we bitched, cried, and moaned. We were never afforded the chance to do anything about their rule over the horror genre, something they clearly do not even understand.

Until now.

This weekend for the first time in over a quarter of a century a movie is coming out in a pretty damned wide release (all things considered) at AMC theatres across the country unrated and untampered with by the film group for whom cool began and ended with the Fonz on Happy Days . Adam Green's Hatchet II isn't looking to reinvent the wheel. That was never the intention. Adam and company just made the film that they wanted to make. He was content with it going straight to DVD unrated. Better that than seeing his flick get butchered again. But then Dark Sky and MPI Films got behind it full force. AMC loved the movie enough to grant it a wide theatrical release. This wasn't an act of defiance of the MPAA on anyone's part who are directly connected to the film, but you know what? It can be for us. We can take the reins here. We have an opportunity to make our voices heard and possibly change the rules in the process.

If we as horror fans make it a point to make sure that Hatchet II is successful at the box office this weekend, we can take back some of the power that the MPAA has been unmercifully wielding for so many years and do so in a way that Hollywood understands ... with cash! Theatre chains would always shy away from unrated horror releases because they didn't think it would be profitable for them to bother showing a film without the ratings board's blessing. We have a unique chance right now to prove that's bullshit!

If this movie is successful this weekend, other theatre chains will be more receptive to the idea of giving indie filmmakers their shot to reach their audience. No one wants to miss out on something profitable. And for the filmmakers the hassle of having to go on trial in front of the MPAA to get their movie rated so it can get out there just may not seem so necessary anymore, and we can FINALLY start getting what we crave the most: Our movies. Our way. Does it get any more punk rock than that?

 

2nd October   

Update: The Everything Cut...

Director Steven Monroe interviewed about Unrated cinema release for I Spit on Your Grave
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

i spit on your grave remake Director Steven Monroe was interviewed about the remake, I Spit on Your Grave.

Fearnet: Is this truly unrated? Did you submit it to the MPAA at all?

Monroe: Yes, it is truly unrated. The cut we submitted to the MPAA was what we called the Everything Cut. It had everything in there that we wanted in there, and that we thought the fans would want to see. We didn't want the fans to be able to say that we backed off on anything. That is the cut we sent to the MPAA, and that is the cut that is going out to theatres unrated. The MPAA said that cut would be NC-17, but they also said that they don't recommend we cut it down. In a way we were shocked, but it was easy for them. They don't care if the film is released with an NC-17 or an R. It's the distributors who care. Why go NC-17? You can't get into any theatres with that. At least with unrated, you can show it to theatre chains to see if they will take it. And a lot did take it. The R-rated cut that the MPAA signed off on is sitting on a shelf somewhere.

Fearnet: Will that end up getting a wider release?

Monroe: No. They are not doing any release with that R-rated cut. At all.

...Read the full interview

 

1st October   

Update: Dangerously Extendable Powers...

US bill to allow authorities wide powers to close down websites has been delayed
Link Here  full story: Online Infringement Act...Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

US Senate The worrying IP infringement bill thankfully failed to sneak in ahead of the Senate adjournment for recess.

The change in plans should delight some of the bill's critics, at least, who expressed concern that the legislation was moving forward quickly.

The Senate Judiciary Committee now won't be considering the dangerously flawed Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) bill until after the midterm elections, at least.

This is a real victory! The entertainment industry and their allies in Congress had hoped this bill would be quickly approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with no debate before the Senators went home for the October recess.

The bill will be back soon enough though.

Under the proposed legislation, the Justice Department would file a civil action against accused pirate domain names. If the domain name resides in the U.S., the attorney general could then request that the court issue an order finding that the domain name in question is dedicated to infringing activities. The Justice Department would have the authority to serve the accused site's U.S.-based registrar with an order to shut down the site.

MPAA logo

MPAA

Motion Picture Association of America

Films are rated for US theatrical showings and video formats by the MPAA.

The MPAA is a trade organisation, not a state censor. Ratings are voluntary and are not sanctioned by US law. Distributors can opt out of MPAA ratings and release the film MPAA Unrated.

The MPAA are also very active in actions against film piracy.

The MPAA established the modern ratings under the presidency of Jack Valenti

MPAA Presidents:
 - Jack Valenti 1966-2004
 - Dan Glickman 2004-2010
- Chris Dodd 2011-present

MPAA Ratings:

-  G: General Audiences: All ages admitted

- PG: Parental Guidance: Some material may not be suitable for children

- PG-13: Some material may  be inappropriate for children under 13

- R: Restricted: Under 17 requires  accompanying  parent or adult guardian
[in UK terms = 17A]

- NC-17:  No one 17 and under admitted
[in UK terms = 18]

- Unrated, not an MPAA rating but a distributor opt out

Previously there was an X rating which was replaced by the NC-17 in 1990. Distributors could also opt for this X rating without submitting the film for rating. This opt out was commonly used by porn distributors and the X rating became associated with porn. The replacement NC-17 is only available for films submitted to the MPAA.

The NC-17 is commercially unattractive as many theatres and a few retailers consider  themselves 'family friendly' and therefore refuse adults-only material.

MPAA's  film rating department is called Classification and Rating administration (CARA)

Websites:
  MPAA Corporate
CARA

Melon Farmers News:
US Censorship News
 

ESRB logo

ESRB

Entertainment Software Ratings Board

ESRB is a US trade organisation that assigns the age and content ratings displayed on all computer and video games, enforces marketing guidelines, and advises on online privacy issues.

ESRB Ratings:

- EARLY CHILDHOOD (EC) Content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

- EVERYONE (E) Content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

- EVERYONE 10+ (E10+) Content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

- TEEN (T) Content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

- MATURE (M) Content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.  This category is particularly designed to ensure that the most adult possible can be sold at many supposedly 'family friendly' retailers who refuse to stock adults only titles

- ADULTS ONLY (AO) Content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.  Many US retailers refuse to carry AO titles

- RATING PENDING (RP) Titles have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release.)

Melon Farmers News:
US Censorship News