Click Magazine interviews William Friedkin about Killer Joe and his hassles with the US film censors
27th June 2012
CLICK: You opted to not fight the NC-17 rating, why?
William Friedkin : Because they're full of shit! No the rating's correct too. I don't target 13 year olds or 16 year olds to see this movie. I don't think the
ratings incorrect. Its draconian, it limits you and limits your audience but it's not an incorrect rating.
This should be an 18 plus which it is over here and throughout Europe and in the rest of the world.
The ratings board is extremely problematical in that they don't have a rule book that's as thick as this [holds up a sheet of paper]. There's nothing that you can read that says: if you do this or that thing you will get an NC-17.
With the ratings board, we don't know how they got there. We know it was political. But their judgements have no legal standing, they're a self-governing body of the MPAA and they will not give an NC-17 to a member company of that group. There will be
little concessions made to them -- a few frames here and there...
You might have asked -- did you ever think you'd get an NC-17 and did you have to change it? And I can answer you honestly no I didn't change a frame of it
because I'm too old to bow down before this anonymous board of censors.
Broadcasters have won the latest round in their long running battle with US TV censors over the limits of decency on the small screen.
In a Supreme Court judgment, the justices sided with Fox and ABC against the Federal Communication Commission
(FCC) over the broadcasting of momentary expletives and nudity.
The ruling related to two separate incidents in which the FCC moved against broadcasters for indecency transmitted before the 10pm watershed. The first concerned a Fox broadcasting of
the Billboard Music Awards in 2002 in which Cher said fuck on live TV, followed by a similar expletive by Nicole Richie at the same awards the following year. The second was a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue , in which the actress
Charlotte Ross exposed her backside for seven seconds.
The FCC fined ABC $1.4m for indecency, but this seemed to be a sudden change in policy in response to pressure from moralist campaigns.
The supreme court found that in both cases the
broadcasters had been given insufficient notice to be aware that they were in breach of the rules. Previous decisions by the FCC, the court noted, had taken no action against TV networks for isolated and brief moments of nudity. The judgement said:
Regulated parties should know what is required of them so they may act accordingly; and precision and guidance are necessary so that those enforcing the law do not act in an arbitrary or discriminatory way. When speech is
involved, rigorous adherence to those requirements is necessary to ensure that ambiguity does not chill protected speech.
US TV networks have announced plans to provide access to the TV ratings system for online content. A statement explained:
Parents will now be able use the TV ratings system when children access broadcast television
programs on the Internet. The networks are making the ratings information available for all full-length entertainment programs that stream on the websites that they control.
Participating networks include ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC,
TeleFutura, Telemundo, and Univision. These online ratings are set to be in place by 1st December 2012, and each company will develop their own systems.
Details about the show - like violence or sexual content - will appear at the beginning of
full-length programs as well as in the programming descriptions, according to a statement. There will also be links to ratings information.
TV ratings are currently governed by the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board. The current ratings are
TV-Y, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14, or TV-MA. They are further broken down to warn parents about suggestive dialogue, crude language, sexual situations, violence, or fantasy violence.
The Parents TV Council don't sound too impressed
The Parents Television Council? today welcomed the decision by TV networks ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telefutura, Telemundo and Univision to expand their ratings to online content, a move PTC encouraged in a 2010 online video study. However, PTC cautioned that
the decision rings hollow without reform to a system that lacks accuracy, consistency, transparency and accountability.
Unfortunately, if the online rating system is similar to the current television rating system, then this move
is a distinction without difference. PTC has proven time and time again that the TV content ratings system is a facade, citing inaccurate and inconsistent ratings designated by the networks themselves with no accountability. In fact, in today's
statement, it is made clear that each network will have its own system, which will no doubt promote even more inconsistency and inhibit reliance by the very parents who need the technology. Programmers and distributors can -- and must -- do better.
American politicians are calling for a boycott of HBO's fantasy series Game of Thrones after the creator's despicable decision to include former President George W. Bush's severed head in several scenes. In the tenth episode of the
first season, Bush's decapitated head is seen impaled on a wooden spike, covered in filthy long hair.
HBO and the show's creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, have apologized for the incident. Benioff and Weiss, who noted the appearance in the
series' DVD commentary, insist it wasn't a political statement - just a prop. They said:
We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etc. We can't afford to have these all made from scratch,
especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk
HBO said in a statement that the scene was:
unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste. We made this clear to the
executive producers of the series who apologized immediately for this inadvertent careless mistake. We are sorry this happened and will have it removed from any future DVD production.
Craig Eaton, chairman of the Brooklyn Republican
Party, was disgusted by the former president's appearance on the show. He told Mail Online:
I think that it's despicable. As a country, Democrats, Republicans, we have to have respect for the office and the
individuals. Once we lose that respect, the United States looks weak. Think about what people outside the country think when they see how Americans are disparaging their own former presidents.
Americans of all political
persuasions should stand up and demand that things like this should not continue. They should boycott watching this particular show.
In an important ruling involving parody productions, a federal appeals court affirmed yesterday that a South Park episode called What What (In the Butt) did not infringe on the YouTube video of the same
Residents in Middleborough have voted to introduce fines for swearing in public.
At a town meeting, residents voted 183-50 to approve a police proposal to impose a $20 fine on public profanity.
Middleborough already has a bylaw against
public profanity, but the level of criminality it invokes is set too high for practical use. The new measure sets the level as per traffic violations and will be more viable for police to fine strong talking victims.
A letter from Indian animal activist Maneka Gandhi to the Minister Of Information & Broadcasting Ms Ambika Soni has set of a flurry of activity in official quarters of the government.
The letter alleges that Bollywood film producers are making a fool
of the Animal Welfare Board Of India (AWBI) and the censor board.
In the letter Maneka Gandhi says:
They (the producers) send a script but will not mention animal activity in India or will give wrong
activity.Then when the film is shot they send the CD for approval to the AWBI without the schemes involving animals in it. The AWBI gives the NOC (No Objection Certificate) on the basis of the CD.
The producer then reinstates the
scenes and goes to the censor board with the NOC. These scenes are usually very violent. The censor board instead of questioning these scenes which are blatantly cruel, simply take it for granted that they have an NOC and pass the film.
The letter goes on to give the example of Sajid Nadiadwala's Housefull 2 where Akshay Kumar is seen wrestling crocodiles and a python .
Gandhi also accuses some regional officers of the CBFC of blatantly ignoring the rules. She cites the
example of the Tamil film Adukulam where the rooster fights that were the film's mainstay had not been approved of by the AWBI.
The letter seems to have triggered a response from the censor board. A source from the censor board says there
are radical changes coming regarding the censorship process with respect to animals in Hindi films.
Steven Cooksey has created a website to help other diabetics get healthy, but a North Carolina agency tried to censor his online healthy food advice column, saying he was not a licensed dietitian.
Cooksey has filed a lawsuit in federal court,
saying the state violated his free speech rights. Cooksey said in an interview with The Associated Press:
When did it become illegal to tell people to eat meats and vegetables? How is it illegal to tell people not to
eat grains? We're talking about healthy eating. This is wrong.
The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition claimed it was illegal for anyone without a government-issued dietician's license to offer diet advice.
The law suit
names the Board of Dietetics/Nutrition and several board members are named as defendants. The lawsuit was filed on Cooksey's behalf by the Institute for Justice, a national civil liberties group. This content-based censorship of Cooksey's speech
violates the First Amendment, the lawsuit said.
Cooksey says he never described himself as a doctor, dietician or nutritionist. His website has a disclaimer informing readers he has no special dietary qualifications.
Cooksey says he started answering reader questions in a column. A month later, he received a notice from the state asking him to stop providing advice to readers, friends and family in private emails and conversations; and offering a paid
LD Entertainment will release William Friedkin's Killer Joe with an NC-17 rating, opting not to edit it for a more commercial R Rating..
David Dinerstein president of LD Entertainment said:
As we support
the artistic integrity of our filmmakers [...] 'Killer Joe' will be released in theaters on July 27th in its original version as an NC-17 film.
The film has played to enthusiastic crowds at the Venice, Toronto and
South-by-Southwest Film Festivals where many critics have noted this is Matthew McConaughey's best performance to date. As our initial LD Entertainment release, we are excited to bring this very entertaining, funny and provocative film to audiences this
The last major film to bow with an NC-17 ratings was Shame, which earned the vast majority of its grosses overseas.
Proposed legislation in both chambers of the New York state legislature would require New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, to remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees
to attach his or her name to the post.
However the bills stand no chance of surviving any constitutional scrutiny even if they were approved.
Republican Assemblyman Jim Conte claimed the legislation would cut down on mean-spirited and
baseless political attacks and turns the spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity.
This statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York, said Kevin
Bankston, a staff attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology. He added that the legislation provides a heckler's veto to anybody who disagrees with or doesn't like what an anonymous poster said.
Sen. Thomas O'Mara, a Republican
who is also sponsoring the measure, claimed it would help lend some accountability to the internet age.
The Senate and Assembly measures, which are identical, cover messages on social networks, blogs, message boards or any other
discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. The bills also demand those sites to have a contact number or e-mail address posted for such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.
S ome NBC affiliates apparently didn't like it when host Mick Jagger used some strong language in political song on Saturday Night Live.
Near the end of Saturday's season finale, the Rolling Stones frontman performed Tea Party
, a bluesy number featuring guitar virtuoso Jeff Beck. Jagger told the audience he wrote the song, which is about the current presidential campaign and its candidates who have to strategize a bit. And then something along the lines of: You're gonna end up deep down in the shit.
The word 'shit' led some stations to cut away early to commercials, according to numerous Twitter users. However, other stations, including KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, ran the whole number uncensored.
Saturday Night Live airs
during the FCC's safe harbor hours of 10 p.m. to 6 am when broadcasters can broadcast material deemed indecent. NBC was not obligated to censor the song at the national level, but local station managers could use their discretion.
A federal judge has overturned part of a Utah law trying to target porn sites by making them responsible for limiting children's access to harmful or pornographic material.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson ruled people cannot be prosecuted for
posting adult content on generally accessible websites, and are not required by law to label the content that they post.
The ruling does not forbid prosecution of those who send inappropriate images or language directly to children via email,
instant message or text.
A group of booksellers, artists, Internet service providers and the ACLU of Utah sued the state after the Legislature passed the Harmful to Minors Act in 2005, arguing it violated free speech rights. Benson had blocked
enforcement of the law since the lawsuit was filed in 2006.
After 8 years the legal battle between Google and adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 has been put to rest. The latter accused the search giant of a variety of copyright infringement breaches which included Google's use of cached images. The case
has now been dismissed without the option for further appeal.
In 2004 Google was sued by Perfect 10. The adult publisher demanded a permanent injunction against Google to prevent it from copying and distributing thumbnails of its images, and to
stop the search engine from linking to websites where Perfect 10 content was hosted illegally.
Initially Perfect 10 scored a substantial victory as the court agreed with the adult company's position on Google's use of thumbnails. However, the
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals later reversed this ruling stating that this utilization of thumbnails amounted to fair use.
What followed was a lengthy legal battle in which the adult company targeted Google with a wide range of secondary
liability claims. These claims were often supported by the MPAA and RIAA, and opposed by digital rights groups such as the EFF. After nearly 8 years of litigation and two failed requests for a Supreme Court review, the case continued at the District
Court where both sides accused each other of breaking the rules. Notable is Perfect 10's quite unconventional last-minute attempt to find more dirt on Google. Earlier this year the company called on the public to provide evidence that Google was aiding
or abetting copyright infringements. The publisher went as far as offering a $25,000 bounty, which is still listed on its website.
Brave from the makers of Toy Story and Finding Nemo is getting a lot of attention in Scotland in the hope of a tourism boost from a hit film.
But American censors have dealt cinema giants Disney and Pixar a box office blow
after imposing a PG rating on their eagerly-awaited fantasy set in the Highlands.
Scenes of kilted characters lifting up the traditional Scottish garb are thought to have earned the film the rating, with an MPAA warning: contains rude humour.
In one scene featured in Brave trailers, one character is seen lifting his kilt and loudly declaring: Feast your eyes.
Pixar's teaser, said to promote a new product by Ruff McLauren , states:
What makes a man feel like a man, is it tossing logs, is it fighting bears, or is it freedom -- the freedom a man feels when he is wearing a small plaid skirt?
One film blogger, John Young, said: It's definitely
worth a laugh, but for me, the movie's advertising campaign is starting to raise some concerns. I feel like Disney's trailers and ads have emphasised the rude humour aspect.
A spokeswoman for VisitScotland, which is spearheading a
£ 7 million campaign to promote Brave, said:
The Scots are very good at laughing at themselves and we think the film captures our sense of humour perfectly. It all looks harmless
The US government's broadcast arm has called on the Indonesian House of Representatives to amend several broadcast regulations to make it easier for foreign media to operate in the country, a legislator has said.
Eva Kusuma Sundari, an opposition
legislator, said the request was made by Norman G. Goodman, chief of the Voice of America's Indonesian service.
Eva, who took part in the visit, said the contingent's discussions with Goodman and other stakeholders focused on scrapping an article
from the Broadcast Law that prohibits foreign media from carrying out live broadcasts.
The VOA officials argued the prohibition prevented most of its viewers and listeners from getting information but is irrelevant today because anyone with
Internet access can watch live news streams online, Eva said.
We advised VOA to submit their proposals in writing so the House can formally follow up on them later, she said in Jakarta.
The filmmaker and distributor behind Chained , a thriller about a serial killer have had their rating appeal rejected by the MPAA. The movie, which was directed by Jennifer Lynch ( Boxing Helena , and daughter of David
Lynch) and distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment, was given an NC-17 for some explicit violence.
It marks a rare instance of an NC-17 rating being given because of violence alone; usually NC-17 is more associated with sexual content.
It is not yet clear whether the films connections will stick with the NC-17, or else cut the film for an R rating.
Director Jennifer Lynch has told 24 Frames she will recut the offending scene, a graphic depiction of a woman having her throat slit open, that landed the movie the MPAA's NC-17 rating. But she didn't sound like a filmmaker who understood, or
was happy about, the censors' decision. She said:
The one thing they [the appeals board] kept citing was context, that violence in a lot of other films doesn't feel as intense, she said. I have a lot of compassion for
what [the MPAA] does. And they were all very nice and warm in the room. But it doesn't seem fair to me. I feel like we are being punished because the film was done the way it was set out to be done, which was authentically.
distributor, Anchor Bay Entertainment, said it has yet to decide whether it will also release an unrated version to theaters (presumably after the rated version has finished its run, per MPAA rules) or, possibly, release the unrated version on DVD. The
film has not yet been dated for release.
Lynch said she knew that the stigma of the NC-17 was too great to risk a commercial release with that rating. But she hopes film-goers check out her uncut version of Chained , if only for
comparison's sake. Horror fans will see it and be stunned at the NC-17, she said: They've seen much worse.
They agreed to not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder,
They also said that they will ask
casting directors to check IDs at photo shoots and fashion shows and for ad campaigns.
American, French, Chinese and British editions of the fashion glossies are among those that will start following the new guidelines with their June issues; the
Japanese edition will begin with its July book.
Conde Nast International Chairman Jonathan Newhouse said in a statement:
Vogue believes that good health is beautiful. Vogue Editors around the world want the
magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the well-being of their readers.
No doubt this will do nothing to stem criticism from the politically correct. AP reports that there is
still persistent criticism that the fashion world creates a largely unattainable and 'unhealthy' standard that particularly supposedly affects impressionable young girls.
U.S. lawmakers have authored another bill designed to censor the internet in the name of cybersecurity.
Citing cyberattacks as a threat, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the
personal correspondence of any person they choose.
The website Change.org has created a petition against the act and a handful of videos have been made against it along with some articles, but the American press has been mostly silent about the
potential act, HR 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short).
Opponents say the bill has vague language that could well allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online
privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.
Critics have already come after CISPA for the capabilities that it will give to seemingly any federal
entity that claims it is threatened by online interactions, but unlike the Stop Online Privacy Act and the Protect IP Acts that were discarded on the Capitol Building floor after incredibly successful online campaigns to crush them, widespread
recognition of what the latest would-be law will do has yet to surface to the same degree.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online advocacy group, has sharply condemned CISPA for what it means for the future of the Internet. It
effectively creates a cybersecurity exemption to all existing laws, explains the EFF, who add in a statement of their own that There are almost no restrictions on what can be collected and how it can be used, provided a company can claim it was
motivated by cybersecurity purposes.
Update: Insanity: CISPA Just Got Way Worse, And Then Passed On Rushed Vote
The House has passed the bill with late amendments that opened up the scope way beyond the original security basis.
Among them was an absolutely terrible change (pdf and embedded below---scroll to amendment #6) to the
definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government's power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for
which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.
Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for
cybersecurity or national security purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of
children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.
From sexualintelligence.wordpress.com By Dr. Marty Klein
The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to review a federal court's decision that the FCC acted capriciously in levying huge fines for a 1/2-second nipple shot. In this regard, they are clones of the Bush Administration. And in this regard
they are no friend of the American people, no friend of free speech, no friend of freedom.
So why are two successive presidencies, not to mention the national morality apparatus, obsessed with a half-second of nipple? Why are
millions more of your tax dollars about to be spent attempting to punish CBS for what they failed to prevent over 8 years ago?
The US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission has asked the Supreme Court to review a lower court's decision to rescind the $550,000 fine the FCC gave CBS after the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl halftime show in
In January, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals denied a full-court rehearing of the 2011 decision by a three-judge panel that the FCC's fine of CBS stations was arbitrary and was a policy change for which CBS stations were improperly
The FCC said in its petition that the court should not have found that its indecency policy was an arbitrary and capricious departure from precedent.
You can buy Fat Bastard wine in Alabama, but you'll have to go elsewhere for Dirty Bastard beer.
The state alcoholic beverage control agency have said that it has banned the sale of that brand of beer in the state because of the profanity on its
The drink censor's staff members rejected the brand because that parents may not want young people to see rough language on the shelves, said Bob Martin, an attorney with the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
whole reason for the rule, to keep dirty pictures and dirty words away from children, he said. Personally, I believe the staff made the right call.
The censors have drawn up a list of objectionable words that should not appear on
product labels, Martin said, and the list includes bastard.
The state allows the sale of Fat Bastard wine as the name was cleared before the age of PC nonsense. Martin said the agency considered revoking those earlier approvals when it
denied the application for Dirty Bastard, but officials decided against such action.
A Chinese consulate in the U.S. has contacted the Palm Beach International Film Festival to warn them about a harmful movie they will screen that documents the violent persecution of a Chinese spiritual practice by communist authorities.
The consulate in Houston repeatedly called an organizer of the film festival making
inquiries about the film, according to a spokesperson who did not want to be named, in a telephone interview with The Epoch Times: They called asking questions, telling us that they thought it would be potentially harmful to them,
The consular official was told that
We're in America, according to the individual, and that the film would be shown nevertheless.
Michael Perlman, the filmmaker, understood the calls from the consulate to be an attempt at censorship:
brazen attempt to silence free speech and expression of an American citizen in the United States by the Chinese government is dangerous and must be exposed so that these actions will not be repeated.
The documentary that aroused the
phone calls is titled Free China: The Courage to Believe , and was directed by artist and activist Michael Perlman. It will be screened publicly for the first time at the Palm Beach International Film Festival on April 14 and 16.
China documents the persecution of Falun Gong, a popular Chinese spiritual practice, through the stories of two adherents who have been incarcerated and tortured by Chinese authorities because of their beliefs.
Every year, the American Library Association releases a list of the most frequently challenged books, ie books that nutters have requested to be banned from libraries, schools, and curricula.
This year, Suzanne Collins' dystopian novel
The Hunger Games trilogy is ranked No. 3 on the list. It's no surprise that Hunger Games is a controversial series, its basic premise of children slaughtering children for sport is said to be shocking in itself.
At No.1 is Lauren
Myracle's IM series, ttyl, ttfn, and l 8r, g8r . The novels, written entirely in IM format, follow high school friends as they navigate boys, drugs, alcohol, parties, driving, and college prep.
No. 2 on the list
is The Color of Earth , a series by Kim Dong Hwa, a graphic novel about a young girl coming of age alongside her single mother.
The porn industry is rallying against Rick Santorum's war on sexually explicit material with an online video protest of the Republican presidential candidate.
The satirical clip on Jest.com, entitled Porn Stars Against Santorum ,
follows the conservative's pledge last month to ban hardcore pornography if elected.
Not to be outdone, adult film stars Allie Haze, Chastity Lynn and Chanel Preston feature in the two-minute video, calling for a co-ordinated protest on May 1 to
protest the politician's anti-pornography stand.
Jest teamed up with producers at Los Angeles-based porn industry giant Vivid Entertainment to make the campaign video.
The actresses also encourage viewers to vote for Santorum in the
remaining primary elections, because if he wins the primaries, he will definitely get crushed by Obama. And Obama would never try to stop the porn industry.
The Weinstein Company has announced that it had reached an agreement with the MPAA to cut its unrated documentary Bully for a PG-13 rating. The movie will now go out with that rating when it opens in about 115 new theaters next weekend.
new cut of the Lee Hirsch film makes some concessions to the MPAA: It removes a 'fuck' in an early scene in the film, along with two others quickly uttered. Audio will be dropped out in all three instances.
But the new cut leaves intact a
controversial scene on a school bus in which three 'fucks' are used against a bullied child.
The case now represents an exception to the MPAA's rules; the group typically imposes an R rating on any film with more than two 'fucks'.
unexpurgated version of the movie will remain for the current restricted release, with the PG-13 print replacing all versions when the movie widens April 13.
It's been 15 years since the broadcast and cable networks launched TV's parental guidance ratings system under heavy pressure from the government and special interest groups. The ratings themselves were voluntary, but came after the landmark 1996
Telecommunications Act required all TV sets to include a V-Chip device that could block out programming unsuitable for children.
For most folks, the ratings bugs are just one more thing on an already cluttered TV screen.
According to a 2007 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 43 percent of respondents who had purchased a V-Chip-equipped TV since 2000 even knew of the technology, and just 16 percent of parents said they utilized it. The study also found that few
viewers understood that V stands for violence, S is sex and D means suggestive dialogue. Even more comical, a percentage of parents polled thought FV --- which warns of fantasy violence on kids'
shows like Cartoon Network's Ben 10 --- is an abbreviation for family viewing. Oops.
Arisona's legislature has passed a bill which would update an existing telephone harassment law to apply to the Internet and other forms of electronic communication. The problem, though, is that it dramatically broadens the scope, making it potentially
criminal to even marginally offend someone when they aren't even the target of the offensive communication.
The bill reads:
It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten,
harass, annoy or offend, to use any electronic or digital device and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.
outlined by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:
The bill is sweepingly broad, and would make it a crime to communicate -- via any electronic means -- speech that is intended to 'annoy,' 'offend,' 'harass' or 'terrify,'
as well as certain sexual speech.
Because the bill is not limited to one-to-one communications, House Bill 2549 would apply to the Internet as a whole, thus criminalizing all manner of writing, cartoons, and other protected
material the state finds offensive or annoying.
Words like lewd or profane are not defined by statute, or in reference. Most people understand lewd to mean of a lusty or sexual nature, and profane is
disrespectful of religious beliefs and practices. And how does one define annoying, when it's so individual?
Section one of this law is so vague, in fact, that a person could be prosecuted because a friend of a friend of a friend found a
Facebook post offensive. Which is ridiculous.
Right now, the only thing standing in this bill's way is the governor's signature.
Despite numerous media reports stating that Arizona's HB 2549---the now infamous bill that, as one headline put it, would censor the internet ---has moved from the legislature and is sitting on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk waiting for her John
Hancock, such is not the case, according to the Phoenix New Times.
As we've already mentioned twice before, reported Matthew Hendley this afternoon, the bill was never transferred to the governor, contrary to the numerous media reports
saying it has. The bill was amended before it passed the Senate, meaning it was returned to the House---where it's apparently been stopped.
The bill, which sponsor Vic Williams says was drafted to address online harassment and stalking, and to
protect people's privacy, contains language so sloppily written that UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who is certainly no tinfoil hat-wearing Leftie, said it would not pass constitutional muster.
The US House Foreign Affairs panel has approved legislation that seeks to bar U.S. companies from helping foreign countries in trying to censor the Internet or monitor their citizens' Internet or mobile communications.
The legislation approved by
the Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Subcommittee would require the State Department to identify by name in its annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices the countries that restrict access to the Internet. It also would bar U.S. firms from
exporting to these countries hardware or software that could be used to spy on or censor citizens.
The Global Online Freedom Act would also require companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission what
types of information they share with repressive regimes and whether they notify users when they block access to content at their request. Subcommittee Chairman Chris Smith, R-N.J., the bill's sponsor, has said this last provision would allow human rights
activists to pressure U.S. companies not to engage in such practices.
Despite this, the bill faces an uphill battle in Congress. Smith has introduced similar versions of the legislation in past years but those measures haven't gone far.
The distributor of the documentary Bully , which is hitting theaters this weekend unrated, is now considering making cuts to secure a PG-13 rating, sources told the Los Angeles Times.
Two Weinstein Company sources, who requested anonymity,
said the PG-13 version of Bully would cut profanity from a controversial scene, in which a student is threatened on a school bus.
The edited version would be available to theaters when Bully opens in wider release on April 13, the sources said. It
opened Friday in limited release in New York and Los Angeles.
In most cases, the MPAA does not allow differently rated versions of the same film to be in release at the same time, requiring a 90-day "withdrawal period" between releases.
But it can make exceptions.
Stephen Bruno, head of marketing for The Weinstein Company, has denied that the company planned to edit Bully, telling the Los Angeles Times:
At this time, there are no plans to
change the film for a PG-13. We are in constant conversation with the MPAA and hope a compromise can be reached.
Meanwhile the nutters of the Parents Television Council is calling on all major theaters, including AMC, to adhere to
their own policies not to exhibit unrated films. PTC President Tim Winter claimed:
This move, regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system. If a distribution company can
simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like 'Bully,' nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material.