The US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have announced that they intends to fine a local TV station WDBJ7 $325,000 for
airing sexually explicit material during a 6 o'clock newscast three years ago. The story aired about an adult film star who joined a local fire rescue squad.
The TV company obtained the troublesome video image online from the website of a distributor of the woman's adult films. The website, which was partially displayed along with the video image, is bordered on the right side by boxes showing video clips
from other films that do not appear to show the woman who is the subject of the news report. One of these video clips, displayed in a box, contains the image of sexual activity involving manipulation of an erect penis. Although the box does not show
the entire body or face of the apparently nude male depicted, the image shows a hand moving up and down the length of the shaft of the erect penis. WDBJ asserts that this image was displayed for less than three seconds.
The commission explained its arbitrary lynch mob justice:
Our action here sends a clear signal that there are severe consequences for TV stations that air sexually explicit images when children are likely to be watching.
WDBJ7's President and General Manager, Jeffrey Marks, issued a statement:
We are surprised and disappointed that the FCC has decided to propose to fine WDBJ7 for a fleeting image on the very edge of some television screens during a news broadcast. The story had gone through a review before it aired. Inclusion of the image was
purely unintentional. The picture in question was small and outside the viewing area of the video editing screen. It was visible only on some televisions and for less than three seconds.
This year, WDBJ7 celebrates 60 years of broadcasting in the public interest, with news that is trusted and family friendly. We are sorry that this incident happened, of course, but we truly believe that the FCC failed to take into account the history of
WDBJ7 and its six decades of outstanding broadcasting.
The enormous fine proposed by the FCC is also an extraordinary burden on protected speech. The FCC's largest base fine for other types of violations by broadcasters is $10,000. That is the fine for a misrepresentation to the FCC. A transfer of a license
without authorization has a fine of only $8,000; use of a station to commit fraud results in a fine of $5,000; broadcast of an illegal lottery costs a station $4,000. As the FCC admits, its base forfeiture for a violation of the indecency rules is
$7,000. This unprecedented proposed fine is more than 46 times higher than the FCC's own determination of the punishment for indecent speech.
As the FCC noted, Schurz Communications --- in its 60-plus year history of TV ownership -- has paid only one other FCC fine. That was for a minor and self-reported Children's Video issue.
Representative Candice Miller is a Republican pas proposed a restructuring of Immigration and Customs Enforcement away from its current department and set it
up as an agency all on its own.
Miller's bill, HR 877, would also create the position of Director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who'd have the power to:
Investigate and, where appropriate, refer for prosecution, any criminal violation of Federal law relating to or involving ... (B) customs, trade, or import or export control, including the illicit possession, movement of, or trade in goods, services,
property, contraband, arms, instruments of terrorism, items controlled or prohibited from export, pornography , intellectual property, or monetary instruments...
The bill is being referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security for consideration before being brought to a vote by the full House-
ESRB and rest of the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) will bring global game ratings to Google Play, consoles and more.
The ESRB and the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) are pushing out a global rating system, along with other rating authorities in other parts of the world, including PEGI in Europe, ClassInd in Brazil, USK in Germany, and the Classification Board
Importantly, the IARC (founded in late 2013) has gotten the ratings authorities to agree on a unified process that simultaneously generates ratings for multiple territories while preserving each of their distinct cultural standards. That means
parents and consumers don't have to learn any new rating systems, and developers can get their games rated appropriately across global markets at the same time.
The ESRB is pushing its ratings onto mobile and digital storefronts, beginning with Firefox Marketplace and Google Play. PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and Nintendo's eShop have agreed to participate at a later date. While the ESRB does already
have ratings on digital games available on consoles, a spokesperson clarified that what's actually new is the IARC process. Patricia Vance, president of ESRB and chairperson of IARC, commented:
With a single click, developers can publish their games and apps on digital storefronts reaching a worldwide audience. These realities have created regulatory and cultural challenges that call for an innovative solution like IARC to help developers and
storefronts provide consumers with culturally relevant, legally compliant and reliable guidance about the age appropriateness of the content in games and apps they may be considering for download.
A former substitute teacher convicted of showing a horror movie to a high school class was sentenced on Wednesday to 90 days in jail.
Sheila Kearns, who was convicted in January of four felony counts, apologized in court, saying she hadn't watched the movie before showing it to her Spanish classes at Columbus' East High School in April 2013. The successful movie, The ABCs of Death
, consists of 26 chapters, each depicting some form of grisly death and representing a letter of the alphabet. The movie is R rated in the US which means that the film is considered suitable for 17 year olds, but younger children are allowed to
see it when accompanied by their parents. The film was 18 rated in the UK.
Kearns was convicted of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. The Columbus Dispatch reported the judge placed her on probation for three years but made the jail time a condition of probation. Kearns contended she was unaware of the movie's content.
Her attorney said she never would have knowingly showed it.
But a student testified Kearns watched the 129-minute movie. The student said the movie was disturbing and said students in the class went crazy while watching it.
An assistant principal who saw the DVD movie playing in the classroom confiscated it.
Prosecutors said the movie's title should have tipped off Kearns that she should check it out before showing it to her students, who ranged in age from 14 to 18.
Jurors watched the movie before convicting Kearns. After the conviction, the jury foreman said it wasn't proved at trial that Kearns was aware of the movie's content the first time she showed it but she would have known by the second, third, fourth and
Following an aggressive hack against Sony in the US, The Interview was released on over 200 UK screens on Friday. This is a full cinema release after fading credibility of the hacker threats that curtailed the US cinema release.
However in the US the film was made available to purchase via on-demand services and has already been rented or downloaded 4.3m times and has taken $40m from digital sales and over $6m from cinema takings. Sony have now claimed it is the No 1 online
film of all time , and with the The Interview costing $44m to make, all production costs have already been recouped.
In fact, the whole saga has revealed to have come at barely any financial cost to Sony at all. Announcing their third quarter results on Thursday, Sony said the hack would cost just $15m in investigation and remediation costs and that it doesn't
expect to suffer any long-term consequences, though several employees are believed to have filed lawsuits against the company for failing to protect their personal data.
Sony did play down the UK release a little. The studio has not put on any pre-screenings, or sent out any copies to UK critics. Similarly, no interview opportunities with the cast have been offered to the media, with both James Franco and Seth Rogan
notably absent from the talk show circuit.
American Sniper is a 2014 USA action biography by Clint Eastwood.
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and Kyle Gallner.
A Navy S.E.A.L. recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills.
A group calling itself the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has written to director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper claiming an increase in threats against US muslims. The ADC said:
A majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper.
The group said it had collected hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers , mainly from Facebook and Twitter.
The letter asked Eastwood and Cooper to speak out against such messages in an effort to reduce the hateful rhetoric .