UK News

 2014: Oct-Dec

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 Update: Ruling on UK Book Censorship...

The Supreme court will rule on whether a memoir should be banned on grounds that reading it may traumatise the author's son


Link Here 16th December 2014
Uk Supreme Court A British performing artist who has been prevented from publishing his memoir as a result of legal action brought by his ex-wife is to ask the supreme court to overturn the ban, arguing that it poses a dangerous threat to free speech.

The artist referred to only as MLA, as a consequence of the extensive secrecy surrounding the case,  is being supported by human rights groups and a leading writers' organisation, which also believe that an injunction imposed by a lower court presents a serious risk to the right to freedom of expression.

The temporary injunction was imposed by the court of appeal last October after lawyers representing the artist's ex-wife argued that his book's descriptions of the sexual abuse that he suffered as a child were so disturbing that their son would suffer catastrophic psychological distress if he were to read it.

This claim is disputed by MLA, who also believes that it is particularly important that the voices of survivors of sexual abuse are not stifled. The book recounts the way in which the artist, who is well known in his field, suffered years of sexual abuse while at school, and found a way though his art of dealing with the trauma of his past.

The writers' association English PEN, Article 19 and Index on Censorship, which defend and promote free speech, will seek to join the supreme court hearing, to argue that the court of appeal's judgment could have a chilling effect on other writers tackling difficult subjects, should it be allowed to stand.

The supreme court agreed that it would hear the case in the new year.

 

 Offsite Article: Chief constable warns against drift towards police state...


Link Here 6th December 2014
police manchester logo Greater Manchester's Peter Fahy says it is not the police's job to define what counts as extremism

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Worthy of a Bad Review...

Hotel compounds bad service with a smallprint fraud of charging guests for a bad review


Link Here 21st November 2014
smallprint A couple have been unfairly charged £100 by a Blackpool hotel they described as a rotten stinking hovel on travel review website TripAdvisor. Tony and Jan Jenkinson posted the negative comments after being unimpressed with the one night they spent at the Broadway Hotel.

The couple, from Whitehaven, later found £100 charged to their credit card. The hotel said its policy was to charge for bad reviews.

Trading Standards from Cumbria County Council are investigating. Officials believe the hotel may have breached unfair trading practice regulations.

When the couple queried the surcharge, the hotel's manager said they had a no bad review policy in their terms and conditions. The policy stated in the smallprint: Despite the fact that repeat customers and couples love our hotel, your friends and family may not. For every bad review left on any website, the group organiser will be charged a maximum £100 per review.

The couple then contacted the council's Trading Standards team to complain about their treatment and have also sought a refund via their credit card company.

 

  The right to free expression forgotten...

BBC News to maintain a list of URLs censored by Google under the 'right to be forgotten'


Link Here 22nd October 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
BBC logo The BBC is to publish a continually updated list of its articles censored from Google search under the disgraceful right to be forgotten rule.

Editorial policy head David Jordan told a public meeting, hosted by Google, that the BBC felt some of its articles had been wrongly hidden. He said greater care should be given to the public's right to remember .

The BBC will begin - in the next few weeks - publishing the list of removed URLs it has been notified about by Google. Jordan said the BBC had so far been notified of 46 links to articles that had been removed.

The list will not republish the story, or any identifying information. It will instead be a resource for those interested in the debate .

Jordan criticised the lack of a formal appeal process after links have been taken down, noting one case where news of the trial involving members of the Real IRA was removed from search results.

 

 Offsite Article: The End...


Link Here 21st October 2014
Assassination Margaret Thatcher Hilary Mantel Padraig Reidy: Collective outrage and imagined slights. Controversy about a short story about assassinating Thatcher

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Updated: The right for the rich and powerful to censor what they don't want to hear...

Author banned from writing about his experience of child abuse lest this hurts delicate ears


Link Here 18th October 2014
english pen logo Stephen Fry, David Hare and Tom Stoppard among leading writers to voice concerns over court ruling that prevents publication of memoir. They write:

The Court of Appeal's injunction last week preventing publication of a memoir poses a significant threat to freedom of expression.

The Court has ruled that the book should not be published on the grounds that it may cause psychological harm to the author's child, who suffers from disabilities, including Asperger's and ADHD.

The book is not targeted at children and will not be published in the country in which the child lives. The memoir deals with the author's past experiences of sexual abuse and explores the redemptive power of artistic expression. It has been praised, even in court, as striking prose and an insightful work.

The author's earlier public discussions of sexual abuse have previously led to the arrest of one of his abusers.  Its publication is therefore clearly in the public interest and may encourage those who have suffered abuse to speak out.

As writers, and members of English PEN, we are gravely concerned about the impact of this judgment on the freedom to read and write in the UK. The public is being denied the opportunity of reading an enlightening memoir, while publishers, authors and journalists may face censorship on similar grounds in the future.

Jeffrey Archer, William Boyd, John Carey, Jim Crace, Jonathan Dimbleby, Cory Doctorow, Michael Frayn, Maureen Freely, President, English PEN, Stephen Fry, Daisy Goodwin, David Hare, Tom Holland, Hari Kunzru, Marina Lewycka, Blake Morrison, Katharine Norbury, Will Self, Tom Stoppard, Colin Thubron, Colm Tóibín

 

  Trademarked Blocking Systems...

ISP website blocking extended to websites accused of trademark infringement


Link Here 18th October 2014
Old Bailey In a landmark ruling, the High Court has ordered several of the UK's leading ISPs to block websites dealing in counterfeit products. The decision follows legal action by Richemont, the owner of several luxury brands including Cartier and Montblanc.

Following successful action by the world's leading entertainment companies to have sites blocked at the ISP level on grounds of copyright infringement, it was perhaps inevitable that other companies with similar issues, such as trademark infringement would tread the same path.

Compagnie Financiere Richemont S.A. owns several well-known luxury brands including Cartier and Mont Blanc and for some time has tried to force sites selling counterfeit products to close down. Faced with poor results, in 2014 the company wrote to the UK's leading ISPs, Sky, TalkTalk, BT, Virgin Media, EE and Telefonica/O2, complaining that third party sites were infringing on Richemont trademarks.

Concerned that Richemont hadn't done enough to close the sites down on its own and that blocking could affect legitimate trade, the ISPs resisted and the matter found itself before the High Court.

The court decision means that the ISPs named in the legal action must now restrict access to websites selling physical counterfeits in the same way they already restrict file-sharing sites.

A Richemont spokesperson told TorrentFreak that the ruling represents a positive step in the fight to protect brands and customers from the sale of counterfeit goods online. T he company said:

We are pleased by this judgment and welcome the Court's recognition that there is a public interest in preventing trade mark infringement, particularly where counterfeit goods are involved. The Courts had already granted orders requiring ISPs to block sites for infringement of copyright in relation to pirated content. This decision is a logical extension of that principle to trade marks.

TorrentFreak reports that the decision is likely to be appealed.

 

 Offsite Article: Disgraceful...


Link Here 3rd October 2014
conservative party logo Tories promise policy to withdraw human rights from British people

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Update: New Laws start today...

A new government imposition of burdensome and unnecessary BBFC censorship on music, sport and documentary DVDs starts on 1st October


Link Here 1st October 2014  full story: VRA Exempt...Video Recordings (Exemption from Classification) Bill

bbfc cash logo Video Recordings Act extended to previously exempt works

The BBFC announced:

On 4 August 2014, the Video Recordings Act was amended to lower the threshold at which certain video content loses its exemption from classification. This amendment comes into effect on 1 October 2014.

From 1 October, documentaries, sports and music video works that can currently claim exemption will be required to seek a BBFC classification if they contain material which could be potentially harmful or otherwise unsuitable for children and, as with video games, works will have to be classified if they contain material which would be rated 12 and above.

See also BBFC Submission Guide covering fees and procedures [pdf]

The Copyright and Rights in Performances (Quotation and Parody) Regulations 2014

See new law from legislation.gov.uk

A new law came into force today allowing use of copyright material for the purposes of parody:

Caricature, parody or pastiche

Fair dealing with a work for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche does not infringe copyright in the work.

So at least we can now generate parody BBFC symbols.

 

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