US Censorship News

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30th September   

Bloody Censors...

  Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

US Mainstream DVDs

Video Universe
 

My Bloody Valentine poster not so bloody in the US
Link Here
 
 

When Lionsgate began passing out teaser posters for its January release My Bloody Valentine 3-D , there was a difference between the UK and US versions.

The US smeared heart has been bumped down in saturation so it no longer implies it's blood.

Our guess is that this alteration was made to meet MPAA demands. Blood is not favored on one-sheets by the censors.

 

28th September   

Low Community Standards in Louisiana...

Melon farming Fresh
A website
update service

See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

Police claim that real sex DVDs are obscene
Link Here

Louisiana State Seal The Morehouse Parish Sheriff's office arrested the owner of adult shop Red Door, Lori Tremaine on six counts of obscenity. Bond has been set for $30,000, $5,000 for each count.

The six counts followed six purchases of DVDs by undercover officers, Morehouse Sheriffs Department Major Terry Wyatt told XBIZ, and several hundred DVDs were confiscated after a search warrant was issued.

It's not the titles, Wyatt said: In this jurisdiction, those types of movies that show explicit sex acts fall under obscenity. In Louisiana, the obscenity law is extremely detailed and almost subjective in that it's based on community standards.

Wyatt told XBIZ that the DVDs were commercially produced and did not involve patently illegal content like children or bestiality.

 

25th September   

Update: No News...is Censorship...

Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

Comcast terminates its usenet newsgroup service
Link Here  full story: Usenet Censorship...ISPs abandon Usenet over a few news groups

Usenet.com logo Comcast has joined the list of ISPs who are denying access to Usenet newsgroups in a 'voluntary' agreement to fight child porn online.

Comcast released a statement back in July saying officials planned to sign on after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened legal action.

Cuomo employed the same hard-nosed legal threats in order to obtain signatures from AOL, AT&T, Verizon and 13 other cable providers, supporting his campaign.

Comcast posted a notice on its website over the weekend informing users that its newsgroup services had been terminated.

Theoretically the agreement requests ISPs take measures to eliminate child porn websites and Usenet newsgroups containing child pornography from their servers. Unfortunately the ISPs seem to be removing a large amount of non-contentious content as well.

 

25th September   

Low Odds of Freedom in Kentucky...

Kentucky confiscates domain names from online gambling sites
Link Here

Kentucky state seal Kentucky is attempting a somewhat novel tactic in its battle against online gambling - the state is asking the courts to give it control of over 140 gambling-related domains in an attempt to block Kentucky residents from accessing the sites.

Governor Steve Beshear explained the logic behind the move to the Kentucky Post: Unlicensed, unregulated, illegal Internet gambling poses a tremendous threat to the citizens of the Commonwealth because of its ease, availability and anonymity. The owners and operators of these illegal sites prey on Kentucky citizens, including our youth, and deprive the Commonwealth of millions of dollars in revenue. It's an underworld wrought with scams and schemes.

Casino gambling is illegal in Kentucky, but the state does have a substantial horse racing industry. The result is that Kentucky has a number of laws on the books that specifically prohibit the promotion or facilitation of unsanctioned wagers, online or offline. It's under those laws that the Governor is seeking to cause the sites to forfeit ownership of their domains.

PPA Executive Director John Pappas had this to say about the move: The Poker Players Alliance is outraged at the actions taken by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and the Franklin County Circuit Court to seize the domain names of Internet gambling websites. We believe this action not only unduly restricts the freedom of Kentucky residents to play games of skill, such as poker, online, but sets a precedent for censorship of the Internet by force.

Many of Governor Beshear's arguments – that online poker is illegal, unregulated and without a mechanism to capture tax revenue – are false. Online poker is not illegal under Kentucky law, is regulated in its home jurisdiction and the Commonwealth of Kentucky chose not to license and regulate poker websites.

 

24th September   

Target Practice...

Finland shootings, blame and YouTube
Link Here

YouTube logo A deadly shooting at a Finnish school on Tuesday has raised internet blame issues after news the gunman posted menacing videos of himself on the Web before killing 10 people.

Student Matti Juhani Saari, 22, also killed himself in the incident closely resembling a 2007 massacre at another Finnish school, where that gunman also published messages on Internet video sharing site YouTube.

Police were alerted to videos posted by Saari and even questioned him on Monday, a day before the attack. He was not detained because the videos did not threaten anyone directly, said Finland's police chief.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said authorities needed to look into what can be done to better protect citizens, including possible changes in Internet monitoring and tougher gun laws.

Within a couple of hours of the shootings in Kaujahoki, several videos posted by the YouTube user Wumpscut86 had been taken down by the site. The videos showed a man shooting a pistol on what looked like a firing range.

The videos did not appear to contravene the site's rules covering offensive content which state that: Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don't post it. There is zero tolerance for predatory behaviour, stalking, threats, harassment.

A YouTube spokeswoman said the new context of the shooting made the original videos posted by Saari unacceptable.

 

20th September   

Pain in Montana...

Another US obscenity prosecution
Link Here

Montana State Seal A Florida producer has been charged by a federal grand jury in Billings, Montana, with distributing obscene DVDs through the mail, Acting Assistant Attorney General William Mercer has announced.

In a sealed indictment returned by the grand jury on Aug. 20, 2008, and unsealed today in federal court in Billings, Miami resident Barry Goldman doing business using the names Torture Portal, Masters of Pain and Bacchus Studios, was charged with three counts of using the mails to deliver DVDs containing obscene films to an address in Billings and one count that seeks forfeiture of certain assets of the defendant.

The specific films named in the indictment are Torture of Porn Star Girl , Pregnant and Willing and Defiant Crista Submits .

If convicted, Goldman faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each of the three counts charged in the indictment.

 

19th September   

Wankers...

Girls Against Porn cite ludicrous concerns about in-flight internet access
Link Here  full story: Inflight Internet Access...Airlines consider internet access on planes
Airstewardess serving

Tissue Sir?
Would you like the apple pie?

Anti-porn organization Girls Against Porn will be sending a letter, co-signed by other pro-family organizations, to American Airlines stating it would be wise to employ in-flight Internet porn filters.

The coalition letter takes issue with the fact that children and passengers might be exposed to pornography in the already cramped quarters of a plane. The group also feels it is unfair for anyone to sit adjacent to someone viewing pornographic material and that confrontations might arise leading to security risks.

The letter claims the airlines are taking a risk, opening themselves up to lawsuits from customers who are exposed to porn or its effects.

In one such lawsuit, American Airlines was sued for $200,000 by a passenger who alleged while resting they awoke to find a substance in their hair from another passenger who was allegedly masturbating.

The letter states, If passengers who view porn decide to act upon that, if there is a child flying in that row, airlines have opened the door for traumatic experiences and lawsuits.

 

17th September   

Update: Mile High Censors...

Qantas to restrict internet access to a few safe and crappy websites
Link Here  full story: Inflight Internet Access...Airlines consider internet access on planes
Airstewardess serving

Tissue Sir?
A good job you brought your own porn
The Qantas selection is bollox

Qantas has shelved plans to offer live internet access on its A380 planes from next month as American Airlines comes under fire from nutters and flight attendants for allowing passengers to surf porn websites.

Qantas will instead offer only a limited selection of what it calls cached internet content and access to web-based email and chat services.

A Qantas spokeswoman said the internet plans had been paired back due to logistical and regulatory issues encountered by its connectivity provider, OnAir. The airline said the full internet service was now scheduled to be available later in 2009.

The lack of a full internet service will most likely disappoint many passengers who will have to make do with a limited selection of cached internet content. Qantas has refused to give further details of what content will be included - other than qantas.com - or how much the service would cost.

Laptop power sockets will be provided for every passenger. USB ports, also built into every seat, will potentially allow passengers to access multimedia content from music players and portable hard drives through the seat-back screens.

Update: Profanity Filtering

18th October

Unlike American Airlines and Delta, the scope of Qantas' filtering seems to go far beyond just pornography.

Restrictions may include sites that contain violence, profanity, nudity and other content we consider may be offensive to our customers, said a Qantas spokesman who did not respond when asked if the filtering would include sites that criticised Qantas.

 

13th September   

Attacking the Violent Video Community...

YouTube add new censorship rules
Link Here

YouTube logo YouTube has moved to ban videos that supposedly incite violence following criticism in the UK and US that it needed to toughen its policies.

Google-owned YouTube has updated its community rules - specifically pointing out that a new addition is to make sure no videos directly incite violence.

We realise it's not always obvious where we draw the line on content that's acceptable to upload, said YouTube in a blog post: We've updated the community guidelines… included in the update are a few new things to steer clear of, like not directly inciting violence.

Within YouTube's community rules section, the updated rules include two points on violent videos. Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed, points out one rule: If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked or humiliated, don't post it.

The second relevant rule relates to hate speech: We do not permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status and sexual orientation/gender identity).

 

13th September   

Holy Fuck-Up Batman...

Strong language shines through in Batman magazine
Link Here

DC Comics is asking stores around the country to destroy tens of thousands of copies of a new Batman comic because of a printing error that revealed censored obscenities.

Text every friend you've got, shitheads, Batgirl tells a group of foulmouthed, drug-dealing thugs in All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder No. 10: Sell your poison somewhere else. This here arcade belongs to the fucking Batgirl.

The 'shits' & 'fucks' were supposed to be blacked out, but two shades of black were used, and the expletives are clearly legible.

While All-Star Batman & Robin isn't aimed at kids, it also doesn't have a mature readers warning on the cover.

DC caught the error earlier this week as the comic was heading to stores. They were able to stop some shipments, and asked retailers who got copies to destroy them.

Several city comic-book stores said they had complied, but the comic is currently doing good business on eBay, with copies selling for between $20 and $250.

One comic seller said the title has been full of adult content since the minute it was published. We'd never sell it to minors. The curse words make no difference.

 

12th September   

Chasing Hype...

Chasing Pavements song banned as a gay anthem
Link Here

Chasing Pavements CD single Several US radio stations have banned Adele's single Chasing Pavements , claiming that it is a gay anthem, reports the Daily Mail.

Speaking at the Nationwide Mercury Music awards, Adele denied that the song was about homosexuality, saying that her inspiration came from an ex-boyfriend: Some weirdo on the Net wrote that 'Chasing Pavements' was about being gay, which isn't true at all . Because of that some radio stations in the States wouldn't play it.

The soul singer added that her ex was a boy who went bad, but he's good now... we've made up.

 

11th September   

Mile High Wankers...

Flight attendants want onboard internet access to be censored
Link Here  full story: Inflight Internet Access...Airlines consider internet access on planes
Airstewardess serving

Tissue Sir?

American Airlines flight attendants are urging the world's largest carrier to filter its in-flight Internet service to block access to pornography and other web sites the workers said were inappropriate.

Union leaders discussed the issue with management without making a formal request to bar specific sites, said David Roscow, a spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

We've heard a lot of complaints from flight attendants and passengers about travelers pulling up objectionable Web pages, said Roscow, who didn't cite any examples.

The vast majority of travelers use good judgment in what they look at, American spokesman Tim Smith said: Customers viewing inappropriate material on board a flight is not a new scenario for our crews, who have always managed this issue with great success .

American offers Internet access for $12.95 on 15 Boeing Co. 767-200 jets that make 25 daily flights between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles or San Francisco, and between New York and Miami.

The program is in a 3-6-month trial period, Smith said. When American reviews usage and feedback, we will obviously assess this concern as well, including the number of actual incidents reported and any other related issues.

 

9th September   

Offsite: US vs the Little Guy...

Max Hardcore and an erosion of the law
Link Here  full story: Max Hardcore on Trial...Max Hardcore on trial for obscenity

Max Hardcore Extreme 12 DVD Paul Little, more publicly known as Max Hardcore was hauled into court in Florida earlier this year and charged with twenty counts of criminal conduct stemming from the distribution of adult films that some may find unpopular. Half of the counts were for distributing the content through the mail and the other half were for selling memberships to view the content online. After less than one day of deliberations Mr. Little and his company were found guilty on all charges.

The mailing charges were particularly interesting because all of the DVD mailings were done by another company, Jaded Video. Jaded Video agreed to testify against Mr. Little in exchange for immunity from prosecution as the company that actually did in fact mail the content to consumers. The logical inconsistency of a guilty verdict for mailing materials when in fact they were mailed by another company will no doubt be the subject of an appeal.

...Read full article from xbiz.com

 

7th September   

Ill-Conceived Censorship...

YouTube aborts pro-life videos
Link Here

YouTube logo YouTube has blocked four videos from the pro-life student organization Live Action over the past two weeks, saying that the videos contained "inappropriate content."

YouTube gave neither advance warning nor specific reasons for why the videos were removed, and has not responded to Live Action's request to cease censorship and to unblock the videos for public viewing.

The videos include phone recordings of Planned Parenthood employees agreeing to process donations from a caller with a racist agenda. Earlier this year, the YouTube videos sparked national media interest, with TV, print and radio outlets reporting on the content, and some networks, like Fox News, broadcasting parts of the videos. Live Action media director David Schmidt said: These four videos have received over 160,000 YouTube views in total, with the oldest video having been public on YouTube for over seven months. Why are these videos being removed now?

YouTube has censored videos from pro-life organizations in the past, as recently as this year. In February, an American Life League video criticizing a Planned Parenthood TV advertisement was removed from the site due to its "inappropriate nature. In July, a short film by the pro-life Population Research Institute highlighting dishonest reporting from a pro-choice filmmaker was censored. YouTube eventually responded to criticism and restored both videos.

It is discriminatory for YouTube to selectively censor material that clearly does not contain inappropriate content, states Live Action president Lila Rose: We will continue to apply pressure on YouTube until it restores the videos.

 

6th September   

Screw the Constitution...

Florida county attempts to ban hardcore porn
Link Here

Florida state seal Outgoing Nassau County Commissioner Marianne Marshall apparently hopes to leave behind a legacy that will guarantee free speech suppression for years to come - but First Amendment advocate Lawrence G. Walters won't be making it easy for her.

Marshall's the driving force behind a new proposed county ordinance that would outlaw the sale of any sexually explicit material that, among other characteristics, depicts multiple penetration by multiple partners of body orifices; visible penetration during intercourse, sodomy, or oral sodomy; visible ejaculation, urination, menstruation, bowel movements, ejaculate or feces; and visible penetration of a bodily orifice with a digit, hand, foot, or inanimate object.

Trouble is, some or all of those characteristics can be found in every sexually explicit movie produced in the U.S., so what the ordinance does is effectively prohibit any XXX product from being sold anywhere in the county.

What they've tried to do is create a new category of unprotected speech which, as we know from recent Supreme Court precedent in the Free Speech Coalition case, that cannot be done, Walters told AVN.

The proposed ordinance states, The purpose of this Ordinance is to afford the citizens of Nassau County a civil remedy to enjoin the distribution of pornographic materials for profit and commercial purposes within the community, and to recover civil penalties and damages. Further, this Ordinance shall provide these remedies to any church or religious organization, or other representative group of organization.

Any person, firm, corporation, association, or entity, or any agent or employee of the foregoing, who willfully and knowingly distributes for profit or other commercial use pornographic materials, within the state, is liable for a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 for each such violation.

The fact that they're talking about banning commercial pornography and identify it as a nuisance, is just amazing to us,
Walters said: And they're going to allow church groups to sue to get damages against anybody who dares to distribute commercial pornography in the county - in fact, they're trying to regulate the whole state; the distribution cannot occur anywhere in the state - I don't see how anyone connected with the Board who has a working knowledge of the law could allow this to pass.

The ordinance's author projects that it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2009.

 

5th September   

Registered as Prudish...

Jobsworth censorship of Oklahoma number plates
Link Here

Banned plates by Dave Carman The Oklahoma Tax Commission, which authorizes license plates, has denied 1,281 vanity tags in its history, according to commission data.

Many of the denied plates refer to sexual orientation, drugs or body parts. Some are self-promoting, others are derogatory.

Sometimes it still amazes me what people ask for, said prudish Vicki McCartney, administrator for motor vehicle's accounting section. They just blatantly say it.

For the past 27 years, McCartney has helped decide what plates are appropriate for Oklahoma's roads. By rule, the commission doesn't allow license plates that could be offensive to the general public. But what is offensive? McCartney and supervisors Kathy Green and Sonny Newton ultimately make that determination.

Nearly all requests referring to sex, race or drugs are tossed. More than 460 of the turned-down plates include what many would consider objectionable language, according to a Tulsa World analysis. About 365 are sexually explicit. Others reference — often negatively — religion, gender or death.

The Tax Commission also has rejected more innocent tags, such as SCREWUP, IMGAY and BUFMAMA .

It's absurd for the state to create a platform for drivers to express themselves only to have a few select people with few guidelines decide what is allowed, said Joey Senat, who teaches classes in censorship and media law at Oklahoma State University. In other government-related situations, that type of policy would be unconstitutional, Senat said: Now we have the state dictating what is appropriate for the rest of us. When you have state-approved speech, that's not American.

The Tax Commission has rejected 120 tags that refer to a person's arse, according to data. About 15 of the turned-down plates refer to a prostitute.

The list of plates deemed offensive in Oklahoma include DUMMY, I ZUM, SWISH and SMELLYA. All were rejected, though McCartney said she didn't know why.

 

5th September   

Offsite: Perfectly Normal Nutter...

Legal attempts to suppress literature have rarely been successful
Link Here

Its Perfectly Normal book JoAn Karkos from Maine was recently taken to US court for failing to return a library book. She had borrowed a sex education book from her local public library but, having decided the contents were “dangerous” for children and subsequently failing to get the police to bring obscenity charges, she opted to take censorship into her own hands and declared her intention to keep the book.

The book, called It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies,Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health , features candid cartoon illustrations on topics such as abstinence, masturbation and sexually-transmitted diseases. Written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley, it has won various educational awards and has been translated into 21 languages since 1993. Ms Karkos, however, took the view that 36,000 citizens of Lewiston, Maine should be prevented from reading it.

A judge ordered Ms Karkos to pay a $100 fine and she was eventually allowed to leave court. The authorities decided there was no point in sending her to jail and allowing her to become a celebrated sufferer for a cause.

Historically, there has been a serious problem for those who try to use the law to ban books: their action is commonly counter-productive. Nothing so effectively enlarges a book's readership as a censor trying to stop people from reading it.

As soon as the public in America became aware of the Karkos case, people from around the country sent their copies to the public library in Lewiston.

...Read full article

Update: Fine Paid

7th September 2008

A clergyman who ministers to children has paid the $100 fine imposed on a Lewiston woman who borrowed a sex education book from the city's public library last summer and refused to return it because she deemed the contents obscene.

Karkos said she declined offers from others who wanted to the pay her fine. She said it seems more appropriate that Taylor, the founder of the Jesus Party known for its defense of children, took care of it.

 

4th September   

Update: Zack Attack...

MPAA blown away by poster for Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Link Here

Zack and Miri Make a Porno poster The new poster for Zack and Miri Make a Porno contains the tamest, smallest blowjob reference you could possibly imagine-- the two stars, fully clothed, with the head of the other star hovering somewhere around their crotch area.

So how did the MPAA react to this poster, which makes a sexual reference so subtle only those in the know would get it? Uh, they banned it. Only Canada will get to see the poster in their multiplexes.

As EW.com reports, director Kevin Smith is more amused than annoyed by the MPAA's whackjob decision: When you've got the word 'porno' in the title, naturally, the marketing materials are gonna be scrutinized more closely by the MPAA. I understand they've got a job to do, but c'mon...this image isn't that dirty; they're both fully clad.

 

27th August   

Rotten Apple...

Apple accused of arbitrary censorship as they ban comic from iTunes Store
Link Here

Murderdrome comic Apple has banned a digital comic called Murderdrome, from Infurious Comics, from its iTunes Store, to the consternation of the comic's creator and fans.

Comic creator Paul Jason Holden, in a blog post, explains that Apple's SDK for the iPhone and iPod Touch requires that content must not be offensive in Apple's reasonable opinion.

But as numerous comments on the Infurious Comics blog point out, there's no yardstick by which content creators can assess the offensiveness or acceptability of their work. Apple appears working with a definition of offensive that borrows from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's working definition of obscenity: I know it when I see it.

Compounding the issue is the apparent inconsistency of Apple's censorship. Many comments cite music and videos available through iTunes that are more offensive than Murderdrome.

The material - as pointed out by others - is clearly less contentious than television, movie and music content offered by Apple...so I can only assume the best-case scenario is a prejudice against the form itself, a post attributed to John Westgarth says.

Apple shouldn't turn its devices into gated Disney theme parks, where certain types just aren't welcome. Apple should stick to selling content creation and communication devices. Content creators don't need Apple to be the authoritative arbiter of artistic merit. Leave that job to the market.

 

25th August   

Nassau Nausea...

Florida county proposes blanket ban on selling porn
Link Here

Florida state seal Nassau County Commissioners are considering an ordinance banning the sale, but not the possession of, pornography within the northern Florida County.

At a meeting earlier this week, County Attorney David Hallman offered a draft ordinance for consideration by the board, despite reported concerns on his part, as well as that of Commissioners Mike Boyle and Barry Holloway, over potential legal challenges that could prove costly for the County.

Of all the loony ordinances we've seen lately, this one takes the cake, Lawrence Walters, an attorney representing the Adam & Eve store, told XBIZ. The County is attempting to create a new category of unprotected speech as a method of driving our client out of business.

According to Walters, if this ordinance is upheld, it would likely be passed by every local government that desires to eliminate adult bookstores from their jurisdiction.

Apparently, Nassau County believes that they are the first ones who thought about outlawing commercial pornography as a means of eliminating adult businesses, Walters said. Unfortunately for the County, the First Amendment poses a significant hurdle for their efforts.

The proposed ban defines pornography along the lines of the Miller Test, as described or depicted sexual conduct that the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that, taken as a whole, appeals to a prurient interest, and that the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

 

23rd August   

Listings Ban...

T-shirt seller can continue to list US war casualties
Link Here

Bush Lied t-shirts A federal judge has permanently barred Arizona from using a state law to prosecute an online merchant who sells shirts that list names of thousands of troops killed in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake did not strike down the 2007 law against selling products that use of military casualties’ names without families’ permission. But he ruled that using the law to prosecute Dan Frazier would violate the man’s First Amendment rights because his Bush Lied - They Died shirts are core political speech.

It is impossible to separate the political from the commercial aspects of that display, Wake wrote: For example, the state argues that Frazier can sell his shirts without displaying the soldiers’ names. But Frazier’s product is his message, and his customers’ message.

A spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said Goddard’s office was reviewing the ruling and did not immediately know whether it would appeal.

Arizona’s law was enacted with little debate by the Legislature, and Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas have enacted similar laws.

The ACLU is also defending Frazier in a pending lawsuit filed against him in federal court in Tennessee by a couple whose soldier son was killed in Iraq. Robin and Michael Read of Greeneville, Tennessee, have asked that their case be expanded to cover more than 4,000 casualties and seek more than $40 billion in damages.

 

17th August   

Offsite: Random Censorship...

There really are no excuses for Random House’s withdrawal of The Jewel of Medina
Link Here

Jewel of Medina book Why did Random House refuse to publish The Jewel of Medina?

Two reasons — or perhaps one: the first the nice, obvious line, is ‘sensitivity’. No one in their right minds is opposed to sensitivity, are they? No. Being mindful of other people’s feelings is A Good Thing. Not pushing your opinions, or indeed values, certainly helps in the smooth running of a society. Which is why, enthusiastic about pork products as many of us may be, it’s only neo-Nazis who lob pig’s blood at mosques or synagogues. But we should be wary of crossing the line between sensitivity and self-censorship.

The other reason, and, in truth, the single, underlying reason, is fear. Fear of the marauding Muslims looking for any excuse to burn a few effigies and bomb a few buildings. And this is the far more worrying aspect. In the minds of far too many in the western world, ‘the Muslim’ is driven by deep, irrational, unknowable passions. And by ‘the Muslim’, ‘all Muslims’ is meant. The Muslim takes his religion far, far more seriously than any other: ‘the Muslim’ is quick to take up arms, to denounce, to hate in the name of his faith. The Muslim is closed to critical thinking.

...Read full article from indexoncensorship.org

 

16th August   

Update: Persecutors Win...

Staunton video store fined after being persecuted by anti-porn nutter
Link Here

After Hours Video sign Jurors in the case of After Hours Video convicted store owner Rick Krial and the After Hours Video store on misdemeanor charges of selling an obscene item. Krial was fined $1,000 and the store was fined $1,500.

In response to a defense motion the judge agreed that the guilty verdicts will not be entered for 60 days while post-trial motions are filed. An appeal is expected.

Krial and the store were found not guilty on a second charge of obscenity, and store employee Tinsley Embrey was found not guilty on two misdemeanor charges of obscenity.

The misdemeanor convictions may lead to prosecutions on felony obscenity charges that were handed down along with the misdemeanor counts.

Update: Bad Evidence

18th October 2008. Based on article from xbiz.com

Basing their argument on bad evidence and bad statements introduced during the trial of After Hours Video storeowner Rick Krial, defense attorneys have filed motions asking to have the two guilty verdicts set aside.

 

14th August   

Parental Fear of Hype...

Parents said to worry about video games more than most issues
Link Here

Grand Theft Auto IV game A survey from the parental advisory website What They Play maintains that parents worry more about their kids' exposure to video games than alcohol, violence and pornography.

From WTP's press release: Nearly 3,000 respondents in two separate What They Play polls concluded that drinking beer and watching pornography were less objectionable activities for children than playing certain video games. Further, viewing violence was more acceptable than seeing content involving sex and sexuality within games.

WTP president John Davison commented: These poll results demonstrate that parents are as apprehensive about their children’s media diets as they are about traditional social issues such as alcohol, drugs, violence and sex. When it comes to video games, parents should know that What They Play is a resource that helps demystify one of the most popular – and challenging – forms of entertainment their kids are into.

Dr. Cherly Olson, co-author of Grand Theft Childhood, is also quoted in the press release: Although these findings seem surprising at first, they hint at fears parents have about video games. To some parents, video games are full of unknowable dangers. While researching for Grand Theft Childhood, parents we spoke with in focus groups often bemoaned the fact that they didn’t know how to use game controls - and felt unequipped to supervise or limit video game play. Of course, parents don’t want their children drinking alcohol, but that’s a more familiar risk.

According to WTP's data, here's what parents found most offensive in video games:

  • a man and woman having sex (37%)
  • two men kissing (27%)
  • a graphically severed head (25%)
  • multiple use of the F-word (9%).

A second poll... queried parents on what they’d be most concerned about their 17-year-old child indulging in while at a sleepover. More than 1,600 respondents revealed they’re more apprehensive about their child smoking marijuana (49%) and playing the video game Grand Theft Auto (19%), than watching pornography (16%) and drinking beer (14%).

 

12th August   

Intellectually Challenged...

Disability groups rail against Simple Jack character in the movie Tropic Thunder
Link Here

Tropic Thunder poster Starting this week, dozens of disabilities groups led by Timothy P. Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, are expected to boycott Tropic Thunder at its world premiere as well as its nationwide release.

There was buzz about this last week when the groups complained about the online marketing campaign for the film, which resulted in Paramount pulling a few of the websites. However, their demands, which include pulling all scenes and clips that include Ben Stiller's portrayal of Simple Jack from the movie, DVD, trailers, promotional material and merchandising have not been met.

This is ridiculous! This coalition of a dozen or so disabilities groups have only recently begun to be offended by some of the material in the film. A particular sore point has been the film's repeated use of the term 'retard' in referring to a character, Simple Jack, who is played by Mr. Stiller in a subplot about an actor who chases an Oscar by portraying a mindless dolt.

As Paramount describes it: the movie's humor was aimed not at the disabled but at the foolishness of actors who will go to any length in advancing their careers.

Thankfully, Paramount is not changing the film at all and I commend them for standing up to this. They did change some of their advertising already, but it's an R rated film and none of it needs to be altered.

David C. Tolleson, executive director of the National Down Syndrome Congress, saw the film at a screening and responded openly: I came out feeling like I had been assaulted.

Other groups, including the American Association of People With Disabilities, are planning to meet in Los Angeles to picket the premiere, but that's not all.

Shriver said that he had also begun to ask members of Congress for a resolution condemning what he called the movie's 'hate speech' and calling for stronger federal support of the intellectually disabled.

 

12th August   

Update: Staunton Persecution...

Anti porn attorney gets his day in court to harrangue local video store owner
Link Here

After Hours Video sign The much ballyhooed trial of Rick Krial, owner of After Hours Video on Springhill Road, begins this morning in Staunton Circuit Court, almost a year to the day Staunton Prosecutor Raymond C. Robertson vowed at a press conference to keep pornography out of Staunton's stores.

In October, the same month After Hours Video opened for business, undercover agents from the Staunton and Waynesboro police departments, along with plainclothes officers from the Virginia State Police, acted as customers and purchased a dozen DVDs from the Springhill Road store. Weeks later, a special Staunton grand jury convened and charged Krial and his company, LSP of Virginia, with 16 felonies and eight misdemeanor charges of obscenity.

In January, an employee at After Hours Video, Tinsley W. Embrey, also was charged with 10 counts of obscenity, four of them misdemeanor charges.

This week's scheduled four-day trial concerns only the misdemeanor charges against Krial, his company and Embrey. The Commonwealth can proceed with the felony charges only if it garners convictions on the misdemeanors.

The landmark United States Supreme Court case of Miller v. California in 1973 established a standard three-part legal definition of obscenity that must be met: Do applied community standards find that the material appeals to the prurient interest; is it patently offensive, sexual conduct defined by state law; and does the work, taken as a whole, lack serious literal, artistic, political or scientific value? Those are questions that must be answered by the jury.

The court case will feature a number of legal heavy hitters, Paul Cambria Jr and Louis Sirkin.

Robertson will be assisted by Matthew Buzzelli, an obscenity attorney with the United States Department of Justice.

Jury selection for the case could take up to two days. A misdemeanor trial only requires seven jurors.

 

9th August   

Update: Sack the FCC...

Former FFC chairmen suggest that it should be stripped of its misused censorship powers
Link Here  full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

Janet Jackson boob A trio of former Federal Communications Commission chairmen, including the most iconic critic of TV content and a symbol of deregulation, joined to ask the Supreme Court to strip the FCC of its power to regulate indecency entirely, saying that it is on a "Victorian crusade" that hurts broadcasters, viewers and the Constitution.

Former Democratic chairman Newton Minow may have famously dubbed TV a "vast wasteland" back in the 1960s, but he is ready to let TV programmers in this century have more say over content if the alternative is the current FCC.

Seconding that opinion was former Republican chairman Mark Fowler, who once likened TV to a toaster with pictures and became a symbol of the deregulatory 1980s.

Also weighing in on a brief to the court Friday was James Quello, former acting chairman and longest-serving Democratic commissioner.

They argued that the commission has radically expanded the definition of indecency beyond its original conception; magnified the penalties for even minor, ephemeral images or objectionable language; and targeted respected television programs, movies and even noncommercial documentaries.

I thnk it is an incredible statement from FCC chairmen who have been some of the architects of the indecency policy and who are now saying that this is out of control," said First Amendment attorney John Crigler: The enhanced indecency standard was created under Mark Fowler, and here he is saying 'boy, this train is way off the tracks.'

The trio were joined by other former FCC commissioners and staffers to file an amicus brief Friday in the FCC's challenge to a lower-court ruling that the commission's indecency finding against swearing on Fox awards shows was arbitrary and capricious and a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. That act requires regulators to sufficiently justify their decisions and forewarn regulated industries.

It is time for the Court to bring its views of the electronic media into alignment with contemporary technological and social reality, they said. And that means getting the FCC entirely out of the business of regulating indecent content, they added.

 

8th August   

A Textbook Case of Repression...

US woman found guilty of obscenity in textual stories
Link Here

US Dept of Justice Red Rose website owner Karen Fletcher was sentenced today after pleading guilty to six counts of distributing textual obscenity online.

Fletcher's plea concludes her three year fight against federal charges stemming from fictional stories which appeared on her website, and was entered before U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti, who sentenced Fletcher to six months of house arrest; 5 years of probation; and a $1,000 fine.

XBIZ has reported on the Red Rose case since the the closure of Fletcher's website in October of 2005. It shuttered over stories that, among other topics, allegedly depicted the rape and torture of children and infants.

I never thought I'd be in trouble for the written word, Fletcher told XBIZ at the time of her site's closure. I had no pictures of a sexual nature on my site, adult or otherwise. [It seems] the only legal sex stories are those that involve a man and a woman consenting to missionary position sex in a dark room.

Although many observers doubted that an obscenity conviction based solely on text-only content could be made in today's society, Fletcher's emotional state, including suffering from agoraphobia — a fear of public places — reportedly prevented her from carrying on the fight for her free speech rights.

Fletcher helped prevent minors from accessing the Red Rose site by charging a $10 monthly membership fee, and while allowing the posting of stories by members, prevented any images from being posted.

 

8th August   

Googling for Code of Conduct...

Internet companies agree on code of conduct for censored countries
Link Here  full story: Supporting Internet Censorship...US multi-nationals support repressive censorship

Google China logo Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft say they are close to an agreement on a code of conduct for doing business in China and other countries that censor the Internet.

Senator Dick Durbin on released separate letters from the companies, stating they have reached agreement on the core components of the principles of the code, as Google put it.

Those components, the letters say, include principles for promoting freedom of expression and privacy, implementation guidelines, and an accountability framework. The specifics of the code are now being reviewed by the individual organizations involved. Google said the companies are working toward a set of clear and rigorous principles, such that restrictive governments would be unable to ignore or reject these best practices on freedom of expression and the protection of individual privacy.

This code of conduct would be one important step toward our shared goals of promoting freedom of expression and protecting the privacy of Internet users around the world, Durbin said in a press release.

 

6th August   

Update: Hard X Droops to Limp R...

Supporting the R Rated hype for Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Link Here

Zavk and Miri Make a Porno trailer Filmmaker Kevin Smith has won an appeal to gain an R rating for his comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno , which previously had received an NC-17 adults-only designation.

Elizabeth Kaltman, spokeswoman for the MPAA, said the rating was revised after the group's appeals board viewed the movie.

The NC-17 rating would have prohibited anyone younger than 17 from seeing the movie. With an R rating, those under 17 can see it in the company of an adult.

Zack and Miri , due out Oct. 31 stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as best friends and roommates who try to make a homemade porn flick to dig themselves out of debt.

 

3rd August   

Offsite: Iraq's Unseen Violence...

US prevent the public from seeing photos depicting the true horror of the Iraq war
Link Here

US flag Even by the squeamish standards of the American media, the photographic record of the war in Iraq is remarkably antiseptic. The paradigmatic images are not of combat or of bodies in the street but, rather, the digital snapshots taken by US soldiers of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated at Abu Ghraib - that is, a consequence of war rather than the thing itself.

To an extent not appreciated by the public, the shortage of photographs depicting the dead and dying is not an accident. This past Saturday, the New York Times reported on the plight of Zoriah Miller, a freelance photographer who was banned from covering the Marines because he posted several photos of their dead bodies on his website. Miller, the Times added, is hardly alone in being pressured not to show the world anything too graphic.

...Read full article

 

28th July   

Amateur Action...

Another US adult website harangued for extreme content
Link Here

Amateur Action The owner of adult website AmateurAction.net has been indicted by a California grand jury on charges related to the distribution of obscene material.

Robert Thomas was charged with three counts of mailing obscene materials and one count of engaging in the business of selling or transferring obscene matter. According to court documents, Thomas mailed two allegedly obscene DVDs to a person in Washington, D.C., in December 2006.

AmateurAction.net offers a selection of $3.99 adult DVDs featuring extreme content such as pissing, fisting, BDSM and "extreme insertions," according to the site.

The Justice Department is seeking the forfeiture of assets earned through the site, including all property used to commit the offenses. Thomas faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on each of the four counts if convicted.

 

25th July   

Update: Never Ending Game...

Law to restrict games sales to minors submitted to US Senate
Link Here  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

US Senate Senator Roger Wicker has introduced a bill in the United States Senate which would:

  • prohibit the distribution or sale of video games that do not have age-based content rating labels
  • prohibit the sale or rental of video games with adult content ratings to minors...

The full text of the bill, S.3315 is not yet available on the Senate's legislative website. Thus far the bill has no co-sponsers. The measure has been referred to the Senate's Committe on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

GamePolitics has received unconfirmed word that Wicker's bill is the Senate version of the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act introduced in the House by Reps. Jim Matheson  and Lee Terry earlier this year.

 

24th July   

Update: Rated Hard X but Pushing for Limp R...

Supporting the X Rated hype for Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Link Here

Zavk and Miri Make a Porno trailer It's no secret that director Kevin Smith has been having a rough time in getting an R-rating for his new comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno .

Well now Zack and Miri has been officially hit with the NC-17 kiss of death.

A search on the MPPA's official site lists Zack and Miri Make a Porno as “Rating: NC-17”. Reason for the rating? As expected, Rated NC-17 for some graphic sexuality.

Though I think we'd all rather see the NC-17 cut and watch the movie as its director originally intended it to be seen, slapping any movie with an NC-17 spells box office doom. Not because people won't show up to see it, but because most major theaters will refuse to carry it, thus taking away our right to choose whether or not we want it in front of our eyes. The really frustrating thing in this particular case is that if any filmmaker has the kind of audience necessary to blow up the stigma attached to an NC-17, it's Kevin Smith. Heck, an NC-17 rating might even help his ticket sales… his crowd is going to be there money in hand regardless. Sadly if it's not playing, they're powerless to support it.

The fight's not over for Kevin Smith's Porno. Under the movie's rating on the MPAA site, there's a little note which reads: “Pending Appeal”. That means they're fighting the rating, and there's still reason to think this thing will eventually get the R it needs to show up in a theater. Of course who knows what sort of cuts Kevin will have to make to his film in order to achieve that.

 

23rd July   

Update: Overbroad and Vague...

Appeal court agrees that child online protection act is unconstututional
Link Here  full story: Internet Minors...Criminalising internet comms harmful to minors

Lock up all dads A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has affirmed Judge Lowell A. Reed, Jr.'s opinion that the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) is impermissibly overbroad and vague.

COPA was the "fix" to the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which banned all "indecent" and "obscene" speech from the Internet – and which was quickly found by the U.S. Supreme Court to be unconstitutionally vague. COPA, on the other hand, limited the banned speech to material that is harmful to minors posted only for commercial purposes, and incorporated a definition of material harmful to minors that has been widely copied by state legislatures attempting to craft anti-adult zoning and other censorious measures aimed at restricting adults' access to adult sexual speech.

The court found that age verification services and obtaining credit card numbers on sites are virtually useless in preventing minors from accessing explicit material since they can easily be circumvented by children who generally know the first and last name, street address and zip codes of their parents or another adult.

The District Court discussed Internet content filters at length in its Findings of Fact, Judge Greenburg stated. We will review these findings in detail, as the need to determine whether filters are more effective than COPA to effectuate Congress's purpose in enacting that statute was the primary reason the Supreme Court remanded the case.

Judge Reed also found that filtering programs are now harder for children to bypass; that filters will block foreign sexually-oriented sites that COPA can't; and also that the government had failed to show that COPA would be less restrictive than filtering because, unlike COPA there are no fines or prison sentences associated with filters which would chill speech. Also unlike COPA, . . . filters are fully customizable and may be set for different ages and for different categories of speech or may be disabled altogether for adult use.

The Third Circuit also perceptively noted, the circumstance that some parents choose not to use filters does not mean that filters are not an effective alternative to COPA. Though we recognize that some of those parents may be indifferent to what their children see, others may have decided to use other methods to protect their children – such as by placing the family computer in the living room, instead of their children's bedroom – or trust that their children will voluntarily avoid harmful material on the Internet. Studies have shown that the primary reason that parents do not use filters is that they think they are unnecessary because they trust their children and do not see a need to block content.

It seems almost a foregone conclusion that the Justice Department's next stop will be a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

23rd July   

Update: The Ratings Game...

New York State Governor signs bill mandating video game ratings
Link Here  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

New York state seal New York Governor, David Paterson, has signed video game legislation passed by the Senate and Assembly into law.

The Video Game Bill establishes an advisory council to conduct a study on the connection between interactive media and real-life violence in minors exposed to such media.

This bill will also require new video game consoles to have parental lockout features by 2010, and mandate that games sold at retail disclose the ratings obtained from the gaming industry's voluntary rating system.

Will there be a court challenge? Game Politics put this question to the trade association ESA, who said that they are reviewing their options. For a variety of reasons, the main one being that the bill has no real teeth, it's entirely possible that the industry will just live with it.

 

22nd July   

Update: FCC Malfunction...

Wardrobe malfunction fine found to be arbitrary and capricious
Link Here  full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

Janet Jackson boob In a decision that clears CBS of any wrongdoing for airing the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show that featured Janet Jackson's infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” a federal appeals court overturned the $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission levied against the station, calling the fine arbitrary and capricious.

The decision was handed down by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which found that the fine was unfair because the commission, in imposing it, deliberately strayed from its practice of exempting fleeting indecency in broadcast programming from punishment. The commission also erred, the judges ruled, by holding CBS responsible for the actions of Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake, who were characterized by the judges as independent contractors hired for the limited purposed of the Halftime Show.

Like any agency, the FCC may change its policies without judicial second-guessing, the court said: But it cannot change a well-established course of action without supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure.

The live broadcast on Feb. 1, 2004, sparked headlines around the world with one swift motion that came at the end of the halftime show, when Justin Timberlake tore off part of Jackson's bustier during the song Rock Your Body , exposing her right breast. The network quickly cut to an aerial shot of the stadium, but not before the image was seen — and in many cases replayed on video recordings — in millions of homes. Although the exposure appeared to be pre-planned, CBS said it was surprised by the incident, and a spokesman for Ms. Jackson later said that Mr. Timberlake had accidentally removed too much of her outfit, calling it a malfunction of the wardrobe.

CBS said: We are gratified by the court's decision, which we hope will lead the FCC to return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement. This is an important win for the entire broadcasting industry, because it recognizes that there are rare instances, particularly during live programming, when it may not be possible to block unfortunate fleeting material.

 

21st July   

The Most Offensive Song Ever...

South Park creators say censorship backfires
Link Here

Censors are responsible for putting a lot MORE filth into American homes, the creators of South Park have claimed.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker say that the stringent conditions imposed by the MPAA, which awards film certificates in the US, has led them to creating more depraved material than they would otherwise have done.

While making Team America , for example, the duo were keen to get a sex scene between two puppets past the regulators.

So they decided to shoot extra footage in which the dolls appeared to shit and piss on each other, which they had no intention of ever really releasing, but could be sacrificed at the censor's insistence, and so protect the footage they really wanted included.

But when it came to releasing the DVD, they decided to include the deleted footage as an extra in an unrated adults-only version of the disc – which ended up outselling the approved version nine copies to one.

If it wasn't for the MPAA, that footage would never have been shot and never have got into so many homes, the duo told an audience at Montreal's Just For Laughs comedy festival.

Mr Hankey's Christmas Classics They also revealed the words of a song written for their album Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics. The record company weren't happy and the lyrics to The Most Offensive Song Ever were muffled.

The song was about the Virgin Mary worrying that she was not a virgin as she had given oral sex. Lyrics included the archangel Gabriel singing: You can suck all the dick you want and still be a virgin. Just because you went down and sucked some semen down, you can still be a virgin in the eyes of the Lord.

 

16th July   

Senator Censor...

Senator calls on YouTube to remove terrorist related videos
Link Here

YouTube logo A prominent US Senator has called on Google to remove terrorist YouTube videos.

Responding to a letter the senator Joseph Lieberman  wrote in May 2008, the site's owner, Google, agreed to remove 80 videos that violated YouTube's terms of use. But Lieberman says that isn't enough, and he wants the remaining videos taken down.

Bruce Abramson, president of Informationism Inc. and an expert on intellectual property issues, said Lieberman's message to YouTube raises troubling issues. You have a very complicated issue here. You certainly don't want government action that requires a company to put in place ... [a] content review. You don't want to say to YouTube, 'Invest in new ways of monitoring what goes up and who's posting it so you can pull it if it's inappropriate.' It's bad for the free market, bad for technological development, bad overall.

Daniel Ballon, Ph.D., a policy fellow in technology studies at the Pacific Research Institute thinks YouTube's system already in place should determine censorship on the site: The federal government should not force private companies to censor legal and protected free speech. By forbidding the posting of videos that depict or solicit violent criminal acts, YouTube's policies already ban materials posing a legitimate threat to national security.

In a letter to The New York Times, Lieberman wrote, What is ludicrous is the claim that YouTube has been pressured to pull down videos just because I don't like them. Al Qaeda and its affiliates are engaged in a wartime communications strategy to recruit, amass funds, and inspire savage attacks against American troops and civilians. Their Internet videos are branded with logos, authenticating them as enemy communications. They are patent incitements to violence, not First Amendment-protected speech. And they fall outside Google's own stated guidelines for content.

 

12th July   

Update: AOL Hell...

US ISPs falling over themselves to ban more and more of usenet
Link Here  full story: Usenet Censorship...ISPs abandon Usenet over a few news groups

Usenet.com logo Bowing to continued pressure from the New York Attorney General, two more big-name American ISPs have shutdown access to dozens of Usenet newsgroups that contain child pornography - and many more that don't.

AT&T and AOL have agreed to eliminate access to usenet newsgroups where state investigations have turned up nearly 11,000 sexually lewd photos featuring prepubescent children.

This follows similar promises from Time Warner Cable, Sprint, and Verizon. All five of these mega-ISPs have also agreed to rid their web servers of child pornography, as identified by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

And some have gone even further. Time Warner, AT&T and AOL decided to extend their Usenet crackdowns well beyond the 88 groups flagged by the AG.

AT&T will eliminate direct access to all binary newsgroups - i.e. all groups that serve up full-blown data files.

Meanwhile, AOL tells the The Associated Press it will block access to every newsgroup there is - binary and ASCII.

Update: Cable & Broadband ISPs Toe the Line

24th July 2008

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association Thursday announced that 18 of the nation's largest cable and broadband Internet service providers have agreed to block access to any Web sites known to host or distribute illegal child pornography files.

By signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU), these cable operators serving 87%, or more than 112 million homes, of Internet service subscribers will work with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).

In addition, the member companies will also report any instances of child pornography they unearth to the NCMEC CyberTipline and, where appropriate, revise their policies around other potential sources of child pornography such as newsgroups and other online bulletin boards.

 

9th July   

Offsite: Ratings Creep...

Joan Graves head of MPAA ratings board
Link Here

MPAA logo Parents all over America rely each day on Joan Graves's judgment, but almost none of them know her name. What they know is G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17, the code she administers as head of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) board that assigns movie ratings.

The ratings board is made up of 10 parents who, when they are hired, have children ages 5 to 17. Except for the names of three senior raters, the board members' names are not made public, to shield them from industry pressure. If a company does not want to market a film with the assigned rating, a senior rater may provide feedback about what caused the rating to be given: language, nudity or so on. If the company wants to re-edit, specific scenes may be discussed.
Sample letters

The greatest change Graves has seen during her tenure has been that “ratings play a bigger role in a studio's financial plan.” Where films used to be made and then marketed, Graves says, now studio executives planning a film will say: “We want to market this as a PG-13 movie,” largely because PG-13 films get the broadest audience. Nowadays Graves' office even accepts scripts to review for a ratings opinion. “We don't guarantee the film made from a script will get a certain rating, but we can give them an idea. We can say, well, you've got two ‘fucks' in the script, or the violence on Page X sounds brutal. One of our senior raters is very good at assessing scripts. Another is the filmmaker liaison, to answer production questions like: ‘How much nudity can we show in this scene?' ” Graves says the liaison issues are “the most interesting part of the job for me, and growing larger.”

There is a phenomenon Graves refers to as “ratings creep.” As social mores change, some elements in film become more tolerated over time, some less. Drug use is much more harshly judged now than it was in the 1970s, she observes, whereas violence—especially what Graves calls the “stylized violence” made possible by special effects—is much more tolerated. Ratings creep is different, she adds humorously, from the fact that “there are always trends: One year it seemed every film had someone urinating. Another year everybody was throwing up.”

...Read full article

 

7th July   

An End to Xploitation...

Notable DVD retailer, Xploited, scales back
Link Here

Xploited logo From a statement on the Xploited website:

All good things must come to an end and that time is near for Xploited Cinema! It has been years since we started selling DVDs to the best customers around the world, but we've made a decision to move on. Xploited Cinema will still be around, but we will stop carrying new products and stop stocking catalog titles.

It was a tough decision since through the years everyone here has given 110% of themselves, but it's time to slow down, rest and shift gears to new endeavors. Are we "going out of business"? Not necessarily since we will continue to ship orders in the same efficient manner we always have, but in the short term leading into the long term we will be carrying less new releases and not re-ordering older catalog titles.

Mid July will be the time when you will be noticing no new titles added to the website and older titles taken off the website once we sell out. All current pre-orders will be processed and shipped as normal. Over time you will notice older titles disappearing from the website. We recommend getting what you want now since all titles will not be re-ordered as we run low in stock or sell out.

I would like to thank all of the customers that have stuck around with us since the early 2000s.

 

5th July   

Update: Registered as Unconstitutional...

Bad law thrown out in Indiana
Link Here  full story: Registration for US Adult Business...US adult businesses must pay registration fees

Indiana state seal A federal judge threw out a new Indiana law requiring bookstores and other retailers to register with the state and pay a $250 fee if they want to sell sexually explicit material.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker, ruled on the day the law took effect, found it too broad and said it could be applied against unquestionably lawful, non-obscene, non-pornographic materials being sold to adults.

'A romance novel sold at a drugstore, a magazine offering sex advice in a grocery store checkout line, an R-rated DVD sold by a video rental shop, a collection of old Playboy magazines sold by a widow at a garage sale ... would appear to necessitate registration under the statute,' Barker wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union took on the case for a team of plaintiffs that included the Indianapolis Museum of Art, bookstores and publishers.

It's a victory for booksellers and the arts community but most importantly for the First Amendment, said Maxwell Anderson, the art museum's CEO. I'm concerned as we all should be about restrictions on free expression.

Bill sponsor Terry Goodin said he would confer with the state attorney general before decided what to do next, but one option included taking the matter back to lawmakers in the 2009 legislative session: I've got pencil in hand. I'm ready to go. I'm not going to let this sleeping dog lie.

 

4th July   

Obscene Ohio Law...

Challenging law registering sellers of adult obscenity as sex offenders
Link Here

Ohio state seal The manager of Cincinnati's Hustler Hollywood store is suing Ohio's attorney general in an attempt to overturn part of a new state law that would require persons convicted of selling obscene material to register as sex offenders.

She's not been convicted or charged with anything. She's frightened, attorney Lou Sirkin said.

The woman, identified only as G.B. in the suit, is afraid, Sirkin said, because under the current law, if she sells something at the store that is decided to be obscene — even years later — the law requires her to register as a sex offender for 15 years.

A spokesman for the attorney general told reporters that his office is aware of the suit and is prepared to defend Ohio laws.

The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, seeks to overturn as unconstitutional part of Ohio's version of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which became effective Jan. 1.That law increased the reporting aspects, resulting in sex offenders — or those convicted of certain related crimes, including pandering obscenity — being required to register as sex offenders for longer periods of time.

 

3rd July   

Ragtime in the Park...

Censorial c-words ban play over use of the n-word
Link Here

The N Word DVD cover Officials in suburban Chicago's Wilmette Park District shut down a planned outdoor staging of the play Ragtime , citing concerns that passersby on the park grounds would take offense to the N-word, which is used several times in the script and score.

We had grave concerns that people would take the language they heard over the amplified sound system out of context from a performance that was being held in the bowl, Wilmette Park District executive director Tom Grisamore told the Pioneer Press.

The district got the rights to present Ragtime in January, but the content of the show was not examined until recently.

This is something we very honestly should have known about and hopefully we could have acted on this sooner, but we did as soon as we found out what was there, said Grisamore.

Ragtime , a show about racism, community, family and justice, was already in rehearsals with a cast of more than 40 when the bad news was handed down.

According to Playbill.com, a June 17 letter from Wilmette Park District's performing arts supervisor, Robert Bierie, to the show's licensing agent, Music Theatre International, asked for the script to change the N-word to the no-less-offensive (out of context) words "darkie," "coon" and "boy."

I find this sad and also hilarious,
Ragtime lyricist Lynn Ahrens told Playbill.com: It seems to sum up the blind ignorance of people who sit busily cherry-picking bad words, while not even bothering to read the script they are producing to understand its ideas or the context in which these words are spoken.

 

1st July   

Offsite: The Battle of Los Angeles...

High profile porn debate in the LA Times
Link Here

LA Times logo Today's question: Should there be an obscenity law that outlaws a product that is made with informed adult consent with no laws being broken, and that is increasingly distributed and consumed in complete privacy? All week, Barry McDonald and John Stagliano debate obscenity and the 1st Amendment.

Barry McDonald details the legal tests and reasoning behind the enforcement of obscenity laws. John Stagliano says no one should be sent to prison for distributing images others don't like.

Barry McDonald is an associate professor at Pepperdine University School of Law and teaches and writes on 1st Amendment law.

John Stagliano is an adult entertainment director, producer and distributor.

 

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