US Censorship News

 2008: Oct-Dec

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31st December   

Update: Freer Free Broadband...

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Adult content filtering dropped from US free broadband proposal
Link Here Full story: Free Porn Free Broadband...FCC plan for free broadband but porn free

Kevin Martin, the Chair of the Federal Communications Commission has revised his proposal to roll out a free (and adult content-free) wireless broadband service. In an effort to corral more votes, Martin has already circulated a new version of the plan, one that removes the controversial filtering requirement.

Why the change? I'm saying if this is a problem for people, let's take it away, Martin said: A lot of public interest advocates have said they would support this, but we're concerned about the filter. Well, now there's an item in front of the Commissioners and it no longer has the filter. And I've already voted for it without the filter now. So it's already got one vote.

The FCC's outgoing boss has been championing a proposal to auction off a hefty chunk of the Advanced Wireless Services 3 band (2155-2180MHz) for a free service that (until now) was to come complete with adult content filtering.

The license winner would be required to offer the service at a minimum 768Kpbs; it's obviously not the fastest rate in town, but it meets the FCC's new and improved definition of "basic" broadband. The provider will have to honor a Carterfone-style rule that allows any application or device to connect to the network, and the license will last for ten years, with ten-year renewal periods. The licensee must roll out coverage to half of the US population within four years and reach 95% of the country by the end of the first decade.


29th December   

Comment: In the Name of Fairness...

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US Democrats look to censor political views on TV, Radio, cable, satellite and internet
Link Here Full story: Censorship by Fairness...Demands that radio and TV should be fair to all views

Under the guise of Fairness , our Congress Critters are considering forcing radio and TV stations to balance their hourly lineups across the ideological spectrum. One hour of conservative programming followed by one hour of liberal programming would be an example of fairness and balance . The on/off switch would no longer be necessary with the federal government protecting us from speech and thoughts that they think would contaminate our minds.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says in part, Congress shall make no law. abridging the freedom of speech, Yet our Congress Critters are considering abridging freedom of speech. Last year Speaker Pelosi (D-Ca) blocked an attempt that would have prevented the government from resurrecting the practice of controlling ideological speech on the broadcast media. Senator Schumer (D-NY) suggested that regulating political content was the same as regulating pornography. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Il), John Kerry (D-Ma), Barbara Boxer (D-Ca), Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca), and Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are a few in the Democratic leadership that believes that the federal government should control ideological speech.

But Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Ca) goes even further. She said she planned to introduce legislation to control speech on broadcast stations (AM and FM) in addition to cable TV and satellite radio. Eshoo said, It should, and will, affect everyone.

Once the federal government heads down the path of censoring speech where will it end? FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell said that the speech limits may even extent to the Internet. McDowell also warned when you have the federal government dictating content you have a First Amendment problem. Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair.

Be very afraid when the federal government wants to mandate fairness. Censorship is the modus operandi of a totalitarian government.


28th December   

Tits at Facebook...

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Protests against Facebook's ban on breast feeding pictures
Link Here Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

The virtual nurse-in to protest Facebook's ban on breast-feeding photos has taken off, with hundreds hourly joining a group that crept toward 70,000 members Saturday evening.

A real-life, street protest drew fewer placards than photojournalists Saturday, with only a handful turning out to sing, chant and breast-feed in front of Facebook's California headquarters. A handful of peaceful pickets discreetly tucked away in a University Avenue plaza with placards reading Hey Facebook, Breast-feeding is not Obscene . A member of the Raging Grannies, the Midpeninsula activists who stage various theatrical protests, showed up to proclaim in song that our breasts aren't porn.

It's hard to say whether either demonstration will move Facebook executives to lift the site's prohibition of breasts displayed on members' profiles and albums. Facebook says the areola, the dark skin around the nipple, violates a policy on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material.

On their Facebook group site, which also serves as an open petition to the company, nursing advocates by Saturday evening had posted more than 10,000 wall comments, two dozen videos and nearly 3,000 photos of breast-feeding, while starting more than 1,500 discussion threads. Facebook, it seemed, was not removing them.

All this might not have happened had the social networking site simply answered Heather Farley's e-mail asking why the networking giant in October removed photos of her breast-feeding her baby. When she posted another photo and then received a letter threatening to delete her account, she went public.

Heather Farley, a self described avid user of Facebook with 200 online friends, said she doesn't know how far she'll pursue her protest. She doesn't want to lose her Facebook account, which is the primary way she keeps in touch with high school and college friends and is the place she and her husband post their family photos.

Still, she's blogged about her disputes with Facebook. And although the company still hasn't answered any of her electronic messages, she's now hearing from people worldwide.


27th December   

Update: iPrude...

Apple considers iBoobs to be objectional
Link Here Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Apple is beginning to allow more mature content to be released on the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but will they allow an application featuring boobs to be released?

The App Store itself has turned into an absolutely huge success for Apple as it has attributed to big sales for both the iPod Touch and the iPhone.

The company has reportedly blocked the release of certain applications which could be seen as porn by some users.

These include applications such as iBoobs due to it containing content that is claimed to be “objectionable.”


23rd December   

iPhoned iSaw iCensored...

Apple ban books adapted for iPhone
Link Here Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Apple have rejected an iPhone-based version of a book because it contained strong language.

Citing a clause in the iPhone development kit that states applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement (sic) may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users, Apple rejected Knife Music by David Carnoy, going so far as to provide a sample of one particularly graphic section.

Alex Brie, developer of the application, believes Apple is checking for such content using word-matching software because it would be difficult to believe that Apple has staff with the time to manually read each book submitted. Apple's staff shouldn't be allowed to refuse to publish works of literature based only on word matching.

Apple offers both movies and music on the iTunes Store containing similar language to that found in Carnoy's book, although in those cases it is able to either mark the content explicit or rely on the MPAA's movie ratings; there is no equivalent ratings system for books.


22nd December   

Unreal Decision...

US appeals court upholds conviction for anime child porn
Link Here

A federal appeals panel has affirmed the first child-porn anime conviction under the PROTECT Act.

A 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals panel voted to dismiss the appeal of Dwight Whorley of Richmond, who is serving 20 years in prison for using a public computer for jobseekers at the Virginia Employment Commission to receive 20 anime images.

The illustrated images depicted young girls being forced to have sex with men. (Whorley also received digital photographs of actual children engaging in sexual conduct and sent and received emails graphically describing parents sexually molesting their children).

Whorley's federal public defender Rob Wagner argued that anime is protected under the 1st Amendment because they do not depict real children and claimed the statute is unconstitutional because text-only emails cannot be obscene.

Judges Paul V. Niemeyer and James P. Jones rejected those arguments, but Judge Gregory agreed with Whorley on those issues. The court ruled. We also reject his arguments that textual matter cannot be obscene under § 1462 and that cartoons depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct must depict real-life minors to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1466A(a)(1).

Niemeyer noted in the majority opinion that the statute under which Whorley was convicted, the PROTECT Act of 2003, clearly states that : it is not a required element of any offense under this section that the minor depicted actually exists.


18th December   

Update: Onerous Records...

US Government updates 2257 record keeping restrictions
Link Here Full story: 2257 Record Keeping...US adut industry onerous requirements

The US Justice Department has released revised Section 2257 regulations and they are expected to go in effect in three months.

The 167-page draft includes a change that enables for third-party recordkeeping, attorney J.D. Obenberger told XBIZ.

It means individuals and small companies will be able to contract with a third party with the necessary records, giving them added privacy and security and reduction in compliance costs, he said.

The revised regulations are more stringent with the application of Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006, which requires notices to be placed on each page of every adult website.

Webmasters will now need to post a link to the disclosure statement on all pages where 2257-triggering content appears, attorney Larry Walters from told XBIZ. This is a change from the prior method of posting a link only on the home page.

Walters added that there are several other interesting nuggets in the regulations, and the comments, such as the determination that videos embedded on Web pages from sites like need to be accompanied by full 2257 compliance efforts, even if the originating site may be exempt from compliance.


16th December   

Worthy Games for Christmas...

Detroit prosecutor helpfully identifies the violent games of the year
Link Here

The Detroit Prosecutor came to fame in the 2007 holiday shopping season. At the time she was blaming games for the crime problem in Detroit and pushing an outdated list of ten games to avoid.

Ms. Worthy is back, reports the Detroit Free Press, with a brand-new list but the same old line: The last year has convinced me more than ever that children are at risk of becoming desensitized to violence and can exhibit more aggressive behavior if they repeatedly play certain violent video games.

This year's edition is cadged from the National Institute on Media and the Family's 2008 Annual Video Game Report Card:

  • Blitz the League II
  • Dead Space
  • Fallout 3
  • Far Cry 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Legendary
  • Resistance 2
  • Saints Row 2
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming


16th December   

Hard Time...

Hard2Find Videos owner sentenced to 33 months for obscenity
Link Here

The Hard2Find Videos owner Loren Jay Adams was sentenced to 33 months in prison for violating federal obscenity laws. Adams was convicted Sept. 30 on six counts of transporting obscene material through the mail.

US District Chief Judge John Bailey also ordered Adams to serve three years supervised release and to forfeit his domain name and all copies of the indicted movies.

Adams, who operated Hard2Find Videos used the US mail to ship the videos from Martinsville, Indiana, to Martinsburg, West Virginia,

Unfortunately, this case is another in a line of victories for the government in recent obscenity cases, First Amendment lawyer Lawrence G. Walters told XBIZ after Adams' conviction. The nature of the content was not widely publicized, but apparently included some fisting material. That activity, on its own, has not been the focus of obscenity prosecution for a number of years now. However, West Virginia is generally a conservative Bible Belt area, so federal obscenity cases can be difficult to defend in that kind of jurisdiction. Since this case involved the mailing of DVDs, it does not appear that this conviction will be tremendously precedential for the adult Internet industry.

The Justice Department's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force prosecuted the case.


15th December   

Update: Free Porn Free Wireless Broadband Delayed...

Protests cause FCC to reconsider
Link Here Full story: Free Porn Free Broadband...FCC plan for free broadband but porn free

The US plan to institute a free Internet service has been a bumpy road. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed a plan to auction off the existing air waves that would become available as many stations plan on switching to digital.

The FCC have now cancelled an upcoming meeting where it planned to vote on the controversial free Internet service.

The FCC planned to auction off 25 megahertz of wireless spectrum in the 2155MHz to 2180MHz band. In exchange for auctioning off this spectrum, the commission came up with the condition that the license holders must offer a certain portion of the usage for free wireless broadband service.

However the plan has been met with much opposition from politicians, wireless providers and even civil rights activists. The FCC requires the license holders to provide a filter for pornography and materials not suitable for children. Civil rights groups are up in arms because this would mean that the government would be capable of censoring information. These feelings undoubtedly stem from observing other countries like China where a super filter is in place to prevent certain information from reaching its citizens.

The House Committee of Energy and Commerce recently accused FCC Chairman Kevin Martin of mismanagement and abusing his powers. A detailed report was released this past Tuesday, alleging that Martin withheld information from Congress about a mismanaged program.

In light of all the protests and accusations, Senator John Rockefeller and Rep. Henry Waxman  sent a letter to Martian asking him not to make any decisions or actions regarding controversial proposals. That same day, the FCC announced that it would be cancelling the upcoming meeting to vote of the free Internet service.


14th December   

Update: Enjoyment Deficit...

Another attempt at a porn tax for California
Link Here

With the state facing a dire budget crisis, a California politician plans to introduce new legislation that would tax consumers of adult entertainment.

Democrat  State Assemblymember Alberto Torrico said he plans to push for new legislation that would place a tax on the goods and products associated with the adult entertainment industry.

Torrico's spokesman Jeff Barbosa said the amount of the tax had not been determined, but the legislation could be introduced within a few weeks.

The timing of Torrico's proposal comes on the heels of a similar bill's defeat in August. A 25% excise tax on adult products and productions proposed by Assemblyman Charles Calderon gained no traction in the assembly and died in committee.


13th December   

The Ayatollah vs the Ram...

Iran whinges at Hollywood film with Iranian baddy
Link Here

A new target in Iran's long-running grievance about its negative portrayal in popular western cinema is, The Wrestler , a film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Mickey Rourke, due for release in the US on December 17.

Newspapers and websites have alerted readers to the anti-Iranian film by highlighting a scene in which Rourke's character, Randy "the Ram" Robinson, violently breaks a pole bearing an Iranian flag across his knee, after his opponent tries to use it to put him in a stranglehold.

Perhaps to avoid offending Iran's clerical rulers, no mention has been made of the screen name of Rourke's antagonist, the Ayatollah, played by Ernest Miller.

But the Miller character's wrestling attire, a skimpy leotard in the pattern of an Iranian flag with the alef character - representing the first letter of the word Allah - emblazoned front and back on his loins, has been condemned by Borna News, a state-run website.

The pole-breaking scene occurs against the explicitly nationalistic backdrop of an animated crowd chanting, USA, USA. It is intended to represent the final triumph for Rourke's character, who comes out of retirement following a heart attack for one last confrontation with the Ayatollah, a rival from his wrestling heyday.

While there is virtually no chance of The Wrestler being given official screening permission in Iran, many Iranians have become familiar with it through promotional trailers shown on broadcaster, Voice of America's Persian-language satellite television channel.


6th December   

Seeing Red...

Red lights to be extinguished at Ning social networking
Link Here

The social networking site Ning has announced that it will discontinue hosting adult-oriented networks in its Red Light District as of January 1.

Ning was designed to allow anyone to create a social network on its platform. Network creators were allowed to do their own moderating.

Ning claims the decision was informed by the practical, not the philosophical. CEO and co-founder Gina Bianchini described the move as a logical step, taking into account all the problems adult content has caused for the site, including sub-par ad revenue, an increase in illegal adult social networks, and numerous DMCA take-down notices.

We're not discontinuing the Red Light District because we no longer believe in the freedom to create your own social network for anything as long as it's legal. We do. Practically though, supporting adult networks no longer makes sense, Bianchini wrote on the Ning blog.


5th December   

Update: Free Porn Free Wireless Broadband...

FCC near to auctioning off spectrum with onerous restrictions
Link Here Full story: Free Porn Free Broadband...FCC plan for free broadband but porn free

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is apparently ready to vote on a proposal that could conceivably bring free nationwide wireless broadband service to U.S. consumers.

According to a report in USA Today, the FCC, at its Dec. 18 meeting, will vote on whether to auction off a portion of unused spectrum called Advanced Wireless Service-3 (AWS-3) to the highest bidder.

But there are plenty of strings attached to the auction, which is expected to be held in early 2009. For example, the FCC will reportedly require the winner of the AWS-3 auction to devote 25% of the bandwidth to free wireless nationwide broadband with a downstream speed of 768 Kbps.

Predictably, carriers and service providers aren't happy about this, even though they'll be able to use the remaining 75% to sell faster, commercial services.

Clearly, it's the 'free' part of the equation that's keeping C-level service provider executives awake at night. But another thorny issue is the FCC requirement that the winner will have to keep the free wireless service free of pornography and illegal content, a stipulation that has added complex socio-political issues to the technological issues posited by the carriers.


3rd December   

Child Safe Viewing Act...

FCC to inquire into content blocking technology
Link Here

President Bush has signed the Child Safe Viewing Act, requiring the Federal Communications Commission to explore the market for technologies that allow parents to censor the programming their children watch.

The new law requires the FCC to issue a notice of inquiry to examine what advanced content-blocking technologies are available for various communication devices and platforms. It also calls for the FCC to consider how to encourage the development and use of such technologies without affecting content providers' pricing or packaging.

The term advanced blocking technologies is defined in the law as technology that enables parents to protect their children from any indecent or objectionable video or audio programming, as determined by such parent, that is transmitted through the use of wire, wireless, or radio communication.

The FCC will have to report its findings to Congress within 270 days.


1st December   

Dangerous Anime...

US obscenity case about possession of comic books
Link Here Full story: Dangerous Anime in the US...Japanese anime open to prosecution

Look through your comic book collection. Do you have Alan Moore's Lost Girls ? Any of S. Clay Wilson's Underground Comix ? Even Neil Gaiman's Sandman series? If the prosecution of manga collector Christopher Handley sticks, all of that and more could be considered obscene, Gaiman told MTV.

I wrote a story about a serial killer who kidnaps and rapes children, and then murders them, Gaiman said, referring to a storyline in The Doll's House . We did that as a comic, not for the purposes of titillation or anything like that, but if you bought that comic, you could be arrested for it? That's just deeply wrong. Nobody was hurt. The only thing that was hurt were ideas.

Gaiman's currently supporting the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's fight to defend Handley, who was arrested in Iowa for possession of obscene material based on his private collection, which included lolicon and yaoi manga. Lolicon focuses on the Lolita complex, where yaoi features male homosexual romance for a primarily female audience.

There is explicit sex in yaoi comics, Handley's lawyer Eric Chase told MTV. And the men are drawn in a very androgynous style, which has the effect of making them look really young. There's a real taboo in Japan about showing pubic hair, so they're all drawn without it, which also makes them look young. So what concerned the authorities were the depictions of children in explicit sexual situations that they believed to be obscene. But there are no actual children. It was all very crude images from a comic book.

Despite the argument that there was no actual children portrayed in the manga, Handley faces felony obsenity charges, including the receipt and possession of obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children. The case is going to trial on December 2. The jury will determine whether the manga is obscene or if it has artistic value. If found guilty of the charges against him, Handley faces a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.


24th November   

Offisite: Unconstitutionally Vague...

John Stagliano argues in court against obscenity law
Link Here Full story: Buttman John Stagliano...John Stagliano prosecuted for obscenity

Evil Angel Productions owner John Stagliano will have his first formal chance to get the charges against him dismissed on Tuesday, Nov. 25, when his attorney Allan B. Gelbard will mount a multi-faceted attack on the government's contention that two DVDs sent by Evil Angel to FBI agents in the District of Columbia, and one trailer downloaded there, are obscene.

Gelbard's introduction to his Motion sets out the major arguments he will use before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon

Initially, all charges based on the downloading of the Internet trailer from the Evil Angel website are constitutionally impermissible as any finding of obscenity requires the work(s) must be 'taken as a whole' and evaluated based on 'contemporary community standards', Gelbard summarizes: Both terms have been found unconstitutionally vague as applied to Internet speech. Additionally, their cumulative effect, in combination with the government's ability to 'forum shop' the prosecution, further exacerbates the due process violation.

...Read full article


19th November   

Old Censor...

Senator Ted Stevens sacked by his electorate
Link Here

The nutter Senator Ted Stevens, has been sacked by his electorate. He has regularly featured on Melon Farmers calling for FCC censorship of cable television and generally bad mouthing anything to do with sex, violence and TV

Senator Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in Senate history, narrowly lost his re-election bid Tuesday, marking the downfall of a Washington political power and Alaska icon who couldn't survive a conviction on federal corruption charges….

Stevens' ouster on his 85th birthday marks an abrupt realignment in Alaska politics and will alter the power structure in the Senate, where he has served since the days of the Johnson administration while holding seats on some of the most influential committees in Congress.


15th November   

Glorified Censors...

YouTube take down videos said to glorify Columbine High School killings
Link Here

YouTube has removed a number of videos 'glorifying' the Columbine High School killers, after a BBC investigation.

Videos found on the site praised Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold - also known as Reb and Vodka - for carrying out the shooting, in which 13 people died.

The killings near Denver, Colorado nine years ago, were romanticised in some of the videos which have now been removed.

The BBC Six O'clock News discovered that nine years on from America's worst high school shooting there is a thriving online community obsessed with teenage gunmen Harris and Klebold.

Many tribute videos found on YouTube 'romanticise' the killers who shot 12 pupils, a teacher and wounded 23 others before shooting themselves.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, said it was grateful to the BBC for bringing the videos to its attention. Peter Barron, Head of Communication for Google UK, owners of the site said: We do not tolerate videos that glorify school shootings and have removed the videos that fall into that category.


13th November   

Update: Playing a Detailed Rating Game...

ESRB introduce extended explanations of their games ratings
Link Here

The US games rating organisation, ESRB, has begun a new program to add summaries of why each game has earned its rating.

Research shows that the vast majority of parents who purchase games for their kids are aware of and regularly check ESRB ratings, but parents can always use more help when making choices as to which games are right for their children, said Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB: With our new rating summaries, which provide exclusive and unprecedented insight into the nature of the content that triggered a given rating assignment, parents will be that much more empowered in making those choices.

Games rated from July 1 of this year will have a summary available, and the ESRB has also launched a mobile site to make these summaries accessible from cell phones. If you want this information while at a game store, simply look up the game on your cell phone.

An example database entry now looks like this

Dead Space

Platform : Windows PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Rating : Mature

Content descriptors : Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

Rating summary : Dead Space is a third-person action game that takes place in a mysterious space station. The protagonist searches for clues found in the form of audio/video clips and various other items while avoiding hazards and fighting alien monsters. He uses several types of guns, lasers and flame throwers to defeat enemies. Characters lose limbs and heads, accompanied by sprays, stains, and gushes of red blood. Dismembered alien and human corpses appear regularly. Strong profanity (e.g., "sh*t" and "f*ck") can be heard in dialogue and seen in graffiti.


10th November   

Duff TV Censors...

Hilary Diff music video offends over finger sucking
Link Here

Hilary Duff has been hit with TV censorship on her music video for new single Reach Out .

The promo video is deemed too rude for US television, as the singer can be seen suggestively sucking the finger of a man.

Reports say Duff will have to remove the raunchy scenes and replace them with more TV-friendly footage.


10th November   

Offsite: Fleeting TV Censorship...

Supreme Court Hears FCC vs. Fox Broadcasting
Link Here

For the first time in 30 years, the US Supreme Court is taking a look at so-called indecent speech on broadcast TV and radio ... but it may not look very deeply, opting instead to decide simply whether the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) violated the Administrative Procedures Act in attempting to fine Fox Broadcasting for airing so-called fleeting expletives - that is, single unexpected utterances of words like 'fuck' and 'shit.'

But 'fuck' and 'shit' weren't in evidence when the Supreme Court heard argument in the petition of FCC vs. Fox Broadcasting on Tuesday morning. Rather, everyone referred to them as the F-word and the S-word - leading to the interesting conundrum that the high court would be deciding the broadcast fate of words that it would apparently hurt their ears (or minds) to hear spoken in a courtroom.

The present cases arises, although even this was a matter of contention, from the FCC's decision to begin levying fines on broadcasters who allowed even single instances of 'fuck', 'shit' and its variations to go out over the airwaves, even though, historically, it had overlooked such slips.

It will likely be several months before the decision is published, so it is equally likely that broadcasters will spend that time policing their guests' language very carefully, since millions of dollars in fines are in the balance.

...Read full article


7th November   

Offsite: Obscene Chilling of Free Speech...

John Stagliano challenges unconstitutional obscenity test
Link Here Full story: Buttman John Stagliano...John Stagliano prosecuted for obscenity

Attorneys for John Stagliano have filed motions to dismiss the federal obscenity charges against the director and his companies, arguing that the Supreme Court test for obscenity is outdated and unconstitutional.

Attorneys Allan Gelbard and Paul Cambria filed their respective motions on Oct. 30 and 31 in reply to the federal government's opposition to the Stagliano defense team's original motions to dismiss the charges.

They contend in their motion that the First Amendment prohibits prosecution of E.A. Productions for use of an interactive computer service to distribute on-line communications because, unlike many off-line publishers, Internet publishers cannot control the geographic reach of their communications.

[T]he use of local community standards to judge the lawfulness of such on-line communications invariably subjects those communications to the restrictions of the most conservative communities in the nation, E.A. Productions submits that this reality unconstitutionally chills speech by allowing an Internet heckler's veto to these conservative communities.

...Read full article


6th November   

Quick Off the Blocks...

US Army sees a threat in quick and simple widely broadcast messaging
Link Here

The US Army is flagging the popular blogging service Twitter as a potential terrorist tool, the Agence France-Presse reported.

A recently released report by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion contains a chapter entitled Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter, which expresses concern over the increasing use of Twitter by political and religious groups.

Twitter has also become a social activism tool for socialists, human rights groups, communists, vegetarians, anarchists, religious communities, atheists, political enthusiasts, hacktivists and others to communicate with each other and to send messages to broader audiences, according to the report: Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives .

The blogging service and social networking site has previously sent out messages known as tweets faster than news organizations during such major news events as the July Los Angeles earthquake and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.

Twitter describes itself as a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?


30th October   

Update: Fallout Takedown...

Fallout 3 trailer banned from the internet
Link Here Full story: Fallout 3...World censors ban Fallout 3

Games company Bethesda recently sent out a number of e-mails asking certain websites to remove videos containing footage of the just-released Fallout 3 .

Shacknews was among the sites contacted, and according to the message they received, the takedown notices were in reaction to possible violations of the ESRB guidelines on game advertising.

In connection with ESRB's advertising guidelines, you are instructed to remove immediately any of our Fallout 3 trailers from your website, pending further notice, wrote Bethsda's vice president of marketing Pete Hines in the e-mail received by Shacknews.

It seems that Fallout 3 is a target for institutional censorship.


29th October   

Update: Googling for Human Rights...

Multinational computer companies unveil initiative to better support human rights
Link Here Full story: Supporting Internet Censorship...US multi-nationals support repressive censorship

Congressman Howard L. Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the unveiling of the Global Network Initiative by a diverse group of information and communication companies and human rights organizations.

The initiative recognizes that all companies have a responsibility to protect against human rights violations, especially by authoritarian governments like China, Iran and the UK.

It's about time, Berman said: This initiative is an important, yet only a first step in better protecting freedoms of expression and privacy.

Technology companies and human rights groups that join the initiative agree to abide by a set of operating principles that are based upon internationally recognized human rights standards.

Under the agreement, participating companies would face yearly reviews to ensure that they are advancing rights of expression and privacy in their business operations. Members of the initiative intend to make the program a standard for companies around the world.


28th October   

Update: Hyping Porn Makers...

Utah cinemas ban Zack and Miri movie
Link Here Full story: Zack and Miri Make a Porno...Supporting hype for Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Seth Rogen's  new comedy Zack And Miri Make a Porno has been banned from several U.S. cinemas - as they claim it may be too crude for viewers.

The Megaplex Theatres in Utah towns Salt Lake City, Ogden, Lehi, and Sandy have decided not to show Rogen's new movie because of its sex and nudity scenes.

A spokesperson for the chain tells New York gossip column PageSix, We feel it's very close to an NC-17 with its graphic nudity and graphic sex.

Asked why Megaplex has no problem showing the R-rated, ultra-violent Saw V. the chain's Cal Gunderson said: No comment.

Weinstein distribution chief Steve Bunnell , said he was shocked by the shutout, especially since Megaplex screened other adult comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up:   I hate to use the word 'censorship,' but . . .


24th October   

The Hugh Hefners...

Winners of the 2008 Hugh Hefner First Amendment Awards.
Link Here

The Playboy Foundation named a high-school student, a retired technician and an attorney as the winners of the 2008 Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards.

These winners have shown extraordinary commitment to preserving the First Amendment rights of all Americans, said Christie Hefner, chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises Inc, Their example is an inspiration to everyone who cares about the fundamental civil rights on which our democracy is based.

  • Heather Gillman, 17 received a $10,000 award for speaking out on behalf of the rights of gay students. Gillman successfully sued the local school board after her high school principal banned students from wearing T-shirts, stickers, buttons or symbols showing support of equal rights for gay students.
  • Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician, received a $10,000 award for speaking out against the National Security Agency's covert, illegal computer spying operation, which used AT&T to secretly intercept billions of private Internet communications sent and received by Americans.
  • Greg Lukianoff, New York-based attorney and president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, received the new $25,000 Freedom of Expression Award in recognition of his efforts to defend First Amendment rights of students and faculty on college campuses across the U.S.

This year, the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards were selected from 60 nominees representing traditional and digital means of expression, including law professors, website creators and student journalists.

The Playboy Foundation supports local and national nonprofit organizations that protect the rights of the individual in a free society. Since its inception in 1965, the foundation has awarded nearly $20 million in grants and in-kind contributions to organizations concerned with First Amendment freedoms, civil liberties and social justice.


23rd October   

Update: FCC Chills...

News Corp boss defends TV companies against indecent FCC censorship
Link Here

News Corporation boss Peter Chernin is unleashing a broad defense of broadcasters against FCC indecency enforcement and warning starkly about the danger that a Supreme Court case could pose to First Amendment freedoms.

Chernin said there could be devastating repercussions to the wrong ruling in a case in which the FCC found Fox stations' airing of Nicole Richie's and Cher's live 'profane' comments in two Billboard Music Awards in 2002 and 2003 amounted to indecency violations.

In prepared remarks, he called the case, to be heard by the high court November 4th, an absolute threat to the First Amendment. The case hinges on utterances that were unscripted on live television. If we are found in violation, just think about the radical ramifications for live programming—from news, to politics, to sports … in fact, to every live broadcast television event. The effect would be appalling.

The court case stems from the FCC's attempt to ramp up indecency enforcement by starting to regard fleeting expletives as indecent. The FCC generally had overlooked expletives uttered in live unscripted shows in the past.

In the high court case, the FCC is appealing an appellate court ruling that overturned the FCC's policy change.

Chernin conceded that he is defending some less than ideal material in the high court case and others, including one over episodes of Married by America that showed strippers. Still, he said, his company has no choice because the government is trying to act as censor: I vow to fight to the end our ability to put occasionally controversial, offensive and even tasteless content on the air.

Chernin also accused groups claiming to be interested in protecting children of helping the government in its attempts to censor television. The job of protecting children is far too important to leave to government bureaucrats or so-called public interest groups. The job of protecting children lies with parents.

Update: Oral Arguments

1st November 2008. See Supreme Court to hear case about indecent speech on TV from

The court case will commence on 4th November 2008

Lawyers from both sides expect Tuesday's oral arguments to be filled with the "indecent" language at issue, so expect to see a lot of f-bombs being tossed around by the justices, all in the name of legal clarity, of course.

The case is FCC v. Fox Television Stations (07-582)


22nd October   

Gambling on Domain Forfeiture...

Kentucky sets sights on seizing porn domain names
Link Here

A policy expert warns that Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear may soon apply the same tactic to online adult websites that he has applied to Internet gambling — having them forfeit the domains to the state by taking owners to court.

In a post discussing Beshear's lawsuit against 141 gambling websites on Reason Magazine's website, senior editor Radley Balko predicts the next move with just one ominous sentence.

Seems like the Internet porn industry would be the next logical target, Balko writes.

According to an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate on Oct. 16 denied a motion to dismiss Beshear's lawsuit against the gambling sites. Wingate ruled Beshear has the right to decide whether control of the sites must be forfeited to the state, according to the newspaper.

Wingate set the next hearing date for Nov. 17.

Beshear filed suit last month to force the sites to block access by Kentucky users and pay damages, or forfeit the site's domain name.


21st October   

Censorial Silence...

Nutters write to presidential candidates about their views on porn
Link Here

The nutters of Morality in Media have sent a letter to the Democratic and Republican vice president candidates seeking their stance on the enforcement of federal obscenity laws.

In his letter to Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, Robert Peters, president of MIM, pointed out that although many pressing issues face the nation, pornography negatively affects women and children and should be prosecuted.

Peters is asking the vice presidential contenders to weigh in on the issue because Barack Obama and John McCain have been closed-mouth about obscenity law enforcement.

The American people deserve to know where the presidential candidates stand on this vital issue, Peters wrote in his letter.


21st October   

Online Role Playing Games...

Microsoft play 'the censor'
Link Here

Microsoft has been granted a patent to filter and censor undesired words in real-time. The automatic system would process everything being said during online games chat and alter the unwanted words so that they are, according to the patent, either unintelligible or inaudible.

The company, then, is opting to either lower the volume below audibility, replacing the word with an acceptable word or phrase, or taking out the word completely.

While TV networks usually delay feeds by a few seconds so that someone can stand by and bleep out anything they deem offensive, Microsoft's proposed technology would make everything work in real-time – a practical solution when it comes to the many simultaneous conversations that take place in online multiplayer games.


21st October   

Aqsa Axed...

Plug pulled on Hamas YouTube look alike
Link Here

A few weeks ago, Western intelligence officials discovered that the Palestinian jihadist group Hamas had set up a video-sharing site. Now, that radical Islamic answer to YouTube is offline. And jihadists are blaming the FBI for the takedown.

AqsaTube mimicked the mainstream video site. Users could watch clips, and upload their own. The Hamas site, however, is devoted entirely to propaganda and incitement, explained Israel's Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center, or ITIC.

This is the second time in a little more than a month that an extremist video distribution network has been taken offline. The al-Ekhlaas network of sites had long been a primary distributor of videos from al-Sahab, al-Qaida's propaganda arm. Then, on Sept. 11, was suddenly re-registered. All of its content vanished.

As in the case of the al-Ekhlaas takedown, militant forums blamed Western intelligence agencies for the unplugging of AqsaTube. But it appears a little sunlight may have done the trick, instead.

AqsaTube's internet service provider was the French firm OVH. The company initially denied hosting AqsaTube, according to the BBC, but later confirmed that the website had been hosted by them and had now been taken offline


20th October   

Offsite: An End to the Libel Tourist Trap...

Proposed US law to end the use of UK libel courts by Americans
Link Here

The A US bill should put a stop to 'libel tourists' - the rich and famous from abroad who use UK defamation laws to their advantage. Only a handful oppose it

In a spare half-hour while discussing bailing out American capitalism, the US House of Representatives recently voted through an extraordinary bill with far-reaching implications for Britain's courts. Yet it has received no publicity here and few of Britain's lawyers even know of its existence.

By amending the legal code three weeks ago in order to prohibit the recognition and enforcement of foreign defamation judgments in the US, politicians sealed off America's newspaper and book publishers from libel tourism - the use of British libel laws by non-nationals to sue foreign-owned publications such as books, newspapers and magazines that are distributed in Britain, even if only a few copies are involved.

Britain's libel laws are widely considered to be among the most severe on publishers - and have been used by people from around the world, and increasingly by Hollywood celebrities, because American defamation laws give publications much greater licence.

Steve Cohen, the congressman who drew up the new US legislation, believes it will prevent the exploitation of defamation laws in Britain and other countries that lack the broad protections guaranteed by the US first amendment.

...Read full article


18th October   

Update: Little Appeal...

Max Hardcore to appeal against obscenity conviction
Link Here Full story: Max Hardcore on Trial...Max Hardcore on trial for obscenity

Max Hardcore Extreme 12 DVD Following his conviction in federal court on obscenity charges, Max Hardcore's legal battle moves on to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hardcore, whose legal name is Paul F. Little, is free pending appeal, which his attorney Jeffrey Douglas told XBIZ would be filed sometime before the end of the business day Thursday. Douglas represented Hardcore in the obscenity case that resulted in a conviction carrying a sentence of 46 months in prison and fines of more than $1.4 million.

Attorney H. Louis Sirkin will represent Hardcore through the appeal, during which Sirkin will have to prove that Hardcore's First Amendment-given right to free speech was violated, Douglas said.

Update: Judge Rules Max Hardcore Must Begin Prison Sentence

31st October 2008. Based on article from

U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew denied Max Hardcore's attorneys' request to delay the sentence while they appeal the conviction to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.

Bucklew ruled that Hardcore's attorneys did not present a compelling enough reason that his sentence would be likely overturned on appeal.


17th October   

Update: Porno Sensitive...

Censorship advertises Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Link Here Full story: Zack and Miri Make a Porno...Supporting hype for Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Kevin Smith's comedy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno , may have been granted an R-rating by the MPAA, but the marketing department of the Weinstein Co., which is distributing the film, says that 15 newspapers and several TV and cable outlets are refused to carry commercials for the film.

Josh Rawitch, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, told the Associated Press that commercials for the film were removed from Fox Sports channel during Dodgers games after viewers complained.

The city of Philadelphia refused to permit posters for the movie on its bus stops, despite the fact that they now use stick figures to represent the actors. (The city's deputy mayor told AP that the ads were unacceptable because of the word "porno.")

The studio has now developed a poster that reads, Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks made a movie so outrageous that we can't even tell you the title.


15th October   

Free but not Free...

Spectrum allocated for free broadband with the proviso that it be censored
Link Here

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has given preliminary approval to the proposal for a free, nation-wide broadband service.

Providers interested in making use of the available band will be required to ensure it remains pornographic and obscenity free.

An auctioning off of the spectrum is expected to begin in 2009. Any company winning the bid for the AWS-3 network must stick to a graduated plan of execution and filter out obscene or pornographic material dictated by contemporary community standards.

The broadband network is expected to be available to 50% of the USA within four years and 95% within 10 years.


15th October   

Patron Saint of Gamers...

US Police wound up by Saints Row 2
Link Here

A blood-soaked new video game boasts enough violence, guns and gratuitous sex to make send cops hopping mad.

The over-the-top Saints Row 2 encourages players to butcher cops with chain saws, smoke drugs, annihilate rival gangsters and run prostitution rings.

Many in law enforcement and politics don't find any of it remotely entertaining.

These horrible and violent video games desensitize young people to violence while encouraging depravity, immorality while glorifying criminal behavior, said New York Police Department union boss Patrick Lynch.

The game, which is rated "mature," hits stores Tuesday for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 consoles.

Despite the outrage, some of the scenarios depicted in the game seem hilariously over the top. Players can commit insurance fraud by faking injuries, spraying the contents of a septic tank to bring down property values or appearing on a "Cops"-like reality TV show. If things get boring, competitors can just strip and run around naked.

Gamemaker THQ insisted the new video is not intended to be taken seriously: Saints Row 2 is not a gang simulation game. It's a tongue-in-cheek game.


12th October   


South Park's take on Indiana Jones 4
Link Here

The creators of South Park , the satirical cartoon, are no strangers to controversy but now they seem to have taken the taboo-busting to a place even hardened South Park watchers have found hard to go, given reactions to a new episode showing Hollywood titans George Lucas and Steven Spielberg repeatedly raping Indiana Jones.

The latest instalment of the award-winning series, now on its 12th series, entitled The China Problem tackled in part the fourth outing of the Indiana Jones franchise, which was released in May to the disappointment of many fans.

In the South Park episode, the film features the serial rape of the blockbuster's protagonist by his creators, Spielberg and Lucas, who in animated sequences that echo rape scenes from The Accused and Deliverance are shown violating the cowering Indy.

The cartoon's main characters emerge from the cinema traumatised after seeing the film. They suffer tearful flashbacks and nightmares and eventually go the district attorney's office in the hope of getting the filmmakers prosecuted. The episode ends with Spielberg and Lucas being arrested after police find them raping a Stormtrooper.

This week's episode is causing quite a commotion! noted New York blog Gawker: The showrunners were, you know, just trying to voice their dissatisfaction with this summer's kinda crappy Indiana Jones fourquel - but people are wondering: did they go too far?

Influential Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke reported that Paramount executives were taken by surprise. Later she quoted a DreamWorks insider as saying Spielberg had no plans to lodge a complaint with Viacom. We don't want to engage. We just want it to go away. It was tasteless. How can that be shown on basic cable? the insider was quoted as saying.


9th October   

American Filterers...

American Airlines to censor their in-flight internet access
Link Here Full story: Inflight Internet Access...Airlines consider internet access on planes

Tissue Sir?
May I recommend

Bowing to pressure from flight attendants and, supposedly, customers, American Airlines has said it will soon be blocking access to pornographic websites on its new Aircell in-flight Internet access service. Delta announced a similar plan earlier this month.

Naturally, privacy and civil rights advocates are already criticizing the move. Filters always tend to cast a very wide net, taking with them plenty of non-pornographic content while missing sites that many will find offensive. And of course, there's invariably the question of whether filtering will extend to violence, hate speech, and other frequently-censored content.

Well, if nothing else, American has probably inadvertently launched a new diversion for bored fliers travelling across the country: Beat the Filter, where buddies try to see who can slip some adult content past the censor first.


9th October   

Extreme Persecution...

Trial date set for obscenity trial of Extreme Associates
Link Here Full story: Extreme Appeal...Rob Black on obscenity charges

A federal judge has set March 16 2009 as the date for the Extreme Associates obscenity trial.

Judge Gary L. Lancaster in 2005 dismissed the charges brought against Extreme Associates and Robert Zicari, aka Rob Black, and Janet Romano aka Lizzie Borden. The Justice Department lawyers alleged the adult films were obscene because they contained extreme adult material.

The Justice Department then appealed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned Lancaster's decision in December 2005.


7th October   

Bring Your Own Porn...

Delta Airlines to censor their in-flight internet access
Link Here Full story: Inflight Internet Access...Airlines consider internet access on planes

Tissue Sir?
Don't be alarmed by the vibrations...
It's just the lady in 5C
enjoying her flight

A reported decision by Delta Air Lines to block inappropriate websites from its planned in-flight WiFi service could be just the tip of the iceberg for airlines' control of Internet use.

Delta, which plans to offer WiFi on some planes later this year and on its whole domestic fleet in 2009, has decided to prevent passengers from accessing 'inappropriate content', according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article. Delta said it had considered turning to its flight attendants to handle the problem but decided to adopt technical means instead.

Delta plans to offer the GoGo service from Aircell, the same system used by American. GoGo uses a network of cellular towers on the ground to transmit data back and forth to WiFi routers on planes. It will charge passengers US$9.95 for service on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 for longer flights.

Aircell will implement content filtering for airlines if asked, the company said in an e-mail response to questions.

At least one privacy rights advocate criticized the idea, but there's a good chance travelers will have to leave their traditional expectations about Internet use on the ground before they log on in the air.

I don't think it makes much sense, said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. For one thing, it won't prevent passengers from looking at inappropriate material stored on their own laptops, he said. But it also opens the door to blocking of other content, such as news or political opinions.

It's so easy, once that precedent is set, to broaden ... the kind of information blocks that might be imposed, Rotenberg said. Considering how many of the world's airlines are owned by national governments, it wouldn't be surprising to see them filter out, for example, any site that criticizes the country's leader, he said.

To avoid the slippery slope of Internet filtering, airlines would be better off dealing with offensive Web use as they do other things that upset nearby passengers, he said. The current procedure for dealing with unruly passengers should be adequate, Rotenberg said.



4th October   

Update: Little Freedom in the USA...

Max Hardcore sentenced to 46 months in prison
Link Here Full story: Max Hardcore on Trial...Max Hardcore on trial for obscenity

Max Hardcore Extreme 12 DVD A federal judge has sentenced Paul Little, aka Max Hardcore, to 46 months in prison and fines of more than $1.4 million.

US District Judge Susan C. Bucklew allowed Hardcore to remain free pending appeal, w(ile sternly advising him against speaking to the press, Hardcore's attorney Jeffrey Douglas told XBIZ.

An appeal will follow and we're optimistic about [it], Douglas said: The appeal will be filed in the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bucklew's recommended prison sentence and fines were at the minimum levels suggested by the federal prosecutors for Hardcore's 10 counts. Bucklew fined Hardcore $7,500 and Max World Entertainment Inc. for $75,000. The fines on all charges add up to about $1.4 million.

The federal government was asking for more stringent sentencing than what the judge ordered. In a memo filed Oct. 1, the Justice Department attorneys suggested the judge compare Hardcore's obscenity charge to child pornography, narcotics and fraud. The memo also included several quotes in the media given by Hardcore. The Justice Department argued that these were not indicative of an individual who possesses any level of acceptance of the crimes he committed.

Hardcore must file an appeal within six weeks or have to turn himself in to begin serving the sentence.


4th October   

Ham Fisted Government...

Hard2Find Videos done for fisting videos by mail order
Link Here

A federal jury has convicted Hard2Find Videos owner Loren Jay Adams of six counts of selling and distributing obscene material.

In addition to the conviction on charged counts, Adams must forfeit all of the obscene films in his possession and his business websites.

Adams, who operated Hard2Find Videos and L&J and L and J, used the US mail to ship the videos from Martinsville, Indiana, to Martinsburg, West Virgina.

Unfortunately, this case is another in a line of victories for the government in recent obscenity cases, First Amendment lawyer Lawrence G. Walters told XBIZ. The nature of the content was not widely publicized, but apparently included some fisting material. That activity, on its own, has not been the focus of obscenity prosecution for a number of years now. However, West Virginia is generally a conservative Bible Belt area, so federal obscenity cases can be difficult to defend in that kind of jurisdiction. Since this case involved the mailing of DVDs, it does not appear that this conviction will be tremendously precedential for the adult Internet industry.

The Justice Department's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force prosecuted the case.

Adams faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count. No sentencing date has been set.


1st October   

Cartoon Nutters...

Cartoon nudity in public display winds up Californian nutters
Link Here

A piece of art containing nude cartoons that generated nutter controversy has been removed from public view at the art display in the downtown Caltrain station at San Mateo, California. The space will no longer be a public art venue and will be used exclusively for advertising.

Both  local artists and city employees are up in arms, the artists in the form of a petition to keep the space for public art and the city with a new committee devoted to selecting art for display in the City Hall and main library display areas.

The removal of the artwork is the end of a drama that has involved the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Coalition Against Censorship, several factions of the city government, and a local artist and curator who blames city officials for what can be interpreted as attack on freedom of expression.

Sinem Banna, a local artist and resident, said she was given permission in May by a staff member in the city Planning Department to curate a set of display cases in the transit center. As Banna understood it, she would be in charge of refreshing the display every few months with the works of new artists.

The inaugural display featured an art piece that contained cartoonish humans, dogs, rats and a large flea hovering over the U.S. Capitol. The work, by Bakersfield college art professor Ruth Santee, received a complaint regarding its content, and Banna was asked to remove the supposedly offending artwork.

Banna refused to remove the art. The artist and curator was joined by the ACLU and NCAC in her defense of the Caltrain exhibit. Thanks in part to pressure from these national organizations, the city attorney agreed to a compromise: The display would be allowed to remain in the transit center until the end of September.

When the art formally came down Friday, Banna replaced it with a petition for residents to sign if they would like the area to remain a public art venue. After collecting signatures, she will send copies of the petition to the mayor and the city manager, she said.

One day before the Caltrain exhibit was removed, the city created an art exhibit selection committee, which will review artwork submitted for month long displays in City Hall and the library. Officials could not confirm whether the committee was created in response to this recent controversy.


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