US Censorship News

 2012: Jan-March

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31st March   

Updated: Unrated...

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Weinstein Company to release the documentary Bully unrated
Link Here  full story: The Bully Project...Weinstein Co takes on America film censorship

bully projectBully , a new documentary premiering Friday, will be released with no rating, following a failed effort to have the MPAA rating changed from R to PG-13.

The movie's rating attracted national attention, thanks to a Change.org petition started by 17-year-old Katy Butler. The petition MPAA: Don't let the bullies win! Give 'Bully' a PG-13 instead of an R rating! has almost achieved its goal of gaining half a million signatures.

The film's no rating status will prevent it from being screened in certain theaters, which is a risk The Weinstein Co. decided to take.

Update: Nutters of the Parents TV Council Unimpressed

31st March 2012. See article from parentstv.org

The Parents Television Council responded to the announcement that the Weinstein Company will release the documentary Bully unrated by calling on all major theaters, including AMC, to adhere to their own policies not to exhibit unrated films. PTC warns that showing unrated content is a threat to the continued viability of the ratings system. PTC President Tim Winter said:

This move, regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system. If a distribution company can simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like 'Bully,' nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material.

It is unfortunate that the serious problem of schoolyard and online bullying is being overshadowed by a misguided and manufactured controversy over the MPAA rating. It's even more unfortunate that the MPAA ratings system, which only exists as a tool to help parents make informed viewing decisions for their own families, is being deliberately undermined by Weinstein and his colleagues in the entertainment industry, and that their efforts may well spell the demise of a system that has benefited parents and families for over forty years.

Either ratings mean something, or they don't. The MPAA's job is not to make subjective judgments about the merit of a film or the importance of the film's message. The MPAA's sole task is to take an objective measure of the adult content in a film, and apply the appropriate rating. Though the MPAA's system is not perfect, it has been remarkably consistent at least in this regard: any more than a single 'sexual expletive' (usually the 'F-word') will lead to an R-rating. 'Bully' employs multiple uses of this 'sexual expletive,' and that is why it was given an R-rating.

 

26th March

 Offsite Article: Bill Maher Calls for a 'Day of No Outrage'...

Link Here
Worthy retort to the modern trend for bullies to become 'outraged' at the most innocuous little quips

See article from newsfeed.time.com

 

25th March   

Playing a Nutter Game...

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US Mainstream DVDs

Video Universe
 

US lawmakers want to label nearly all video games with a health warning about violent games
Link Here  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors
US SenateUS lawmakers have proposed a bill that would label most video games with the warning:

Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.

Joe Baca and Frank Wolf have introduced the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act citing the supposed negative effects that video games have on people's health, despite increased findings that suggests otherwise.

Baca spouted.

The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers, to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products,  They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility.

If the bill passes, the only games that would be exempt would be those with an ESRB rating of Early Childhood (EC). All others would require the warning on the game box, regardless of whether the game actually featured violent content.

Previous attempts to pass the bill occurred in 2009 and 2011. The Entertainment Software Association, which represents video game publishers in the US, called the bill unconstitutional. In a statement made to Game Informer, the trade group said:

We would commend Representatives Baca and Wolf to the reams of bourgeoning academic research demonstrating that video games can be innovative learning and assessment tools in engaging and educating America's youth, especially in core subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math.

 

25th March   

Extract: Crap Internet Blocking...

Melon farming Fresh
A website
update service

See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

Monitoring T-Mobile USA's Web Guard
Link Here

web guard logoT-Mobile USA offers a feature to censor access to certain kinds of content. This is called Web Guard. Supposedly Web Guard is supposed to inhibit access to content that falls under the following categories: Alcohol, Mature Content, Violence, Drugs, Pornography, Weapons, Gambling, Suicide, Guns, Hate, Tobacco, Ammunition.

We were able to extract part of the list of censored content and discovered that sites that do not fall under these categories were also censored. This feature is enabled by default on all prepaid accounts and although it can be disabled by customers who wish to do so (if over 18 years of age), it is not clearly stated in the error page how to do so.

While most of the censored sites are legitimately categorized, there are certain ones that do not fall under the categories of the block. Here is a list of sites that we found to be censored, but that we don't believe belong to any of the banned categories.

...Read the full article

 

24th March   

Updated: Pandering to the Morality in Media Sanitarium...

Rick Santorum promises to enforce prohibitions banning adult hardcore porn in the USA
Link Here

rick santorumRick Santorum writes on his website:

America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences. Addiction to pornography is now common for adults and even for some children. The average age of first exposure to hard-core, Internet pornography is now 11. Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.

Every family must now be concerned about the harm from pornography. As a parent, I am concerned about the widespread distribution of illegal obscene pornography and its profound effects on our culture.

For many decades, the American public has actively petitioned the United States Congress for laws prohibiting distribution of hard-core adult pornography.

Congress has responded. Current federal obscenity laws prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier. Rick Santorum believes that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced. If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so.

The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws. While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration.

I proudly support the efforts of the War on Illegal Pornography Coalition that has tirelessly fought to get federal obscenity laws enforced. That coalition is composed of 120 national, state, and local groups, including Morality in Media, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, Cornerstone Family Council of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania Family Institute, Concerned Women for America, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a host of other groups. Together we will prevail.

Update: Nutters harangue Mitt Romney to follow Rick Santorum's anti-porn promises

21st March 2012. See article [pdf] from waronillegalpornography.com

adf logoDear Governor:

Greetings and best wishes. We are writing to seek a meeting with you in the near future to discuss the necessity of enforcing federal obscenity laws should you be elected president. Those laws prohibit distribution of obscene (hardcore) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops, through the mail, and by common carrier.

The U.S. Department of Justice has stopped all enforcement of these laws at a time when our nation is suffering an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography.

Illegal adult obscenity contributes to addiction, divorce and break up of families, harm to children who have easy access to the material, violence against women and misogyny, as well as to sexual trafficking. Children are targeted by the pornography industry, and they often engage in sexually exploitive behaviors as a result of their exposure to pornography. Many suffer life-long consequences.

Consumption of adult pornography leads many to consume harder and more deviant material over time and even leads many to consume child pornography, contributing to the widespread and increasing problem of child pornography distribution in America.

We believe that the next president needs to understand that a wealth of research now exists that provides overwhelmingly evidence of the great harms caused by pornography. We deserve to have the nation's obscenity laws enforced. There is widespread public support for enforcement of these laws, which were passed overwhelmingly by the United States Congress.

We look forward to meeting with you and thank you for your consideration

Alan E Sears: President, CEO, & General  Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund
Tony Perkins: President, Family Research Council
Phil Burres: President, Citizens for Community Values
Bishop Harry Jackson: Washington, DC
Mathew d Staver: Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
Tim Wildmon: President, American Family Association
Donna Rice Hughes: President, Enough is Enough
Laura Lederer: President Global Centurion
Ted Baehr: Chairman, Christian Film & Television Commission
Josh McDowell: Josh McDowell Ministry
Austin Ruse: President, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
Patrick A Trueman: President & CEO, Morality in Media
Dr Richard Land: President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Comment: Rick, If You're Against Porn, Don't Watch It

23rd March 2012. See article from facebook.com
See  article from  business.avn.com

alan grayson In 2008, Florida's 8th Congressional District elected what would turn out to be one of Congress's most liberal members, Alan Grayson.

But having been voted out of his congressional seat in 2010 hasn't stopped the feisty former New Yorker from commenting on a wide variety of social issues ... including porn.

He has excellently responded to Rick Santorum's nutter pandering call to prosecute makers and sellers of hardcore porn. He wrote:

In a TV interview on Sunday, Rick Santorum said that if he is elected President, he will file criminal charges against the distribution of pornography. Santorum specifically referred to exposure on the Internet, so presumably he would censor the Internet.

The Internet Police. What a concept.

...

I have a dramatically simpler idea.

Rick, if you're against pornography, then don't watch it.

You see how that works? Let me give you some more examples.

If you're against contraception, don't use it.

If you're against abortion, don't have one.

If you're against Moslems, don't become one.

If you're against gay marriage, don't have one.

If you're against unions, don't join one.

If you're against universal health care, just keep your distance from doctors and hospitals.

If you're against homosexuality, then feel free to limit your sexual interest to the 3 billion human beings of the opposite gender.

What I'm basically trying to say to Rick Santorum, and everyone like Rick Santorum, is this: mind your own business.

Courage,

Alan Grayson

Update: Santorum Withdraws

11th April 2012. See  article from  business.avn.com

Former Senator Rick Santorum surprised few today with his decision to pull up stakes and suspend his campaign for the Republican nomination for president.

This also means that, unless he is tapped for the ticket, Santorum's so-called war on porn is officially a dead issue. Romney may share the same belief about prosecuting porn, but he is so uncomfortable with any subject that is even remotely messy that it is inconceivable he will ever mention the p word without having been forced to do so, and even then he'll probably just walk away from the issue altogether.

 

23rd March   

Updated: Bullied by US Theatre Owners...

Weinstein Company thwarted in its quest to get Bully exhibited for the teen market
Link Here  full story: The Bully Project...Weinstein Co takes on America film censorship

bully projectThe Weinstein Company was not well pleased by the MPAA R Rating for the film Bully (aka The Bully Project ) for the amount of strong language.

After the failed appeal against the rating, the Weinstein co initially threatened to pull out of the MPAA and then suggested that they would release the film unrated.

These suggestions seem to have wound up the theatre owners and others in the industry leading to a press release from the Weinstein Co stating their position:

National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) President & CEO John Fithian sent Harvey Weinstein a letter dated February 24 on behalf of NATO stating that they may urge theater owners to treat BULLY as an NC-17 rated film. With an NC-17 rating, children under the age of 18 will not be permitted to see the movie even with a parent or guardian present. The NC-17 threat comes in response to The Weinstein Company's (TWC) suggestion to release BULLY, which has the sole purpose of educating children and highlighting how bullying has become a national crisis, in theaters unrated after the MPAA failed to lower the R rating given for some language.

As a company we have the utmost respect for the National Association of Theatre Owners, but to suggest that the film BULLY could ever be treated like an NC-17 film is completely unconscionable, not to mention unreasonable. In light of the tragedy that occurred yesterday in Ohio, we feel now is the time for the bullying epidemic to take center stage, we need to demand our community takes action.

Update: Just Six Expletives

5th March 2012. See  article from  arabtimesonline.com

It seems that all the fuss about the R Rating of the Bully is down to just 6 expletives.

John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, wrote to Harvey Weinstein, explaining that 'rules is rules' and that it would not be a good idea for Weinstein to try and release the movies unrated:

Grateful As a father of a 9-year-old child, I am personally grateful that (the Weinstein Co.) has addressed the important issue of bullying in such a powerful documentary. Yet were the MPAA and NATO to waive the ratings rules whenever we believed that a particular movie had merit, or was somehow more important than other movies, we would no longer be neutral parties applying consistent standards, but rather censors of content based on personal mores.

That leaves the makers of Bully with the question of whether to edit or bleep the expletives, which are part of the antagonistic behavior documented between kids in the film. Right now, director Lee Hirsch is declining to do that, and has the backing of Weinstein. The director says such editing would minimize the harsh realities of bullying.

To cut around it or bleep it out, it really absolutely does lessen the impact and takes away from what the honest moment was, and what a terrifying feeling it can be (to be bullied), says Hirsch: I feel a responsibility as a filmmaker, as the person entrusted to tell (these kids') stories, to not water them down.

Update: Passed PG in Canada

9th March 2012. See article from hollywoodreporter.com

consumer protection bc logo Bully has been rated PG by British Columbia film censors. Parental guidance is advised for the documentary in the western Canadian province, and the film comes with a warning of coarse language; theme of bullying.

Director Lee Hirsch, who has been campaigning against the restrictive R Rating awarded by the US film censor, said:

Last night, I learned of the B.C. board's decision to grant Bully a PG-rating. I am thrilled that kids of all ages can now join their parents, teachers, social work advocates and leaders to bring about change for this deeply important cause.

Meanwhile in the US a petition with 200,000 Signatures will be delivered to the MPAA calling for a PG-13 rating.

Update: Nutters praise the censors but seem a bit confused about public opinion

10th March 2012. See article from hollywoodreporter.com

PTC logoThe Parents Television Council has praised the MPAA for maintaining the R rating for Bully despite pressure from the public and the film's distributors to lower it to PG-13.

The group says its position is based on the language reportedly used in the film. The MPAA also cited language as the reason for the rating.

The council also called for increased public involvement in the ratings process. [...er... the same public that's campaigning for the lower rating?]

Update: Another PG in Canada and Support from Congress

13th March 2012.  See  article from  hollywoodreporter.com

US SenateConservative Alberta became the second Canadian province to give the Lee Hirsch documentary about an epidemic of U.S. school bullying a PG-rating. The Alberta censors included a parental guidance warning, indicating themes or content in Bully may not be suitable for all children.

Meanwhile, the advocacy tools website Change.org has announced that 20 members of the US Congress have signed on to a petition asking the MPAA to lower the R rating it gave to director Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully .

The bipartisan group, led by Representative Mike Honda wrote:

We are writing to express our sincere disappointment in the MPAA's decision to issue an 'R' rating for the soon-to-be-released documentary Bully. This important project shows the real life anguish of many teenagers in this country who are tormented, harassed, and bullied by their peers. This truth should be shared with as wide an audience as is appropriate and possible. We believe an R-rating excludes the very audience for whom this film is desperately important.

The petition started by high school student Katy Butler, has garnered over 275,000 signatures, helped by public support from Ellen Degeneres and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Update: More PGs in Canada

14th March 2012.  See  article from  hollywoodreporter.com

Manitoba and Ontario are the latest provinces to give the Lee Hirsch documentary about school bullying a PG-rating.

Movie classification boards in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta last week gave Bully PG-ratings ahead of its theatrical release.

Update: The Hunger Games vs. Bully

23rd March 2012. See article from kansascity.com

The Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence Lawmakers, parents' advocates, filmmakers and teenagers are complaining that language and sex are scrutinized while violence gets a pass ( Bully received an R because it contains scenes of teens hurling profanities). Critics also say that the system of five alpha and alphanumeric characters are blunt tools rather than nuanced instruments and that the overall process is too secretive and rigid.

Michigan Representative Hansen Clarke said:

The hypocrisy is that the very movies that contribute to violence can be seen by teenagers because they get a PG-13, [referring to The Hunger Games]. And the one film ('Bully') that actually teaches them to respect others is given an R.

Dan Isett, public policy director of the nutter group, Parents Television Council, agrees a rethinking is necessary. Like Clarke, he believes movies such as The Hunger Games - and a lot of other films that are approved for teen viewing - merit R ratings:

Certain movies will never get an R no matter what's in them. That's the problem when the ones policing the system have an economic incentive to give films a certain rating.

Yet some legislators, such as California's Representative Linda T. Sanchez, say the rating panels are thinking too narrowly by counting swear words and body parts while ignoring the larger context. It seems like the MPAA missed an opportunity here, she said of Bully, arguing that raters should have taken into account the movie's message.

The MPAA says that making its system more flexible would require raters who can offer value judgments. And that, the group's chief, former U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, says, takes it into a messy thicket. Who am I going to hire to do that? Writers? Critics? Dodd said in his office last week as the Bully controversy was building. That's not a business we want to be in.

 

23rd March   

A Bumper Year for Appeals against MPAA Ratings...

8 appeals so far for 2012 US movie releases
Link Here

MPAA logoThe MPAA, which administers the US ratings system via its Classification and Rating Administration, has already heard eight appeals for films scheduled for release this year. That's double the number the group heard for movies released in 2011 and surpasses the seven appeals it heard for 2010 films.

Failed appeals were:

  • Bully , a documentary about bullying.  Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R for strong language to PG-13.
  • Sea Level , an action adventure. Producers failed to get the rating reduced to G.
  • Killer Joe , a crime drama. Producers failed to get the rating reduced from NC-17 for graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality to R.
  • Haywire , starring Gina Carano in an action picture.  Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R for some violence to PG-13.
  • This Means War.   Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R.
  • Apart . Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R.
  • The Possession , a thriller. Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R and so made cuts for a PG-13

The only successful appeal was:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower , a high-school romance. It was reduced from R to PG-13

I think studios are starting to push a little harder, said Ethan Noble, who runs Motion Picture Consulting, a company that assists filmmakers and studios with ratings and who has worked on numerous appeals, including the one for Bully. And while I think that this is the best system we can have, there does seem to be a disconnect between what the ratings board wants and what filmmakers think should be allowed.

That disconnect, say Noble and others, comes from changing social mores about language and other areas of explicit content while the MPAA, Noble said, is basically using the same system it's had in place for years.

 

23rd March   

Rating Appeals Process at the MPAA...

Background to the debate about the rating for Bully reveals a few details of the MPAA appeals process
Link Here

MPAA logoImplemented by longtime MPAA chief Jack Valenti largely to avoid government censorship, the US movie rating process is a well-worn, if murky, system.

A group of modestly salaried employees watch dozens of movies every month and offer an initial rating. The MPAA does not reveal the identities of these individuals, or their qualifications, other than to say they are parents who are not affiliated with the film industry.

If producers are not happy with the rating that panel gives a film, they can take it to an appeals board of at least nine people. The MPAA does not say who is on the appeals board, though it is believed to be composed mainly of a rotating group of studio and theater executives - and representatives of religious groups are sometimes present. (The MPAA itself gets one vote.) A maximum of two people are allowed to argue on behalf of the film at an appeals session, which is closed to the public. Records of such sessions are sealed.

To win an appeal, a filmmaker must receive the support of two-thirds of the appeals panel. The ratings are overseen by the MPAA's Los Angeles-based Classification and Ratings Administration, headed by Joan Graves.

Only producers, not the public, can appeal ratings.

The MPAA says film ratings do not assess the value or social worth of a movie or censor any aspect of a film. They simply provide clear information to parents (and all interested moviegoers) about a film's content.

The group's chief, former U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut cites a study commissioned by the MPAA and conducted in 2005 by a company called the Opinion Research Corp. that found 76% of parents with children younger than 13 believed the ratings were useful or very useful.

He also noted that few ratings are appealed. We had something like six appeals out of more than 400 cases last year, he said. That says that we're doing something right.

 

18th March   

I'm a Palestinian...

Campaigners, judges and bus companies debate what's allowed for the wording of political adverts on the sides of buses
Link Here

im a palestinian advertA long-running dispute over Pro-Palestinian bus adverts in King County, Washington state finally came to a compromise. Adverts were allowed to run on buses, but the message was very different from what was originally requested.

The new ads are part of a campaign titled, I'm a Palestinian, with the saying equal rights for all underneath. The messages will run with pictures of everyday Palestinians on Metro Transit buses.

The ads were sponsored by SeaMAC, the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign devoted to the Palestinian cause, which attempted to launch an ad in 2010 with the message, Israeli war crimes...your tax dollars at work with a picture of a demolished house by an Israeli military strike.

The 2010 ads were denied by a federal judge on the basis of threats made by those opposed to the ads. The judge said that officials had a reasonable basis for limiting the content of the ads on public buses, citing safety concerns in part because threats of violence and disruption from members of the public (from e-mails, phone calls, and anonymous photographs) led bus drivers and law enforcement officials to express safety concerns, and the court finds that it was reasonable for the cancellation of the ads.

The ACLU civil liberties organization joined the fray and helped with a legal defense. The ACLU continues to represent SeaMAC in a continuing appeal against King County regarding the initial banned adverts.

 

15th March   

Updated: Killer Rating...

William Friedkin's Killer Joe given the dreaded NC-17 rating
Link Here  full story: Killer Joe...Movies goes out with an NC-17 rating for violence

killer joeThe MPAA has given an NC-17 rating to William Friedkin's crime drama Killer Joe , prompting Liddell Entertainment to announce it will appeal the ruling.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch and is due for its U.S. premiere at SXSW in March and a domestic launch this summer.

Hirsch portrays a 22-year-old drug dealer who has his stash stolen by his mother and has to come up with $6,000 quick or he's dead. Desperate, he turns to Killer Joe (McConaughey) when he finds out that his mother's life insurance policy is worth $50,000.

Update: Appeal turned down

15th March 2012. See  article from  deadline.com

The Classification and Rating Appeals Board has upheld the NC-17 rating given to the movie Killer Joe .

The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the NC-17 rating for graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality.

In the appeal brought by LD Entertainment, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of Killer Joe from David Dinerstein, President of LD Entertainment, and Tracy Letts, Pulitzer Prizewinner, Playwright and Screenwriter.

 

15th March   

Extract: Doonesbury Aborted...

The topic of the mockery of abortion legislation proves a little touchy for some newspapers in the US
Link Here
doonesbury on abortion It seems that some newspaper editors think that abortion does not belong in the funnies section of their papers, and their reluctance is getting national attention.

The comic strip that is causing the uproar is Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury. Several newspapers around the country have decided not to publish the popular satirical comic this week because of a storyline dealing with those now-infamous ultrasounds.

Although Doonesbury often deals with politics, it has been more than 20 years since Trudeau last tackled the subject of abortion. In a recently released statement defending the strip, Trudeau said: This is happening in statehouses across the country...it's lunacy, and lunacy, of course, is in my wheelhouse.

...Read the full article

 

14th March

 Offsite Article: Chile fell 47 spots in the latest Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index...

Link Here
Journalist Jason Sudar provides a personal example of why, when capturing evidence of police brutality and being detained for his efforts

See article from huffingtonpost.com

 

10th March   

Update: Game On...

The Bunny Game set to be release in the US in July 2012
Link Here  full story: The Bunny Game...Banned by the BBFC

The Bunny Game posterAdam Rehmeier's The Bunny Game , banned in the UK, will hit the US in July from new distributor Autonomy. This will be their first release.

Screen Daily reported that Derek Curl, David Gregory and Lewis Tice's new distributor aims to release uncompromising cinema on a worldwide scale and will handle four films this year, starting with Adam Rehmeier's torture porn. Autonomy president Curl said:

The Bunny Game is the last word on the torture-porn sub-genre. I was shocked by its audacity and the raw honesty that it depicted, making me question our collective enjoyment of extreme violence in cinema. At Autonomy Pictures we are not afraid to release such a film, which will undoubtedly inspire heated reaction, because it will allow audiences to make up their own minds.

 

9th March   

Wallflower Power...

The Perks of Being a Wallflower downgraded to PG-13 on appeal
Link Here

perks-of-being-a-wallflower-profileThe Perks of Being a Wallflower has now been downgraded from R to PG-13 by the Classification and Rating Appeals Board of the MPAA.

Erik Feig, president of production at Lionsgate Motion Picture Group and Stephen Chbosky, the director, screenwriter and author of the novel on which the movie was based, appeared before the board to make their case for the lower rating.

Originally, the Classification and Rating Administration assigned the movie an R rating for teen drug and alcohol use, and some sexual references.

However the booking of Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, suggested that the producers had a younger audience in mind. The movie is about 15-year-old high school freshman who is taken under the wings of two seniors while he copes with his first love, played by Watson, the suicide of his best friend and his own mental illness.

 

5th March   

Dogged by the US...

US internet censors forcibly take Down Canadian gambling website
Link Here

bodog logoUS internet censors at the Department of Homeland Security have seized a domain name registered outside of the US, by individuals who are not American citizens, and who registered with a Canadian registrar.

What is unique about this case is that the American authorities did not get the domain's registrar - a Canadian company - to pull the domain. Instead they went to Verisign, which operates the entirety of .com, and had them pull the glue records, the warrant states.

The domain in question,  bodog.com,  is a big name in online gambling. It was set up and run by Canadian billionaire Calvin Ayre. He, and three others involved with the site, have been indicted and could be extradited to the US if the authorities catch them.

The indictment claims that Bodog paid out $100m in winnings to US gamblers, in violation of US law. The company is also accused of spending $42m to promote the site in various US states, including Maryland. The move came after an undercover investigation by the FBI, and with the help of a snitch who used to work at Bodog.

Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country, said US attorney Rod Rosenstein in a statement.

By going to the root operator of .com and having the records pulled - bypassing the registrar entirely - the DHS has sent the world exactly one message: anything hosted in the US, registered in the US, or using a domain whose root is controlled by a US corporation is subject to American law.

 

3rd March   

Preventing Moralist Bullying...

Oklahoma decides to ditch idea to tax violent video games to fund charities
Link Here
Oklahoma state sealA bill that would have imposed a 1% tax on the sale of violent video games in the state of Oklahoma has been rejected, Eurogamer reports.

The bill lost a subcommittee vote by a narrow margin of 5-6, largely due to concerns over a founding premise that linked video games to bullying and obesity among children.

The tax would have applied to any game rated Teen, Mature or Adult Only by the ESRB, whether violent or not.

Half of all the money recouped from the tax would have been donated to the Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund - a charity dedicated to outdoor education initiatives. The other half would have been donated to the Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund.

 

26th February   

Are We the Taliban?...

Nude art poster generates a few inconsequential comments in New York
Link Here

kenneth willardt floatingThere's a new billboard that's raising nutter eyebrows and turning heads in New York. It's called Art on the Wall and is one of four by photographer Kenneth Willardt.

The 8 by 10 foot panel is hanging on the wall of a Chelsea gallery and features a nude woman floating in water and with her breasts exposed, (presumably blurred in the photo).

Anne Brigitte Sirois is the director of the Guided by Invoices gallery next door. She said Kenneth Willardt s Art on the Walls is something he wanted to do to beautify the city. And that it is sensual and beautiful but definitely not porn.

Inconsequential views from street  revealed the comments: Hello. This is New York City. What are we the Taliban here? We can't show a naked woman and breasts. One driver said I don't think its appropriate anywhere. It's gonna cause a lot of accidents.

 

24th February   

Updated: Bullied by the MPAA...

Film studio to appeal for reduction in rating for the documentary, Bully
Link Here  full story: The Bully Project...Weinstein Co takes on America film censorship

Bully Project Alex Hopkins The Weinstein Company is appealing the US R rating assigned to filmmaker Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully , a frank look at America's bullying crisis in schools.

Co-chairman Harvey Weinstein will personally appear at the Feb. 23 appeals hearing at MPAA' s Classification and Rating Administration (CARA). He maintains that the R rating, assigned for some strong language, will keep Bully out of middle schools and high schools, the very locale where it needs to be seen the most.

Director Leo Hirsch said:

I made Bully for kids to see -- the bullies as well as the bullied. We have to change hearts and minds in order to stop this epidemic, which has scarred countless lives and driven many children to suicide. To capture the stark reality of bullying, we had to capture the way kids act and speak in their everyday lives -- and the fact is that kids use profanity.

It is heartbreaking that the MPAA, in adhering to a strict limit on certain words, would end up keeping this film from those who need to see it most.

Update: The Weinstein Co threatens to leave the MPAA over the R Rating for Bully

24th February 2012. See  article from  chicagotribune.com

the weinstein co logoThe Weinstein Co. is so shocked and upset that the MPAA upheld the R rating of its documentary Bully , it is considering taking a leave of absence from the association.

The company had asked MPAA's Classification and Ratings Appeals Board to rate the movie PG-13. The board's tally was one vote short of the number needed to change the rating.

After learning of the board's decision, Weinstein Company co-chair Harvey Weinstein said in a statement that The Weinstein Company is considering a leave of absence from the MPAA for the foreseeable future. We respect the MPAA and their process but feel this time it has just been a bridge too far.

 

14th February   

Updated: The Human Centipede II...

Director's Cut released on US DVD and Blu-ray
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Human Centipede II Sequence US Blu ray The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is a 2011 Netherlands/UK horror by Tom Six. With Laurence R Harvey and Ashlynn Yennie. See IMDb .

US: The Director's Cut is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

UK & Australia availability

UK & Australia: The Uncut Version is now available online for:

UK: Passed 18 after 2:37s of BBFC cuts for:

 

7th February   

I Don't Give a Shit...

M.I.A. continues fine tradition of offending the easily offended during the Super Bowl half time show
Link Here

mia super bowl American broadcaster NBC has apologised after M.I.A. put her middle finger up during her Super Bowl half-time performance.

She made the gesture whilst singing: I don't give a shit, during a performance of Madonna's new single, Give Me All Your Luvin'.

The screen was briefly blurred after M.I.A.'s gesture in a failed attempt to cut out the camera shot. The broadcaster said M.I.A. did not do anything similar during rehearsals and the league had no reason to believe she would do anything during the show.

NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey Said:

We apologize for the inappropriate gesture that aired during half-time.

The NFL hired the talent and produced the half-time show. Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.

The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing and we apologize to our fans.

 

2nd February   

Playing Moralists...

Oklahoma proposes a sin tax on video games
Link Here

Oklahoma state sealAn Oklahoma lawmaker has introduced a bill in the state legislature that would impose a tax on violent video games . Oklahoma State Representative William Fourkiller introduced bill HB 2696, which would add a 1% tax on games rated Teen, Mature, and Adults Only by the ESRB.

Half of the revenue would be put towards a Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund with the rest going to a Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund. Both of these things would be created as part of the law.

 

30th January   

Update: Miserable Marriott...

Decline in revenue from hotel in-room movies means that porn is not worth the nutter hassle
Link Here  full story: Nutter Friendly Hotels...Nutters campaign against hotel room adult movies

Marriott logoMarriott International has announced plans to phase out pay-per-view adult movies from its hotel rooms. According to USA Today, the company said:

Changing technology and how guests access entertainment has reduced the revenue hotels and their owners derive from in-room movies, including adult content.

Joe McInerney, CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, added:

It is a hotel's prerogative, as well as a business decision, regarding what services it provides to its guests, including those striving to enhance their family-friendly image.

Porn will be phased out first in new hotels as old video systems are replaced with on-demand services.

Offsite: Shrewd

20th March 2012. See  article from  business.avn.com

AVN commentators suggested that maybe there is some shrewd business thinking going on.

Bill Marriott told an interviewer from the Associated Press:

I've always been concerned about [pornographic] movies in rooms. In the next three or four years, we won't have any more of those. That's something we've had a real problem with because the Church is very, very opposed to pornography, as it should be, and we are for families. But the owners of our hotels were making a lot of money. In fact, the only movies that make any money are pornography.

The Church, of course, is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons. And according to one hotel insider, porn accounts for 80 to 90 percent of all in-room movie purchases?

Now Marriott can keep the religious nutters happy by turning off their in-house porn systems. But the replacement entertainment will provide internet access and a high definition TV for a suitable fee...

...Which will of course be used to watch porn.

 

29th January   

No Joke...

McG's This Means War cut for a US PG-13 rating
Link Here

this means warFox has made cuts to its new movie offering This Means War. The Studio has now cut out a few sex jokes from actress Chelsea Handler, according to a source close to the project.

The cuts were to avoid the R Rating handed down by the US film censors and obtain a PG-13 instead.

Before making cuts Fox did in fact try to appeal against the R Rating but the appeal was turned down.

This Means War is directed by McG and stars Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon. Pine and Hardy play best friend CIA operatives who fall for the same woman.

 

25th January   

Updated: Porn Coverage...

Los Angeles looks set to require condom use for porn productions
Link Here  full story: Health and Safety in Porn...AIDS and condoms in the US porn industry

los angeles logoLos Angeles City Council has tentatively approved a measure that would require porn performers to wear condoms on production sets.

In a preliminary 11-1 vote, council members voted to approve the measure, which would require porn producers to provide and require the use of condoms on set in order to receive film permits in Los Angeles.

The ordinance still requires a second vote next week for final approval.

The council also agreed to create a group of law enforcement officials and state occupational safety regulators to determine how the measure would be enforced.

Councilman Paul Koretz said before the vote:

We can spend literally millions of dollars on an unnecessary election or we can do the right thing for free. For better or worse, the city of Los Angeles is nationally known as the capital of the adult film industry. We should be nationally known, also, as the home of a safe adult film industry.

Update: Condoms Confirmed

18th January 2012.  See  article from  xbiz.com

The Los Angeles City Council, 9-1, approved a new ordinance Tuesday requiring that all adult film actors wear condoms when filming within city limits. The ordinance, when it goes into effect, will allow the LAPD to perform spot checks on any set once a film permit is issued.

The measure next goes to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his signature.

The Free Speech Coalition said that the adult industry trade group is in discussions with industry leaders and considering options for next steps.

Update: Signed by the Mayor

25th January 2012. See  article from  foxnews.com

Actors in adult movies filmed in Los Angeles will be required to use condoms under an ordinance signed into law by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and porn industry leaders say the regulation could lead them to abandon the nation's porn capital.

The law, signed Monday, will take effect 41 days after it is posted by the city clerk, something that could happen as early as this week.

Nutters with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which lobbied for years for such a law, expressed jubilation Tuesday and said they would now turn their attention to getting a similar condom requirement adopted elsewhere.

 

24th January   

Stereotypically PC Newspaper...

US newspaper gets all sensitive over cartoon referencing race
Link Here

animals alike A newspaper cartoon has caused a stir in Cleveland.

Okay, I know how bad it sounds, but they all really do look alike to me... said the cartoon rabbit to police after viewing a line-up of several animals depicted on the other side of a glass partition.

Was the bunny racially insensitive? Did his comment invoke the cliche that all blacks look alike, or worse, that all black criminal suspects are indistinguishable? Apparently, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer thought so. On January 13, the editors pulled the popular comic strip, Non Sequitur, from the newspaper. In its place was a note that said the strip was deemed objectionable.

Hundreds of angry readers found this decision objectionable, voicing their complaints in online posts that excoriated the paper for outright censorship. The readers pointed out that the animals in the line-up were not the same color, size or even species. They noted that the bunny's comment was more apologetic than it was antagonistic. Mostly, they didn't understand the fuss. As one reader wrote: The only thing I found controversial was the fact that you did not publish it.

 

24th January   

Updated: Megaupload Megapanic...

Filesonic ends sharing on its 'cyberlocker' service in response to Megaupload arrests
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

filesonic logoFilesonic, one of the Internet's leading cyberlocker services, has taken some drastic measures following the Megaupload shutdown and arrests last week. In addition to discontinuing its affiliates rewards program, the site has disabled all sharing functionality, leaving users only with access to their own files. Many hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of links all around the web have now been rendered useless, at least temporarily.

This combination of news all adds up to a pretty big deal. Filesonic isn't just some also-ran in the world of cyberlockers. The site is among the top 10 file-sharing sites on the Internet, with a quarter billion page views a month.

Like Megaupload, Filesonic appears to based in Hong Kong and it's clear that the authorities there already worked with the US government to shut down Kim Dotcom's operations and seize his assets there.

The events of the last week have turned the cyberlocker world upside down and there is quite literally panic among users and site operators.

The Megaupload takedown appears to be a game-changer.

Offsite: Panic continues

24th January 2012. See  article from  torrentfreak.com

Fileserve, another leading player, also ended its affiliate program this weekend. Additionally, this morning TorrentFreak received news that Fileserve has now joined Filesonic in banning all 3rd party downloads.

VideoBB and VideoZer have both reportedly closed their rewards program and according to reports have also been mass deleting accounts and huge numbers of files.

Other sites closing their affiliate programs and/or deleting accounts/files include FileJungle, UploadStation and FilePost.

...Read the full article .

 

21st January   

Updated: Encyclopedic Protest...

Wikipedia to go dark for 24 hours in protest at the proposed SOPA internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Wikipedia logoWikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced that the encyclopedia will go dark this Wednesday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act, aka SOPA.

Wales tweeted that the English-language version of Wikipedia would go down at midnight this Wednesday, Eastern standard time (5am in the UK), and come back up in 24 hours.

The heat is rising in the SOPA debate. Over the weekend, for example, three top Obama-administration officials issued a statement that said, in part, While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.

Presumably at least partially in response to the White House's statement -- and a possible Obama veto -- SOPA author Smith has dropped the DNS-blocking provision of the controvertial bill -- an action also taken by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), sponsor of the Senate's equivalent, the PROTECT IP* Act.

Update: Google Joins the Protest

18th January 2012. Based on article from  minivannews.com

Google logoGoogle's main search page has included a typically minimalist link:

Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!

This links to a protest page with comment and a petition:

Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.

Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.

Update: Wikipedia hails a successful protest

20th January 2012. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

The English version of Wikipedia was inaccessible worldwide for 24 hours (unless readers turned off javascript that is)

Founder Jimmy Wales said:

More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge, it said.

You said no. You shut down Congress's switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.

Along with Facebook, Google and other major technology corporations, Wikipedia says the laws would place onerous obligations on websites to vet content uploaded by users, and threaten free expression online.

Update: On Hold (Until the heat is off?)

21st January 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

US SenateIn a dramatic display of the power of online protest, a congressional vote on the anti-piracy bills Pipa and Sopa have been shelved after some of the internet's main players demanded a legislative rethink.

Just two days after chunks of the internet went dark in opposition to proposals that critics claim will hamper the flow of online information, Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced the postponement of a planned ballot on Pipa, also known as the Protect IP Act.

Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary committee, followed suit, saying his panel would delay action on similar legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or Sopa, until there is wider agreement on the legislation.

The decision to postpone the votes was made in light of recent events , Reid said -- taken to be a reference to Wednesday's day of action in which Wikipedia led the way with a 24-hour blackout.

During the CNN primary debate in South Carolina on Thursday, the four remaining Republican candidates vying for the White House nod came out against the Sopa. GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney said the law was far too intrusive and could hamper job creation and would harm the economy. His main rival, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, said existing laws were sufficient to allow an aggrieved copyright holder to sue, while libertarian Ron Paul said the bill threatened freedom.

 

20th January   

Update: Megaupload Goes Megadark...

Megaupload is shut by US authorities and bosses have been arrested
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Money In The Bank Explicit The U.S. Justice Department has charged seven individuals connected to the file-sharing site Megaupload.com, accusing them of a massive worldwide online piracy scheme that costed more than $500 million in damages and generated more than $175 million in profits, according to a Justice Department release. Megaupload's CEO is the rapper and DJ Swizz Beatz.

The business is allegedly led by Kim Dotcom of Hong Kong and New Zealand. Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand along with associates.

The main site, Megaupload.com which has been shut down, is accused of infringing on copyright by distributing movies, television shows, books and software even before their release dates. The companies Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited are accused of having a business model expressly designed to promote uploading of the most popular copyrighted works for many millions of users to download. The site provided financial incentives for uploading popular content, the indictment charges.

The interest in this case is likely to be high as it is conveniently timed to match interest in the recent SOPA protest.

Update: Data owners fight to get their data

4th June 2012. See article from tweaktown.com , thanks to Nick

The Megaupload case continues, with Kyle Goodwin from the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) asking the court to return the files, that were legal, back to Goodwin.

Goodwin lost his files when Megaupload was seized in January, since then they've been to court, both for a hearing and a mediation, but nothing has changed according to the EFF.

On May 24, EFF filed a brief asking the court to order Goodwin's rightfully owned data returned. But the problem is, is that's not just Goodwin's files, it's the thousands upon thousands of other Megaupload users who had data on their servers, where they thought it was safe.

EFF has asked the court to implement a procedure to make all of those customers whole again by giving them access to what is legally theirs.

Goodwin used Megaupload to house business files, with others losing person data and information.

Update: MPAA: Megaupload Users Can Have Their Files Back, But...

11th June 2012. See  article from  torrentfreak.com

Almost half a year has passed since Megaupload's servers were raided by the U.S. Government, and still there is no agreement on how former users can retrieve their files. Previously the authorities and MPAA have objected against such a mass retrieval, but in a filing at the court today the movie industry changed its tone. The MPAA states that users can have their files back as long as access to copyrighted files is blocked.

In the wake of the January shutdown of Megaupload, many of the site's legitimate users complained that their personal files had been lost.

Among these users are many people in the U.S. military who used the site to share pictures and videos with family. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom previously informed TorrentFreak that least 15,634 soldiers had accounts at Megaupload, between them sharing hundreds of thousands of files.

But as of January those files were rendered inaccessible and attempts by the parties involved to come to a solution have failed miserably.

Last month one of Megaupload's users, represented by the EFF, filed a motion asking the court to facilitate such a user data retrieval. Today, the MPAA filed a response to this motion in which they appear to be more open to the request.

The MPAA Members are sympathetic to legitimate users who may have relied on Megaupload to store their legitimately acquired or created data, although the Megaupload terms of use clearly disclaimed any guarantee of continued access to uploaded materials, MPAA's lawyers write.

But along with this sympathy comes a caveat. The movie studios don't want users to have access to copyright-infringing files.

If the Court is willing to consider allowing access for users such as Mr. Goodwin to allow retrieval of files, it is essential that the mechanism include a procedure that ensures that any materials the users access and copy or download are not files that have been illegally uploaded to their accounts.

Update: US authorities refuse to give back property they have stolen...

13th June 2012. See  article from  tgdaily.com

Innocent bystanders who lost mountains of data, personal files, documents, and more when the popular but illegitimately operated cloud-based site MegaUpload was taken down, may end up being just plain out of luck, at least for a while. The US Deparment of Justice wants to block former user Kyle Goodwin from accessing his high school football videos which he uploaded to the site.

But what happens to those who didn't do anything wrong? Lawyers for the US Attorney say the answer is nothing. In the same way that if you left a video game at a friend's house on the night that police raided your friend's house with a warrant, the government does not have a duty to make sure you get your stuff back in before the case is resolved.

 

16th January   

Swatsika Spin...

New York gets wound up by jewelry depicting the Buddhist swastika
Link Here

buddhist swastikaBejewelled, a jewelry store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn owned by Miss Young Sook Kim, had been selling Hindu/Buddhist swastika earrings for $5.99.

Despite clearly rotating in the opposite direction to the Nazi swastika, as most Buddhist, and even neo-Pagan swastikas do, pressure from one NY Councilman, as well as politicians, the Anti-Defamation League, and the media, has been brought down hard on Miss Kim.

New York City Councilman Steve Levin personally visited the store and demanded the Korean owner remove them from her shelves.

According to Fox News, A day earlier, politicians and advocates told FoxNews.com that the earrings were the latest example of anti-Semitism in New York and New Jersey. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer demanded that the store immediately stop selling them.

Ron Meier, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League's New York office says that he was instrumental in getting the earrings removed. Although he acknowledges that the owner understood them as Hindu/Buddhist, as far as he's concerned the fact that other people will wrongly interpret it as a sign of evil is reason enough to have it effectively banned.

It took a little while to really bridge the cultural divide, he says, because they really understood it in one way and New York understood it in very much a different way.

 

15th January   

Update: MPAA Told Hands off DNS Blocking...

Obama speaks out against part of the SOPA internet censorship bill
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Barack ObamaThe White House just released a statement commenting on the pending SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills in congress. While the Obama Administration sides with the opposition by saying that free-speech should be protected, censorship is evil, and that DNS-blocking is a no go, the statement doesn't mean that the bills are off the table.

Responding to two petitions signed by over 50,000 people each, the Obama administration recited much of the criticism voiced by SOPA/PIPA opponents. The Administration wrote:

Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected.

To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity.

The only strong position the Obama Administration takes is against DNS blocking. Here, the White House sides with many of the tech experts, and against the MPAA, by concluding that tampering with DNS poses a threat to the Internet.

In fact many of the lawmakers previously in favor of DNS-blocking have suddenly started to back pedal. They probably got a heads up and changed their tone before the White House statement was released. SOPA author Lamar Smith said DNS blocking would be removed from the bill until further notice.

 

13th January   

Possessed by Censors...

The Possession cut down to a children's horror film
Link Here

dibbuk boxDistributors Lionsgate have got their heart set of a PG-13 rating for the children's horror The Possession.

The film was originally given an R Rating but Lionsgate appealed. The appeal was turned down by the MPAA in November 2011 and so the R Rating stood.

Now Lionsgate have cut down the movie to obtain the required PG-13 rating.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars in The Possession, formerly titled Dibbuk Box , with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert producing, and Ole Bornedal directing. The movie follows a divorced father whose youngest daughter becomes strangely connected to an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale.

The film will open at the end of August 2012.

 

12th January   

Update: Red Goes Black...

Reddit to go dark to protest SOPA internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

reddit logoOn January 18, the online community at reddit will go dark for 12 hours in opposition of the Stop Online Piracy Act now being considered in the House and its companion PROTECT IP Act in the Senate. Both bills would give copyright holders tremendous power to have websites blocked, to get their advertising cut off, and to shut down their credit card or PayPal payments.

reddit's community has been organizing all manner of objections to the two bills, including a targeted (and successful) boycott of GoDaddy, which supported the legislation. This time, site admins decided to get involved in order to get the word out to all of reddit's users.

Reddit explained:

Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action..

We're not taking this action lightly. We wouldn't do this if we didn't believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it.

 

11th January   

Updated: A Long Memory for Fleeting Expletives...

US court to hear case regarding a couple of 'fucks' uttered on TV a decade ago
Link Here  full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

nypd blue nudeStarting this Tuesday, the US Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in Case No. 10-1293, better known as Federal Communications Commission, et al v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., et al.

The case will revive a discussion, and start a process to determine, on what federal indecency restrictions should be placed on radio and television broadcasters.

The Supreme Court case concerns incidents at the Billboard Music Awards , shown on Fox. At the 2002 show, Cher referred to critics of her work by saying Fuck 'em. I still have a job and they don't. A year later, Nicole Richie said, Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It's not so fucking simple.

The FCC concluded that the broadcasts violated its indecency regulations, though the agency stopped short of imposing fines. Federal law lets the FCC levy a $325,000 fine on each station that airs indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The case will also look at a scene involving brief nudity on a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue.

Of course, the upcoming ruling will also affect radio broadcasters, who are under essentially the same indecency guidelines as their television counterparts. The Obama administration has stated in court that broadcasters should present a relatively safe medium for...children. One hopes, however, that while this case looks at off-the-cuff profanity, the FCC will begin to move closer to specific guidelines so broadcasters can be certain what is, in fact, deemed indecent and what isn't.

Update: Court hears government case for TV censorship

11th January 2012. See article from wlwt.com

US Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court appeared ready to give government regulators the continuing authority to regulate profanity and sexual content on broadcast television after a lively hour of arguments.

The justices and lawyers all stayed polite, not actually using any obscene words, preferring the legally acceptable f-bomb or s-word to describe the controversial content at issue in the high-stakes free speech dispute.

The court will decide whether the Federal Communications Commission may constitutionally enforce its policies on fleeting expletives and scenes of nudity on television programs, both live and scripted.

In many televised instances, one cannot tell what is indecent and what isn't said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It's the appearance of arbitrariness about how the FCC is defining indecency in concrete situations, she added.

But with so many programming choices on broadcast, cable and satellite TV, All the government is asking for is a few (broadcast) channels where you can say -- they are not going to hear the s-word, the f-word. They are not going to see nudity, Chief Justice John Roberts said.

The court's ruling, which will come in a few months, could establish important First Amendment guidelines over explicit content on the airwaves.

 

11th January   

Unfaked Dickheads...

Georgia lawmakers consider a bill to criminalise celebrity fake nudes
Link Here

pam dickerson dickheadLawmakers in the US state of Georgia are considering a bill that would make it illegal to alter photos to make it appear someone's head is on a nude body unless they o-k it.

Pam Dickerson filed HB 680 in December. It would make it illegal to Photoshop a photo and post the image online without permission.

A person would break the law if they defamed a person by identifying them in a so-called obscene depiction in such a manner that a reasonable person would conclude that the image depicted was that of the person so wrongfully identified.

The obscene depiction, under the law would include a body showing genitals, pubic areas, buttocks and the female breasts below the top of the nipple. It also includes actual or simulated acts of masturbation, homosexuality, intercourse or physical contact that implies sexual acts, even over a clothed body.

If enacted, any person convicted of violation the law would be guilty of a misdemeanor and would be punished by a maximum fine of $1,000 or by a year in jail, or both.

 

10th January   

Capturing the Nutter Vote...

Leading Republicans commit themselves to prosecuting major porn businesses
Link Here

morality in media logoLeading Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have each pledged to enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography.

The pledges, compiled and published by Morality in Media, are part of the organization's The War on Illegal Pornography mission, which invites Internet users to message the front runners anti-porn sentiments.

None of the other Republican candidates nor President Obama has responded to efforts initiated by MIM to learn their views, the organization said.

 

7th January   

Update: Leaked Judgement...

Court confirms requirement for Twitter to hand over data about supporters of Wikileaks
Link Here  full story: US vs Wikileaks...US aggressively attacks Wikileaks over leaked cables

doj logoTwitter has to provide the U.S. Department of Justice with all account information for three users who allegedly support WikiLeaks, a federal judge has ordered. The data will be used in the investigation into WikiLeaks and its leader, Julian Assange.

U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady denied a motion to suspend previous orders that would allow the DOJ access to the Twitter account information of three people who are suspected of having ties to WikiLeaks.

The information the Department of Justice requested is extensive as Salon reported: It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the 'means and source of payment,' including banking records and credit cards.

In December 2010, a magistrate judge granted the Department of Justice permission to seek the three account holders' Twitter information under a secret order.  The ACLU took the case before a magistrate judge who ruled in favor of the Department of Justice. The case was then presented to an appeals court, presided by Judge O'Grady who upheld the ruling. This most recent decision allows investigators into WikiLeaks to move forward with their request for Twitter account information.

 

4th January   

Offsite: Dissecting Centipedes...

Pictorial details of the BBFC and US online cuts to Human Centipede 2
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede 2 uncut The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is a 2011 Netherlands/UK horror by Tom Six.
With Laurence R Harvey and Ashlynn Yennie. See IMDb

The Uncut Version is available online for:

BBFC Cuts

Unbanned and passed 18 for very strong bloody violence and gore, and sexual violence after 2:37s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Bounty Blu-ray
  • UK 2011 Bounty R2 DVD
  • UK 2011 cinema release

See pictorial cuts details [discretion required] from movie-censorship.com

US Online Cuts

A pre-cut version is MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2011 IFC Online

See pictorial cuts details [discretion required] from movie-censorship.com :

  • Missing shots of Martin's penis wrapped in sandpaper whilst masturbating
  • Missing scene of Martin wrapping barbed wire around his penis and then raping the last girl in the chain.

 

3rd January   

Update: People Power vs Media Industry...

Jostling for position to support or oppose SOPA
Link Here  full story: SOPA...Internet censorship in the name of preventing piracy

eff The Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, is bad news. Bringing piracy to heel is a noble goal but imposing sweeping, arbitrary laws that can force websites offline with almost no judicial oversight isn't the way to go about it. The average guy on the internet may not care much one way or the other [probably because he's not even aware of what's going on] but some backlash is beginning to be felt: Go Daddy dropped its support for SOPA a couple of weeks ago following calls for a boycott of its services and now Sony, Nintendo and Electronic Arts have all followed suit - sort of.

Sony Electronics, Nintendo and Elecronic Arts, which had previously thrown their weight behind the proposed legislation, are now all notably absent from the most recent list of SOPA supporters. Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Nashville remain on the list, which is unfortunate, but of greater concern is the continued presence of the Entertainment Software Association, the industry association which counts among its members Sony, Nintendo and EA. The support is still there, in other words, less direct and better camouflaged but still very much a part of the process pushing for the implementation of SOPA.

 

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