UK News

 2012: April-June



  Linked to Conspiracy...

Man found guilty of conspiracy to defraud over a website providing links to copyrighted TV material


Link Here 29th June 2012

surfthechannel logo Anton Vickerman has been found guilty of conspiracy to defraud through surfthechannel.com in a case raising fears for internet freedom. 

Newcastle crown court heard Anton Vickerman's site had up to 400,000 users a day and made about 35,000 a month in revenue. While UK prosecutors did not pursue a case on copyright offences, Vickerman was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud and faces sentencing next month.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), a trade organisation of rights owners, was a driving force behind the prosecution of Vickerman, passing a dossier of evidence to police, who then arrested him in 2008.

Others, however, raised concerns about the nature of the conviction against Vickerman and the involvement of industry groups in obtaining it. UK Pirate party leader Loz Kaye said:

This was not a case brought using copyright law. The interest groups involved couldn't present a case of copyright infringement and instead decided to press for the use of the common law offence of 'conspiracy to defraud'. This is one of the most controversial crimes in English law -- it criminalises conduct by two or more people that would not be criminal when performed by an individual.

In addition to flying in the face of recent findings in similar cases, this prosecution was driven by private interests. It is well known that the very groups representing the victim helped with the investigation, were present at the arrest, given access to the evidence and were present at police interviews. This is deeply concerning.

 

 Update: Hoping for a Good Punch Line...

The Paul Chambers twitter joke trial reaches the High Court


Link Here 28th June 2012  full story: Police Twitter Twits...Man charged over terrorism quip on twitter

Making History ebook Paul Chambers who was convicted for tweeting a an obvious joke about blowing up an airport received celebrity backing as he challenged his fine in the High Court. Comedians Stephen Fry and Al Murray were on hand to lighten the mood.

The tweet in question read: Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!

The accountant said he sent the tweet to his 600 followers in a moment of frustration after the airport in South Yorkshire was closed by snow in January 2010. He claimed it was sent in jest and he never thought anyone would take his silly joke seriously.

But he was ludicrously fined 985 at Doncaster Magistrates' Court in May 2010 after being convicted of sending a message of a menacing character , contrary to provisions of the 2003 Communications Act.

Opening a new bid to overturn his conviction and sentence, John Cooper QC told Lord Judge, Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Griffith Williams that the wrong legal tests had been applied. He said that the message was sent on a timeline on the Twitter facility to Chambers' followers and not as a randomly searched-for communication, and the relevant section of the Act was never intended by Parliament to deal with messages to the world at large .

To constitute a menace, he added, the threat must be of such a nature that the mind of an ordinary person of normal stability and courage might be influenced. Also, the person sending the message must intend to threaten the person to whom the message was sent - in other words, it was a crime of specific intent.

The case was heard and judgement was reserved until a later date.

 

  Supporting Local Artists...

Guernsey sees a whole new world of gay kissing


Link Here 25th June 2012

sian jones An artist who displayed in public drawings of same-sex kissing between Disney characters said she never intended to offend anyone.

Sian Jones has been criticised after she displayed the drawings at a Guernsey Arts Commission event on Sunday.

One of the drawings, A Whole New World , depicted Aladdin and Eric, from the Little Mermaid , kissing,

Miss Jones has defended her decision to show the images:

I remember learning at university that art should be about making people question their views and react, so in those terms it was a success.

Not that the whinges were overly stressing though. Miss Jones was approached by two young girls who said the pictures were disgusting. And a  Guernsey teacher criticised the public display of the pictures.

 

  Religions are Fairy Stories for Adults...

Police tell pensioner that displaying such a sign may get him arrested under the much abused Public Order Act


Link Here 23rd June 2012
Giant Book Bedtime Stories Parables

   Giant Book of Bedtime Stories: Classic Fables, Bible Stories, Nursery Rhymes, Parables and Fairy Stories

A pensioner is planning to stand up for his beliefs by putting an atheist poster in his front window, even though police have advised him not to.

The sign simply states: Religions are fairy stories for adults .

John Richards was told by policemen that he may face arrest if he put up the sign at his Vauxhall Road home, as it could breach the Public Order Act by supposedly distressing passers by.

But Richards has decided to stand up for his beliefs, and stick the poster up, saying that such action implies a threat to free speech. He told The Boston Standard:

The police said I could be arrested if somebody complained and said they were insulted, but the sign was up two years ago and nobody responded or smashed the window.

I am an atheist and I feel people are being misled by religion. I wanted to show people that if they thought they were alone there was at least one other person who thought that.

Update: Police explain how the law works: The complainant is ALWAYS right

23rd June 2012. From National Secular Society

police lincolnshire logo After the story appeared, and the NSS took it up, the Lincolnshire Police issued a statement saying that there was no such police threat to John Richards.

But it did admit that if a complaint was received, an officer would attend and try to persuade Richards to take the poster down. If he refused - which he said he would -he would be arrested.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said:

The police response more or less confirms what Mr Richards is saying - if he insists on exercising free speech in the face of objections from someone who claims to be insulted or offended, then he will be arrested and possibly charged.

This is another example of the dangerous catch all nature of Section 5 of the Public Order Act and a strong argument for it to be radically changed to remove this threat to free expression.

Update: Christians and atheists unite against the police

See  article from  christian.org.uk

Christian Institute Simon Calvert, of The Christian Institute, said:

It seems the police again reached for the notoriously over-broad Section 5 of the Public Order Act which outlaws 'insulting words or behaviour'.

Christians who have themselves been on the wrong-end of Section 5 would sympathise strongly with Mr Richards.

It is an intimidating experience for law-abiding people to be told by officers that their beliefs are against the law. Even where no arrest is ever made, it exerts a dangerous chilling effect on free speech.

 

  Polishing their Crown Jewels...

Bournemouth sex shop wins the town's best Diamond Jubilee window display


Link Here 23rd June 2012

easy tiger logo A sex shop has won a Diamond Jubilee contest prize for having Bournemouth's best window display.

The Easy Tiger store in The Triangle was crowned as winner for its red, white and blue display with slogans including polish your crown jewels and keep calm, keep it up .

The win was down to a public vote, and Easy Tiger's 87 votes were 40 higher than their closest rival. But some nutters were suitably 'shocked'. Richard Marshall said:

I am disgusted that a sex shop in Bournemouth's Triangle has been handed the prestigious best window display award. I don't understand how a picture of a man lifting his T-shirt up to show his pants can be described as tasteful or respectful to her majesty.

Easy Tiger was presented with the Best Independent Jubilee Window Display by the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce at the Hotel Miramar. The chamber's vice-president Mandy Payne said it made everyone smile when the winner was announced.

Jonathan Spencer, owner of Easy Tiger, said:

We have shoppers from 18 to 80 odd and try to offer products to all generations. By making our windows cheeky and humorous, we hope to challenge the traditional perception of a blacked-out, seedy sex shop.

Kudos also to the Beep Studio in Bournemouth which worked with the shop on the window display.

 

 Offsite Article: Scotland's Shame...


Link Here 21st June 2012
The Naked Rambler's free spirit incarcerated by Scotland's mean spirit.

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

  Censorship Leaves a Bad Taste...

Risible censors at Argyll and Bute Council banned photos of school diners


Link Here 16th June 2012

never seconds Argyll and Bute Council are in the news for falling foul of the Streisand Effect, the act of trying to suppress information but simply making it more widespread as a result.

Martha Payne, from Argyll, was writing about her school dinners on her NeverSeconds blog, taking pictures of them and offering ratings for their nutritional value.

But Argyll and Bute Council banned her from taking photos of her school's food, saying press coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs.

However, they reckoned without the Streisand Effect, which saw the photo ban make headline news in some of the nation's biggest media organisations and the story spiral into a much bigger one that it ever was before.

The furore forced the local authority to reverse the ban, with the leader issuing a bollox propaganda statement claiming that there was no place for censorship on the council.

 

 Offsite Article: We'd win gold at the Olympics for enforcing bully-boy rules...


Link Here 16th June 2012  full story: London Olympics 2012...Restrictions and control
Nothing can be allowed to interfere with the rich commercial backers of the Games. Heaven forbid another firm takes a sliver of the limelight intended for Visa or McDonald's.

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: BT Blocks Access to Black Triangle...


Link Here 12th June 2012
Disability campaign website blocked by BT who won't explain why

See article from techweekeurope.co.uk

 

 Update: Perhaps We Need to Think About This...

Mobile phone company's only just start to think about handling complaints about their low quality website blocking systems


Link Here 2nd June 2012  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Open Rights Group logo Since we published our report Mobile Internet censorship: what's happening and what to do about it , jointly with LSE Media Policy project, a number of people have been in touch with us asking what to do if they discover their site is blocked incorrectly by mobile networks' child protection filters.

But if you are responsible for a site and have found it is blocked, you will also want to get in touch with the mobile networks concerned to check that it is blocked on their network and to get the site removed from the filters so everybody can access it again.

One of the points in our report was that it can be too difficult to do this - you can read about Coadec's problems trying to get their site removed from Orange's Safeguard on their blog.

The mobile networks have told us they are working on improving the way that these reports can be made, which is great. I wanted to do a quick update on progress so far. So I asked the networks what the best way to get in touch with them about this would be. If you are trying to contact the operators to get your site unblocked, here's what the networks offer at the moment:

Vodafone

For the moment, Vodafone have asked that these requests go to this email address: ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

They are planning to have a more specific address available soon. [The mediaRelations email address just about sys it all]

Orange and T-Mobile

The email address to use is safeguard@everythingeverywhere.com and can be used for reports relating to both Orange and T-Mobile.

O2

O2 have a useful URL checker , which also allows people to check sites' classification - which says whether and why a site is blocked - and to report if they consider the site to be classified incorrectly.

Three

Three told us their official position at the moment is: if a Three customer believes a website is being incorrectly blocked then they should call our Customer Services team. We are currently reviewing how best customers can contact us to report these concerns.

 

 Offsite Article: Blame Alert...


Link Here 1st June 2012
The Daily Mail and a Labour Politician pick up on an internet porn link in a case of a schoolboy sexually assaulting a 9 year old girl

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Update: The High Court Needs to Get Its Shit Together...

A split decision means that another High Court hearing is required for Paul Chambers' appeal against conviction for a jokey tweet


Link Here 29th May 2012  full story: Police Twitter Twits...Man charged over terrorism quip on twitter

Old Bailey Paul Chambers, the victim of extreme police over reaction when he posted a message on Twitter joking:

Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!

He was ludicrously convicted in May 2011 of sending a menacing electronic communication at Doncaster Magistrates Court last year. An initial appeal was dismissed, leading Chambers' legal team to escalate the challenge to the High Court.

Now a two-judge hearing at the High Court has ordered a new hearing to go ahead, after being unable to reach an agreed decision.

A campaign in support of Chambers has attracted various high-profile Twitter users, including Stephen Fry, Graham Linehan and Al Murray. A support fund has also been established to help pay for his legal fees as he fights the case.

 

 Update: Licensed to Repress...

Glasgow City Council initiates survey to find views on controlling public entertainment


Link Here 28th May 2012  full story: Public Entertainment Licence...Scotland to control all public entertainment

glasgow council logo From the campaign: Scottish Councils: Scrap Public Entertainment Licence Fees.

Thank you for supporting our campaign on Public Entertainment Licences in Scotland.

You might be aware that City of Edinburgh Council already conducted a public consultation on the issue. Glasgow City Council have now followed suit, and we'd like to encourage as many supporters as possible to complete their survey and ensure that your voice and opinion is represented.

...Contribute to the Glasgow Survey

We are continuing to campaign on behalf of artists, community organisations and venues across Scotland. We are particularly keen to hear from anyone in areas outside Glasgow and Edinburgh interested in forming a network to keep us updated on developments in your area, such as events that may have been forced to pay, events that might not have taken place, no matter how large or small. Please contact us via the petition website. It is important that we have a better picture of what is happening across the country as we form a national strategy for the campaign.

...See the  petition from  change.org

 

 Update: Choice Rather than Compulsion...

ISP Review survey finds that ISP customers support parental options rather than mandatory blocking


Link Here 25th May 2012  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

isp review logo A new ISPreview.co.uk survey of 728 internet access subscribers in the United Kingdom has found that the majority of respondents (84%) are against any proposals which might force broadband providers into imposing mandatory adult website blocks by default. The introduction of such a system, which could be applied to all internet accounts in the UK, is being sought by campaigners led by Claire Perry MP.

According to the study, nearly all of the biggest domestic ISPs have, since last year's agreement with the UK government, started to adopt an Active Choice system that provides customers (e.g. parents) with an enforced option to block adult web content at the point of purchase.

Some 74% of respondents to the survey said they were in favor of ISPs offering optional parental control solutions. But, when respondents were asked whether or not they thought ISPs had done enough to protect children online, more than half (55%) said Yes, 23% gave a flat no and 22% were not sure.

ISPreview.co.uk's Founder, Mark Jackson, said:

It's encouraging to see ISPs offer customers more options to filter out adult content and we'd like to see that continue. But at the same time we should be careful not to impose mandatory opt-in internet filters, which risk lulling parents into a false sense of security and encouraging state sponsored censorship through mission creep. Parents must be given more trust to act on their own initiative. Sadly some MPs are already proposing stiffer measures, before the 'Active Choice' solution has even been given chance to work, which only adds to the ever growing burden of new legislation that internet providers are being asked to shoulder.

We must never forget that website blocking measures are also easy to circumvent (children often know the best methods), can restrict legitimate sites (clothing retailers, sex education/medical content etc.) and cost huge amounts of money to develop. BT is alleged to have spent 500k developing its Cleanfeed solution and that's enough to put smaller ISPs out of business. We should instead be focusing on education and awareness, as well as boosting the availability of Active Choice so that the industry can adapt through self-regulation.

 

  Less Wrath of the Titans...

British Airways start submitting pre-cut airline versions of their VOD films to the BBFC


Link Here 24th May 2012
british airlines censors logo For reasons unknown, British Airways has started submitting cut versions of films to the film censors of the BBFC.

The films are submitted for a Video on Demand rating and are noted as an Airline Version.

Assuming that the British Airways video system works on NTSC with the same running times as cinema versions, then the first 3 examples have been pre-cut as follows:

  • Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Pre-cut by 1:02s It received a PG certificate without BBFC cuts. Note that the longer and uncut cinema version was also rated a PG with the same consumer advice: contains mild action adventure

  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was more illuminating. The Airline Version was pre-cut by 1:23s for a 12 rating (the same as the cinema version) but the cuts resulted in a change of consumer advice. The Cinema Version reads: Contains one use of strong language and moderate sex references . The Airline Version advice reads: Contains infrequent strong language and moderate sex references.
  • The Wrath of Titans. The airline version was pre-cut by 2:24s. The 12 rating and consumer advice was unchanged from the uncut cinema version.

 

 Update: Commercial Companies Make Naff Internet Censors...

Google cites the low quality of internet filters when coming out against default porn blocking


Link Here 24th May 2012  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn
Google logo Proposals forcing a default block on adult content would be a mistake , Google has said. Speaking at its Big Tent forum, the company warned against allowing private companies to manage lists of inappropriate websites.

Sarah Hunter, Google's head of public policy, said the search giant was strongly in favour of education over technical measures. She said:

We believe that children shouldn't be seeing pornography online. We disagree on the mechanisms. It's not that easy
There is a problem about the extent to which we deskill parents by giving them simple solutions.
We should be making more effort than we've done in the past to make sure parents really do know the risks children face online.

TalkTalk ISP recently introduced an option for parents to block adult content at a network level.

It's a great way of managing what children can see. We don't see that as censorship, it's about choice, said Andrew Heaney, TalkTalk's executive director of strategy and regulation. However, he warned against filters being on by default, describing it as a slippery slope:

I think the government should be encouraging ISPs to offer [blocking]. Certainly do not force them to turn it to default on. We step over this Rubicon into a dangerous world.

TalkTalk's filtering system is managed by security firm Symantec. It administers a list of blocked sites.

Kirsty Hughes, chief executive of Index on Censorship, warned against the privatisation of freedom of expression:

Who decides what is blocked? Who puts together these lists? This is a form of censorship.
We're talking about putting legal communication, information, either out of bounds or something you have to turn on to be part of that free world.

 

 Offsite Article: Official Olympic Protestors...


Link Here 24th May 2012  full story: London Olympics 2012...Restrictions and control
Activists who set themselves up as official Olympics protesters are suspended from Twitter after complaint from London 2012 organisers

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

18th May   

Safety for Journalists...

Melon farming Fresh
A website
update service

See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

High Court overturns lower court order for media organisations to hand over footage of violence at the Dale Farm eviction
Link Here

Old Bailey Violent scenes were filmed by the media as bailiffs evicted travellers from part of the Dale Farm site.

The police claimed they needed the footage from organisations like the BBC and BSkyB to pursue prosecutions. The police obtained court disclosure orders to obtain the material from Judge Gratwicke at Chelmsford Crown Court in February.

The BBC, Independent Television News, BSkyB, Channel 5, Hardcash Productions and freelance video journalist Jason Parkinson joined forces to oppose the orders. Their lawyers said the media risked becoming seen as coppers' narks if they were forced to comply.

Now the High Court has said that the police had failed to make a sufficiently strong case and broadcasters viewed the orders as a fishing expedition for evidence. The previous court have now been quashed by Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Eady.

In a written judgement, Mr Justice Eady said it was difficult to dispute there was a real public interest in tracing people involved in public disorder or violence. But he said that had to be set against the level of interference with the media's right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Essex Police had to demonstrate that the degree of interference and the wide scope of the production order was necessary and proportionate , he said. However, there was nothing to justify any such conclusion .

Mr Justice Eady said disclosure orders can never be granted as a formality , and while police should not be discouraged from seeking to obtain material in future, it is not easy to do so and it should not be easy .

 

18th May   

Dogged by Poor taste...

CD Universe - Buy Music CDs, TV on DVD, DVDs, Video Games for XBox, PlayStation 2 and Much More

New Zealand sitcom renames dog over references to murderers
Link Here

news-29-hounds New Zealand comedy Hounds Producers of a new TV sitcom have renamed a dog character, after a complaint that it was a reference to notorious murder cases.

The New Zealand comedy Hounds featured a greyhound called Lundybainwatson. It is a reference to killers Mark Lundy and Scott Watson, who were both jailed for life for double killings, plus David Bain, who was convicted of murdering his family but acquitted after 13 years behind bars.

Bain's lawyer, Joe Karam, complained to chiefs at the TV3 station, saying that it was in extremely poor taste , as well as a slur on Bain's name to associate him with the two killers.

Executives at TV3 agreed, and told producers they must over-dub the lines before the show goes out in a fortnight.

 

16th May   

Trying to Cure Society of all its Ills?...

Nurses have a whinge about video games
Link Here

Hysteria Hospital Emergency Ward Nintendo The Royal College of Nursing passed a motion calling for more education and awareness about the risks of children playing adult-rated games. At their annual conference in Harrogate, they claimed exposure to these images could harm children.

Nurses said some products on the market were littered with explicit references to violence, sex and drug-taking.

The nurses cited the case of Anders Behring Breivik, who was said to have trained for the attacks he carried out in Norway last summer by using games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the World of Warcraft.

 

16th May

 Offsite Article: Why should an insult be against the law?...

Link Here  full story: Public Order Act...Enabling police censorship
Suddenly newspaper commentators are talking against the inclusion of mere 'insult' as a reason for arrest in the much abused Public Order Act. Maybe a precursor of a welcome change to the law

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

15th May   

Updated: Unfair Penalty...

Britain condemns Iran for sentence of 25 lashes for cartoonist over innocuous whimsy about a politician
Link Here

ahmad lotfi ashtiani cartoon Britain has added its condemnation to the unprecedented lashing sentence against Iranian cartoonist Mahmud Shokraye.

He was sentenced to 25 lashes earlier this week over his depiction of conservative lawmaker Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani as a football player.  Ashtiani is noted for interfering in sports issues.

A British Foreign Office statement said:

Charges should never have been brought at all for this innocuous act, but it is sadly not surprising given the government has consistently shown such flagrant disregard for its citizens' rights and freedoms.

In an earlier joint statement, a dozen Iran-based websites condemned Shokraye's sentence and warned that it sets a dangerous precedent. The statement noted that drawing cartoons of politicians, including of Iranian presidents and other top officials, is common in Iran.

Update: Uncomplained

15th May 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

An Iranian MP who brought a case against a cartoonist that resulted in a sentence of 25 lashes has withdrawn his complaint after widespread condemnation of the artist's conviction.

Mahmoud Shokraye was found guilty of insulting Ahmad Lotfi Ashtiani, MP for Arak, in a cartoon he drew of the parliamentarian in Nameye Amir, a city newspaper.

In an unprecedented punishment for an Iranian cartoonist, a media law court in Arak handed down a sentence of 25 lashes, triggering domestic and international outcry among Shokraye's colleagues and human rights organisations.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported on Monday that Ashtiani had withdrawn his complaint. Experts familiar with Iranian law said it would mean the cartoonist's conviction would be quashed.

In response to the artist's sentence, cartoonists launched a campaign of drawing new caricatures of the MP, with many Iranians and their colleagues across the world contributing by posting their cartoons online. The Guardian's Martin Rowson also contributed by drawing Ashtiani in a nappy with a lash in his mouth.

 

11th May   

Spectatorial Prejudice...

Spectator magazine to be prosecuted over article about the Stephen Lawrence defendants during the trial
Link Here

spectator logo A magazine is being prosecuted for potentially putting the Stephen Lawrence trial in danger of collapse.

The Spectator is accused of breaching a court order preventing prejudicial material being published before jurors reached verdicts.

An article written by Rod Liddle called defendants Gary Dobson and David Norris disgusting racists during the Old Bailey trial. Liddle wrote that Dobson and Norris were part of a bigger group of suspects who had been named in the press, including Jamie Acourt and Luke Knight. He also said that Norris had a father who was a major criminal.

Mr Justice Treacy said the Spectator article titled A Vindictive Charade breached three specific sections of the contempt order placed on the case by the Lord Chief Justice in the appeal court, and continued at the trial. He referred the magazine to the Attorney General for contempt of court in November.

The Spectator took down the article from its website that afternoon.

The Spectator said it would admit the offence and faces a fine of up to 5,000. Had it faced the alternative of contempt of court charges any penalty could have been far greater.

 

6th May

 Offsite Article: Scottish Employers Worrying about Responsibility for Sectarian Comments by their Employees...

Link Here  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up
Or maybe just an opportunity for touting advice and consultation to companies regarding their internet policies

See article from scotsman.com

 

6th May

 Offsite Article: Discriminating Queue Jumpers from the Queue Fodder...

Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
Telegraph sniffing at Jeremy Clarkson's Heathrow queue comments in the hope of some nutter 'outrage'

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

5th May   

Teaching Kids to Beware of Nasty Adults...

Headmaster reprehensibly threatens to report parents of underage Facebook users to social services
Link Here
Child Catcher

  Sorry kids...
your headmaster snitched you up

A primary school head has threatened to shop parents to social services if they allow pupils to use Facebook and other networking sites.

Paul Woodward has warned parents that persistently letting children flout Facebook's 13-plus age rule could warrant investigation by child protection teams.

He estimates that at least 60% of the 270-plus children at his school have access to social networking sites.

Woodward, a branch secretary for the National Association of Head Teachers,  demanded a ban on children setting up social media accounts.

Head teachers are also demanding greater protection from porn accessed through smartphones, as well as measures to stop young children playing 18-rated video games.

 

1st May   

Update: Torrents of Court Orders...

UK High Court orders UK ISPs to block Pirate Bay
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

Old Bailey The UK High Court has ruled that several ISPs including Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must censor The Pirate Bay file sharing website.

The blocking process was established in law by the media industry action against the Newzbin2 Usenet indexing site last year. A few weeks later a conglomerate of music labels filed a lawsuit against several Internet providers, demanding that they block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay.

Nine labels including EMI, Polydor, Sony, Virgin and Warner said that The Pirate Bay infringes their copyrights and that several ISPs including TalkTalk and Virgin Media should implement a blockade under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.

In February the High Court agreed that The Pirate Bay and its users do indeed breach copyright on a major scale, and this decision has now been followed by a court order.

ISPs Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media must censor The Pirate Bay website in the weeks to come. A sixth ISP, BT, has asked for more time to consider its position.

The Open Rights Group says the court-ordered block represents the thin end of the wedge.

Blocking the Pirate Bay is pointless and dangerous. It will fuel calls for further, wider and even more drastic calls for Internet censorship of many kinds, from pornography to extremism, ORG Executive Director Jim Killock said: Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes.

 

30th April   

Update: The Daily Mail Opts In to Opt In/Opt Out Confusion...

Daily Mail incorrectly claims 66% of those surveyed support default block on internet porn
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

YouGov logo The Daily Mail claims that 66% the public back its campaign for a default block of adult content on internet websites.

A poll by YouGov found that 66% of the people they surveyed support calls for ISPs to block pornographic sites from homes by default. Just 22% opposed the idea.

However it seems that the Daily Mail have got somewhat confused about the stupid 'opt in'/'opt out' tags

See YouGov Poll Results [pdf] from d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net

Last question:

Some people think that customers should have to choose to have their internet service filtered (an opt-in service), other people think that internet services should all be filtered unless customers ask for their service to be unfiltered (an opt-out service)

  • Opt-in (someone's internet service should only be filtered if they ask for it) 57% in support

  • Opt-out (people's internet service should be filtered unless they ask for it not to be) 36% in support

  • Don't know 8%

In fact the majority polled support the option for internet blocking, not that it should be imposed by default

 

28th April   

Bird Brained Plod...

Art gallery receives an unwelcome visit from police censors
Link Here

leda and the swan by derric santini There were no complaints from the public when a Mayfair gallery exhibited a dramatic modern rendering of the ancient Greek myth of Leda and the swan in its window.

But the censors of the Metropolitan Police took a different view when they spotted Derrick Santini's photograph of a naked woman being ravished by the bird.

A policeman took exception as he passed the Scream gallery in Bruton Street on a bus. He alerted colleagues and two uniformed policemen from Harrow arrived to demand the work be removed.

Jag Mehta, sales director at the gallery said: We asked them what the problem was and they said it suggested we condoned bestiality, which they said was an arrestable offence. They stood there and didn't leave until we took the piece down.

Thankfully it was the final day of the exhibition when the plods arrived.

It is understood that the incident was not recorded by police as a crime.

 

19th April   

The Australian Sex Party...

A party doing very well down under
Link Here

fiona patton campaign car If Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is worried by his party's poor showing in the polls, he might be advised to take some tips from another fairly liberal leader currently doing rather better down under.

Two weeks ago, Fiona Patten, convenor of the Australian Sex Party, celebrated her party's breakthrough into double digits, when they scored 10% of the vote in a Victoria state contest. This is approximately 2% better than polls are currently placing the UK's Lib Dems!

Fiona is in the UK this weekend delivering a keynote address to an academic conference, Onscenity, which is dedicated to exploring the new visibility of sex in commerce, culture and everyday life.

Her message is simple: small parties can make a difference. They need to make a difference. Fiona explains:

Proportional representation and very similar showing by the two main parties means that the Australian parliament has been hijacked by the religious right.

With just a small proportion of the votes, and rarely more than one or two seats nationally, parties with a religious or family values agenda have stalled a great deal of social reform in both major parties.

Our clear objective, in the Australian Sex Party, is to use the same system to give voice to the vast majority of Australian men and women who believe in allowing adults to be adults, and are sick and tired of being lectured to by a nanny legislature.

As a former sex worker and Chief Executive of the Eros adult trade association, Fiona is no stranger to controversy. However, her commitment to political change is serious, and despite adding a slight edge to Australian politics, the Sex Party's agenda is equally serious and unlikely to look out of place in many European states.

Their policies include a commitment to sex education in schools, as well as advocating a range of rights for women and members of other minority groups which are now taken for granted in most western nations.

 

16th April

 Offsite Article: A Thorn in the Side of Bexley Council...

Link Here
Man jailed on bolloxed up charges of using the word 'cunt' in a tweet, following a long story of Bexley Council taking extreme actions to hit back at the critical blogger, Sir Olly C

See article from spiderplantland.co.uk

 

14th April   

Extract: Is the London Book Fair Supporting Chinese Censorship?...

Should a state that bans and censors books and imprisons writers be guest of honour at the 2012 London Book Fair?
Link Here  full story: Supporting Book Censorship in China...Honouring Chinese book censors at book fairs

london book fair 2012 logo Next week the London Book Fair welcomes China, the world's largest publisher by volume, as the 2012 market focus and has teamed up with the British Council to invite around 20 Chinese writers to west London for a series of readings, discussions and talks celebrating the best in Chinese literature. But the writers who make up the delegation and the events at which they'll be speaking have been chosen in consultation with partners including China's General Administration of Press and Publishing (Gapp), whose responsibilities include the censorship of newspapers and publishers. According to writer Ma Jian this makes true cultural exchange impossible, and puts freedom of expression in China under yet more pressure:

For China to be named guest of honour. for the British cultural establishment to be shaking hands with the Chinese head of propaganda, a man responsible for the banning and censoring of books and the imprisonment of writers, is disgraceful.

...Read the full article

 

8th April

 Offsite Article: So what did the troll actually say?...

Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Liam Stacey wrote vile things. But do you know why he went to jail? Well, you should. By Victoria Cohen

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

2nd April   

Update: Picking on the Little Guy...

Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights considers jail to be excessive for an insult on Twitter
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

EU flag The Swansea student given 56 days in prison for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter should not have been jailed, according to Europe's most senior human rights official.

In an interview the day before he left office, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, said the sentence imposed by British courts on Liam Stacey was excessive.

After six years in his post at Strasbourg, the Swedish official used his departing comments to plead for greater freedom of expression and to question blanket imposition of traditional media restraints on the internet. Hammarberg told the Guardian:

It was too much. He shouldn't have gone to prison. To put him in prison was wrong.

Politicians are at a bit of loss to know how to ... protect internet freedom while also having regulations against [such problems as] hate speech and child pornography.

There are limits to freedom of expression but regulators don't know how to handle this. It would be useful to have a more enlightened discussion at a European level, otherwise we are going to have different practices in different countries.

In traditional media there are editors who are responsible for print content. It's not so easy to have to the same legal procedures when it comes to action [against lone online voices].

People are at a loss to know how to apply rules for the traditional media to the new media. It's tricky and that's why there needs to be a more thorough discussion about this.

 

1st April   

Update: Not in the Domain of the Courts...

Nominet decisions about abusive domain name claims cannot be challenged in court
Link Here  full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

Old Bailey The High Court has ruled that decisions made by Nominet's dispute resolution service (DRS) may not be appealed in the courts, in cases concerning accusations of abusive domain name registration.

The court held that the registration contract did not leave a role for the court, as abusive registration is a term that only has meaning within the context of the Nominet DRS and cannot itself be the cause of legal action before the courts.

The judgement overturns the ruling of the Patents County Court in a dispute between Michael Toth, who registered the domain name emirates.co.uk in 2002, and the Emirates airline, which later sought and gained possession of the domain name through Nominet's dispute resolution service.

Toth successfully appealed to the Patents County Court for a declaration that the domain name was not registered abusively. However, the case was subsequently appealed in the High Court, which last week ruled that the such cases cannot be appealed in the courts.

The DRS and Procedure put in place a regime in which the question of abusive registration is one for, and only for, the Expert appointed under the DRS.