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13th December   Simulated Obscenity

From The Globe

The first prosecution in Canada for Internet obscenity has ended in a conviction and a major fine for a Northern Ontario man who created a Web site featuring simulated killings. A jury in Fort Frances decided there was no artistic merit to a series of short films depicting semi-naked women dying in agony after being shot or knifed to death.

Madam Justice Helen Pierce of the Ontario Superior Court imposed a $100,000 fine against Donald Smith, 47, late last week and sentenced him to three years probation. As part of his probation order, he is prohibited from having Internet access. Smith must also revoke any interest in the Web site he operated.

It is the first Internet prosecution in Canada that I'm aware of , Crown counsel Christine Bartlett-Hughes said in an interview yesterday. She was extremely pleased with the size of the fine because it will rob Smith of much of his profit and deter others with similar ideas. The amount of the fine far exceeded what defence counsel Darren Sawchuk said has been the average fine for obscenity prosecutions -- $1,000.

Christine Bartlett-Hughe also said that one of the major issues in the case was whether the combination of nudity and violence depicted in the clips met the Criminal Code definition of obscenity. Bartlett-Hughes's co-counsel, Howard Leibovich, told the jury the films unduly exploited sex and violence and presented a substantial risk of harm to viewers.

According to the evidence, prospective members of Smith's Web site could pay $30 to gain access to a library of short film clips produced by Smith and his brother. The clips typically showed a predator surprising a woman showering or sun-bathing. The victim was knifed or shot at close range in the breast or genitals. Special effects were used to heighten the simulated blood and gore.

Some of the experts who testified at the six-week trial backed the defence theory of artistic merit.One witness -- a professor of film studies -- testified that the videos were relatively tame on the spectrum of violent slasher films that are available nowadays.


13th December   Bulldozing Through a Ban

From The Guardian

The Israeli board of censors was criticised by both Palestinians and Israelis yesterday for banning a documentary about the battle in Jenin which took place earlier this year. It is the first film banned in Israel for 15 years.

Israel's film ratings board said the documentary distorted presentation of events in the guise of democratic truth which could mislead the public . It said the public may conclude that Israeli soldiers had committed war crimes. A spokeswoman for the board, said the body banned the film because it falsely depicts fictional events as truth. The movie is propaganda that represents a biased view of the group with whom Israel finds itself at war.

The one-sided board judged the documentary, Jenin, Jenin, to be a "one-sided propaganda film". The board is supposed to take decisions on the grounds of decency alone, as it did with the last film it banned - a Japanese production that was deemed to be pornographic.

The documentary director, Mohammed Bakri, an Arab Israeli, protested yesterday: It is a real shame for me because it shows that democracy in Israel is not reserved for all of its citizens. This is a clear political game that the Likud doesn't want people to see the movie. Bakri, one of the one million Palestinians living in Israel with Israeli citizenship, said he would appeal to Israel's supreme court to overturn the ban.

Most Jenin residents, unlike the Palestinian leadership, did not claim there had been a massacre but they did claim there had been war crimes, with Palestinian civilians buried alive by Israeli bulldozers. The film reflects these claims. It also shows the destruction of a large part of the Jenin refugee camp and interviews with residents claiming that there had been war crimes.


12th December   Game Blame

From The Register

Honduras has issued a blanket ban on all violent videogames and toys, which is set to come into effect next June - giving retailers in the country a six month grace period to clear stocks of the games from their inventories. Among the banned games named are Resident Evil, Shadowman, Street Fighter, Turok, Perfect Dark, Quake and Doom.

The move comes in reaction to rising levels of violent crime in the country, much of which is blamed on youth gangs known as "maras". Given that Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, with 53 per cent of the population living under the poverty line, we're really not sure how influential games and toys are in the criminal scene in the country


9th December   Abnormal Sex in an Abnormal Country

I sometimes wonder why the US doesn't introduce Sharia law and have done with it. Some Americans clearly have a hankering to impose extreme punishments for issues that in other more tolerant countries are simply matters for privacy.

From Yahoo News

The Supreme Court reopened a homosexual rights issue recently, agreeing to decide a case that asks if it's unconstitutional for states to punish same-sex couples for having sex. Justices will decide if Texas violated the rights of two men convicted, under a rarely used state law, of having intercourse.

The Supreme Court has struggled with how much protection the Constitution offers in the bedroom. The court ruled 5-4 in 1986 that consenting adults have no constitutional right to private homosexual sex, upholding laws that ban sodomy. The latest case gives the court a chance to overturn that decision and strike down sodomy laws in Texas and 12 other states.

I think most Americans would be shocked that there are still laws like this on the books, said the Texas men's lawyer, Ruth Harlow. She said the latest census found more than 600,000 households of same-sex partners in America, including about 43,000 in Texas.

Richard Ackerman, an attorney for the California-based Pro-Family Law Center, said he worried that the case might energize efforts to recognize same-sex marriages. He also said that states should be given leeway to protect the public from the spread of diseases like AIDS.

The court will consider: Is it an unconstitutional invasion of privacy for couples to be prosecuted for what they do in their own homes? Is it unconstitutional for states to treat gays and lesbians differently by punishing them for having sex while allowing heterosexual couples to engage in the same acts without penalties?

Sodomy is considered abnormal sex, and in some states that's defined as anal and oral sex. Nine states ban consensual sodomy for everyone: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. In addition, Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma punish only homosexual sodomy.

States argue that the laws are intended to preserve public morals. They are rarely enforced. We don't believe there's any fundamental right to engage in sexual conduct of this kind. There's a long-standing shared cultural belief that the conduct is wrong, William Delmore III, an assistant district attorney in Texas, said.

John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner were arrested in 1998 in Lawrence's apartment, jailed overnight and later fined under Texas' Homosexual Conduct Law, which classifies anal or oral sex between two men or two women as deviate sexual intercourse.

The Supreme Court was told the convictions would prevent the men from getting certain jobs, and would in some states require them to register as sex offenders. They were arrested after police responded to a false report of an armed intruder in Lawrence's apartment, called in by an acquaintance of the men. Police entered the unlocked apartment and found the men having sex. Lawrence and Garner were fined $200 after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges.

Over the past decade, state courts have blocked sodomy laws in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Montana, and Tennessee. A Louisiana appeals court recently upheld that state's 197-year-old law banning all oral and anal sex.

The Supreme Court's 1986 decision, Bowers v. Hardwick, involved a challenge of Georgia's law, which carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for anyone who engaged in sodomy.



5th December   Censors R Us

Bowing to a threatened retail boycott, New York-based Acclaim Entertainment on Monday said its video game BMX
XXX will not contain topless nudity in the version to be released for Sony's PlayStation 2 later this month. Wal-Mart Stores and Toys R Us wereamong a group of big retailers that said they would not carry the game because it included "strippers, pimps and raunchy language." The PS2 edits were "done with good taste and in humor," such as the decision to place the title "BMX XXX" in black lettering over the tops of the previously nude women, Acclaim CEO Gregory Fischbach told Reuters. Versions of the game for Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube will not be edited.


29th November   Bye Bye Privacy and Respect

From The Irish Times

Detailed personal data on every Irish citizen's phone and mobile calls, faxes, and e-mail and Internet usage will be retained for up to four years under a new Department of Justice Bill.

The Bill, which is being drafted and which the Minister McDowell, hopes to implement by next spring, requires that personal electronic data be retained for two to four years. At present, data may only be retained for a short period, exclusively for billing purposes - generally, three to six months - and then must be destroyed.

We have serious concerns that this  is treating everybody as a potential suspect in a crime, said Malachy Murphy, e-rights convener with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. This would also appear to go against the European Convention on Human Rights, which has explicit protections for citizen privacy.

Data produced by digital networks can be highly revealing, while 3G mobile phone networks, with phones which regularly broadcast their location back to the network, will provide information on where a person is standing to within a few metres. The legislation could also demand that Internet service providers store information on all the individual web pages a subscriber has visited over four years.

It is understood that Department officials failed to consult any organisation other than the Garda Síochána in preparing legislation which would in effect overturn existing EU data protection directives. The Bill would also run counter to data protection provisions within the State's E-Commerce Act 2000 - considered essential for creating a supportive e-commerce environment where businesses and consumers can trust how their private information is stored and handled.

Officials within the Department of Justice are understood to be seeking a legal regime similar to that mandated by Britain's controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act.

In Britain, aspects of RIP are being rewritten after strong opposition to the initial Act from the House of Lords, the business community, privacy advocacy groups and the British media. The British government had to withdraw additional legislation dealing with the same areas of data retention as the Irish Bill after this provoked widespread outrage and anger.

The RIP Act was incredibly controversial when passed, but that was nothing compared to the opposition to data retention, said Ian Brown, director of British policy for the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR). Creating a huge database that is lying there for years is a huge invitation for government misuse, much more for hackers, blackmailers, criminals and others. Ian Brown said Britain and the Republic have been under pressure from American surveillance agencies such as the CIA and FBI to loosen protections on data privacy.

The Department of Justice did not respond to questions about the Bill's details.


26th November   French Watershed

A French government commission looking into broadcasting standards on Thursday recommended a ban on the display of violent or pornographic images before a 10.30pm watershed, and fines for channels that contravene.

The commission, which was chaired by philosopher Blandine Kriegel, found that there was a direct link between the broadcast of violent scenes and the behaviour of young people. The short-term emotional effects of exposure to televised violence are reactions of fear, anxiety and distress. In the long term frequent exposure to scenes of violence desensitises the spectator who grows accustomed to violence.

On pornography, the report said that the visual representation in a brutal or repeated fashion of pornographic scenes at too young an age can create an emotion capable of influencing the normal development of the brain and leaving a lasting imprint on a person's conception of sexuality. Receiving a crude and brutal image in the brain of a child... has as much effect as sexual abuse.

Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the culture minister in France's centre-right government who set up the Kriegel commission, said its report was welcome but we must not make television a scapegoat for all the ills of society . Kriegel added: Banning all representations of violence would be absurd. What we are doing is rejecting a delight in violence .

The report said that a 1989 decree banning television violence between 6.30am and 10.30pm should be properly enforced, and that a dispensation that allows channels to show four films a year normally prohibited to under-12s before 10.30pm should be removed.

Resisting pressure from conservatives for an outright ban on televised pornography, the commission instead said tighter controls such as a double-encryption system should be made general, and that viewers should have to ask explicitly for a pornographic channel when they subscribe.

It called for a re-organisation of the country's classification system, noting that France has much more liberal standards than most of its neighbours. Of 102 films shown in cinemas between 1997 and 2000, 62 were granted general release certificates in France, as opposed to only 29 in Britain and 16 in Germany, and the category was a major factor in the time the films were later shown on television.

The powers of the broadcast watchdog, the Higher Audiovisual Council (CSA), should also be enhanced so that it can monitor the new rules and impose financial penalties when they are flouted, the report concluded.


26th November   Malay Malaise

The Malaysian Film Censorship Board banned another 31 film productions from public screening in September this year. 23 movies, several episodes of a popular television series, five documentaries and an advertisement. They are said to contain elements not suitable for public viewing, contrary to the provisions under the Film Censorship Act 2002.

The banned English movies are Stolen Summer, The Sweetest Thing, Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Saturday Night Fever, Sculpted Buns, Hips and Thighs, Pet Sematary, The Mist of Avalon, The Score, Spider's Web, The Warriors, China Town, The Guru, Vampires: Los Muertos and Noah's Ark.

Also banned are television series The Geena Davis Show (Yr 1) Ep. 2, and eight episodes of Xena - Warrior Princess. Banned Chinese movies are Underground Express, The Reincarnation of Golden Lotus and The Era of Vampires, while the Korean movies are The Uprising, Volcano High School and Greenfish. Other banned movies are Anak Pontianak (Malay), Plus 2 Tingkatan Enam (Tamil) and Badai Laut Selatan Ep. 1-6 (Indonesian). The banned documentaries are Not So Tough Aerobics, Tough Aerobic Mix, Standing Legs Firm Parts, WWE Divas Presentation (English), Taiwan Fon Yue Tan Mit (Mandarin), while the sole advertisement is Hook On (English).

It is an offence to possess, distribute, sell, rent and screen the prohibited productions and offenders risk a fine of between RM5,000 and RM30,000 and/or a jail term of up to three years, or both, upon conviction. Those found guilty of promoting banned productions risk being fined between RM1,000 and RM10,000.


4th August   Egality, Fraternity but no Liberty

It appears that the French are planning to demonstrate Fraternity with the English and equalise downwards to our level of liberty.

From the BBC

A French pornography producer has defended porn as a "cultural asset" in an open letter protesting against a planned TV ban.

Right-wingers and family values campaigners want a law preventing pornographic films being shown on French television. Family values nutter and MP Christine Boutin is one of those calling for a ban on pornography on French television and plans to table a bill in autumn. Dominique Baudis, the head of the French broadcasting watchdog, has backed the calls in order to protect children

Porn's subject matter is physical love, a theme that has produced countless masterpieces in painting, in sculpture and in literature, wrote John B Root, in an open letter printed in French daily Liberation and translated by the Guardian. If celluloid sex has never succeeded in hoisting itself to the rank of a cinematographic or televisual genre, it is because we have denied it the right to be economically viable. We would not be having this debate if porn was what it should be - joyous, well-made, aphrodisiac art.

He also argued that the economic damage to pornography producers resulting from a ban would force them into more extreme film-making.  In Germany, where porn is outlawed on television, the sex video output is by far the most voluminous and by far the lowest grade in Europe.

French terrestrial, satellite and cable channels screen hundreds of porn films every year.


14th July   Nutters in the Park

From TV News

Predictably, the Catholic Church is not amused by the South Park episode that poked fun at the current sex scandals plaguing the religious institution. Not so obvious, is the reason why they are so upset.

It's not because show creator Matt Stone and Trey Parker point out the hypocrisy of the very place where people are supposed to go for sanctuary has been, for many, a source of even more horrific problems. Or, that even though church higher-ups kept shuffling around abusive priests rather than either turning them in or, at the very least, keeping them away from parishoners. No, it's because South Park portrays the priests as pedophiles rather than homosexuals.

In a statement released about the episode, Catholic League President William Donohue says,
The scandal in the Church is not about priests having sex with prepubescent boys. It is about priests having sex with postpubescent young  men. The former is called pedophilia and the latter is called homosexuality.


9th July   Wrestling with the Blame Society

From the New York Post

World Wrestling Entertainment has won a resounding victory over a parents' TV advocacy group, forcing it to publish a detailed retraction of the ludicrous charges that the WWF Smackdown series on UPN led to the deaths of four children.

As part of an out-of-court settlement, the Parents Television Council paid the WWE $3.5 million in damages and acknowledged that it had made false statements.

In the retraction statement issued over the weekend, L. Brent Bozell, president of the PTC, said he " was incorrect and wrong to have blamed WWE or any of its programs for the death " of children such as Tiffany Eunick.

Eunick died from injuries inflicted by another child, Lionel Tate, who went on trial for murder in Florida, charged with imitating the moves of WWE wrestlers. Bozell said in the retraction that "false information" from parties to the Tate case led the council to charge that Tate was watching wrestling on TV when he killed Eunick. Instead, the PTC said subsequent facts proved that Tate was actually watching The Flintstones and the cartoon series Cow & Chicken.


9th June   Natural Born Justice

A Louisiana appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit blaming the Oliver Stone film Natural Born Killers for a young couple's interstate rampage that left a store clerk paralyzed, the studio that made the film said.

The Louisiana Court of Appeal said Natural Born Killers, a  film about a couple on a killing spree, was entitled to First Amendment freedom of speech protection because nothing within the movie advocated or incited viewers to commit violent activity, said the film's maker, Warner Bros.

We are gratified by the court's unequivocal ruling that subjecting  provocative speech to civil penalties would be unconstitutional and would pose a grave danger to free expression, the studio said in a statement.

The lawsuit was first bought against Warner, a unit of media conglomerate AOL Time Warner in 1995 by the family of Patsy Byers, a Louisiana store clerk who was shot in a robbery attempt by Sarah Edmondson.

Byers was left a quadriplegic after the 1995 shooting in Pontchatoula, Louisiana. She died of cancer two years later, but her family decided to proceed with the lawsuit.

The initial ruling to dismiss the case came in March 2001.

Plaintiffs attorney Joe Simpson said the Byers family has not yet decided if it will appeal the case to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
I don't know if we're going to go any further or not I have to consult with the other attorneys. My vote now would be to stop. In my opinion, it's hopeless to go any further.


28th May   Utahly Pointless

The mayor of Provo, Utah, disbanded a city film board that has kept score for 25 years on the amount of sex, violence and profanity on movie screens around town.

The nine-member Provo Media Review Commission has reviewed more than 5,000 films since 1977, when Looking for Mr. Goodbar  caused a stir in conservative Provo and led to the board's appointment. Members did not pick or pan movies. They simply noted the types and amounts of sex, profanity and violence on screen. Using a review form and tickets paid for by the city, commissioners screened almost every movie that played in Provo.

The board's reviews were posted online and attracted 65,000 Internet hits a month.

Mayor Lewis Billings said he was cutting the board to help balance next year's $129 million city budget. The board's portion was $6,500 a year.


22nd April   Big Bro John Ashcroft

By Reuters

The annual US "Big Brother Awards" are presented to government, corporations and private individuals who allegedly have done the most to threaten personal privacy.

Privacy International, a London-based activist organization made up of privacy experts and human rights organizations from dozens of countries, presented the awards at the annual Computers, Freedom & Privacy conference here this week.

The "Worst Government Official" award went to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft . Privacy International said the top U.S. law enforcement officer is responsible for a massive increase in wiretapping of phones and other electronics and for the imprisonment without charge of as many as 1,200 people in the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks on America.

The "Worst Corporate Invader" honor went to Larry Ellison of Oracle, the leading maker of database software, for his advocacy of a centralized, Oracle-run government database that could be used as a national identification system.

Other awards included "Most Invasive Company," "Most Appalling Project" and "Lifetime Menace." The award is a golden statue depicting a jackboot pressing down on a human head.

The "Most Appalling Project" honor went to the Enhanced Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening (CAPPS) project, a preflight screening of airline passengers set up after of the Sept. 11 attacks. The advocacy group argues this amounts to discriminatory treatment of passengers based on race or certain consumer behaviors.

Privacy International singled out technology developers on the project, including HNC Software, a maker of fraud detection tools; Acxiom, a collector of business and consumer data; and Equifax, a credit information agency.


30th March   Safety Pin

As a person living in a child free home I strongly object to life being made even more hasslesome than it already is. I hope the ITC don't consider this a good idea otherwise it will mess up timer set recordings. Not to mention the stupidity of having a widely punished PIN. I was wondering if this is an early April Fools joke.

From The Sat-Zone

A new ruling by the French regulatory body, the CSA, has requested that all adult channels within France alter their viewing cards so that their services can only be viewed upon insertion of a parental lock key-code. XXL, the French hardcore porn channel broadcasting as part of the ABSat package, has informed us that it will implement the CSA's request shortly. Upon implementation ABSat subscribers will need to enter the code 8080 in order to view the XXL blue movie channel. According to our sources, the French-based porn channel, Ultra Blue, has also announced its intention to implement the new ruling.


29th March   A Violent Norm

Surely those kids that watch less than an hour of TV are part of a group selected by far more influential reasons than TV. I think they are probably all Amish

From The Telegraph

Teenagers who watch more than an hour of television each day are more likely to become violent adults, a US study has found. Adolescents, particularly boys, are more likely to turn to violence in their early twenties if they watch more than an hour of television a day.

The survey, the first into the long-term effects of television on violence, is published today in the journal Science by Prof Jeffrey Johnson, of Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and co-authors.

The team tracked more than 700 children and took into account the "chicken and egg" question: Does watching television cause aggression or do people prone to aggression watch more television? Prof Johnson concludes that, during early adolescence, responsible parents should not let their children watch more than one hour of television a day.

The link between watching television and behaving violently remained intact after the researchers had accounted for other factors, such as childhood neglect, low family income or a psychiatric disorder during adolescence.

The youths in the study and their mothers were interviewed four times over the course of 18 years and assigned to three categories: those who watched less than one hour of television per day, between one and three hours per day, and more than three hours per day.

Information on aggressive acts committed by the study subjects came from interviews, as well as state and federal records of arrests and charges for adult criminal behaviour. The researchers grouped the violent acts according to whether they occurred around age 16, age 22 or age 30.

Once other factors were accounted for, 5.7 per cent of the adolescents who watched less than one hour then committed aggressive acts against other people in later years. In contrast, 22.5 per cent of the adolescents who watched between one and three hours a day committed aggressive acts later, as did 28.8 per cent of the adolescents who watched more than three hours a day.


28th March   Baying of Pigs

From Wired

The Cuban government has quietly banned the sale of computers and computer accessories to the public, except in cases where the items are "indispensable" and the purchase is authorized by the Ministry of Internal Commerce.

News of the ban was first reported by CubaNet , an anti-Castro site based in Miami. According to the organization's correspondent in Havana, the merchandise -- which had been sold freely in the capital since mid-2001-- was yanked off store shelves in January.

The computer departments of the retail stores were divided into two zones: a well-stocked area for government buyers, and a smaller area where the public could buy diskettes, CDs and other such items. A store employee told the correspondent she was forbidden from discussing the move.

According to Article 19, Chapter II, Section 3 of the ministry's Resolution No. 383/2001: The sale of computers, offset printer equipment, mimeographs, photocopiers, and any other mass printing medium, as well as their parts, pieces and accessories, is prohibited to associations, foundations, civic and nonprofit societies, and natural born citizens. In cases where the acquisition of this equipment or parts, pieces and accessories is indispensable, the authorization of the Ministry of Internal Commerce must be solicited.

The government already requires Cubans who can afford Internet accounts -- which cost $260 a month, while the average Cuban salary is $240 a year -- to register with National Center for Automated Data Exchange, For those who do manage to log on, the Internet experience is limited: The government-controlled ISPs block links to certain foreign media, anti-Castro sites and pornography.

The government (just like most governments) has also admitted to monitoring e-mail. To circumvent such spying, residents use Web-based e-mail accounts and chat services to make their communication harder to trace.


27th March   Haggard Hubbard

It strikes me that any organisation or religion that hankers after bollox law like blasphemy is shit scared that adherents are being fooled by the kings clothes. Any robust organisation, based up on an an aggregation of member's beliefs, resists and relishes alternative opinion with confidence (just like the Melon Farmers!)

From Wired

Wired News reported recently that the Church of Scientology has successfully used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to compel search engine provider Google to remove sites from its search engine that allegedly contain copyrighted Scientology materials. Sites including and -- which both criticize the Church -- no longer appear in Google search results. A letter sent from Google to the operator of Norway-based read, "Had we not removed these URLs, we would be subject to a claim for copyright infringement, regardless of its merits." The notoriously litigious Church of Scientology has defended its intellectual property many times.

And then the next day:

Search engine provider Google has restored links to some Web pages critical of the Church of Scientology, one day after removing them as a result legal threats from the Church under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Reuters reported. Other pages referred to by the Church as containing unauthorized copyrighted content, however, remain blocked from Google's search results. A posting from reports that pages other than -- the homepage of one of the sites targeted by the Church -- that reside on the site and were included in the Church's complaint to Google still do not come up when a user searches on Google.


27th March   Brother Zorba

The head of Greece's television regulatory agency suspended broadcasts Thursday of two popular reality television shows, including "Big Brother," for violating laws on public decency and dignity.

To become permanent, the decision would require approval by the 11-member National Council for Radio and Television when it meets on Friday. The council was to discuss the possibility of shifting the programs to post-midnight time slots. They currently air at 10 p.m. for one hour.

Broadcast by Greece's biggest private channels, Antenna and Mega, the two shows have some of the highest ratings. But in recent weeks, they have became the focus of intense public debate after showing scenes that include nudity or allusions to sex. Antenna carries Big Brother, while Mega broadcasts The Bar.

The Bar has 14 contestants living together in an Athens apartment next to a bar which they must operate for 14 weeks. Both locations are filled with cameras and microphones. Every week a contestant is voted off the show with the last one winning $133,500.

The reality shows have been criticized by politicians, academics, and religious nutters who think that they degrade contestants, provide a negative social image for young people, and erode family values.

Later from the BBC :

A move to outlaw two popular TV reality shows, including Big Brother, in Greece has been blocked.

The president of the National Council for Radio and Television, Vasillis Lambridis, pulled the shows off air claiming they overstepped the boundaries of public decency. But his decision to suspend the shows was not supported by the rest of the television watchdog, which voted 8-1 to allow them to continue broadcasting.

But as a compromise the members recommended the shows be moved from their 2200 timeslot to after midnight.


27th March   God Bless American Big Business

From Wired

After much talk about a draft of the bill and several Senate hearings on the issue, Senator Fritz Hollings has introduced new legislation called the "Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act" (CBDTPA), which if enacted would ban the sale of consumer electronics devices that are not equipped with government-approved copy-protection technology.

The law would apply to PCs, televisions, personal video recorders, MP3 players and other devices through which copyrighted digital media can pass. Co-sponsoring the bill were five senators, including California's Diane Feinstein. The law would give entertainment and technology firms one year to negotiate a marketplace compromise, after which time the Federal Communications Commission would intervene and recommend its own copy-protection scheme.

The legislation was praised by both the movie and music industries and derided by Silicon Valley.


27th March   Malay's Malaise

Malaysia is hardly a country that respects much in the way of liberty and freedom so the following story is hardly surprising.

The Film Censorship Act 2002, which will replace the 1952 Act, will take effect from April 1, said Deputy Home Minister, JakBoots Datuk Chor Chee Hueng.

He said the Act would provide higher fines and stiffer penalties for offences. He said for pornography for example an offender could be fined between RM10,000 and RM50,000 (5-25000 GBP) or jailed up to five years or both.

The Act also empowered enforcement officers to enter and inspect any premises, conduct search, arrest, detain, investigate and prosecute, he said. Chor said there was also a provision on presumption that enabled any irresponsible film distributors to be prosecuted in court even though their films were in premises belonging to others.

He also urged producers to review prices of video compact discs (VCDs), digital versatile discs (DVDs) and compact discs (CDs) to a reasonable level so that the public could afford to buy original copies.


26th March   Fisting is Back In

From AVN

Adam Glasser recently walked out of the courtroom completely free of all obscenity charges in what has to be one of the best "plea bargains" ever reached in local obscenity jurisprudence.

It's a victory for the First Amendment, and a victory for all adults, said Roger Jon Diamond, Glasser's attorney.

The case was People of the State of California v. Adam Glasser, et al ., and revolved around his 1999 release, Tampa Tushy Fest Part 1 , which contained scenes of vaginal and anal fisting between popular porn performers Chloe and Alisha Klass. The trial of the case, which has been postponed several times for various reasons, was supposed to begin on March 20, but was put off indefinitely after the following plea agreement was reached:

  • Glasser's company, BBE, Inc., would plead "no contest" to a charge of "creating a public nuisance" and would pay a fine of $1000 into a "victim's restitution" fund. The company would not be put on probation.
  • All other charges against Adam Glasser, Lila Glasser and his companies would be dropped. Originally, each defendant had been charged with one court of trafficking in obscene materials and one of promoting the distribution of obscene materials.
  • All materials, including the master tapes to Tampa Tushy Fest , that had been seized pursuant to the search warrant served on Glasser early last year would be returned to Glasser.
  • Glasser agreed to make all customers of Tampa Tushy Fest aware that a "non-fisting" version of the tape exists if they wish to purchase it, or exchange a currently-owned "fisting" version for it. Otherwise, Glasser is free to sell the fisting version of Tampa Tushy Fest in California, free of any possible charge of obscenity lodged against it.

Basically, we'll do the same thing we did before," Glasser stated. We have what we call the XXXX version, which is the unedited version, and the XXX version, which is the edited version. We've been offering those versions to customers from Day 1; we will continue to offer them to customers, and for us, it's really no change at all in operating procedure. It only actually just makes me feel more comfortable about selling the movies that are unedited. I believe we now have the legal authority to sell a fisting version in California.

As to whether he now expected more companies to release tapes with fisting scenes, Glasser replied, I think that people have to be careful. This is a victory in California. This says nothing about how these depictions are going to be looked at or perceived in other states. So if there are companies out there that have the ability to offer two versions of a movie, one with fisting and one without, then possibly you will. Outside of the state of California, it's still a questionable issue, and you can't bank on the fact, nor will I bank on the fact that now this movie is going to be bought without any kind of thought or consciousness by the entire United States market. It's just not going to happen. The people in Texas, Florida, Alabama or wherever that were concerned about it then, probably still should be concerned about it now. I don't think there should be any difference from their perspectives and I'm not going to treat it any differently on the national level.


21st March   Assassination of Russia

The Pulkovo Airport's customs officers confiscated two boxes with the French documentary film Assassination of Russia from Yuly Rybakov on Saturday night in St. Petersburg. Rybakov is a parliament member and one of the leaders of the Liberal Russia movement. He had just arrived from London where the film was shown last week in London. The customs officers, Rybakov said, failed to explain on what grounds they did confiscated the videotapes. They told the parliament member to sort it out with the customs administration.  

Rybakov said that Gorbenko and I entered a customs examination room with all the other passengers. I was carrying a bag and two small cardboard boxes. Each box contained 50 cassettes. We were approached by two customs officers who wanted to know what we had brought with us. I answered honestly that we had cassettes, produced my State Duma id and explained that I had personal immunity. They asked us to open the boxes. By that time we were alone in the room.

The officers were joined by two people in civilian clothes, who categorically refused to introduce themselves. Nonetheless, I had the impression that the customs officers acted according to their direction; they often hurried over to them to discussed things. They took my passport away and began drawing up a statement in which they wrote that the boxes were taken away to be deposited. I protested and wrote in their statement that I considered the detention of my possessions illegal.  I asked when I could have the boxes back and one of customs officers replied, We have administration, so sort it out with them.' I was given a receipt. Articles detained for political reasons will not be returned' was written on the reverse side.

Rybakov said that a full Russian-language version of the film Assassination of Russia was recorded on the cassettes (an abridged version of the film was shown in London) and the viewing rights had only been bought by the Internet site and had been handed over to Liberal Russia for free use. Yuly Rybakov said he was going to give out the cassettes in Parliament. Instead, he would have to tell the colleagues in the State Duma about this incident.

Besides, Rybakov is going to appeal on Monday to Andrei Ozoling, chief of the Pulkovo customs house, and Ivan Sydoruk, the public prosecutor of St. Petersburg. According to Rybakov, the action in Pulkovo made no sense right from the start a few cassettes remained in his bag and his colleague Sergei Yushenkov brought about 900 cassettes at the same time into Moscow, causing no objections on the part of customs officers there. Yushenkov handed out some of the cassettes to a few journalists who had come to meet him at the Sheremetyevo-2 Airport. Liberal Russia, Rybakov said, was going to show Berezovsky's film in movie theaters and also arrange for it to be broadcast on TV. The action is to begin in Ryazan because a considerable part of the film is about events in that city, he said.


20th March   Gambling Away Freedom

From Reuters

A U.S. House panel voted Tuesday to update a 40-year-old law banning interstate betting so that it would apply to fast-growing Internet gambling sites as well.

The House Judiciary subcommittee on crime voted unanimously to approve a measure that would update the Wire Act of 1961, which bans interstate wagers, so it would clearly apply to the Internet and other modern communications, as well as telephone lines. The bill would allow law enforcement agents to take down sites found in violation, or stop credit card payments to sites operating outside of the country.

This legislation is badly needed because there are a great many offshore sites that are sucking billions of dollars from American households, said Rep. Bob Goodlatte who sponsored the bill.

The proposed legislation targets the estimated 1,400 online casinos that have sprung up over the last several years and operate outside the reach of local and state regulators. Goodlatte's bill would allow agents to obtain a court order requiring credit card companies and other payment services to cut off transactions with the sites if they could not be shut down directly. Law enforcement agents could also direct U.S.-based Internet providers to take down links to gambling sites and tell online advertising companies such as DoubleClick to stop distributing ads for illegal online casinos.

The bill does not affect the ability of states and Native American tribes to regulate online gambling within their borders as long as they bar minors and out-of-state users.

Fantasy-sports leagues, state lotteries and off-track betting on horse or dog racing would not be affected by the bill, which now moves to the full Judiciary Committee for consideration.


18th March


  Fat Canadian Censors

The distributor of the controversial French film Fat Girl is challenging the constitutionality of the Ontario Film Review Board over its decision to ban the movie about the sexual awakening of two teenaged sisters.

Cowboy Pictures, the New York-based distributor of the film, launched a civil action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice this week that challenges the film board's decision on technical and constitutional grounds and suggests the board does not have the authority to halt the distribution of movies in the province.

The Ontario Film Review Board rejected the film for distribution last fall under the provincial Theatres Act that prohibits the depiction of sex-related nudity involving someone who is underaged or appears to be underaged.

Fat Girl , by French director Catherine Breilliat, tells the story of two girls, pudgy Anais and beautiful Elena, who are depicted as 13 and 15, exploring their sexuality.

It was screened at last year's Toronto International Film Festival and has been released throughout the United States and in several Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.

Craig Martin, the Toronto-based lawyer for Cowboy Pictures, said the company argues the board simply misapplied the guidelines in deciding to ban this particular film. It will also argue that the legislation that gives the Ontario Film Review Board the power to ban movies is an unjustifiable infringement of the fundamental right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


12th March   Reversible Censorship

From AVN

Private North America has announced current DVD titles in March and future DVD releases will feature reversible covers with hardcore and softcore photos.

Mara Epstein, executive account manager for Private, told AVN .com the covers will allow placement of the company's DVDs in mainstream retail outlets, such as Tower Records, Virgin Megastores and the Movie Gallery, that had not carried them because of concerns over content displayed on covers.

Epstein says the covers are being printed solely for the American market, and she adds, This is just the beginning of ways in which we'll be accommodating the U.S. market.

Reversible covers are also to be found on Private films in the UK


11th March   Police Censorship

From The Guardian

The Turkish ministry of culture has banned a film it partly funded, and which had been Turkey's hope to pick up an Oscar for best foreign film. Buyuk Adam, Kucuk Ask (Big Man, Small Love) has won a number of awards. But it has now been banned on the grounds that it highlights Kurdish nationalism and portrays the Turkish police in a poor light.

At the film's heart is the relationship between a nationalist, authoritarian judge and a five-year-old Kurdish orphan. The judge, who is the girl's neighbour, takes her in following a botched raid on her home by police who kill her guardian while looking for two Kurdish rebels hiding in the house. Through their relationship the film explores the difficulties Turkey has living with its Kurdish minority of 12 million.

For 15 years in the 1980s and 1990s Turkey fought a bloody civil war in the south-east of the country with the Kurds. A ceasefire is in operation, but the Turkish state refuses to allow Kurds to broadcast in their own language or to educate their children in Kurdish.

The Turkish culture ministry partly funded the film with a grant of £20,000, and Turkey had put it forward as its candidate for the best foreign film in the Academy awards - although it was not selected. The ministry said police had asked for the revocation of the film's licence because the film promoted a "chauvinistic" approach towards Kurdish identity and created the impression that police carried out extra-judicial killings.


8th March   Blame Free Media

A judge dismissed a lawsuit Monday that claimed several video game and movie makers shared blame for the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. The lawsuit was filed by the family of slain teacher Dave Sanders and on behalf of other Columbine victims. It alleged student gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had been influenced by violent video games and movies.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock granted motions to dismiss filed by Time Warner Inc. and Palm Pictures, as well as 11 video game makers, including Sony Computer Entertainment America, Activision and Id Software, the maker of "Doom." In his ruling, Babcock said there was no way the makers of violent games and movies could have reasonably foreseen that their products would cause the Columbine shooting or any other violent acts. Setting aside any personal distaste, as I must, it is manifest that there is social utility in expressive and imaginative forms of entertainment, even if they contain violence, Babcock wrote.

During the investigation into the April 20, 1999, shootings, police found a videotape that shows one of the killers with a sawed-off shotgun he called "Arlene" after a character in the video game "Doom." The plaintiffs also said Harris and Klebold had watched the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Basketball Diaries, in which a student kills his classmates.


2nd March   Hollywood Control Freaks

Every time big business have designed a download facility they have made it expensive with ludicrously temporary rights. It is about time that our Governments stepped in to side with the people not those on a high of money lust.

From Wired

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday that will discuss Sen. Ernest Hollings' proposal to mandate copyright controls be placed in most PCs, televisions, DVD players, MP3 players and other consumer electronics devices. Witnesses including Walt Disney Chairman Michael Eisner, News Corp. president Peter Chernin and Motion Picture Association of America President Jack Valenti, who support Hollings' proposal, will argue that such controls are necessary in order to protect their movies and other content from piracy, and will spur the rollout of broadband and digital television once in place.

Many technology firms oppose government intervention into the design of consumer electronics. We don't think government-mandated technology solutions are in the best interests of consumers or anyone else, Intel spokeswoman Sue Richard told Wired News. Intel executive vice president Leslie Vadasz will also testify at Thursday's hearing.


1st March   Cease and Desist Bullies

Sounds an excellent Melon Farming service

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties group, and a number of law school legal clinics have launched ChillingEffects , a site that aims to help recipients of "cease-and-desist" letters from corporations understand their rights andobligations.

Such letters are usually sent when a company believes someone is violating its trademarks or copyrights with something they have posted to a website or downloaded off of the Internet. People get these letters and wonder, 'Does this mean I have to take everything down and go home?' Wendy Seltzer, a fellow with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, told The New York Times. What we try to do with this site is to clarify what it is they have to worry about and what's more likely to just be someone blowing hot air.


27th February   Land of the Not So Free Voyeurs

Entertainment Network Inc. (ENI), a provider of Web hosting services and operator of adult websites including, announced on Monday that the Supreme Court has refused the City of Tampa's appeal to have shut down. The City of Tampa argued that the website -- which webcasts video 24 hours a day of college-aged women living in a Tampa house -- should be shut down because of city zoning violations, claiming the house where the women reside is an adult business in a residential area. A lower court ruling stated that the business operated essentially in "cyberspace," and the house itself did not meet Tampa's definition of an adult business. " his is a victory for anyone operating a legitimate Internet site, whether or not it has adult content, said ENI CEO David Marshlack. It is obvious that the Internet should not be regulated under zoning laws written long before the Web was even dreamed of.


26th February    Swapping Piracy for Exploitation

From The Guardian

Hollywood have enlisted the help of the FBI and the US secret service to bring in the heavy legal guns to sink what they see as a new form of piracy that they claim is changing the face of the movie industry.

The film and television business is gearing up for battle in the same way that the music industry closed ranks against Napster, the site which allowed users to swap music online and in doing so, according to the music business, affected the market so drastically that last year the sales of CDs dropped for the first time in a decade. Napster lost its court fight with the music establishment last year; now the industry is seeking to blow some other upstarts out of the water.

Around 11m Americans are now swapping television programmes and films online and are downloading an estimated 350,000 movies from the internet every day. In response to a potential loss of billions of dollars, the industry is seeking to use the law to close the programmes down.

On March 5, in Los Angeles federal district court, the Motion Picture Association of America, which represents all the main studios, launches the first in a series of actions. The MPAA suit launched against MusicCity and others for copyright infringement, describes the services offered as a "21st century piratical bazaar where the unlawful exchange of protected materials takes place across the vast expanses of the internet".

Those named in the action are, MusicCity Networks, which runs on the market-leading Morpheus file-sharing software, Grokster, LTD, and Consumer Empowerment BV, also known as FastTrack, which operates the KaZaA service. Yesterday a spokeswoman for the MPAA confirmed that all their legal actions were going ahead.

MusicCity is alleged to have operated a Napster-like service providing users with movies, television programmes and music, offering such recent films as Legally Blonde, Planet of the Apes and The Princess Diaries. The entire catalogue of hit TV shows such as Sex and the City and the Sopranos, which viewers would be able to see only after paying a monthly subscription to cable channel, HBO, are available online for free. Launched 10 months ago after the demise of Napster, MusicCity's Morpheus software has become the most popular download on the internet, averaging more than 1m new downloads a week.

The huge explosion in pirate download services is a major embarrassment to the entertainment industry, which has ploughed more than $4bn in a desperate attempt to outflank the pirates by building the infrastructure to offer consumers legitimate digital content online. But these efforts have proved expensive flops, failing to tempt consumers away from free pirate services.

An independent report for the industry this month revealed the extent to which pirated films are swirling about cyberspace. Over a five-day period on the KaZaA network, for example, researchers for OC&C Strategy Consultants found 7,500 copies of The Fast and the Furious, 3,600 copies of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and 3,100 copies of Fight Club all available for free download.

To add to the industry's woes, a controversial new device called ReplayTV 4000 allows users to record their favourite shows in digital format directly from their televisions. These files can then be sent over the net to other Replay owners, while some users transferred them onto their PCs and made them available through the pirate services. The makers of Replay are now in the MPAA's legal firing line.


26th February   Mass Sodomy

From the Boston Globe

In a ruling hailed as historic by gay rights advocates, the state's highest court yesterday gutted longstanding sodomy laws, ruling that people who engage in sodomy in semipublic places such as parking lots, wooded areas, and public beaches cannot be prosecuted as long as they make sure they cannot be seen by others.

The ruling was sought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in order to end what it considers discriminatory treatment by law enforcement toward gays and to extend the same rights of privacy and freedom enjoyed by heterosexuals to gay men and lesbians, said Jennifer L. Levi, the GLAD lawyer who argued the case before the Supreme Judicial Court.

For the first time, the court has said that neither of the state sodomy laws apply to private consensual conduct , Levi said. What this means is that antique laws cannot be used to intrude on people's right to engage in acts of intimacy when they are in private.

Levi said she expects the ruling to curtail, if not eliminate, law enforcement sweeps on so-called gay cruising areas such as highway rest stops. She said police have used the antisodomy laws to target gays for criminal prosecution while not applying the same standard to heterosexuals engaged in the same acts in lover's lanes. By limiting the scope of these laws, we take away some of the police's ability to target gay people in a discriminatory way , Levi said.

But CJ Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts said the ruling could lead to more sexual activity in public and deter some families from using public places. Doyle also said he wasn't surprised by the SJC decision. It doesn't contain a single justice who supports traditional morality.

Massachusetts has two antisodomy statutes, one prohibiting "the abominable and detestable crime against nature," which case law has defined as anal sex, and one prohibiting "unnatural acts," which various court rulings have applied to both oral and anal sex.


23rd February   Sanyo Offer Censorship Utility

Zoran Corporation of California, a developer of compression technology used in consumer electronics devices, said on Wednesday that it has partnered with Principal Solutions to make TV Guardian a feature on Sanyo's new line of DVD players. TV Guardian allows parents to select preprogrammed alternative language choices on DVDs to replace "adult language" with wording more appropriate for children. The technology monitors the closed-captioning on DVDs and mutes the audio when swear words appear, adding a different phrase that appears on-screen as a caption.


18th February   MP3 Censorship, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal that distributes music on the Internet, is taking steps to separate sexually graphic and pornographic audio recordings available on its site from its normal music fare, according to an email sent to station operators last week. As of Feb. 22, stations in the "sexuality warning" genre will be removed from all station charts, artist page links and will no longer come up on the site's search engine. Effectively, stations that feature sexually explicit content will only be available if a user types that station's URL directly into their browser's address bar. San Diego-based did not provide reasoning for the change, but advised its members with stations featuring both sexually explicit and non-sexually explicit content to create a new station for the sexually explicit content to avoid the new

18th February   Government Supporting the Consumer

An agency of the Australian government has opposed Sony Australia in a court case that could have ramifications on DVD and video game regional coding implemented by those industries, Newsbytes reported. Regional coding is generally used so that studios and developers can release their DVDs and video games to different areas of the world at staggered intervals and for different prices -- to increase profits. The chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), a government agency representing the interests of Australian consumers, has filed a "friend of the court" brief supporting a company that makes chips which modify Sony's PlayStation 2 video game console so that regional codes embedded on games are ignored. The ACCC believes that regional coding is unfair to Australian consumers, who often pay higher prices for games and movies and have access to a smaller library of titles than is available in the U.S.


23rd January   Dongled TV

TV networks, film studios and consumer electronics companies are researching a technology they hope will keep consumers from swapping digital TV shows and movies  in Napster-like fashion online.

The new drive, under the auspices of the longstanding cross-industry Copy Protection Working Group, is just one part of a an effort to limit digital piracy wars. As US broadcast TV turns digital this year, studios are looking for ways to control  how shows are recorded and traded, and they are proposing technologies that  could ultimately bar consumers from freely recording TV programs from the airwaves.

The latest effort, a plan to insert digital tags into broadcast TV shows that would prevent them from being put online, is just part of that broader aim. But as more TV content shows up at digital swap meets, copyright owners see  it as an increasingly urgent issue. They say they'll have a standard ready by the end of the first quarter of the year.

That's a tight timetable for an issue that has caused considerable tension between Hollywood and electronics companies--and even between studios  themselves--over the last year. But with a federal deadline bearing down in early May that could require most stations to begin broadcasting digital signals, the anti-piracy group has little time to settle technology disputes.
Scott Dinsdale, the MPAAs executive vice president for digital strategy said
There needs to be a standard way of doing

Copyright owners say they are loath to release their best movies or TV shows into the digital TV world, knowing they can be almost instantly copied and traded online. Consumer groups and consumer electronics makers have fought to defend rights to record shows for personal use. Already video files are becoming common inside post-Napster networks such as Morpheus, Kazaa and Gnutella, as growing numbers of broadband connections and improving video compression files make it feasible for people to swap movies, music videos or TV shows in much the same way they trade MP3 songs.

Studios have been debating the level of protection needed, and consumer electronics companies have balked at adding  expensive new technologies into their devices. The newest plan, which has not been streamlined into actual selection of  technology, revolves around inserting an invisible, inaudible "flag" into a digital broadcast. Information contained inside this marker would indicate whether the broadcast could be copied, stored or shared. For this to work, the watermark would have to be read by devices receiving a TV signal, which could range from TV sets to DVD players, TiVo-style digital video recorders, or even PC cards that let shows be recorded onto a hard  drive.

While the current proposal is limited, watermarking technology ultimately could wind up barring consumers from copying their favorite shows or movies off the air. Proponents of the plan note that the technology wouldn't necessarily bar copying but would allow content owners such as studios to create new business models such as charging for the right to copy or share with friends. This could be controversial, and some consumer groups have objected, pointing to the 1980s Supreme Court decision that originally gave the green light to VCRs, saying that people could legally tape TV shows.

Analysts say consumers are likely to accept the new copy restrictions as just one more   element of a new generation of technology that provides features well beyond what they've been used to with analogue TV. But a standard that comes together so quickly is unlikely to be a final product, they add. This will be cracked, and it will be modified, and it will be cracked again, said P.J. McNealy, research director with GartnerG2, a division of the Gartner research firm. That's the reality of this business.

17th January   Nutters on Thin Ice

From The Sun

Olympics ban skate 'porn'

Ice skaters have been told to clean up their acts after complaints that the sport is becoming obscene. Revealing routines, such as women being held upside down with their legs  akimbo, have been banned ahead of next month's Winter Olympics.

Judges will now deduct points for dirty dancing as bosses fear the family-friendly sport is in danger of attracting the wrong kind of spectator. Nick Russell, director of the National Ice Skating Association, said: As couples try to be more entertaining, they produce moves that are gynaecological, which is about as politely as it can be put.

Nancy Meiss, a US judge, said: If I want a young man waving his partner's assets in my face, I can rent a porn movie.
(I bet you can't in Salt Lake City!)

16th January   2600 Reasons to publish DeCSS Code

2600 Magazine, a publication that covers the international hacker community, has asked the full 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to reverse its ruling that said the magazine could not post the source code or provide links to download DeCSS, a software code that can crack the security on DVD discs. By permitting publication of code in an online magazine, the Second Circuit would recognize that Internet speech is fully protected by the First Amendment as established by the U.S. Supreme Court in ACLU v. Reno, said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is handling 2600's defense. "The most egregious part of the previous decision prevented even linking, the lifeblood of the Internet." A three-judge panel from the 2nd Circuit Court previously ruled against 2600; the appeal is for an "en banc" hearing featuring all of the judges from the 2nd Circuit. A decision on whether or not an en banc hearing will be held is not expected until the spring.

15th January   Cyprus Censors

Tighter control on who sees what in the island's cinemas was discussed when the House Interior committee met yesterday to discuss amendments to the cinema film classification law and ways of implementing them.

Representatives from the Attorney General's office, the Film Classification Board, the police, parents associations, the Cinema Owners Association and the Acropole Cinema club attended the meeting.

As the law stands, all films are classified under three categories; universal, children accompanied by an adult, and people over 18. Under new legislation proposed, there will be five categories; universal, 12,15, 18 and MK. The latter may include scenes containing sex or violence.

MP's were told that the main problem was forcing cinema owners to bar under age people from viewing unsuitable films. Deputy Attorney General Petros Clerides said that police were not able to control who was allowed to enter a cinema to see a particular film and who was not, while Olga Demetriades of the Classification Board said she remembered a time when police waited outside cinemas and checked the ages of children going in.

Demetriades stressed that film classification had to take account of what she called the social evils of today, drugs and sexual violence, things which did not exist in the cinema 20 year ago when the present law was enacted . She praised the Cyprus Mail newspaper for listing the classification beside film titles and suggested that other newspapers and poster adverts do the same.

Representatives from the police said some cinema owners took advantage of 'cine club' status to show films banned by the Board, citing the films Crash, shown four years ago and Romance last year.

14th January   Consumer's Copy Right

The Consumer Electronics Association, an American  trade group of electronics manufacturers, has issued a statement endorsing a letter sent by Republican Rick Boucher (D-Va.) to the recording industry, informing them that the copy-protected CDs they are beginning to release into the market may be illegally taking away consumer rights to make copies of CDs.

Our industry applauds Congressman Boucher for drawing attention to this important issue, said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro. We have long been concerned that some in the recording industry may be using legitimate concerns about piracy as a Trojan horse to undermine consumers' established fair use and home recording rights. Introducing CDs into the marketplace that prevent consumers from pursuing traditional fair use purposes such as space shifting and first generation digital-to-digital copying would be paramount to an attack on the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992, of which the RIAA and CEA were prime advocates, and on consumer rights.

5th January   Harder Hardcore

A prediction by porn director Henri Pachard found on AVN

This has been quite a year for porn. Markets have changed dramatically as viewers are "coming out of the closet" demanding more and more stuff that even today is considered perverse. There's been an increase in sexual violence, albeit among consenting adults, with slapping, punching, spitting and fisting - all without gender limits. Men are getting abused and fucked up the ass in all kinds of "specialty" tapes, along with verbal abuse, foot worship, smothering and trampling. Women  continue to be spanked until bloody and bruised, twisted and tied, stretched and strung out.

There have been some legal crackdowns over some of the product. Seymour Butts is up to his ass in problems with some fisting stuff he's produced.  Ironically, it's a scene where one of the women involved probably more than consented; she most likely demanded that she be fisted.
In fact, that's got to be some kind of silly ruling on the matter of fisting a woman. To begin with, unless she's really into it, it's just not going to happen. I don't think fisting is really planned and scheduled. I think most fisting scenes just happen because the scene just heats up to that level. So essentially, the moviemaker risks legal punishment and huge legal fees because he was willing to shoot the truth. I can recall many times, when I was not willing to take risks for either myself or my client, when I had to caution my performers while more than four fingers were working their way further into a woman's orifice- even with her own hand down there encouraging the guy to go deeper into her. It's a bummer, man.

Attorney General Ashcroft has appointed somebody to head up and investigate child porn on the Internet, and somehow this has sent a signal to some circles in the legal porn business that their own operations are in danger. And so the beat goes on.

I think there's another signal in the business that we're sensing, but don't know or want to understand it. I think the viewing public is looking for kinkier stuff that they might personally wonder about but don't personally pursue sexually. It's not about underage sex, either. I think it's more about bisexuality among males.

Most of the leaders in our industry have been around since the seventies, when porno began to erupt everywhere. What us seniors are not willing to accept is that the viewing public is entering its third generation. What's inconceivable to us is becoming very curious to many new viewers who are now in their late teens and early twenties.

For over thirty years, this industry - as we know it - has kept its product identified by measures that are tolerated by businessmen who struggle to categorize their inventories, much less understand it. I just don't think that it's likely this industry is really keeping up with the new sexual attitudes among many younger viewers.  The labels "fetish" and "specialty" have been established for those in our business who do not practice, tolerate or even understand these acts. These labels are used for selling and ordering, and not for the intended user who most likely wants to masturbate while using some of these categories.  Nevertheless, I predict that this year, we're going to see some very controversial changes among the sex video industry. We're going to hear about and see sex scenes beyond most of our marketing imaginations, and we're not going to be comfortable with it in its beginnings. We're going to be amazed at what will sell this year, and we probably won't know how to exploit or even produce it.

One thing's for sure. We won't be bored.

Happy New Year.

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