|21st December |
Greek court dismisses obscenity charges over arty masturbation
From Google News see full article
A Greek court acquitted the director of an art show on charges of obscenity and an attack on national symbols, citing freedom of expression.
A video showing a woman masturbating to the Greek national anthem by Greek-American Eva Stefani was
displayed at the Art Athina contemporary art show in Athens last June.
After a visitor reported the video to police, Art Athina director Michalis Argyros was arrested and charged.
He spent the night behind bars, provoking outcry from
local artists, who mobilised to defend him.
At the trial, the court ruled against the prosecutor, who had argued the video made no sense and that Nudity is a work of art only in Renaissance paintings.
|17th December |
Worrying consequences of German teen protection laws
From the Times see full article
Youthful romance may never be the same again. German teenagers caught petting in cinemas or posting suggestive pictures of themselves on the internet could be prosecuted under strict new laws to be passed in the Bundestag.
teenage girls, such as the widely read Bravo, will have to think again before publishing photo-stories of scantily clad young couples in passionate embrace, or risk landing their editors in jail for ten years. Even writers and painters will have to be
careful when depicting under-age subjects in sexual situations. They too could be sent to prison.
The legislation, which is aimed at stamping out child prostitution, has drawn a storm of protest from legal experts, liberal politicians and even
sex therapists. The law was due to be introduced last week but the Government withdrew it at the last minute because of the scale of the opposition.
It represents a moral rollback to the puritanism and prudishness of the 1950s, said Jerzy
Montag, a Green Party MP who is trying to rally opposition in parliament. The State is attempting to interfere in the most intimate sphere.
The new law reduces the minimum age at which sexual offenders can be prosecuted from 18 to 14, and
raises the maximum age at which a victim is entitled to legal protection from 16 to 18. The idea is to stop the recruitment of minors as prostitutes by other minors — pimps in big cities are often 17 or younger — but the initiative is a legal minefield.
If a 15-year-old says to a 17-year-old, ‘I'll invite you to the cinema providing we have a bit of heavy petting afterwards', then that will now be a criminal offence, said Montag. Even if the 17-year-old says no, it will still be
illegal. The mere attempt to secure sexual favours in return for payment in kind is against the new law.
The law will put parents and other adults — such as cinema managers and teachers — in a difficult position. If they overhear a comment
that suggests that a teenager is putting pressure on another teenager, or offering a reward, for sex then they have an obligation to call the police. But the crucial evidence may hinge on the slightest of nuances. If a youth says, ‘I'll pay for the
cinema and then we'll snog', that's still OK, Montag said. But if he says, ‘I'll pay for the film and I want to snog in return', then he has broken this law.
Christine Lambrecht, a Social Democrat MP who helped to draw up the changes,
said that the real target was not fumbling teenagers on the back seat of a cinema but people trying to recruit child prostitutes: We're talking about a 15-year-old who says to a !7-year-old, ‘I'll buy you a designer jacket if you sleep with me'. All
too often that kind of approach is the start of a recruitment process.
Two laws are involved. The first is Article 182 of the Criminal Code, which is concerned with sexual abuse of minors and which can lead to hefty fines or up to five years
in jail. The second is Article 184b, which covers the possession and distribution of child pornography. The amendments to both laws significantly broaden the age range for minors as victims and offenders. Possession of child pornography can lead to a
jail sentence of between three months and ten years.
Now a teenager who photographs a teenage couple embracing in a park will be liable for prosecution if he or she distributes the pictures broadly on the net. A teenage girl who photographs her
classmate in a revealing swimsuit and then sends it to her is still just within the law, providing that both girls consent and the picture is only for personal use. As soon as the picture is sent to another friend, the law has been broken. Even the act
of downloading the picture is illegal.
|14th December |
No More Heroes not toned down, just not the strong US version
From GamesIndustry.biz see
The MD of Rising Star Games, Martin Defries, has responded to criticism levelled at the company following the announcement that forthcoming title No More Heroes would be toned down from the US edition.
Defries has told
GamesIndustry.biz that those claims are wide of the mark, because the European edition will be identical to the one just released in Japan, localisation notwithstanding.
There are two versions of No More Heroes that are going to be
published in the West, he said.
Ours [Europe], which will be drawn down from our parent company, Marvelous Interactive, which is directly from the Japanese iteration of the game, and there will be a version in the US that is a full-on
gore, beheadings, dismemberment…and it seems some confusion has come to the fore in the past few days as to which version Rising Star Games will publish.
Why the decision [to add in additional gory detail to the US release] has been made
is a difficult one for me to comment on - that's a Ubisoft decision for the North American market.
|13th December |
PEGI games ratings issues annual report
From GamesIndustry.biz see
See also PEGI Annual Report [pdf]
The Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) age rating system has published its latest annual report.
The chief purpose of the report is to show the PEGI system to be as transparent as possible so as to have this self-regulation fully appreciated
by European policy makers and put to the best use by the general public, whether this should be parents, teachers, academics, or any other interested party, said Patrice Chazerand, secretary general of ISFE.
A Nielsen survey showed that the
number of consumers relying upon PEGI icons across ten countries to identify appropriate products increased from 72% in 2004 to 94% in 2007
At a recent meeting of the Viennese provincial government, the Viennese Youth Protection Act was amended
to make the PEGI age rating system mandatory for videogames sold in that city in what is hoped to be a first step towards a pan-Austrian agreement.
|11th December |
Age verification law requires mass block on foreign sites
From X Biz see
A German adult website operator has filed in the district court in Frankfurt to force the German ISP Arcor to block Google.de and Google.com in order to prevent the display of adult images without age verification, which is prohibited under German law.
The request was filed by Huch Medien GmbH, the company that owns and operates AmateurStar.de.
In its filing, Huch Medien reportedly said it would not simply sit back and watch as Google's image search displayed pornographic images to
users of all ages, including “clearly prohibited animal pornography.”
Huch Medien Executive Director Tobias Huch said that he's merely trying to get the German legal system to clarify the scope of the liability exemptions offered to ISPs under
the German Telemedia Act.
Huch asserted that since Germany blocks sites like YouPorn.com — as the court ordered Arcor to do in October — then the country theoretically should block all websites that violate relevant German and/or European Union
If Germany is going to maintain such a legal posture and engage in blocking sites in widespread fashion, then we should not complain when China blocks a large number of websites, Huch said.
According to German attorney Daniel
Koetz the German law requiring age verification applies to all websites that can be accessed from Germany.
Koetz told XBIZ that the Telemedia Act requires all sites bearing content presumably harmful to minors such as pornography to have an
age-verification system. Such an age-verification system has to ‘secure that minors cannot access the site. Koetz said that under the law, German authorities and courts only deem an age-verification system to be secure if the system forces end users
to have personal contact with a third party who verifies their age.
One of the problems with that system, Koetz said, is who wants to go through all that hassle to enter a porn site, and who wants postal clerks to know you're a pervert
watching porn? Koetz said that as a result of the law, traffic to German porn sites is low because everybody goes to other countries' sites.
Those foreign sites, however, are subject to being blocked by German ISPs by order of the
courts, Koetz said — as Huch has requested that the Frankfurt court to Arcor to do with Google.
Koetz said that Huch's request was filed in order to demonstrate the perversion of all this.
|10th December |
Spanish state television to drop bull fighting
From the Independent see
Bullfighting in Spain has taken another step towards its demise after the state broadcaster cut it from its advanced schedules.
RTVE, the state radio and television network, failed for the first time yesterday to include la corrida in
its budget for "obligatory programming".
The schedule, which dictates what type of programmes RTVE must spend its money on over the next nine years, will be debated in the Spanish parliament next week.
There was conspicuously no
mention of bullfighting – the first programme that RTVE showed when it started in 1948.
Regional state broadcasters can show bullfighting and transmit programmes from other channels – and private channels are still free to show la corrida – but
animal rights campaigners hailed the development as the beginning of the end for this controversial national pastime. It could see the steady demise of what has been a traditional sight in Spain, as the family gathered around the television at 5pm on a
Sunday to thrill to the sight of a man in a gold-sequined suit dispatching a blood-soaked 400kg bull.
Theo Oberhuber, a co-ordinator of Ecologists in Action, which has been campaigning for a total ban, said: This is not a total victory but it
opens the door to the beginning of the end. We are very pleased.
In August, RTVE dropped afternoon broadcasts of los toros after it was judged too violent for an audience of children.
The popularity of bullfighting peaked in the
early-1970s as prosperity grew and attending los toros was seen as a sign of wealth after years of hardship. Today some bullfighting promoters say only tourists attend las corridas and in some parts of the Spain they are facing financial ruin.
|10th December |
Porn, seizures and flea markets in Finland
From YLE News see
Finnish authorities have seized record amounts of illegal pornography this year.
Pornography that depicts real violence, paedophilia, or bestiality is illegal in Finland.
The Finnish Board of Film Classification and police teamed up to
conduct raids on sites suspected of selling illegal pornography. Around 800 illegal movies were seized. In at least one case, a Finnish pornography producer and distributor will be taken to court for the aggravated assault allegedly portrayed in the
Leena Karjalainen, an inspector with the Board of Film Classification, is worried not only of the increasing brutality of pornography, but that it is becoming more commonplace in flea markets, for example, where children might be exposed
At the beginning of next year we intend to hand out guidelines for flea markets explaining what is legal, what isn't, and what vendors should do. I am going to recommend that flea markets do not sell pornography at all, says
The Board will also start conducting spot tests this Christmas season on shops that sell video games with a minimum age limit of 18. Young buyers will attempt to buy the games at various shops in order to reveal vendors with lax
|8th December |
BBFC win next censorship round in bloodless coup
From the GayGamer.net see
Available in US for release on 4th Feb 2008
I t has been confirmed that the latest and greatest Wii game from Suda 51, No More Heroes , will not have blood in it in the European version.
Rising Star Games, the
European publisher of the title, was asked if this was due to the response of the BBFC to Manhunt 2 , the company gave only this one word response, "Maybe."
|8th December |
Parental concerns about computer games
Seems to be one of those nonsense surveys that have no clear purpose and vague questions designed purely for release to the press.
BBC see full article
More than 75% of parents are concerned about the content of video games played by their children, a survey found. [surely it is good to be concerned! Doesn't necessarily imply everything is out of hand]
of the 4,000 parents surveyed across the UK, France, Italy and Germany said that one hour of gaming each day should be the limit.
Some 43% of the surveyed parents said they were not aware of ratings systems for games to determine suitability.
The survey was carried on behalf of Microsoft.
The survey found that more than half of children played games on consoles, 32% on PCs, 9% played games online and 4% played on a mobile phone.
It also revealed that for the majority of
children, playing games was a solitary activity.
64% of children played games alone, less than 1 in 10 children play video games with family members and 12% played with friends, the survey found.
The online space is a growing sector of
the games industry but the survey found only 5% played mainly online.
Parents saw themselves as the key decision makers for which games should be played by their children, rather than regulators or the video games industry, according to the
|6th December |
Film advert banned over bin Laden joke
From Contact Music
Provocative radio ads for Uwe Boll's new horror film Postal have been banned by stations in his native Germany - because he jokes profits from the movie will help to fund Osama Bin Laden's terrorism plans.
Radio bosses are afraid that
listeners will take the satirical promotions in a literal context. In one commercial an actor parodies Bin Laden and informs the audience that 5% of the box-office receipts will be used to support Al-Qaeda.
But angry Boll has lashed out at the
radio executives, alleging they think listeners are dumb. He rages, No German would be so naive and stupid as to believe that Bin Laden is talking in German via a German radio station. "This is a huge scandal and definitely the wrong signal as
this self-censorship only helps these religious fanatics gain control. Tolerance as well as art, freedom of speech and freedom of expression has always been one of the strong pillars of strong democracies.