With the passage of last year's Copyright Directive, the EU demanded that member states pass laws that reduce copyright infringement by internet users while also requiring that they safeguard the fundamental rights of users (such as the right to free
expression) and also the limitations to copyright . These safeguards must include protections for the new EU-wide exemption for commentary and criticism. Meanwhile states are also required to uphold the GDPR, which safeguards users against mass,
indiscriminate surveillance, while somehow monitoring everything every user posts to decide whether it infringes copyright .
Serving these goals means that when EU member states turn the Directive into their national laws (the
"transposition" process), their governments will have to decide to give more weight to some parts of the Directive, and that courts would have to figure out whether the resulting laws passed constitutional muster while satisfying the
requirement of EU members to follow its rules.
The initial forays into transposition were catastrophic. First came France's disastrous proposal , which "balanced" copyright enforcement with Europeans' fundamental rights
to fairness, free expression, and privacy by simply ignoring those public rights.
Now, the Dutch Parliament has landed in the same untenable legislative cul-de-sac as their French counterparts, proposing a Made-in-Holland version
of the Copyright Directive that omits:
Legally sufficient protections for users unjustly censored due to false accusations of copyright infringement;
Legally sufficient protection for users whose work makes use of the mandatory, statutory
exemptions for parody and criticism;
A ban on "general monitoring"-- that is, continuous, mass surveillance;
Legally sufficient protection for "legitimate uses" of copyright
These are not optional elements of the Copyright Directive. These protections were enshrined in the Directive as part of the bargain meant to balance the fundamental rights of Europeans against the commercial interests of
entertainment corporations. The Dutch Parliament's willingness to pay mere lip-service to these human rights-preserving measures as legislative inconveniences is a grim harbinger of other EU nations' pending lawmaking, and an indictment of the Dutch
Parliament's commitment to human rights.
EFF was pleased to lead a coalition of libraries, human rights NGOs, and users' rights organizations in an open letter to the EU Commission asking them to monitor national implementations
that respect human rights.
In April, we followed this letter with a note to the EC's Copyright Stakeholder Dialogue Team , setting out the impossibility of squaring the Copyright Directive with the GDPR's rules protecting
Europeans from "general monitoring," and calling on them to direct member-states to create test suites that can evaluate whether companies' responses to their laws live up to their human rights obligations.
renew these and other demands, and we ask that Dutch Parliamentarians do their job in transposing the Copyright Directive , with the understanding that the provisions that protect Europeans' rights are not mere ornaments, and any law that fails to uphold
those provisions is on a collision course with years of painful, costly litigation.
The Government of India on Monday banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok and UC Browser which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order, news agency ANI reported. Majority of these
apps were recently red-flagged by intelligence agencies over concerns that they were collecting user data and possibly also sending them outside of the country's borders.
Among the apps that have been banned are Tik Tok, Sharit, Kwai, UC Browser,
Baidu map, Shein, clash of Kings, DU battery saver, Helo, Likee, YouCam makeup, Mi Community, CM Browsers, Virus Cleaner, Apus Browser, among others.
Facebook has said it will start to label potentially harmful posts that it leaves up because of their news value. The move comes as the firm faces growing pressure to censor the content on its platform.
More than 90 advertisers have joined a boycott
of the site, including consumer goods giant Unilever on Friday. The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was started by US civil rights groups after the death of George Floyd in May while in police custody. It has focused on Facebook, which also owns Instagram;
and WhatsApp. The organisers, which include Color of Change and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, have said Facebook allows racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform.
Unilver said it
would halt Twitter, Facebook and Instagram advertising in the US at least through 2020.
In a speech on Friday, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg defended the firm's record of taking down hate speech. But he said the firm was tightening its policies to
address the reality of the challenges our country is facing and how they're showing up across our community. In addition to introducing labels, Facebook will ban ads that describe people from different groups, based on factors such as race or immigration
status, as a threat. He said:
A handful of times a year, we leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm. Often, seeing speech from politicians is
in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms.
We will soon start labelling some of the content
we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case.
He added that Facebook would remove content - even from politicians - if it determines that it incites violence or suppresses voting.
All 23 seasons of the Comedy Central cartoon South Park are available on HBO Max -- except for five episodes that depict the religious character Muhammad.
The missing episodes were not part of the 23-season package provided by Viacom to
streamers last year, and Viacom had made the decision to exclude them in agreement with series producer South Park Studios before the show was licensed to HBO Max.
The episodes not available on HBO Max include:
season 5: Super Best Friends
season 10 Cartoon Wars Part I and Cartoon Wars Part 2, although those episodes can still be streamed on the South Park website.
season 14: 200 and 201 . Those shows had previously been removed from a
streaming deal with Hulu and also were axed on the official South Park website.
The Italian Senate is set to take up new legislation to block all online porn sites in the country, requiring internet users to specifically request that the porn blocks be removed The proposed new censorship law was introduced by Senator Simone Pillon,
a member of Italy's nationalist Northern League party, led by former Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.
The law would require all makers of internet-connected devices, including computers, cell phones, and smart TVs, to install software that would
automatically block all porn sites. Users would have to file a specific request to remove the software in order to view porn online, under the proposed law.
It is not yet clear whether this internet censorship measure has a realistic chance of
The lower house of the Italian parliament has approved an agenda item by the ruling PD's Enza Bruno Bossio to prevent the passage of a controversial amendment that would have required all adult sites to be automatically blocked by
device manufacturers, and at the ISP level, with the proposal that subscribers would be required to individually request the block to be lifted.
The amendment had been inserted, as XBIZ reported earlier this week, at the legislative committee stage by
Simone Pillon, a representative from the Lega party, and it was due to come to a vote by Monday.
La Repubblica opined that the matter is not yet settled, though Bossio's agenda item is an important roadblock to the Lega's attempt to censor all adult
content on the Italian internet.
When you click on the film Love on Netflix, where it has spent the last week in the Top 10 of the service's most-watched movies and shows, the very first thing you see is a woman dragging her nipple up and down a man's erect penis as she
masturbates him and he fingers her clitoris, which is pointed directly at the camera. This isn't implied, or done with prosthetics of any kind. The scene continues in a single take for nearly three full minutes, climaxing--heh--when he ejaculates. To
clarify one more time, it is not some sort of gluey substance used to cinematically replicate the bodily function that you see. The dude cums.
The film, from shock-art director Gaspar Noe , was actually released in 2015 , when it
made headlines for its screenings in 3D cinemas, where you could see the jizz come flying at your face. While, for obvious reasons, the ACTUAL SEX of it all dominated most discussion of Love , it was in the service of a fascinating erotic drama about
relationships. Netflix tags it as both steamy and cerebral, which... solid LOL there.
In 2015, a a human rights organization that monitors web-censorship and pirate site blockades in Russia was itself ordered to be blocked by a local court for offering advice on how to use tools including Tor and VPNs.
Court of Human Rights has now ruled that the order to disable access to that advice was illegal and a violation of the freedom to receive and impart information.
ECHR Russsia-based project RosComSvoboda advocates human rights and
freedoms on the Internet. Part of that work involves monitoring and publishing data on website blockades and providing assistance to Internet users and site operators who are wrongfully subjected to restrictions.
In 2015, it found
itself in a battle of its own when a local court ordered its advice portal to be blocked by local ISPs. RosComSvoboda's crime was to provide information on tools that can circumvent censorship. While it didn't offer any for direct download, the resource
offered advice on VPNs , proxies, TOR, The Pirate Bay's Pirate Browser, I2P and Opera's turbo mode.
According to the ruling by the Anapa Town Court, the resource allowed people to access content banned in Russia so it too became
prohibited content. Subsequently, telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor contacted RosComSvoboda with an order to remove its anti-censorship tools information page or face being completely blocked.
The site's operator complied and filed
an appeal against the decision, arguing that providing information about such tools isn't illegal under Russian law. The Krasnodar Regional Court rejected the appeal without addressing this defense so in 2016, RosComSvoboda's operator, German national
Gregory Engels, took his case to the European Court of Human Rights.
This week the ECHR handed down its decision, siding with Engels' assertion that the order for him to remove the content from his site was in breach of Article 10
of the European Convention on Human Rights. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers, the Article reads.
The ECHR found that the action against Engels breached Article 10. It also declared a breach of Article 13 due to a failure by the Russian court to involve him in the blocking action or consider the merits of his arguments on appeal. The Russian state
was ordered to pay 10,000 euros in damages to Engels plus interest.
Momentum had been building in New Zealand over recent months for a nationwide law blocking internet porn, but the effort spearheaded by Interior Affairs Minister Tracey Martin appears to have hit a roadblock. Martin said late last year that she planned
to bring her porn ban bill before New Zealand's parliament prior to the 2020 elections, which are scheduled for September.
Martin created a draft proposal to require blocking of porn sites by internet service providers for anyone under 18 years of
age. But when she circulated the paper among members of the governing coalition including her own centrist New Zealand First Party, as well as the liberal-progressive Labor and Green Parties, she found a lack of interest. She now says she will not
attempt to push the porn-blocking plan any further.
Despite her inability to win support for her porn-blocking proposal, Martin still says that she favors an age-verification system for online porn, according to the Herald report.
Wilhan Martono, the man who owned the adult classified ads website CityXGuide, has been arrested by federal authorities in the most high-profile multi-state legal action since the shuttering of Backpage.com in 2018.
Martono's arrest and the seizure of
CityXGuide by authorities is the first such raid since President Donald Trump signed the FOSTA/SESTA internet censorship package into law in April 2018.
The arrest follows aTexas indictment against Martono filed June 2 and includes 28 federal
charges, among them conspiracy, money laundering and promotion and facilitation of prostitution. The indictment links Martono to a network of adult-oriented websites like CityXGuide, BodyRubShop and variations on the name of the shuttered Backpage.com.
Prosecutors also claim that in January 2019 Martono sent an email expressing a desire to take over from where Backpage left off.
This appears to be the first use of the criminal prohibitions on promotion and facilitation of prostitution created by
FOSTA, said adult industry attorney Lawrence Walters.
The Justice Department unveiled proposals late Wednesday to limit big tech platforms' legal protections from being sued for moderating content - a move which follows Donald Trump's accusations of conservatives being censored by web giants.
proposals from Attorney General Bill Barr's department would dilute the ability of internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter to declare content objectionable and remove or downplay it at will.
The Democratic-controlled House is
unlikely to take up a Republican proposal and in the Senate it would need either to be tabled by Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader or forced on to the agenda with 60 votes, neither of which seem likely in an election year.
Update: William Barr Says Social Media 'Starting to Censor' Views Is Problematic
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said social media giants are
starting to censor views and antitrust law can be used to address their dominance, doubling down on Justice Department proposals to limit legal protections for online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Barr said on Fox News:
Internet platforms are taking down views based on whether they agree with the viewpoint or not, which makes them a publisher rather than a neutral platform, voiding the liability protection they enjoy under the law
French internet censorship law suuposedly targeted at hate speech on online platforms has been widely deemed as unconstitutional by France's Constitutional Council, the top authority in charge of ruling whether a new law complies with the constitution.
It won't come into effect as expected in the coming weeks.
The original law said that online platforms should remove within 24 hours illicit content that has been flagged. Otherwise, companies will have to pay hefty fines every time they infringe the
law. For social media companies, it could have potentially cost them many millions of dollars per year.
And of course illicit content means anything that would be considered threating or insulting, such as death threats, discrimination, Holocaust
But the Constitutional Council says that such a technical list makes it difficult to rule what is illicit content and what is not. Due to the short window of time, online platforms can't check with a court whether a tweet, a post, a
photo or a blog post is deemed as illicit or not. When you combine that with potential fines, the Constitutional Council fears that online platforms will censor content a bit too quickly.
The government said it would respond to the criticisism and
change the law accordingly.
Netflix has removed an episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia over jokes featuring blackface. The ninth episode of the sixth season, titled Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth, is no longer available on the streaming service.
The episode, which sees characters Mac and Dee both wear blackface, was taken down on June 11.
Google is threatening to censor the right leaning website, The Federalist from its ad platform for publishing user comments about the ongoing protests related to Black Lives Matter.
As NBC News reports, Google claimed that both The Federalist and
right-wing website ZeroHedge violated its policy against monetizing content that promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race. A Google spokesperson said:
When a page or site violates
our policies, we take action. In this case, we've removed both sites' ability to monetize with Google.
Later Google ammended the statement saying:
To be clear, The Federalist is not currently
demonetized. We do have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on, which includes comments on the site. This is a longstanding policy.
Google also said that the issues with both sites arose from content in their
comments sections violating its policies against dangerous and derogatory content.
It sounds like The Federalist was issued a warning that it will face demonetization if it doesn't remove the content while ZeroHedge was warned previously, did not
fix the policy violations and was demonetized.
A feminist extremist has had a go at Amazon Prime for its catalogue of British sex comedy films, whingeing that they trivialise sexual harassment by presenting it as a hilarious joke.
The online platform features a number of 1970s softcore porn
slapstick flicks, complete with suitably saucy descriptions, available to buy or rent.
Kate Smurthwaite spouted to FEMAIL:
I'm not offended by nudity or sexual scenes or references ...[BUT]... The
issue is that these films routinely present sexual harassment as a "hilarious" joke. The same is true of some modern shows such as Keith Lemon's output. Recommending them on mainstream platforms reinforces the message that this behaviour is
normal and even funny. For many women the experience of being harassed and then told to "take it as a joke" is all too familiar. Media streaming services should take the time to think about what they are putting on their platforms and
recommending to their customers.
According to the Amazon description, the Confessions... series follows the 'saucy antics of the hapless Timothy Lea.
The Daily Mail then kindly details many of the most well known of the sex
comedies and reminds us of how many well known mainstream stars featured in the films.
Offsite Comment: The Manufactured Outrage Over Seventies Sex Comedies on Amazon
An episode of sitcom Fawlty Towers has been taken off UKTV's streaming service because it contains racial jokes. The BBC-owned platform said it had made The Germans unavailable while it carries out a review.
In the 1975 episode,
Basil Fawlty declares don't mention the war around German guests, while the Major uses the dated term 'wogs' about the West Indies cricket team.
Actor and creator John Cleese attacked the 'cowardly' BBC describing the move as stupid. Speaking to
The Age newspaper, he said the episode was clearly a critique of racist attitudes:
One of the things I've learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour. Some of them understand that
if you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of, you're not broadcasting their views, you're making fun of them.
A UKTV spokesman said:
UKTV has temporarily removed an
episode of Fawlty Towers The Germans from Gold's Box Set. The episode contains racial slurs so we are taking the episode down while we review it. We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the
impact of outdated language. Some shows carry warnings and others are edited. We want to take time to consider our options for this episode.
The Germans is still available to view on Britbox, which is part-owned by the BBC, with a
message saying it contains some offensive racial language of the time and upsetting scenes. It is also on Netflix, carrying a warning about language, [and] discrimination.
Else where there have been a few similar complaints about jokes on ITV's Ant
& Dec's Saturday Takeaway and the BBC's Gavin and Stacey.
Update: Reinstated. Maybe it was the BBC censorship that caused the most offence.
A classic episode
of the comedy Fawlty Towers will be reinstated to streaming service UKTV but with a warning about offensive content and language. A UKTV statement said:
We already offer guidance to viewers across some of our classic
comedy titles, but we recognise that more contextual information can be required on our archive comedy, so we will be adding extra guidance and warnings to the front of programmes to highlight potentially offensive content and language.
We will reinstate Fawlty Towers once that extra guidance has been added, which we expect will be in the coming days.
We will continue to look at what content is on offer as we always have done.
Offsite Comment: Now even Fawlty Towers is being erased
Video communications platform Zoom has said it is working on technology that will allow the Chinese government to shut out individual users from meetings if they are talking about something that the Communist party does not like.
The news comes after
the US firm was criticised for shutting down a number of meetings organised by dissidents last week to commemorate the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Zoom said in a statement that its mistake was shutting down the meetings entirely, rather
than being able to identify which users in attendance were based in mainland China.
It added that it is developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography -- meaning
Zoom will soon be able to remove users at the request of local authorities. The Zoom statement said:
We were notified by the Chinese government about four large, public June 4th commemoration meetings on Zoom that were
being publicised on social media... The Chinese government informed us that this activity is illegal in China and demanded that Zoom terminate the meetings and host accounts.
The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen have been removed from Netflix because of sensitivities over their use of blackface, with critics calling the move an arbitrary divisive gesture that does little to combat racism.
Mighty Boosh's Spirit of Jazz and The League of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou characters were both played by white actors wearing blackface, and the Guardian understands they were seen as problematic by Netflix.
The comedian Jack Carroll tweeted:
It's an arbitrary gesture that means they don't have to put any real work into combatting actual instances of racial discrimination and comedy history is getting smashed in the process. Glad I kept hold of my DVD's.
Deadline has reported that Netflix has also removed four shows from its services in Australia and New Zealand, which starred Australian comedian Chris Lilley, who regularly performed in brownface .
Twitter is testing a new feature that'll effectively tell users Hey, maybe you should read that article before you retweet it.
When users on Android go to re-tweet an article they have not clicked into (and presuambly, read), they will be
met with a pop-up from Twitter asking if they really want to do that.
According to a Twitter spokesperson, the move is intended to help promote informed discussion and start healthier conversations between users.
Twitter told PCMag that users
can choose to ignore the prompt, and retweet (or retweet with comment) the article, regardless if they've opened the link or not. So for some users, the feature may end up being an annoyance, rather than a thoughtful reminder.
Reddit Ireland has taken the decision to shut down in the early hours of the morning, to limit content posted from the US during daytime hours there.
Moderators said having to check every comment on the group had pushed them to breaking point. The
page is now seeking to expand its team of moderators and add filters that can spot posts that require censorship.
In a post on the page, which has 280,000 members, it said:
We're taking the very difficult
decision today to shut down Reddit Ireland temporarily between midnight and 08:00 each day in order to stem the flow of racist/extremist content which is being posted at these times.
Reddit said it would install software to racist
comments including common phrases used against traveller communities and any other minority groups.
Netflix , BBC iPlayer and BritBox have removed comedy series Little Britain from their platforms amid PC concerns about its use of blackface.
Netflix pulled the BBC series on Friday. Netflix has also dropped the comedians' airport
mockumentary Come Fly With Me . BBC iPlayer and BritBox have also ditched Little Britain from their platforms this week.
A BBC spokesman told Variety:
There's a lot of historical programming available on
BBC iPlayer which we regularly review. Times have changed since 'Little Britain' first aired, so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.
BritBox also confirmed that Little Britain was no longer on the service, adding that Come
Fly With Me had not been available for six months.
Little Britain first aired in 2003, while Come Fly With Me debuted in 2010. Both series saw the comedians play characters from different ethnic backgrounds with the use of make-up. In Come Fly
With Me, Lucas and Walliams wore make up for characters including airport worker Taaj, passenger liaison officer Moses Beacon, and airline boss Omar Baba while Walliams also starred as health-spa guest Desiree Devere in Little Britain.