Melon Farmers Unrated

US Censorship News

2011: Jan-March

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3rd April

 Offsite: The Propaganda of No Propaganda...

Link Here
Mexico's media agree to voluntary censorship

See article from


29th March   

Sucker Punch...

Supporting the hype over cuts for an MPAA PG-13 rating
Link Here

Actress Emily Browning has criticized the MPAA's treatment of a love scene she filmed with Jon Hamm for forthcoming action flick Sucker Punch , written and directed by Zack Snyder.

Browning said:

I had a very tame and mild love scene with Jon Hamm. It was like heavy breathing and making out. It was hardly a sex scene... I think that it's great for this young girl to actually take control of her own sexuality. Well, the MPAA doesn't like that. They don't think a girl should ever be in control of her own sexuality because they're from the Stone Age. I don't know what the fuck is going on and I will openly criticize it, happily. So essentially, they got Zack to edit the scene and make it look less like she's into it. And Zack said he edited it down to the point where it looked like he was taking advantage of her. That's the only way he could get a PG-13 (rating) and he said, 'I don't want to send that message.' So they cut the scene!


Snyder has said that the love scene and deletions for violence will be available amongst the deleted scenes of both the DVD and Blu-ray releases.

In regards to additional action, Synder has been quoted as saying that ...the Blu-ray release will feature at least 18 minutes which had to be cut to meet the MPAA's PG-13 regulations .


27th March   

Update: Shit Censorship...

Censored version of King's Speech fast tracked onto US screens
Link Here
Full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

America's MPAA lumbered the uncut King's Speech with an R-rating on account of 'strong language in a speech therapy context'. Worried about the impact this decision might have on the film's box office, the Weinstein Co. have opted to release a new PG-13 in the hopes of attracting a wider audience. The new cut version is set for release in 1,000 screens.

While such a re-release would usually have to wait 90 days from when the old version was pulled from cinemas, however MPAA bosses have signed a waiver which will allow the PG-13 version to be released in quicker succession.

With the Weinstein Co. preparing to head a marketing campaign to explain the changes to America's movie-going public, the new version will feature a number of muted fuck 's, and a few instances in which shit has been substituted in instead.


19th March   

Brett and Melanie and the MPAA...

Film submitted for several different MPAA ratings to highlight the differences in the category rules
Link Here

Brett And Melanie: Boi Meets Girl is the seventh in an ongoing series of films from award-winning director Tony Comstock.

The unrated director's cut of the film has now been completed. The Boi Meets Girl Meets the MPAA project will submit the film to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and on the basis of the MPAA's feedback, they will produce a DVD showing the exact difference between the Unrated, NC-17, R and PG-13 rated versions of the film. Monies raised will go to covering MPAA submission fees, re-editing costs, and DVD authoring.

Videos of each rating version of the film will also be uploaded to popular video sharing sites, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, etc to see how various MPAA-rated versions are treated by the vagaries of Community Guidelines.

Tony Comstock said:

We're undertaking this project because kerfuffles over ratings generate a lot of anger and publicity, but they don't seem to leave anyone any better informed about the rating process, and we'd like to change that.

By taking Brett And Melanie through the MPAA process, we'll be able show just what sort of alterations were required to achieve various ratings. And once we have those ratings in hand, we can test the MPAA's content rating system and level of transparency against places like YouTube and Facebook.


12th March   

Update: Throwing Out the Baby...

US release details for A Serbian Film
Link Here
Full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

Fangoria have revealed the US release details for A Serbian Film:

Distributor Invincible Pictures said that Srdjan Spasojevic's movie will play select theaters across North America from May 13 in an edited version. The unrated A Serbian Film will be released exclusively via digital media distribution outfit FlixFling the same day.

CEO Tom Ashley said: It was always our intention to release this film uncut, but given the recent charges against Sitges director Angel Sala, we have decided to release an edited version. We believe this film deserves to be seen as the filmmakers originally intended and hope to be able to release A Serbian Film uncut in the future.


11th March   

Target Audience...

MPAA downgrade Miral's R to PG-13 on appeal
Link Here

The US film censors of the MPAA, have agreed to overturn the R rating on director Julian Schnabel's Miral .

Schnabel and producer Jon Kilik had contested the ratings board's decision that denied the film the lower PG-13 . Their appeal succeeded.

I understand the MPAA is by nature a protective organization, but I felt very strongly that they didn't need to protect teenagers from my film, said Schnabel in a statement: Quite the contrary, teenagers are the intended audience for Miral's story. I am very happy the MPAA proved to be open minded and ultimately agreed.

Producer Jon Kilik agreed. We are happy to have the MPAA find that our film respected the guidelines of their rating system, he said. To have lost the ability to share Miral with the generation most affected by the story's message would have been at odds with the meaning and purpose of our film.

For comparison the UK film censor rated the film 12A uncut with the advice: Contains moderate language, violence and injury detail. The BBFC explained further in their extended classification information:

Miral is a drama telling the stories of several generations of Palestinian women living through the occupation of their land since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The film was classified 12A for moderate language, violence and injury detail.

The film contains aggressive and directed uses of the words bitch and whore . This moderate language exceeds the terms of the BBFC's PG Guidelines, where there may be mild bad language only and is therefore more appropriately classified at 12A .

The film contains several sequences of documentary footage from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depicting violence in military action and street riots that will be familiar from television news broadcasts. There is also one dramatised street riot scene in which a teenage girl is shot and killed. There is, however, little detail in these images which give a sense of the chaos and tragedy of the situation without presenting gratuitous displays of violence. The implied strangling of a character and the beating of a young woman with a stick, as part of an interrogation procedure by security forces, are also presented with discretion and without lingering on the details of the violence being inflicted. The Guidelines at 12A/12 state that Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context . Injury detail is seen in a hospital setting with some sight of injured soldiers but this is not dwelt upon to any undue extent.

A key scene in the film involves the suggestion of a young teenage girl being sexually abused by an older male member of her family. The event dictates the path the girl's life will take and although it is briefly distressing, the abuse is not shown with strong detail and mostly plays off the frightened reactions of the girl's younger sister who is also in the room. The Guidelines at 12A'/'12 state that Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and must have a strong contextual justification .

The film also contains a discreetly implied suicide, scenes of smoking which are not glamorised to any significant extent, and milder language such as hell and shit .


10th March   

Update: Government Need to Kick their Health Kick Habit...

Looking to TV, films and the internet to extinguish the portrayal of smoking
Link Here

Further curbs on the portrayal of smoking on television, in films and on the internet are to be considered by the government, which said the tobacco industry continued to find ways of promoting products despite legislation banning advertising.

The Department of Health in England promised to continue to work to reduce the depiction of smoking and tell regulators and the entertainment industry to consider what more could be done.

Guidelines produced by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, say smoking should generally not be shown before the 9pm TV watershed and should never be glamorised or condoned.

A spokesman for the BBFC said a public consultation in 2009 had asked whether portrayal of smoking should be regarded as a classification issue, concluding that the overwhelming response was, people did not believe it should be.

Action over internet controls, however, will have to be pursued at a global level, potentially through the World Health Organisation.

The government's tobacco control plan states that the way smoking is portrayed can create the false impression that tobacco use is a normal, or even glamorous, activity, and rarely shows the real life negative consequences of tobacco use .

It adds: Smoking in the media can also give a false impression that tobacco use is more common than it actually is. [Bollox! Far few smoke in the media than in real life]

We remain especially concerned about how these influences affect perceptions of social norms and how they encourage young people to take up smoking.

Update: Even the Box Office Lights Up for Rango

See  article from

The unusual, hilarious and endearingly weird Rango hit US theaters last weekend, but the animated PG western is causing a stir among anti-smoking advocates who say that the number of characters who light up are unacceptable.

A lot of kids are going to start smoking because of this movie, said Stanton Glantz director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California.

Glantz's group and other smoke-free organizations are renewing efforts with the MPAA to slap an R-rating on any film that shows smoking.

Critics and audiences are praising Rango for being a grown-up cartoon, making references to spaghetti westerns (lots of smoking in those films ... ) and other adult-friendly movies.

A spokeswoman for Paramount said: The images of smoking in the film ... are portrayed by supporting characters and are not intended to be celebrated or emulated.


10th March   

Bleeping Censors...

US WWE wrestling bleeped the stars so much that it emphasised that it was a kids' show
Link Here

Interesting to see that TV censorship can have a serious downside for the broadcasters. This was revealed in a comment piece about the US wrestling shows from WWE:

Remember the last time Stone Cold came to host, just before last WrestleMania?

It was unbearable to watch because they censored nearly every word he said and the programming just showed us that we are actually watching a show catered for kids.

Well recently, USA Network, including Sky Sports around UK and Europe, have stopped censorship on words and allowing the programming to flow without censoring words like Bitch or Ass. We can finally go through their programs without that censor man pressing the censor button every time someone uses those words, and we can finally watch it in peace.

Well, The Rock actually started this. If you remember when he did return to give us that speech, they did censor words, but rumors are circulating that Vince actually told USA network to stop censoring it because that was The Rock's persona, and it would ruin what he was famous for.


9th March   


US Google harangued by Fox over the publication of take down notices
Link Here

Fox has been caught out trying to use the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act(DMCA) to prevent Google from telling the world the DMCA take-down notices that Google receives.

Google sends take down notices it received to where a list of all the DMCA notices is posted.

According to TorrentFreak, Fox is doing its level best to get Google to delist DMCA complaints on Chilling Effects, which were originally sent by Fox itself.

Google appears to have shrugged and taken down the link knowing that it will be logged again by Chilling Effects and go up under a different link.


8th March   

Monster Spin...

MTV haven't banned Kanye West's Monster, they just won't show it
Link Here

An unofficial cut of Kanye West's music video for Monster hit the Internet months ago. Still, on Monday, it was announced that MTV unsurprisingly rejected West's Monster video for air, asking the artist and label to re-edit it.

There's no doubt that Monster is dark--to the point of almost being a five minute horror show. West greets us with images of dead women throughout, their bodies hanging by rope from the ceiling while other haphazardly lie deceased in bed. One scene in particular shows West holding the severed head of a young lady.

MTV deny 'banning' the video, explaining in a statement:

MTV has not banned Kaye West's 'Monster' video. We have been in constant communication with the label regarding this matter... HOWEVER ... we are still awaiting the edits we requested in order for the video to be suitable for broadcast.


3rd March   

Ratings Creep...

Professors finds that more violent content has crept into the US PG-13 film rating
Link Here

  Ron Leone is associate professor at the communication department at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, and a film scholar who studies movie ratings. His latest article, published this week in the Journal of Children and Media examines ratings creep in the United States.

The term refers to the belief that various types of adult content escalate in films with the same rating over time, and Leone's latest study finds that films rated PG-13 today are significantly more violent than those with the same rating a generation ago.

In their latest study, MPAA Ratings Creep: A longitudinal analysis of the PG-13 rating category in U.S. movies , Leone analyzed the content of a sample of PG-13 movies from three different years: 1988, 1997 and 2006. They documented each incident of violence, sexual content, nudity, use of adult language and presentations of substance abuse.

Our quantitative content analysis of 45 films indicated a significant increase in violent content in these films, despite the ratings remaining the same, says the professor: We searched for evidence of 'creep' in all categories, but our results pointed to one conclusion . In the PG-13 rating category, the only area of adult content on the rise was violence.

According to Leone, none of the other four areas showed any statistically significant evidence of ratings creep: Our results suggest a leniency toward violent content by the MPAA ratings board that parallels America's parents' greater comfort with children being exposed to violence than other types of adult content in the unrestricted PG-13 rating category .


3rd March   

New US Film Censor...

MPAA appoints its new chairman
Link Here

Former US Senator Christopher Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, has now been appointed to head the Motion Picture Association of America

The film industry is at a critical juncture, as one of America's largest export industries faces piracy in foreign markets and dwindling audiences at home. Attendance is 22% llower than this time last year, ratings for Sunday's Oscarcast was down 10%, and DVD sales have plummeted.

The times call for savvy in finance and international relations, both strong suits for Dodd, says Toby Miller, professor and chair of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

Hollywood is a major employer and export earner, says Professor Miller. Most of Hollywood revenue comes from DVDs, downloads, and TV. Cinema attendance hasn't been its major contribution economically for decades. Our overseas image is affected by what Hollywood produces. And this job is the key point person to D.C. in terms of regulation, stimulus, and piracy.


2nd March   

Update: US Police Censorship...

Police given open ended powers to censor the internet without due process
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has received a great deal of backlash for their actions of seizing tens of thousands of domains over the past year, and accusing site owners of counterfeiting, piracy, and ,most recently, engaging in child pornography. Even a US Senator has pointed out that these actions may violate the constitutional rights of site owners affected, however ICE Director John Morton continues to defend the domain seizures as a noble effort to protect Americans.

Morton points out that websites are property that the government has the right to seize when evidence of a crime is revealed: We can seize and forfeit them just like we seize and forfeit bank accounts, houses and vehicles that are used in other crimes. Any instrument of a crime is subject to our jurisdiction in terms of seizure and forfeit.

Morton also states that the domain seizures are not a tool to censor websites ...BUT... to simply enforce copyright laws: We're about making sure that the intellectual property laws of the United States, which are clear, are enforced. When somebody spends hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the next movie or a billion dollars to develop the next heart medicine, the innovation and the enterprise that went into that effort is protected as the law provides. It's that simple.

Fine words but they will be lost on the tens of thousands of innocent website owners who had their domains seized last month. It is also the duty of these agencies to preserve the rights of Americans. These domain seizure processes need to be reviewed and appropriately overhauled before more mistakes are made and more innocent people are affected.


1st March   

Not Glad to See Jose Luis...

GLAAD complain about the Jose Luis Sin Censura US TV show stirring up anti-gay audience reactions
Link Here

Gay campaigners of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) have filed an FCC complaint against the Spanish-language television talk show Jose Luis Sin Censura ( Jose Luis Uncensored ).

The show is produced by the California-based Liberman Broadcasting and airs in Los Angeles on KRCA, channel 62.

The groups claimed in a statement that the show routinely features indecent, profane, and obscene material, offensive language, nudity, and on-air verbal and physical attacks against women as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people .

The show often prompts guests and audience members to engage in verbal and even physical attacks, especially against people perceived to be LGBT. Many episodes showed the audience standing and shouting anti-gay epithets and profanity at guests, the groups said.

It is extremely disturbing to see a show like José Luis Sin Censura air this violent language with impunity and without any regard for the safety of our community, GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said: At a time when LGBT youth and adults face harassment and violence, it is unacceptable for media to fuel such a climate of intolerance about our community.

GLAAD has also launched an online petition against the show.


26th February   

Update: Weinstein's Profit Impediment 'Cured'...

The King's Speech now available in a muted PG-13 version
Link Here
Full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

The has assigned a PG-13 rating to an alternative version of The King's Speech in which, a source said: the 'fucks' that earned it an R rating have been muted out.

The MPAA said it also has waived a rule that requires the distributor to fully withdraw the original version of the film from theaters for 90 days before replacing it with an alternative.


25th February   

Update: South Park Jail...

25 years for inciting violent attacks on South Park Creators
Link Here
Full story: South Park...TV comedy offends the easily offenced

A man who admitted posting online threats against the creators of the animated TV series South Park has been jailed for 25 years.

Zachary Adam Chesser encouraged violent jihadists to attack South Park writers for an episode that depicted Mohammed in a bear suit, court documents said. Chesser also admitted that he tried to go to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group that the United States considers a terrorist organization.

He posted online messages that included the writers' home addresses and urged online readers to pay them a visit, the documents said.

His actions caused people throughout the country to fear speaking out -- even in jest -- to avoid being labeled as enemies who deserved to be killed, U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said: The fact that a young man from Northern Virginia could support such violence and terror is a sobering reminder of the serious threat that homegrown jihadists pose to this country.

Chesser was born in the United States and converted to Islam in high school.


24th February   

Update: 'Pornography Harms' Bollox...

John Stagliano refutes nutter campaign
Link Here
Full story: Obscenity Trials in USA...Porn on trial

 Adult film maker John Stagliano (Buttman) issued the following statement decrying the recent attacks on personal liberties by moral crusaders:

This week, the group 'Pornography Harms' continued its campaign to ban free speech and adult entertainment through a letter circulated around Capitol Hill with the goal of spurring elected officials into enacting the group's dangerous agenda. The letter cites worn-out and debunked claims that view.

Recent statistics show those claims simply are not true. A study from a Clemson University economist showed that violent and sexual crimes have actually decreased as Internet usages have increased. The study's author found that states whose Internet access expanded the fastest saw rapes and sexual crimes decline the most.

We are tired of being slandered. It is apparent that if people are left free to consume pornography, if they so choose, the world is a healthier, less violent place.'

In 2008, the Department of Justice's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force brought charges against Stagliano in a trial which gained national attention over its free speech implications. In July of 2010, the trial ended in a Judicial Acquittal after the Judge ruled there wasn't sufficient evidence presented by the prosecution to convict. Groups such as Pornography Harms have lobbied government agencies and elected officials to continue to stifle first amendment / free speech rights through similar prosecutions.

The recent Pornography Harms letter urges readers to donate to Morality in Media, an organization with a long history of First Amendment suppression tactics and alignment with other censorship driven groups. They have frequently used similar outlandish claims and factual distortions as part of their extremist agenda, such as claiming there's a link between gay marriage and mass killings. If these anti-speech activists are initially successful with their censorship agenda, they won't stop until they have turned all broadcasts and publications in line with their narrow worldview.

The only real violence involved is prosecuting someone like me with an obscenity law, a law that you can't know in advance when you are breaking it.'


21st February   

Updated: Texas Police Recommend...

Call of Juarez: The Cartel
Link Here

The video game, Call of Juarez: The Cartel , is set to release this summer. Unlike the previous releases in the series, The Cartel is set in the present day and focuses on a bloody road trip from Los Angeles to Juarez, Mexico. But apart from this, little information has yet been released about the game

The modern-day setting combined with the title has rubbed law enforcement officials in south Texas up the wrong way. Gang and drug cartel-related violence is very real to towns in southern Texas bordering Mexico.

Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia says that any game involving organized crime sets a bad example:

Unfortunately there are companies that are looking to capitalize on the violent situation in Mexico which has had a very negative impact on the country, said Garcia. There have been spillover cases in certain areas of our country with cases of kidnappings and murders. This is a serious topic and this is just another violent video game.

It doesn't matter if it deals with the cartel in Juarez, the Gulf Cartel or the Sinaloa Cartel. It is simply not something that is appropriate for our youth, Garcia added. This leaves lasting images and ideas in teenagers who get caught up in the game and may try to make it a reality and live the violent lifestyle they see in these games.

While Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio admitted that he was not familiar with the game, he says that he agrees with Garcia that any type of media that glamorizes the criminal lifestyle should be discouraged.

The title itself leads one to believe that the game deals with narcotic trafficking organizations. Games like these create a false idea in the minds of teenagers who are still developing and may grow up and want to imitate these characters. Sadly enough these kind of games are protected by freedom of speech, but the violence that comes from cartels is not a game and it affects us all.

Update: Chihuahua lawmakers recommend Call of Juarez: The Cartel

21st February 2011. Based on article from

The video game Call of Juarez: The Cartel by game developer Ubisoft has drawn criticism from Mexican and US officials even before anything substantive is known about the game beyond the promotional statement:

You'll embark on a bloody road trip from Los Angeles to Juarez, Mexico immersing yourself in a gritty plot with interesting characters and a wide variety of game play options. Take justice into your own hands in this modern Western shooter.

Mexican blogger Ismael Flores explains that legislators in the state of Chihuahua,where Ciudad Jua'rez is located, have now called on the Secretariat of Governance and the Secretariat of Economy to prohibit the sale of the video game in Mexico.

It remains to be seen whether Mexico's federal government will act upon the request. But of course if they do they will have to answer why they are not spending their time concentrating on banning the real violence in Jua'rez.


21st February   

Updated: Fighting Censorship...

Connecticut bill to uncensor UFC
Link Here

Mixed martial arts, an intense and increasingly popular sport that blends boxing, wrestling, karate, judo and other forms of fighting, is currently not permitted in Connecticut. But the legislature is considering a bill that would sanction MMA matches, provided they are regulated and the ticket revenue is taxed.

State Rep. Matthew Lesser has introduced legislation that would open the door for Connecticut to join 46 other states that have legalized MMA.

Lesser said he was spurred to raise the bill by a constituent who is an MMA fan.

It doesn't seem to make sense to tell fans from Connecticut that they have to leave the state to watch it.

Lesser says MMA could also boost the state's bottom line. Average ticket sales for an Ultimate Fight Championship match topped $2.8 million in 2007. UFC, the company that promotes most of the top-ranked MMA matches, is also a major player in the pay-per-view market. Taxes on MMA gate receipts could provide a pretty significant economic boom, he said.

Massachusetts and Maine both recently legalized MMA, but New York is one of four states that has not. That provides an opportunity for Connecticut, given its proximity to the Empire State, Lesser said.

MMA has been criticized for its violence. Senator John McCain famously referred to it as human cockfighting. Lesser's bill would regulate it, just as boxing is regulated by the state.

MMA's fan base overlaps with that of professional wrestling. Lesser said Connecticut-based World Wrestling Entertainment is lobbying against the MMA bill.

Update: The Sport Has Grown Up

21st February 2011. Thanks to goatboy. See article from

The John McCain quote is out of date, he was against it when it was no rules ( UFC 2 may well be the most violent video the bbfc have ever passed, no joke) but the state athletic commissions wrote up a list of rules to turn it into a legit sport and McCain has since said The sport has grown up. The rules have been adopted to give its athletes better protections and to ensure fairer competition.

Interestingly there appears to be little in the way of MMA regulation in the UK and UFC has run here many times.


17th February   

Obituary: David F Friedman...

Producer of genre classics from Blood Feast to Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS
Link Here

David F. Friedman, a film producer who cheerfully and cheesily exploited an audience's hunger for bare-breasted women and blood-dripping corpses in lucrative low-budget films like Blood Feast and Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. , died on Monday in Alabama aged 87 from heart failure.

Friedman plumbed the low-rent depths of the movie business with a sense of boldness and a sense of fun. In the early 1960s he and a partner, the director Herschell Gordon Lewis, made a handful of films in a genre known as nudie-cuties, in which young women would perform ordinary household tasks or cavort in sun-dappled settings half-dressed or entirely undressed.

In 1963,  Friedman and Lewis made the gleefully gore-soaked Blood Feast , considered by many to be a groundbreaking film in the horror genre, the first so-called splatter film. It tells the story of a murderous Egyptian caterer in Miami who is especially fond of decapitating women. To promote the film, Friedman warned viewers that it might be sickening and supplied theaters with airline vomit bags to distribute to customers. Made for $24,500, the film reportedly earned millions.

Friedman and Lewis followed Blood Feast with two other gore fests that are exemplars of their ilk: Two Thousand Maniacs! , which takes place in a Southern town during a Civil War centennial celebration in which the townspeople take their revenge for losing the war on visiting Yankees; and Color Me Blood Red , about a painter who gets his distinctive reds from the blood of his murder victims.

Friedman made films in the soft-porn vein --- they had titles like Trader Hornee and The Erotic Adventures of Zorro --- and eventually, while serving as chairman of the Adult Film Association, made a handful of hard-core movies as well.

Perhaps his most famous title was Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. , about a sadistic and insatiable female Nazi prison guard, generally considered a camp classic of sexploitation.


17th February   

Updated: Mass censorship...

US takes down 84,000 websites
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security's ICE office proudly announced that they had seized domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains took down 84,000 innocent websites with it.

Thousands of site owners were surprised by a rather worrying banner that replaced their website. Advertisement, distribution, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography constitute federal crimes that carry penalties for first time offenders of up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution, was the worrying message they read on their websites.

The shared domain in question is, which belongs to the DNS provider FreeDNS. It is the most popular shared domain at and as a result of the authorities' actions a massive 84,000 subdomains were wrongfully seized as well. All sites were redirected to the US takedown banner.

Eventually the domain seizure was reverted and the subdomains slowly started to point to the old sites again instead of the accusatory banner.

Meanwhile: Hilary Clinton scolds other nations for internet censorship

Based on article from

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned repressive governments not to restrict internet freedom, saying such efforts will ultimately fail.

She said the US was committed to global internet freedom and announced that the US government would invest an additional $25m to help online dissidents and digital activists fight state repression.

She named China, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam and Burma as countries restricting online speech, and noted that Egypt's attempt to stifle protesters by switching off the internet was unsuccessful. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook were important tools that gave voice to people's aspirations.

She acknowledged that the internet has a problem with hateful speech which can inflame hostilities, but said that efforts to curb such content often become an excuse to violate rights to free speech: The best answer to offensive speech is more speech. People can and should speak out against intolerance and hatred .

...BUT...she drew a sharp distinction between Wikileaks' possession of secret government correspondence and internet freedom.

Fundamentally, the Wikileaks incident began with an act of theft, Clinton said: Government documents were stolen, just the same as if they had been smuggled out in a briefcase.


12th February   

Updated: Fake Blood on the Lens...

Film maker explains how trailers get a higher BBFC rating than the feature even with the same material
Link Here

Pat Higgins is the Writer/Director of straight-to-DVD horror movies such as Hellbride, KillerKiller, The Devil's Music & House on the Witchpit.

He explains how his Trash House DVD ended up with an 18. He also asks how the MPAA could give the same rating for both the King's Speech and Saw 3D

See the video

Update: The Hidden Cost of Easter Eggs

8th February 2011. See video from

Pat Higgins, director of The Devil's Music, explains economic censorship resulting from the BBFC fee structure for DVD extras.

See the video


11th February   

Update: Top Gear Top Notch Mexican Offence...

Lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, and easily offended
Link Here
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

The BBC has apologised for remarks made on the television programme, Top Gear , that caused 'outrage' in Mexico.

The comments about Mexicans were made when they were discussing Mexican sports cars. Reviewing the Mastretta, Richard Hammond said vehicles reflected national characteristics: Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat. The presenters, known for their edgy jibes, then described Mexican food as refried sick .

Jeremy Clarkson added that he was confident he would not receive any complaints about their comments because the Mexican ambassador would be asleep.

But somebody on the ambassador's staff must have been awake, as the ambassador demanded an apology, calling the remarks offensive, xenophobic and humiliating .

In a letter to Mexico's ambassador in London, the BBC said it was sorry if it had offended some people, but said jokes based on national stereotyping were part of British national humour.  

Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, and we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganised and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organised, the BBC said. It added that stereotype-based comedy was allowed within BBC guidelines in programmes where the audience knew they could expect it, as was the case with Top Gear . Whilst it may appear offensive to those who have not watched the programme or who are unfamiliar with its humour, the executive producer has made it clear to the ambassador that that was absolutely not the show's intention .

Hundreds of Mexicans contacted the BBC Spanish-language website BBC Mundo to protest about the remark  More expressed outrage in e-mails to Mexican newspapers and websites, where the Top Gear jibes have received huge coverage. The matter was also raised in the Mexican senate, where lawmakers were considering a motion of censure.

An all-party group of British MPs also urged the BBC to apologise, calling the remarks ignorant, derogatory and racist .

Update: Too Close to Home for Comfort

11th February 2011. See  article from

Scenes in which Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May poked fun at Mexicans will be cut before the show is broadcast in the United States next week. The show is broadcast on the BBC America channel


8th February   

Obscure Reasoning...

Florida proposes to add 'simulated' sex to its obscenity law
Link Here

   Florida State Censors

Florida House Bill 385 is a proposal to revise Florida's laws on obscenity. The gist of the bill is to add the term simulated to the definition of sexual conduct in our obscenity law.

Specifically, the bill addresses:

  • Actual or simulated lewd exhibition of genitals)
  • Actual or simulated physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, bottom or female breasts in a sexual context.
  • Actual or simulated actions that would otherwise be defined as sexual battery under Florida law.

What, exactly, does it mean to simulate this kind of physical contact ? If it doesn't matter whether one is clothed or unclothed, then does dirty dancing become obscene? The lambada? A really steamy tango? What about suggestive cheerleader routines? What about bump-and-grind adult dancers?

The bill has drawn the concern of groups ranging from naturists to civil libertarians to the adult-business industry.

The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders would have to be stopped at the state line, worries Richard Mason, president of the South Florida Free Beaches/Florida Naturist Association.

Luke Lirot, a Tampa lawyer well known for defending adult-business cases, thinks the bill is unconstitutional. Redner thinks it is overbroad.


8th February   

Feed Over Email...

US government produces technology to bypass website filtering by encoding censored data into emails
Link Here

The U.S. government has developed technology that can cut through Web censorship barriers in countries like China and deliver news and information to people who don't have currently have access to it.

The Feed Over Email (FOE) system, outlined in a recent report by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, uses email to transport censored data to end users. A server encodes the required internet data (pages, files, applications, RSS feeds etc) and encodes them into an email. The end user runs a client program to decode the data into familiar internet formats.

The government hopes that FOE will allow people to receive the latest news from censored Web sites and also complement existing anti-censorship tools, according to the report. People also can use the tool to download other anti-censorship software, such Tor, Freegate, or Ultrasurf.

The technology was tested between February and June 2010 in the Chinese cities of Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shenzhen and performed well in all tests, according to the report. However, the agency said it's unclear how it will work when publicly available.

The U.S. has undertaken previous efforts to help bypass government Internet censorship, but the report marks the first public disclosure of technological efforts to do so.


1st February   

Update: I Don't Believe in Censorship B.B.B.B.BUT...

Uttering 'bullshit' helps King's Speech director get over his censorship impediment
Link Here
Full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

It's been prize winning week for the movie King's Speech , but producer Harvey Weinstein is now considering cutting the film to PG-13 to broaden the audience.

At issue is a series of 'fucks', uttered by Colin Firth playing King George VI, as he attempts to overcome his stutter.

Director Tom Hooper says he doesn't support cutting the film ...BUT... he said that it might be bleeped.

Speaking to EW, Tom Hooper said,

I wouldn't support cutting the film in any way. I think we looked at whether it's possible to bleep out the f—s and stuff, but I'm not going to actually cut that part.

He said that no final decision has been made about creating a PG-13 friendly edit, but reiterated: I'm not going to cut the film.

Co-star Helena Bonham Carter said:

I don't think it needs to be cut down. I think every 13-year-old knows [the words], I think every 8-year-old [does]. It's the whole point of it. It's not to be offensive. I think they said they were going to put the bleeps.


31st January   

Comment Declared Offside...

Male sports presenters don't know the rules of easy offence
Link Here

US cable television network TNT has issued an apology  for a comment made by comedian Tracy Morgan about former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during a live broadcast.

During a pre-game chat on Inside the NBA, co-host Charles Barkley asked the actor, Sarah Palin's good looking, isn't she?

Morgan replied, Let me tell you something about Sarah Palin, she's good masturbation material. The glasses and all of that... She is great masturbation material.

TNT issued the apology within minutes amid 'outraged' phone calls and emails about Morgan's comments.

It's unfortunate Morgan showed a lack of judgment on our air with his inappropriate comments, said Turner spokesman Jeff Pomeroy in a statement.


27th January   

Update: Free Speech Impediment...

US distributor considers a cut version of the The King's Speech
Link Here
Full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

The LA Times is reporting that the film distributor Weinstein is contemplating editing The King's Speech in order to get its R-rating reduced to PG-13 and so increase the market able to see it.

The reason that the film was given the restricted label in the first place is because of MPAA inflexibility over a scene in which King George VI spurts out numerous curse words in order to help him get over his stutter.

The film was originally rated 15 in the UK, but the BBFC were asked to think again, and the film now has a 12 rating allowing it to be seen by a family audience. And successful it has been too. commented

This is a terrible, terrible idea. As far as I know, there is no difference between the cut being shown in British theaters vs. US theaters, meaning that this isn't a problem of content, but rather an issue of bullshit standards and qualifications by the MPAA. This would perhaps be understandable if we still lived in the 1920s, but I've personally never met a 13 year old kid who is completely unaware of the existence of words like fuck and shit.


22nd January   

Comic Book Morality...

DC comics opts out of a historic morality code in favour of its own self rating scheme
Link Here

After nearly sixty years, DC Comics has decided that none of its publications need carry the Seal of Approval of the Comics Code Authority.

The announcement was made in a communique to direct market retailers, which also included the news that DC will employ a new ratings system of its own design. Deployment of DC's new ratings system will begin in April.

The new self rating scheme is described as follows:


Appropriate for readers of all ages. May contain cartoon violence and/or some comic mischief.


Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.


Appropriate for readers age 16 and older. May contain moderate violence, mild profanity, graphic imagery and/or suggestive themes.


Appropriate for readers age 18 and older. May contain intense violence, extensive profanity, nudity, sexual themes and other content suitable only for older readers.

The Comics Code Authority


The previous moralistic code was established in 1954 after moral panics of the era.

General Standards Part A

  1. Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
  2. No comics shall explicitly present the unique details and methods of a crime.
  3. Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.
  4. If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
  5. Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates the desire for emulation.
  6. In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
  7. Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gun play, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
  8. No unique or unusual methods of concealing weapons shall be shown.
  9. Instances of law enforcement officers dying as a result of a criminal's activities should be discouraged.
  10. The crime of kidnapping shall never be portrayed in any detail, nor shall any profit accrue to the abductor or kidnapper. The criminal or the kidnapper must be punished in every case.
  11. The letter of the word crime on a comics magazine shall never be appreciably greater than the other words contained in the title. The word crime shall never appear alone on a cover.
  12. Restraint in the use of the word crime in titles or sub-titles shall be exercised.

General Standards Part B

  1. No comics magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title.
  2. All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
  3. All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
  4. Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly nor as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
  5. Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism and werewolfism are prohibited.

General Standards Part C


  1. 1Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.
  2.  Special precautions to avoid references to physical afflictions of deformities shall be taken.
  3. Although slang and colloquialisms are acceptable, excessive use should be discouraged and wherever possible good grammar shall be employed.


Ridicule or attack on any religious or racial group is never permissible.


  1. Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
  2. Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
  3. All characters shall be depicted in dress reasonably acceptable to society.
  4. Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.

Marriage and Sex:

  1. Divorce shall not be treated humorously nor represented as desirable.
  2. Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at or portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
  3. Respect for parents, the moral code, and for honorable behavior shall be fostered. A sympathetic understanding of the problems of love is not a license for moral distortion.
  4. The treatment of love-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.
  5. Passion or romantic interest shall never be treated in such a way as to stimulate the lower and baser emotions.
  6. Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested. Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.

The code was updated over the years to allow for the depiction of werewolves, vampires, the corruption of elected officials, and gays of which the taboo itself became taboo.


22nd January   

Update: Proper Bollox...

Art censor claims his censorship was not properly censorship
Link Here
Full story: Fire in my Belly...Banned art at the Smithsonian

G. Wayne Clough, head of the Smithsonian Institution, has acknowledged that he acted too quickly before deciding Nov. 30 to remove a controversial video from an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

In an interview after a long-planned speaking engagement in downtown L.A., Clough said the decision to remove David Wojnarowicz's 1987 AIDS-protest video, A Fire in My Belly , on the same day that two top Republican congressmen had complained that the exhibition offended Christian sensibilities, was the most painful thing I've ever done, but denied it could properly be called censorship.

Clough said threats of budgetary consequences by House Speaker John Boehner and House majority leader Eric Cantor played into his decision, but a primary concern was preventing a media pile-on that would hijack the exhibition by turning the discussion away from the art on display and make it an excuse for a heated and polarizing debate of tangential issues.

Clough spoke proudly of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture being the first major museum exhibition devoted primarily to gay and lesbian artists' sensibilities.


14th January   

Update: Museum of Modern Censored Art...

Museum of Modern Art acquires A Fire in My Belly
Link Here
Full story: Fire in my Belly...Banned art at the Smithsonian

The Museum of Modern Art announced the purchase of the controversial video exhibit featuring an image of Jesus on a crucifix covered in ants that was pulled from the Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery last month.

The New York museum have announced their acquisition of David Wojnarowicz's original 13-minute version of A Fire in My Belly, and a 7-minute excerpt, MoMA Director Glenn Lowry said.

The work was included in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, sparking an outcry from some conservative members of Congress and organizations including the Catholic League, which culminated in its removal from the gallery.

The current debate surrounding the removal of the piece from the National Portrait Gallery exhibition brought the work to our attention and provided us with an opportunity to look more closely at it and to deepen our engagement with this artist by adding it to our holdings of his work, MoMA said.

The work is described as a collage of images filmed primarily during the artist's travels to Mexico, it combines footage from a number of sources that refer—often in graphic detail—to death, social inequality, faith, and desire. It is now housed in MoMA's Contemporary Galleries with other works made during the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


11th January   

About Bloody Time!...

Pennsylvania State Police to end charging people for swearing
Link Here

Pennsylvania State Police reached a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that retires them from policing the dictionary. This, after 770 people were cited in a one-year period, and faced a fine and potential jail time, for speaking words the state police deemed obscene.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit in May on behalf of Lona Scarpa, who called a motorcyclist an asshole after he swerved too close to her and another pedestrian. When she reported the incident to the police, Ms. Scarpa found herself charged with disorderly conduct for swearing and faced a possible $300 fine and 90 days in jail.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and many other courts, have made it very clear that profanity — including dirty words, foul language, and rude gestures — is protected speech. Nevertheless, an ACLU investigation revealed that the state police had, on average, issued more than two such citations per day.

Using profanity toward someone, whether an officer or not, is just not one of those things that you can put someone in jail for, explains Mary Catherine Roper, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

As part of the settlement, the state police have agreed to retrain their officers to make clear that they cannot cite people for profanity, indecent speech, or gestures.


11th January

 Offsite: Crushing the Opposition...

Link Here
Arizona shooting blamed on violent political rhetoric

See article from


7th January   

Update: Museum of Censored Art...

Opens outside the National Censored Portrait Gallery
Link Here
Full story: Fire in my Belly...Banned art at the Smithsonian

Anyone who missed David Wojnarowicz's A Fire in My Belly before it was removed from the National Portrait Gallery exhibit Hide/Seek on November 30 will soon be able to see it right outside the museum.

Mike Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone, who were detained on December 6 for playing the video on an iPad in the NPG lobby, have followed through on their promise to host a temporary gallery for censored work.

They've now obtained the permits they need to park a trailer outside the Gallery's F Street NW entrance. The Museum of Censored Art will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (mirroring NPG's hours), until Hide/Seek closes on February 13.

The City Paper quotes Iacovone as saying, we haven't said anything to NPG, but I suspect they're going to find out real soon.


6th January   

Update: FCC Blues...

US appeals court finds FCC wrong to fine ABC over a showing of NYPD Blue
Link Here
Full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

A federal appeals court has struck down a penalty imposed on ABC by the FCC in 2003.

The $27,500 fine was originally charged after an episode of cop drama NYPD Blue contained a brief shot of a woman's nude buttocks.

According to the Associated Press, the 2nd US Court of Appeals has now ruled that since television stations are not fined for fleeting, unscripted profanities in live broadcasts, the brief nudity should not have resulted in a penalty.

The FCC previously claimed that the scene dwelled on the nudity of actress Charlotte Ross and was shocking and titillating .


4th January   

Classic Censorship...

Huckleberry Finn published with the word 'nigger' replaced by 'slave'
Link Here

Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic . Yet, for decades, it has been disappearing from grade school curricula across the country, relegated to optional reading lists, or banned outright, appearing again and again on lists of the nation's most challenged books, and all for its repeated use of a single word: nigger.

Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books now plan to release a version of Huckleberry Finn , in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , that does away with the word 'nigger' by replacing it with the word slave. It also replaces the word Injun .

This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind, said Gribben: Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.

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