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Groups Sue Mass. Over Newly Expanded Obscenity Law : NPR

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Groups Sue Mass. Over Newly Expanded Obscenity Law : NPR

Won't somebody please think of the children? That's the reasoning behind a hastily-drafted, newly passed Massachusetts law at the center of a lawsuit filed by the "ACLU, The Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and other groups," according to the Associated Press. After a "ruling in a case in February…found that the state's obscenity law didn't apply to instant messages," this new law "added instant messages, text messages, e-mail and other electronic communications to the old law," criminalizing any such communiqué that may be "harmful to minors."

The lawsuit "argues that the changes amount to 'a broad censorship law that imposes severe content-based restrictions' on the dissemination of constitutionally protected speech," including "information about contraception, pregnancy, sexual health, literature and art." Haven't we seen this before?

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FCC indecency rule struck down by appeals court – latimes.com

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on FCC indecency rule struck down by appeals court – latimes.com

"In a sharp rebuke of the Bush-era crackdown on foul language on broadcast television and radio, a federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the government's near-zero-tolerance indecency policy as a violation of the 1st Amendment protection of free speech," Jim Puzzanghera and Meg James report. The NY State 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals "reversed the aggressive stance the [FCC] took starting in 2004 that found even a slip of the tongue that got by network censors was a violation" and "said that policy on so-called fleeting expletives was 'unconstitutionally vague' and created a 'chilling effect' on the programming that broadcasters chose to air."

Even Fox Broadcasting Co., the lead plaintiff against the government, praised the decision, while Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps said the ruling was "an anti-family decision." The case may wind up at the Supreme Court, but experts are unsure of the ultimate outcome. Personally, I say fuck all that censorship shit. Period.

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Update: As the FCC isn’t happy with the ruling, they’ve asked the court to reconsider, according to a report in the New York Times. We hoped the current administration was less anti-First Amendment. Perhaps that hope was misplaced.


Scare tactics, blocking sites can be bad for kids | InSecurity Complex – CNet News

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Scare tactics, blocking sites can be bad for kids | InSecurity Complex – CNet News

"Schools often filter sites or block social networks, believing it is in the best interest of the students," Elinor Mills writes at CNet, but "blocking the sites can have a negative effect on student safety," according to the 148-page "Youth Safety on a Living Internet" report commissioned by the US government. Among others, the report debunks the myth of widespread child sexual predation on the Internet, noting that "use of MySpace and Facebook by adolescents did not appear to increase their risk of being victimized by online predators."

While "'new' issues" like sexting have grabbed headlines, cyberbullying—particularly against GLBT youth—is a far bigger problem. Other under-reported problems are identity theft and loss of reputation. The report says child safety concerns, particularly around sexually explicit material, should be approached by promoting "media-literacy education," not "scare tactics."

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Transgender Men Go Topless At Delaware beach

Posted: June 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Transgender Men Go Topless At Delaware beach

A brief tidbit about a few people who chose to take their tops off at an LGBT friendly Delaware beach. This article brands them as "transgender men," but over at Change.org they're referred to as transgender women. Apparently the individuals were all born male-bodied and retain male genitalia, but have augmented breasts, which they were attempting to get a bit tanner. They covered up before the police came, and then reminded the officers that they are still legally male, and so this is not in fact an issue of indecent exposure (not that it should be, anyhow). An interesting little bit of gender politics there, no?

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Missouri Moves on Adult Entertainment – XBIZ.com

Posted: June 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Missouri Moves on Adult Entertainment – XBIZ.com

The Show-Me state is radically cracking down on what, exactly, they're going to allow to be shown. New legislation, which has passed both the state house and senate and is awaiting the governor's approval, would make all nudity in "sex oriented" businesses illegal, as well as making it illegal for sex oriented businesses to open within 1000 feet of a preexisting school, place of worship, public park, state-liscenced daycare or other sex-oriented business – a fact which not only highly limits the areas where such business can be opened, but also makes the forming of "red light districts" de-facto illegal. Said representative Stephen Webber, "If we had a vote by secret ballot, this bill would die, but everybody wants to be holier than thou." Strip club owners are currently organizing against the legislation, citing the great economic loss to the state.

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Tampon photo incites controversy at the Fashion Institute « Blogging Censorship

Posted: May 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Tampon photo incites controversy at the Fashion Institute « Blogging Censorship

Artwork "composed of a number of seemingly used tampons on a bright red background" were covered up by the Fashion Institute of Technology's squeemish administrators during the opening night show for the art and design college. Despite warning that the show "may not be appropriate for all individuals" and the presence of other students' work depicting nudity and violence done to women's faces, the tampon artwork was the only piece censored by special request from the Dean.

Student artist Jessica Chow said, "many people who saw my piece have said 'this is an art school, are you kidding me?!' So much hypocrisy." The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) calls the FIT Dean's actions "a classic act of censorship" that "suggests there is something possibly obscene/shameful/indecent about the image" depicting used tampons. The NCAC is now calling on FIT administrators to "reconsider their decision to treat an image of tampons—ordinary enough objects—as shameful and dangerous."

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