Category Archives: Censorship

The Dawkins/PZ Protest, 9/6/11

Been a while, ain’t it?

AndromedasWake and I attended a conversation between Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers yesterday. Well, we tried. But we were slightly obstructed by the protesters who forcibly entered the theatre and then hippied up the whole damn shooting match.

Protesters? Oh, yes. You may count upon it.

Continue reading The Dawkins/PZ Protest, 9/6/11

So what else are we meant to use the internet for?

Firstly let me apologise for not having posted a blog entry in ages. I have simply been stupidly busy and haven’t really had a chance to do any of the things I have wanted to lately. That out of the way I thought I would come back with a bang. Now that they have finished shafting students with a 300% increase in tuition fees the UK Government are aiming to screw us over by changing something that will have a far more penetrating effect upon many of our lives – They want to take our porn away. Well to paraphrase Charlton Heston “From my cold dead, slightly callus, right hand”.


Continue reading So what else are we meant to use the internet for?

A NYr’s reflections on 9/11

I’ve been asked by AndromedasWake to say a few words on the entire 9/11 Ground Zero debate and give a New Yorker’s perspective. I thought it would be appropriate to wait until time has passed since the Ground Zero anniversary, considering the content of this blog post.

I have lived through a decade of Ground Zero controversy. From the moment the dust settled, individuals and groups with political agendas descended on the wounded carcass of lower Manhattan, cutting out and dishing up great slabs of suffering to serve at the gluttonous feast of their ambitions.

“All of Ground Zero should be declared hallowed ground’, “The memorial in light should remain until the towers are rebuilt’, “it should be called the Freedom Tower’, “THIS tower design is a better memorial than that one’, “A design contest will show the true spirit of American freedom’, “The stairway to heaven can’t be moved, it would be disrespectful!’, “The beams that form a cross cannot be moved, God placed them there!’

It has gone on and on, year after year. Continue reading A NYr’s reflections on 9/11

Read books, don’t burn them

At this moment it is unclear if the proposed Burn a Koran Day will go ahead or not and I for one really hope it doesn’t. For those of you who have not heard about this the idea was dreamed up by Reverend Terry Jones, a Florida based pastor, as a protest against Islam and a memorial for those who died in the September 11th terrorist attacks of 2001, though obviously not for the Muslim victims. On the Facebook page for this event Reverend Jones has stated the following:


“On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm – 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!”


As I write this the latest on this story seems to be that, after stating earlier that the event would be cancelled, Reverend Jones plans to “rethink” the idea after local Muslim leader Imam Muhammad Musri denied that any deal had been struck to move the proposed Park51 community centre away, sorry make that further away, from the Ground Zero site. Jones has stated that on Saturday, the day planned for the Koran burning, he will be travelling to New York to meet with Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf about the proposed location of the centre. However it is unclear if the actual book burning part of his plan is back on or not.


Either way the reason I mention this is in order to draw attention to what I think is by far the best response to this proposed event that I have come across so far. International Read a Book Day. I love this idea, not just because I love reading anyway but because I feel it is exactly the sort of approach that should be taken against something stupid like Burn a Koran Day. It is a reasoned, measured reaction that clearly gets the point across, shows solidarity and respect for people who may believe differently than we do and promotes something constructive. What’s more is that the people behind this are Christians. Yup for once we see moderate Christians standing up against the more fundamental members of their religion. Here’s what Facebook page has to say on the matter:


“In July of this year, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida announced September 11 this year would be “Burn a Koran Day.” We believe that the burning of a Koran, or any other book, while it may be within the rights of free speech, is a tasteless and disturbing gesture that only communicates contempt and ignorance. Instead, we invite the international community to celebrate “Read a Book Day.” Burning books has never made a society better, but reading them has.”


So this September 11th I will be sitting down to read a book and remembering all those who died on that terrible day nine years ago. Will you join me?


In a futuristic American city, Firemen no longer put out blazes – they start them – and the prime target for their arson are the great works of literary history. In the society of Fahrenheit 451 people fill their days by driving recklessly, watching wall-to-wall television, and listening to music through their portable iShell’¦er’¦Seashell radio sets.  The pervasive nature of vacuous entertainment is such that the citizens of this dystopian city have become wholly apathetic to the literal holocaust of the great authors carried out by Firemen. Book-burning is a repellent act and ought to be opposed by every civilised person. Not only is it a public display of censorship, something we all find offensive, but it also represents the destruction of ideas – an attempt to erase important concepts from public knowledge. No one who claims the inheritance of the enlightenment could support such an act.

Continue reading 451°C

LiberalViewer to discuss Copyright and Fair Use at VidCon

VidCon 2010, a conference themed around the rising internet video media phenomenon, takes place this coming weekend. I know, it’s the World Cup Final and British Grand Prix, so you won’t be seeing much of me over those two days, but something that should be of interest to all Leaguers is that Communist-Nazi-Liberal-Nazi-Scumbag LiberalViewer will be attending as a panelist to discuss the state of Copyright, YouTube’s policies, and what “fair use” really means with YouTube’s own Head of Communications and Community Policy, Victoria Grand (as well as a former EMI representative Joe Felice).

This is a great opportunity for LV to bring forward questions on behalf of the community, and that’s exactly what he’s offering to do (what a scumbag!). Even if you don’t have any questions you would like to hear asked, please head over to the video embedded below and support it. It is my hope that popularising this discussion will increase the pressure on Google to address its policy surrounding anonymous abuse of the DMCA, flagging system and rating system.

If you can cast your memory right back to January of this year, you may remember that I posted two videos on the subject. The first received widespread attention thanks to Hemant Mehta (Friendly Atheist) and PZ Myers (Pharyngula) but despite us remaining the top “technical issue”, Google have stayed suspiciously quiet.

The second video was posted in response to Google’s own invitation for site suggestions. The free speech loving community once again dominated this forum, but Google’s canned response only indicated their serious lack of understanding of the issue (and perhaps ability to read?)

Content owners who file copyright infringement notifications under the DMCA do so under penalty of perjury. When we receive a DMCA notification, we remove the posted video, send email to your registered address, and provide notice in your account. Sometimes individuals abuse the process, or are simply mistaken, because determining copyright ownership can be tricky. If you believe your content was misidentified as infringing or is a fair use, you may file a DMCA counter-notification.

Wow. Don’t they understand the word “anonymous”? We know full well how the damned thing is supposed to work Google; we’re telling you that it is open to abuse when anyone can use an unverified identity to file the notice. You know if anonymity wasn’t an option when creating an account to file such a claim, the vast majority of censorship-inspired, false DMCAs wouldn’t be filed, right?

I will be contacting LV directly with this background, just to make sure he knows how YouTube has utterly failed to respond to this issue properly in the past.

Clicky link

Oh Censorship, when will you learn?

This is the Internet.

“Woah! Slow the fork down! What does that mean?”

It means that when you try to get someone’s opinion removed, instead of constructing a mature response, said opinion will come back with force. There is no bullet to the head of popular internet content. It appears, it thrives, and if it suspiciously disappears, memefication occurs. Yes. Memefication.

If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine

Many moons ago, a YouTube user named DannyMendlow posted a comical advertisement parody entitled “Religion!”. You can tell where this is going, can’t you? The video became hugely popular, making Pharyngula and other blogs if I recall correctly. I can’t remember exactly how long ago it was originally posted, but I’m willing to wager that it was quite some time as I’ve seen this video all over the place.

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Digg. It’s a website designed to direct people to popular internet content. By Digging something, you increase its ranking on Digg, increasing the likelihood that it will be brought to the attention of the Digg massive.

DannyMendlow’s video was Dugg (Digged?) to the extent that it reached the front page. Let me make this abundantly clear: that means the video in question was well liked by a large number of people, who felt that others should see it. By some magic shortly after its arrival on the front of Digg, the video was pulled by YouTube as being ‘inappropriate’. Stupidity abounds at the YouTube HQ (which I have on good authority is manned by a crack team of ducks) because the only thing inappropriate about the video is that it’s so depressingly true. Yesterday, DannyMendlow reposted the video for the first time, and in my opinion it deserves support. I urge you to head over and favourite/rate/comment the original. Oh, and why not Digg it too? Enjoy…

Atheist fundamentalism?

Fundamentalism. Not a word I ever expected to hear in connection with atheism, other than by those who don’t know any better or by those who do know better but wish to be provocative. Atheism can’t lead to fundamentalism as it has no doctrine. Atheism has no principles, no practices, no rituals and no dogma. It is simply the absense of theistic belief.

Unfortunately I have now revised my opinion, I think it is now correct to refer to atheist fundamentalism. It might not be strictly accurate, all the above applies, but I do think it is descriptive. I say this in light of a video I have just watched from Coughlan666. I’m not generally a Coughlan fan, his videos are not my cup of tea and I am not subbed to him. In fact I stumbled across his blogtv on one occasion and got booted out by him. So, credentials established, I’m not a Coughlan groupie.

In the video Coughlan reads out a number of messages he has received from atheists since he posted this video attacking Pat Condell, and quite frankly it’s disgusting. I’ll just quote a couple:
Continue reading Atheist fundamentalism?

what is this i don’t even

Paul Chambers, a 26 year-old man from Doncaster has been found guilty of posting an “indecent, obscene or menacing” tweet. Yes, a tweet, on Twitter. In his own words, the tweet was “innocuous hyperbole”. In other words, not harmful, offensive or meant to be taken seriously. Reading the tweet, I can certainly see that. Judge for yourselves:

Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!

Note that this was posted in the context of the airport being closed before he was due to fly. It was not actually directed at the airport, but when found by an employee was reported to the police, who arrested him. He has been fined£1,000 and now has a criminal record. Ever the gentleman, Stephen Fry has offered to shout the fine, but the man’s life will almost certainly take an unnecessary dent* from this fiasco and I can’t help but wonder how the average British tax-payer feels, knowing how the justice budget is being spent.

I found the Judge’s words to be the most staggering part of the story:

A district judge ruled the Tweet was “of a menacing nature in the context of the times in which we live”.

Tell me, what isn’t menacing in the context of the times in which we live? Have we really made so little progress in our efforts to combat terrorism over the last decade? What good is an expensive ‘War on Terror’ abroad if we still live in terror at our computers?

More painful though, is the ironic reference to context. Since, in the context of the times in which we live, isn’t this OBVIOUSLY a joke?

Apparently not.

Click here to follow this news on Twitter.

*Update: It seems Paul was half-way through his accountancy qualification. The conviction will officially prevent him from graduating. That makes me a sad panda.

If Men Look At My Wife The Universe Will Fold In On Itself

Seen this? A few days late with it, but I’m blithely unconcerned.

A Muslim woman has been fined for wearing a burka in a post office in Novara, Italy, after the mayor passed a law forbidding face-covering garb inside public buildings. Mayor Massimo Giordano could maybe be described as an Islamophobe, but as far as I’m concerned that’s like calling someone a murderophobe or a rapistophobe. It’s entirely rational to dislike or fear Islam, which makes it not a phobia but a very sensible intellectual stance.

Continue reading If Men Look At My Wife The Universe Will Fold In On Itself