Monday, December 08, 2008

Wikipedia blocked by UK ISPs


According to the BBC several ISPs have partially or completely blocked access to Wikipedia. Their reasons are that the Wikimedia group are hosting an image of the cover art of the Scorpions' album Virgin Killer. The artwork shows a naked, prepubescent girl with a cracked glass effect overlaid to cover her crotch, which would otherwise be fairly prominent. The image is easy enough to find on Google. As the BBC explain, the image isn't being blocked in any other countries. In the US it clearly falls under the definition of 'art'. I can understand why some pleb would voice their concern over the issue to the relevant authorities as the image is somewhat suggestive (although compared to the rest of the torrid material easily viewable over teh interweb these days it is harmless). What I can't understand is why some ISPs are reported to have blocked Wikipedia completely. There is no justification for this. Most of them have only blocked the page containing the image itself. To block one of the most popular sites on the net is absurd. You don't even need to block the page- you can just block the image, leaving the text intact. This smacks of an outright assault upon the legitimacy and credibility of the Wikipedia project.


The Guardian now has an article up on this and adds to the story by stating that the Internet Watch Foundation- the bunch of twats who initiated this debacle by declaring the album cover to be "child pornography"- are now considering blacklisting Amazon US as well as Wikipedia for hosting an image of the album art! Its all just so pathetically reactionary and desperately overprotective that I can't help but hope they do. Amazon will undoubtedly sue their nuts off for such an extreme overreaction to a piece of art that has been in the public domain for decades. Amazon stand to lose a heap of business from lost access to their site and when the case makes it to court the actions of the IWF and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection agency that advise them will be microscopically scrutinised and heavily criticised.

Additional addition:

The insanity of this move has been acknowledged. The IWF has realised that its move brought the image in question to a far wider audience than if it had just ignored it and it has consequently reversed the ban and liberated Wikipedia and Amazon. Furthermore, the IWF has opened up its previous rulings to reinterpretation in light of their "context". Something that should obviously be taken into account in light of the propensity of art to focus upon the female form, whatever its age.

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