Today's Music News
Censorship row has begun over the Scorpions’ 1976 album cover08 December 2008 - Several British Internet Service Providers have blocked access to part of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, because of an album cover by Scorpions.
The web page showed the front cover of the German rock band's album, Virgin Killer, which features an image of a naked child.
The ISP’s decision to block the content came after complaints that the page was indecent, were reported to the Internet Watch Foundation.
Sarah Robertson, from the UK-based IWF, raised the alarm and told BBC 5 Live: “We received a report last week from a member of the public who was obviously worried they had stumbled across content which might be illegal.”
Robertson went on to say that the image was deemed a Level 1 indecent image of a child, but added that they are not involved with the legality of the original album cover from 1976.
“We can only apply today’s standards and today’s legislation,” she said. “The Protection Of Children Act came in in 1978. I understand the actual release of the album predates that.
"We received a report last week from a member of the public who was obviously worried they had stumbled across content which might be illegal."
Internet Watch Foundation
“I’m not aware whether or not there have been prosecutions on the album cover, but I do understand, that particular cover was banned in most countries and replaced with an alternative one.
“But essentially we’re not involved in that debate, about the morals or otherwise of the album. What we’re involved in is assessing the image that came into us last week on Wikipedia.”
Wikipedia is hosted abroad so the IWF does not have the remit to issue notices there, but their job involves collating a list of live URLs, of specific web pages, which feature indecent content.
The UK ISP’s have access to that list, which prompted them to bar the Wikipedia webpage.
As for what happens now, Robertson explained: “We’ve been in discussion with Wikipedia and we’ve evoked our complaints and appeals procedure.
“So we’re consulting now with senior law enforcement and senior IWF staff, to invoke that procedure.”
Wikimedia, the parent company of Wikipedia, has posted a statement on it's website, saying:
"Due to censorship by the UK self-regulatory agency the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), most UK residents can no longer edit the volunteer-written encyclopedia, nor can they access an article in it describing a 32-year-old album by German rock group the Scorpions.
"'We have no reason to believe the article, or the image contained in the article, has been held to be illegal in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world,' said the Wikimedia Foundation's General Counsel, Mike Godwin.
"'The IWF didn't just block the image; it blocked access to the article itself, which discusses the image in a neutral, encyclopedic fashion,' said Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.
"Wikipedia's editors take care to ensure the quality of the content of the encyclopedia, and to safeguard the core community values of freedom, independence, and neutrality.
"The Wikimedia Foundation will continue its discussions with IWF to resolve this matter."