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10th January

 Update: What a bunch of big girl's blouses...

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Chinese TV censors ludicrously cut cleavage from popular TV series. (Just like Thai TV censors too)
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empress of china There's been a bit of an online backlash in China over censors cutting all cleavage from scenes in a popular TV drama about China's only female emperor.

The drama, The Empress of China , also known as the Saga of Wu Zetian was pulled from the schedules of commercial satellite station Hunan TV for technical reasons late last month, Xinhua reported.

When it returned a few days later, the show, starring the famous Chinese actress Fan Bingbing in the title role of Wu Zetian had been conspicuously edited.

Scenes of female characters, with cleavage showing dressed in period costume, had been cropped out, leaving only close-ups of their heads.

The Global Times insisted that a system of control was necessary. it wrote in a propaganda piece: 

The reality is that censorship exists in many countries and it is unlikely to be reversed in China.

Changes to The Empress of China sparked fury among mainland internet users, who argued that censors had gone too far. An online survey released by the Sina Weibo microblogging service on Monday found that nearly 95% of respondents disapproved of the censorship of The Empress of China.

Some mainland bloggers, who renamed the drama The Saga of Wu's Squeezed Breasts , mocked the decision by censors. They circulated a series of edited pictures on social media, showing people how to highlight the head and hide the breasts when it comes to other characters.

The Global Times newspaper noted the defiance in an editorial:

While the censorship was largely done out of moral concerns, the resulting public outcry should serve as a warning for the future. While it is powerful, censorship lacks authority. In this sense, when using censorship, more considerations should be given to public opinion to garner support and avoid similar incidents.

 

5th January

  Netflix Goes all Territorial...

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Netflix website disables access via VPN and proxy
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netflix logo Netflix is starting to block subscribers who access its service using VPN services and other tools that bypass geolocation restrictions. The changes, which may also affect legitimate users, have been requested by the movie studios who want full control over what people can see in their respective countries.

Due to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library.

Some people bypass these content and access restrictions by using VPNs or other circumvention tools that change their geographical location. This makes it easy for people all around the world to pay for access to the U.S. version of Netflix, for example.

The movie studios are not happy with these deviant subscribers as it hurts their licensing agreements. Previously entertainment industry sources in Australia complained bitterly that tens of thousands of Netflix VPN-pirates were hurting their business .

Over the past weeks Netflix has started to take action against people who use certain circumvention tools. Thus far the actions are limited in scope, so not all VPN users may experience problems just yet. However, TorGuard is one of the VPN providers which noticed a surge in access problems by its users, starting mid-December.

Netflix is reportedly testing a variety of blocking methods. Eg querying the user's time zone through the web browser or mobile device GPS and comparing it to the timezone of their IP-address.

TorGuard told us that if Netflix continues with a strict ban policy, they will provide an easy solution to bypass the blocks. Other services, such as Unblock-us are also suggesting workarounds to their customers.

 

21st November

  Outrage Light...

Having fun with beer from the Austrian town of Fucking
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fucking hell beer A beer, which its creators claim is named after the town of Fucking in Austria has created a little 'outrage' after its promotional ad appeared on the website of the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party.

The beer in question is a light beer, so because the German word for light is hell , the beer has been named accordingly.

In 2010 the Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union said that it had thrown out a complaint after people brought it to their attention that the trademarked name Fucking Hell was upsetting, accusatory and derogatory, reported the Austrian Times. The release from the office concluded:

The word combination claimed contains no semantic indication that could refer to a certain person or group of persons. Nor does it incite a particular act. It cannot even be understood as an instruction that the reader should go to hell.

 

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