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Wikimedia Censors Wikinews 180

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wikileaks has revealed that the Wikimedia Foundation Board (which controls Wikipedia and Wikinews) has killed off a Wikinews report into the Barbara Bauer vs. Wikimedia Foundation lawsuit. Wikinews is a collaborative news site and is meant to be editorially independent from the WMF. The WMF office also suppressed a Wikinews investigation into child and other pornography on Wikipedia, which was independently covered by ValleyWag and other outlets this week. The US Communications Deceny Act section 230 grants providers of internet services (such as the Wikipedia and Wikinews) immunity from legal action related to their user-generated content provided they do not exercise pre-publication control. In deleting articles critical of the WMF prior to publication, Wikileaks says the Wikimedia Foundation may have set a dangerous precedent that could remove all of its CDA section 230 immunity (at least for Wikinews, where the control was exercised)."
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Wikimedia Censors Wikinews

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  • by tmk (712144) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @12:49PM (#23446732)
    I had a look in the in the deletion log [wikinews.org].

    # 22:51, 9 May 2008 Brianmc (Talk | contribs) deleted "Child pornography scandal erupts on Wikipedia; FBI to investigate" (content was: '#REDIRECT Wikinews:Story preparation/Child pornography scandal erupts on Wikipedia; FBI to investigate' (and the only contributor was 'DragonFire1024'))
    # 22:33, 9 May 2008 Brianmc (Talk | contribs) deleted "Wikinews:Story preparation/Child pornography scandal erupts on Wikipedia; FBI to investigate" (Factually incorrect, Valleywag is not credible)
    So it seems the article was not deleted by the Wikimedia Foundation but by an Wikinews admin.
  • Some more digging (Score:5, Informative)

    by tmk (712144) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:01PM (#23446776)
    The Wikinews discussion about the story is here [wikinews.org].

    Wikipedia Signpost has another take [wikipedia.org] on the porno conflict.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:03PM (#23446790) Homepage

    Ars Technica had this story weeks ago. [arstechnica.com] EFF has filed a motion to quash [eff.org] (EFF site currently overloaded), and they'll probably win.

    As Ars Technica points out, the effect of this lawsuit is to widely disseminate the information that this little-known literary agency is a dud.

  • by mgoren (73073) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:05PM (#23446804)
    Could someone please point me to where the info comes from that pre-publication editing broadly affects CDA 230 immunity? I know that significant pre-publication editing of specific user-generated comments / submissions could affect immunity related to those comments / submissions. But I was not under the impression that it affects immunity as it relates to the rest of the site. Generally CDA 230 immunity is quite broad, unlike the DMCA safe harbor which relies on lack of knowledge.

    in part:

    CDA 230(c)(2) Civil liability
    No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of--
    (A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected;
  • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:09PM (#23446830)
    I wonder how much of this is just a thoughtless mistake. Wikipedia itself has a quote in (at least) one of it's help sections (pertaining to article editing):
    "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." And let's face it, the top management at Wikipedia (and many other organizations) often do a lot a stupid things despite themselves.

    Also talk about FUD; the "child pornography" they were talking about is of album art from a famous heavy metal rock band:

    The cover is from a 1976 album of the Scorpions titled 'Virgin Killer' and has the image of an underage girl, posing nude, with an crack crossing over her genitals, but nothing blocking out her breasts. The girl appears to be around 10-years-old.
    - Ref. http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikinews_suppressed_Wikipedia_pornography_investigation [wikileaks.org]
  • by xaxa (988988) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:17PM (#23446880)
    You should probably look at the album cover and decide for yourself whether it's child pornography or not. Here it is [wikipedia.org].

    The Bible-bashers should punish their kids. It's not Wikipedia's problem if their kids are looking up autofellatio on Wikipedia (one of their other complaints).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 17, 2008 @01:52PM (#23447064)
    its that virgin killer album isn't it? no i haven't even looked i'm just guessing, i know a couple of music sites that got raided over it.


    Its on amazon.com for fucks sakes http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B0000073NK/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_1?ie=UTF8&index=1 [amazon.com]
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Saturday May 17, 2008 @02:41PM (#23447346) Journal
    Which just goes to show everyone how freaking insane this "pedo" witch hunt is getting: It is a freaking Scorpions album cover people!!!! What is next, are they going to lock up everyone who has the original Blind Faith album, since it has a topless 14 year old holding an airplane? It isn't like we all don't know what real kiddie porn is, and IMHO it is truly the height of insanity to compare a 70's album cover to horribly abused children. But that is my 02c,YMMV.
  • by ericgoldman (1250206) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @03:00PM (#23447452) Homepage
    The post says "The US Communications Deceny Act section 230 grants providers of internet services (such as the Wikipedia and Wikinews) immunity from legal action related to their user-generated content provided they do not exercise pre-publication control." But this is factually inaccurate. 230 applies even if a website exercises editorial control prior to publication. See, e.g., Blumenthal v. Drudge. Eric.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @03:03PM (#23447474) Homepage Journal
    The age of consent in the United States varies from 16 to 18. With exceptions for teachers, parents, and others in authority, it's 16 in more than half the states.

    In most countries the age of consent is 14-18. It's lower in a few and higher in a few. 16 is not "waay higher" than 14.

    The differences between the white-English-speaking and non-English-speaking and non-white world:
    * we are generally more prudish, especially about nude art
    * "15 will get you 20" instead of a few months
    * The enforced close-in-age exceptions are narrower. A 20 year old man with his 14 year old fiancee here would face prosecution, elsewhere he will be given a shotgun wedding.
    * More than a few nude photos of infants and toddlers in your family scrap-book will get you thrown in jail.
    * Teens sharing pictures of themselves with their friends get prosecuted
  • by willyhill (965620) <pr8wak@nOSPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday May 17, 2008 @04:44PM (#23448022) Homepage Journal
    I'm not going to add to the actual discussion at hand, but at the risk of dating myself, I have to mention that Pretty Baby was a huge controversy even before it was released. Theaters refused to run even the post-censorship sanitized version, various Defenders Of Decency Organizations panned it, it was all over the news, etc.

    I saw the cut version a few years later and quite frankly I couldn't see what the problem was, but what do I know.

    Compare Pretty Baby to Blue Lagoon, another prepubescent skin flick featuring Brooke Shields (this woman sure knew what she was doing I guess). Same controversy, pretty much. Even more so in the early 80s because the prude movement was starting to grow exponentially by then in response to the perceived excesses of the 60s and 70s.

    But Pretty Baby was a huge deal back in the day.

    OK, now I'll go back to playing Pong on my PDP-10.

  • by jonfr (888673) * on Saturday May 17, 2008 @06:12PM (#23448680) Homepage
    Pirate Bay is your friend. There is a torrent for it.

    http://thepiratebay.org/tor/3554440/Pretty.Baby._Brooke_Shields__Susan_Sarandon__(1978) [thepiratebay.org]

    or buy it from amazon or some dvd store near you.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pretty-Baby-Keith-Carradine/dp/B000KQGX46/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1211065895&sr=1-1 [amazon.co.uk]
  • by wkcole (644783) on Saturday May 17, 2008 @09:42PM (#23449982)

    Could someone please point me to where the info comes from that pre-publication editing broadly affects CDA 230 immunity?

    The hallucinations of the article author?

    Prior to CDA, US case law was converging on a problematic standard. It was looking like providers at all layers would be held legally responsible for defamatory or otherwise illegal content carried on their facilities if they practiced any prior restraint at all or if they engaged in ex post facto removal of content that was less than perfect, with a lot of fuzziness in how strong an editorial approach would trigger liability. Exercising editorial control of any sort opened providers to lawsuits over actions taken or not taken, because determining whether a provider was a "speaker" or "publisher" or "secondary publisher" would have to be determined by a trial of fact.

    The point of the part of the CDA that became 47USC230(c) was to eliminate that problem and the endless litigation trap that the rest of the CDA would have created otherwise. Probably more important than part 2 was part 1:

    (1) Treatment of publisher or speaker No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

    That effectively immunizes any service provider from being held responsible for defamation or obscenity someone else writes that they end up providing to their users, and it has no exceptions. Part 2 does have exceptions for actions not taken in good faith but having dabbled in bad faith editorial judgments doesn't kill the immunity given in part 1.

  • Re:I'm just guessing (Score:2, Informative)

    by tehmorph (844326) <<james> <at> <balvedastudios.com>> on Sunday May 18, 2008 @07:21AM (#23452250) Homepage Journal
    Speaking as someone who does edit on WN, there's a process- you write your article and usually share it with several others in development with the {{develop}} tag, and then when it's ready to go you tag it with the {{ready}} template. Peer review decides when to put the {{publish}} template on, where it is subsequently 'released' by an administrator (Added to the homepage and so on). I believe the censorship in question took place while the article was being reviewed for release.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court