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Apple bans issue #12 of Brian K Vaughan's wonderful SAGA because it has a tiny picture of gay sex in the background

I am deeply uncomfortable with Apple acting as the moral police for the art they deliver on their devices. Have they ever banned a novel or a song for sexual content? Apple Bans Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga #12 Over Gay Sex Scenes | Tor.com
Earlier today Image Comics and comics writer Brian K. Vaughan reported that this week’s issue of Saga, the star-faring fantasy series written by Vaughan and drawn by Fiona Staples, has been banned from being sold “through any iOS apps” over two background depictions of gay sex in the issue. The move has puzzled the writer, publisher, comics industry, and readers of the series in regards to its inconsistency. Image Comics and Brian K. Vaughan had this to say regarding the matter: As has hopefully been clear from the first page of our first issue, SAGA is a series for the proverbial “mature reader.” Unfortunately, because of two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex, Apple is banning tomorrow’s SAGA #12 from being sold through any iOS apps. This is a drag, especially because our book has featured what I would consider much more graphic imagery in the past, but there you go. Fiona and I could always edit the images in question, but everything we put into the book is there to advance our story, not (just) to shock or titillate, so we’re not changing shit. The two (censored and safe-for-work) panels in question can be found here at The Comics Beat. As a reader of the series I can definitely confirm that the comic, a take on Star Wars that is more realistic while also somehow being more fairytale-esque, has depicted far more gruesome and sexual images in its pages. (Although it is mindful never to attach any glamour to them.) I mean... one of my favorite characters is the ghost of a child who has been torn in half, and that’s not even the craziest thing in the series. (Jill Pantozzi of The Mary Sue helpfully points out that this is the NSFW first page of the never-banned previous issue.)

April 05, 2013

Blackberry's new "share what I'm listening to" feature tells the whole about your porno habits

Oops. Blackberries That Tell Everyone You're Looking At Porn Are Part Of A Much Bigger Problem | ThinkProgress
BlackBerry 10 users who like to enjoy adult entertainment on their devices may want to think twice about opting into the device’s music sharing feature. While at first glance the “Show What I’m Listening To” feature sounds like it would merely share your music listening habits with your BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) contacts, what it actually does is record all activity in the media player and tells your friends and colleagues about it, regardless of content type. So many users turned this feature on thinking they would broadcast fairly benign information about what kind of music they enjoy, and instead wound up revealing something they would have preferred to keep private: “BBM records any usage of the phone’s media player and can push these visits and downloads to all messenger contacts, much like a status update. So your grandmother might be notified that you’ve been listening to the new Justin Timberlake album, or she might know that you have a fetish for, uh, granny porn.“ BlackBerry users unwittingly sharing porn preferences is not just an unfortunate (if funny) accident, it’s an example of how a lack of transparency about what information we are sharing online creates a wide gap between the experiences users want and what the ones they get. Facebook’s controversial Beacon advertising system revealed user purchases to friends with only an opt out mechanism, in some cases ruining big events like engagements.

April 02, 2013

Judge rules that reselling digital goods is criminal

Reselling Digital Goods Is Copyright Infringement, Judge Rules | Threat Level | Wired.com
A federal judge is declaring as unlawful a one-of-a-kind website enabling the online sale of pre-owned digital music files. ReDigi, which opened in late 2011, provides a platform to buy and sell used MP3s that were once purchased lawfully through iTunes. The case weighed the so-called first-sale doctrine, the legal theory that people in lawful possession of copyright material have the right to resell it. U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan, ruling in a suit brought by Vivendi’s Capitol Records, said the doctrine did not apply to digital goods. Saturday’s decision (.pdf) comes as online retailers such as Amazon and even Apple have patented platforms for the reselling of used digital goods such as books, music, videos and apps. Judge Sullivan’s ruling, if it withstands appellate scrutiny, likely means used digital sales venues must first acquire the permission of rights holders. “The novel question presented in this action is whether a digital music file, lawfully made and purchased, may be resold by its owner through ReDigi under the first sale doctrine. The court determines that it cannot,” the judge ruled. The reason, the judge ruled, is because copying, or an illegal “reproduction” of a music file, takes place, despite ReDigi’s claims to the contrary.