One man’s art is another man’s pornography

There’s an interesting debate happening in cyberspace at the moment. It concerns album cover of the 1976 album by Scorpions called Virgin Killers (shown alongside). Apparently six British ISPs (Virgin Media, Be/O2/Telefonica, EasyNet/UK Online, PlusNet, Demon and Opal) are inadvertently filtering all access to Wikipedia after the site was added to an Internet Watch Foundation child-pornography blacklist.

There are a number of updates on The Register outlining whats happening as the events unfold, with the latest step being a statement issued by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) saying:

A Wikipedia web page, was reported through the IWF’s online reporting mechanism in December 2008. As with all child sexual abuse reports received by our Hotline analysts, the image was assessed according to the UK Sentencing Guidelines Council (page 109). The content was considered to be a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under the age of 18, but hosted outside the UK. The IWF does not issue takedown notices to ISPs or hosting companies outside the UK, but we did advise one of our partner Hotlines abroad and our law enforcement partner agency of our assessment. The specific URL (individual webpage) was then added to the list provided to ISPs and other companies in the online sector to protect their customers from inadvertent exposure to a potentially illegal indecent image of a child.

Now, gettings yourself off a blacklist can be as difficult as getting industrial clamps off your car, but I’m sure Wikipedia will be able to swing it somehow. We’ll just have to watch what happens, but there are also some interesting questions about the powers behind Wikipedia that keep popping up, particularly around their transparency.


  1. I’m sure it will be quite difficult but I do have to agree that the picture is rather dubious – it looks more like S&M than anything pornographic but for most there is not much difference anyway. True – one man’s art is another’s pornography.

  2. The thing I find disturbing about the pic is that it looks like a very young girl. Where are her boobs? I would be less offended to see naked woman-boobs than a naked little girl.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.