Tags: human rights


LJ Political FYI Re Breastfeeding and Indecency Policy

I felt compelled to spread the word about an LJ issue that's being looked at right now. I'm a proponent of free speech, but also a big believer in the "Right To Not Access", and obviously the application (and abuse) of obsenity laws ends up being a huge battleground for striking the balance between these two.

Short version, insofar as I can gather it:

A disgruntled user who had been warned about one of his icons being indecent decided to push back on LJ by raising the ire of lots of other users with icons he felt might also be targetable. He did this by lodging complaints to LJ against their icons, presumably hoping that LJ's consequent warnings to them would kick off an uprising from a larger community of users. Presumably, it worked.

Perhaps the most key issue that fell out of this was SixApart (the owners of LJ) deciding that icons depicting breastfeeding fell into this category because "users may be in locations where such images are inappropriate", thereby implying that breastfeeding itself would be inappropriate in some locations.

What seems to be (at first look) a very reasonable protest activity to reverse the resulting suspension of accounts and changes of LJ policy has been launched. The best link I've seen about it so far is this post on a breastfeeding community at something called GreatestJournal (which seems to my untrained eye to be a non-LJ blog site that's running the open LJ engine). The community journal has more recent posts describing a 24-hour journal-deletion boycott intended to make a dent in LJ's active user numbers and show support for reversal of this policy interpretation.

See also LJ's FAQ 111 re icon content restrictions.

LJ's overall policy (especially before the change of FAQ 111) doesn't seem outrageous to me (though it could use some tweaks), but the interpretations of it that have been made seem off the mark and implicitly dangerous. An apology and simple reversal of what was likely a hastily-made poor interpretation would easily set things right, it seems, and that's in essence what seems to be requested by the protest.

I invite and encourage comments from anyone with additional helpful links, clarifications or info.

(I also welcome discussion on the topic in general, but reserve the right to redirect it to a seperate post if it gets lengthy, just to keep this channel focussed on this specific issue.)

I wont be deleting my journal because my computer karma is shaky at best these days, and I'll likely do something stupid and permanently erase something. I did, however, want to pass on the word, and encourage others who feel this issue is important to look into it and/or do the same.

Thank you. (...and a shout out to merriehaskell, who spread the word such that I could see it (and whose LJ should be back online in about 24-36 hours).)