Monday, December 08, 2008

Fawkes Faux Feather Spit: 1976 Scorpions Artwork Suppressed

Clearly if someone or other vague that Mr GuF aka Guido Fawkes aka the convicted drunk driver, bankrupt and general reprobate Paul Staines can confuse with the government causes bits of the internet - specifically the Wiki page for the Scorpions likely dire new (immediate correction, 14:43) 1976 album "Virgin Killers" to be beyond reach as he claims here then that could of course seem to be a bad thing. The German schlock rock outfit still have an unedited wiki presence which has a para covering the controversy.

And no-one has to go very far to find even a family-orientated website and be one click from the image which caused this concern and action.

Presumably the block - via UK Internet Service Providers and at the instigation of the independent NGO the Internet Watch Foundation - on the album wiki page could be lifted immediately with a little common sense. If for example the image, which actually dates back to a 1976 sleeve from the band's fourth album, were removed from the page or a zoomed version (as above) used in its place. Or they could even use the real sleeve used on most of the records issued in most world territories (left).

The full image is at best very dodgy and at worst culpable under UK child pornography images law could be removed from the code of the page at a keystroke? Or indeed the block could be reduced to target only the image?

Even at the time of release, just as the band began to translate from cult following to major commercial success, it was replaced in many countries and according to the band's wiki:

In 1976, Scorpions released Virgin Killer. The album's cover featured a nude prepubescent girl covered with broken glass designed by the German branch of RCA Records[citation needed], their label at the time. The cover brought the band considerable criticism and was pulled or replaced in several countries. Despite the controversy, which lead singer Klaus Meine later expressed regret at the inappropriate cover, the album itself garnered significant praise for its music from critics and fans alike.

Klaus Meine is still the lead singer. But as it goes the band's own website either still use the original or have returned to it from what was to all intents and purposes the real sleeve. Artwork controversy was very much a marketing meme of 1976.

And no they'll probably not be removing it from the wiki page. The very dodgy image - in which a naked pre-pubescent child's genitalia is obscured only by what looks at first in thumbnails like a strangely placed microphone stand, but which is in fact a broken glass cover - is creating lots of column inches for the rock nasties with the nasty sting. Staines would surely do better to find an example of internet censorship where a potentially illegal and certainly offensive-to-many naked child image, albeit more than 30 years old, was not involved. If that is he wishes to further his "they've come to get us all" hysteria over internet censorship by governments.

UPDATE 15:11: Real sleeve image and relevant comments added.


labourparty said...

One point ducked by Fawkes is that under UK law a person who inadvertently viewed the uncensored original album cover may well have broken the law and end up on the Sex Offenders Register. As somebody who once owned the original album I'm well aware of the image and if I happened upon it via Wiki or elsewhere and was subsequently arrested for doing so I'd be well miffed (to say the least).

Chris Paul said...

Indeed. I must stress that the sleeve images here ARE NOT from my collection!