Monday, March 30, 2015

Censorship row over app that takes swear words out of ebooks

This is just hysteria and has no legal standing.  Once you buy a book, it's yours.  You can burn it, pulp it or do whatever you like to it

As one person bluntly put, it is ‘f****** horrifying’. An app that blanks out swear words in e-books has prompted outrage among writers including Chocolat author Joanne Harris, who have accused it of censoring their work without permission.

Last night Mrs Harris, 50, took to her blog to write a scathing critique of the Clean Reader application which has been designed to help parents protect their children from explicit content.

It operates on a sliding scale from ‘clean’, which removes only the worst swear words, to ‘squeaky clean’ which even takes out ‘damn’.

Condemning the app on her blog, in a post titled ‘why I’m saying “f*** you” to Clean Reader’, Mrs Harris, whose book was turned into a Hollywood film starring Juliette Binoche, 51, and Johnny Depp, 51, likened the programme to examples of suppression from history.

She said: 'Anyone who works with words understands their power. Words, if used correctly, can achieve almost anything.

'To tamper with what is written – however much we may dislike certain words and phrases – is to embrace censorship.

‘We’ve been down this road before. We should know where it leads by now. It starts with blanking out a few words. It goes on to drape table legs and stick fig leaves onto statues.



Anonymous said...

If readers do not like what is written, they can choose not to read it. Parents can keep children away from books that they do not approve.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:37 AM, the subtlety you appear to be missing is that while we don't allow government to censor what we see, we certainly have that right with our own property. Or did I miss the tags on your font?

C. S. P. Schofield said...

Somebody needs to take these prima-conn writers aside and tell them, "Sweetie, nobody is proposing to edit your source code, so to say. All they are doing is changing copies to suit themselves, and once you sell them a copy, if they want to change the wording or cut it up for paper-dolls, that's their business. Suck. It. Up.

Anonymous said...

I assume Mrs Harris also opposes censoring other works like Noddy, and modernising Shakespeare?

slinky said...

These censorship programs are creating derivative works without the expressed consent of the author.

Anonymous said...


Taking what some consider objectionable words out of a copy of a book (the similarity in a "hard" copy would be blacking them out) COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE CONSTRUED as creating a derivative work since it is for only the purchaser's use. You can create a true derivative work and if you alone utilize it the author has no recourse.


Bird of Paradise said...

For all the sewer talking from Hollywod they need a sewage treatment plant in tinsletown