Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

 

A leading music website has censored album covers by artists including Sigur Rós and Lambchop after they fell foul of a Google ban on “sexually explicit content”.

Drowned in Sound (DiS) was told that the covers, which include scenes of nudity, could no longer be shown on web pages which sit alongside Google’s advertising network.

The award winning website, which relies upon income from Google’s advertising exchange to help cover its server costs, has begun to cover up the offending artworks. DiS, which recorded 28.5 million page views last year, was told that it would be blocked from accessing Google’s advertising network within days if it failed to comply.

Sean Adams, who founded DiS in 2000, said that “it seems crazy that they feel they can police our editorial” and questioned whether Google might one day seek the removal of material which could seriously compromise freedom of expression.

The cover of Sigur Rós’ 2008 album, Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust, which features naked buttocks, incorporates an image by the acclaimed American photographer, Ryan McGinley.

Cheeky: the cover of Sigur Rós’ 2008 album, 'Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust' Cheeky: the cover of Sigur Rós’ 2008 album, 'Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust'
Another offending cover, OH (Ohio) by Lambchop, features a painting called New Orleans Police Beating by Michael Peed. Its image of naked lovers is designed to contrast scenes of intimacy with violence outside.

Google said it could not comment on an individual case. A spokesman said: “Our policies for websites make clear that we will not serve ads to websites with adult or mature content. This policy has been in place for a long time and nothing has changed recently.”

The search engine is seeking to distance itself from the porn industry. The warning to DiS comes after Google sent a message to advertisers last month, notifying them that it will no longer accept adverts “that promote graphic depictions of sexual acts”.

This included content such as hardcore pornography and the depiction of masturbation and genital, anal and oral sexual acts.

The message read: “We ask that you make any necessary changes to your ads and sites to comply so that your campaigns can continue to run.”

The original, uncensored, cover for the Lambchop album 'OH (Ohio)' The original, uncensored, cover for the Lambchop album 'OH (Ohio)'
The policy change relates to AdWords, Google’s advertising platform that places ads on Google sites as well as third-party websites that can use Google to make money.

It is likely to be a coincidence that publishers like Drowned in Sound received a notification asking them to remove explicit material.

Sites like Drowned in Sound, which use Google’s DoubleClick or AdSense advertising services, would only need to alter the code on their pages rather than self-censor their content.

But sources indicated that the search engine could examine whether its new policy was being applied too rigorously.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

    £27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

    Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

    £20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Web Designer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor