“not allowed to produce obscene material which are defined as such by US law”


I yesterday installed the Onenote version I purchased on ebay and think that might have been a mistake, for two reasons.

I want to use it on my tablet but due to some errors with another ebay auction for an office version for this tablet, I installed it on the big computer instead of here. Will be interesting to see whether or not I can use it here as I wanted to. But I digress.

From time to time I do read end user licence agreements, because they are funny. I do this in the knowledge, that not all terms will apply even though I might say yes to them, because it is not effectual with our law. But sometimes Eulas just are plain plain stupid, annoying and dumb. Like this one of the Eula of Onenote and probably the other applications of MS too:

Sie sind nicht berechtigt, mit Hilfe der Medienelemente obszöne oder skandalöse Werke zu erstellen, die zum Zeitpunkt der Erstellung des Werks durch US-Bundesgesetze als solche definiert sind.

Which roughly translated means:

With these media elements, you are not allowed to produce obscene or scandalous work, which are defined as such by US laws at the moment of creation

It does also say “US-Bundesgesetze” which I am not sure if this means general laws in the US or by state basis.

Hello? McFly, someone at home? Feel free to see this as question to Microsoft, the legal team, the team which manages licenses for buying these media elements, the US and the people making those laws, who ever is of the opinion this would be anything somebody would “respect”.

Besides the fact, that I have no clue what the exact laws on this are, I do know, that my view of obscene is definitely different from the U.S. view as in what I do get as reactions from some people. Not all Americans are the same, but there are too many with the wrong attitude. Don’t believe me? Well, you have not gotten hate mail about your obscene published sound files as i have.

We had this discussions over and over again on for example the podcasters mailing list on yahoo and my conclusion was: Americans tend to have a very ‘funny’ sense of what obscene is. Which at first was for me easily to ignore / accepts as just different cultural views and backgrounds.

But the more and more I am reading about this, talking to people sharing those views where I thought they would be more evolved, and seeing examples like the ones in the eula slowly coming into my daily life, I am getting more and more worried. It started with small things and it is getting bigger.

I have been reading the blogosphere now for roughly 3 years, especially US blogs which I have not read before. And even in those three years I can see a steady decline in tolerance and an increase in “moral values”. I have said it before and I will say it again: The arabic world has been the reason why medieval Europe got science and other knowledge and they have declined into a dark medieval state we see today.

If you think about it, where is the general difference between forced school prayers and schools driven by mullahs? Where is the difference between “an outrage about obscene nipplegate” and forcing women into burkas so they do not show themselves to male eyes?

Would America in general vote for a person as president who does not go to church every week? Who has had an divorce? Who stated, that (s)he is an atheist of an agnostic?

Think about it for a minute. The differences are not as big as you would like them to be.

I watched the last election of the US president live (german television was reporting the whole night with features, live comments and so on) and one quote from somebody I think in Ohio stuck with me: “Yeah .. I lost my job and we have no jobs here because of the republicans .. everything is bad and the republicans are the reasons for it. So you will vote for Kerry? Yes, it would probably help to vote democrat for this, but no, because he is for gay marriage!”

They meant it. And other than arabic countries, that country has dollars, atomic bombs and highly trained military. It already has started a war in a country with a lie as a reason. It has not only a president, but also many followers, who states that the powers of this country are to be used to protect it not only of existing threats but also of possible threats to the US in the future. What is next on the list?

Well, I am living in Europe, which to some US citizens is like Sodom and Gomorrah. And we do speak English and we are capable of sending our messages / images / sounds through the internet. Are we next?

And before you say nonsense to me, think about it for a minute again. And perhaps more than just a minute.

Next elections are 2008 in America. It takes some time to reach people, so the time to start working on it is now. I am not sure if that is enough of a change to get them back on track to a democratic, tolerating society, but I have to hope for it.

And for people on the other side of the pond, there are elections as well for people in power.

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3 Responses to ““not allowed to produce obscene material which are defined as such by US law””

  1. Podchef says:

    I weep.
    I weep for my fellow countrymen (or is it countrypersons?) who read this and feel their blood pressure rise. With only 17% of Americans with Passports is it any wonder we have such a limited view? It’s as if the Puritains came yesterday. For those of us in the 17%–the Americans Europe knows and loves, we see beyond the borders, but it still does not mean we’re not blind.
    We few are lucky enough to have the cash or vision to travel. (These days, in the Bush economy, my vision is stronger than my bank account. . . .) Our country, founded on religious freedom and claiming separation of church and state is so bound up with religious right-wing extreamism, everything is distorted out of perspective.
    I live among this fundamental crowd and constantly have my views, values and opinions shouted down in the name of Christianity, Republicanism and God. You are correct (I hesitated to use the work “right” for a moment). Fundamentalism–extreamism is extreamism no matter what God you purport to get your message from; and it is the new religion in America.
    Where I find the federal government most skewed is at the local, state level. Not just mistakes in Louisiana’s Governor vs. Mayor Nagan, but in my state as well. Bi-partisan politics in a small village is crazy. The people who run the city should not be standing on republican or democratic platforms for their elected positions. And yet it happens and the problems start there. Crazy fundamentalist republicans are everywhere spreading their gospel truth like the plauge. Corrupting the innocent in ways far worse than a 10 second view a nipple on tv or the word “phallus” on the radio, or a sexy voice saying “wake up sleepy head”.
    Obscenity is in the eye of the beholder. It is a shame that we allow the government in power to be our eyes and moral compass.

  2. Nicole says:

    I agree on thinking about wording like correct / right and others, it is difficult to demand (yes demand) more tolerance when in fact I do the same thing I accuse them to do – “share my view”.

    Still, I do have the feeling that there is a difference, and I do not condemn all Americans as being going back to the 13th century; there are *a lot* of people not sharing those views or encouraging them.

    But the solution is not intellectuals an open minds leaving the country and letting the rest alone. And it will not be just talking / writing about it either to change those minds. :(

  3. Joost says:

    Felt the need to let you know that I completley agree with you Nicole