Voluntary Censorship

Who is doing the Censoring, items #5 and #6

5. Voluntary - by the artist (artists, directors, producers)

6. Voluntary - by the company (Producers, distributors, publishing houses)


Ideally, the artist himself will do the censoring. He will know what is in good taste and what is not.

He will know what is appropriate, and what is not.

Often a creation is more than one artist. When one proposes or creates something in bad taste, others will know that it should be cut.

This is the ideal way it should be.


Beyond that, the censorship of art goes up the chain of command.

Those who pay for the production have a say in what can and cannot be put out.

If they do not like something, they have every right to tell the artist to change it.

The artist can change it, or try to explain his views.

But the movie studio, the publishing house, the recording studio... they get final say. If it is beyond what they want, they have every right to not put that item out.

That record is scrapped. That film is no more. No book, no article.


These producers do have a moral obligation. If the art is in any way in bad taste or offensive, they have the right, and the moral duty, to not let it be made.


If the artist is determined, then he can hunt for another company that will produce his art. Further, if the artist cannot find anyone to produce it, he can find ways to finance the art himself - if he is that committed, then he has that right. That is part of our freedom of speech, and our free economy.


If the item is produced - whether the original company let it be produced or the artist went with someone else - and still it is offensive, then censorship goes a step further: the distributors and retail stores.

Everyone in the industry has the right to not produce the art or promote it.

Just as the artist can create his work, the people can respond. If it is very bad taste, if it oversteps the boundaries, even if it is questionable, then everyone in the industry has a right to not promote it. Some will, some wont. Some will agree with the art, some will be offended by it. That is America and Free Speech. And those who are offended have every right not to promote or sell the art, just as those who agree with it have the right to sell it.


In Music: a station has a right not to play a song; a record store has the right not to sell it; distributors have the right not to ship it.

In film: theaters have a right not to show a movie; television stations have a right not to let it be advertised on their station.

In books: bookstores and distributors have a right not to carry a book, or to advertise it.


If the art is not so much offensive as it is an idea that certain people do not like, then we may want to look at the censorship from the other side. There will be people who do understand the idea, they will sell it, and will carry it. With Freedom of Speech and a Free Economy, if the people want the art, it will be sold and promoted.


Remember, just as the artists have the right to express themselves - to censor themselves or to be offensive to some people - so it is that all the people in the industry have rights. They have the right to produce or to notproduce the art. They have the right to promote it or not promote it.

Further, all the people in the business have a moral obligation to keep offensive art in check.