Wikipedia Stung Over Scorpions

How controversial is the cover art for a Scorpions album released 32 years ago?

Controversial enough for United Kingdom regulatory agency, the Internet Watch Foundation, to blacklist the Scorpions entry on the U.K. version of Wikipedia, reports InformationWeek.

The watch group blacklisted the site Dec. 6, citing a user report claiming child sex abuse. After viewing the entry for the German band, the group determined the cover art for the album Virgin Killer was a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under 18. The album cover, which depicts a nude girl, is included as part of the Wikipedia entry.

“The IWF does not issue takedown notices to ISPs or hosting companies outside the U.K., but we did advise one of our partner Hotlines abroad and our law enforcement partner agency of our assessment,” the group stated on its Web site. “The specific URL was then added to the list provided to ISPs and other companies in the online sector to protect their customers from inadvertent exposure to a potentially illegal indecent image of a child.”

Photo: Chris McKay /
Atlanta gets a blast of air-guitar when the Scorpions and singer Klaus Meine rock the HiFi Buys Amphitheatre.

Along with the Scorpions blockade on the U.K. Wikipedia, U.K. users complained about performance issues on the site, including problems editing articles.

Because 95 percent of U.K. ISPs use the IWF blacklist to filter out objectionable content, IWF’s listing of the Scorpions entry is being blamed for Wikipedia access problems.

“We have no reason to believe the article, or the image contained in the article, has been held to be illegal in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world,” said Wikimedia Foundation’s general counsel, Mike Godwin. “We believe it’s worth noting that the image is currently visible on Amazon, where the album can be freely purchased by U.K. residents. It is available on thousands of Web sites that are accessible to the U.K. public.”