Google has been pressuring at least one music website to censor album art considered “sexually explicit”, including the cover for Sigur Rós’ Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust.
The Independent reports that popular music website Drowned in Sound (DiS) has been told by Google that they must censor or remove “sexually explicit” album art from their site. Financially speaking, DiS has little choice but to comply:
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 Sigur Rós cover photo was done by award-winning photographer Ryan McGinley, and features four naked pairs of buttocks. Despite how tame the photo might be to some viewers, this is one of the many album covers Google has deemed “sexually explicit”.
Sigur Rós has faced such charges before. In 2008, the original video to their song “Gobbledigook” was removed from YouTube for featuring nudity. It can now be viewed, uncut and uncensored, only by confirming the viewer is at least 18 years old.