Friday, January 12, 2007

Banned By Gilbert O'Sullivan, And Official Response

For those too young to remember, Gilbert O'Sullivan is a wonderfully melodic singer/songwriter and sensitive soul who, like Donovan, has disappeared from view. I'm a bit of a YouTube addict (ABBA plus 60's and 70's female pop stars, mainly) and while favoriting videos was happy to rediscover Gilbert and learn that he was not only still recording music but had his own site.

While there I discovered this image which is on the sleeve of his new CD-

Gilberta O'StarMole's 'Justice for Palestinians, Peace for Israelis' t-shirt image and surrounding 'bullies' headlines, art inspired by the inside sleeve of Gilbert O'Sullivan's 'A Scruff At Heart' album
Gilberta O'StarMole

The above is an artistic interpretation of the original Gilbert O'Sullivan sleeve, which I removed from this site after the Gilbert O'Sullivan webmaster raised concerns about my using copyrighted material without permission; see update at the end of this post.

In Mr. O'Sullivan's guestbook, I left this, I thought, reasonable entry-

I was watching some of your old videos on YouTube, read a blurb about you on Wikipedia, and felt sad that you had once said that 'no one cared' any longer about your music. I've always been a big fan and was very glad to see that you had a site and was receiving some online encouragement.

But then I saw the statement as part of your new CD equating the Palestinian and Israeli political situations. It's harmful to encourage people to believe the conflict between the only true democracy in the Middle East and terrorists who have vowed to destroy the Israeli people, and who continue to purposefully murder women and children, can somehow be considered morally equivalent. The Palestinian people suffer, but that's because of their own corrupt leadership and not Israel, which time and again has offered them autonomy in exchange for peace which they continue to refuse to accept.

All the best to you.

I can report that Gilbert O'Sullivan remains a sensitive soul because in response to my rejected entry I was immediately banned (which I realized when greeted by a headline stating 'Currently you cannot make entries. You are banned'. Try it yourself). My mistake must have been commenting upon the very subject Mr. Sullivan himself raised as part of his own work. Guestbooks can be coded to automatically ban anyone who includes certain words in their comments, such as 'Palestinian' 'terrorists' and 'Israel.' If you look through his guestbook you'll see it is absent of similar references.

To the oddities in my online resume I can now add Banned by Gilbert O'Sullivan. Excelsior!

Originally posted Friday, December 22, 2006 at 1:37 AM.

The webmaster at Gilbert O' sends this email-

Hi Dan,

I read your piece about supposedly been banned from the Gilbert O'Sullivan Guest Book with interest. I'm the webmaster of the Official Gilbert O'Sullivan website and I decide what entries go into the website guest book. To set the record straight your entry never made it's way through to me. It was probably blocked before it got to me, as you guessed yourself, because of some of the terms you used.

By the way I also never received a request from you to use the copyrighted photograph from the album sleeve that you copied from the official site and are now using on yours.

Kind regards,

(name withheld)

Well, that's what I said.

As for using copyrighted material, Mr. O'Sullivan made a newsworthy political statement and I in turn commented upon it and showed what it was. Photographs of the A Scruff At Heart album cover are all over the web; here they are on a Japanese, a German, and a French site, although images of the inside sleeve are much harder to find. However, to avoid legal action from Gilbert O'Sullivan ('Gilbert O'Sullivan sues Faithmouse'-now that would be a surreal headline) I've replaced the original image with a wholey artistic interpretation. If I'm in any other manner infringing upon the Gilbert O'Sullivan copyright I will certainly set that right as well. Those who wish to see the original 'Justice for Palestinians, Peace for Israelis' sleeve and Mr. O'Sullivan's personal response to an observation similar to mine will need to visit here.

Bob Dylan long ago made the definitive statement regarding the 'neighborhood bully' as I pointed out in my Pieces For Israel cartoon and post from August of 2005.

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