A British anti-child abuse watchdog group has reversed its decision to blacklist a Wikipedia page showing a controversial 1976 album cover after protests over censorship.

Most British Internet service providers had blocked users from accessing the image of a prepubescent naked girl on the cover of the "Virgin Killer" album by the Scorpions, a German heavy-metal band, after the Internet Watch Foundation ruled on Dec. 5 that it was a "potentially illegal indecent image."

But the picture was accessible on many other Web sites, and some argued that, while provocative, it was an artistic historical artifact and should not be banned.

On Monday night, the IWF accepted that its ban had been counter-productive after the controversy had prompted millions more to view the image.

It said in a statement, "The IWF Board has considered these findings and the contextual issues involved in this specific case and, in light of the length of time the image has existed and its wide availability, the decision has been taken to remove this Web page from our list.

"IWF's overriding objective is to minimize the availability of indecent images of children on the Internet. However, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect. We regret the unintended consequences for Wikipedia and its users. Wikipedia have been informed of the outcome of this procedure and IWF Board's subsequent decision."

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