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sugapablo Donating Member (483 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 03:10 PM
Original message
Government Defends 1998 Anti-Porn Law
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/INTERNET_BLOCKIN...


PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Eight years after Congress tried to criminalize material deemed "harmful to children," free speech advocates and Web site publishers took their challenge of the law to trial Monday.

Salon.com, Nerve.com and other plaintiffs backed by the American Civil Liberties Union are suing over the 1998 Child Online Protection Act. They believe the law could restrict legitimate material they publish online - exposing them to fines or even jail time.

The Justice Department argues that it is easier to stop online pornography at the source than to keep children from viewing it.

The law, signed by then-President Clinton, requires adults to use some sort of access code, or perhaps a credit-card number, to view material that may be considered "harmful to children." It would impose a $50,000 fine and six-month prison term on commercial Web site operators that publish such content, which is to be defined by "contemporary community standards."


Up with pr0n! Down with B*sh! :woohoo:
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hey... finally... something that REALLY IS Clinton's fault!
Okay, we know the right-wing pundits and conservatives say they hate porn, even though they're actually the biggest consumers of porn.

How will the Republickers spin it?

1) Clinton signed a law that he knew was unconstitutional and doomed to failure-- otherwise, he wouldn't have signed it.

2) Clinton could have killed hotsex.com , but he refused to take the shot.

3) It was the gawd-fearing Republickers who wrote and passed the law, and all Clinton did was sign it-- he had to-- because of the whole Monica thing.

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central scrutinizer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. here's a classic take
It's actually about the 1996 Telecommunications Act but is still relevant to this one:

THE X-ON CONGRESS: INDECENT COMMENT ON AN INDECENT SUBJECT
by Steve Russell
American Reporter Correspondent

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- You motherfuckers in Congress have
dropped over the edge of the earth this time. I understand
that very few of the swarm of high dollar lobbyists around
the Telecommunications Bill had any interest in content
regulation -- they were just trying to get their clients an
opportunity to dip their buckets in the money stream that
cyberspace may become -- but the public interest sometimes
needs a little attention. Keeping your eyes on what big
money wants, you have sold out the First Amendment.

First, some basics. If your children walked by a public
park and heard some angry sumbitches referring to Congress
as "the sorriest bunch of cocksuckers ever to sell out the
First Amendment" or suggesting that "the only reason to run
for Congress these days is to suck the lobbyists' dicks and
fuck the people who sent you there," no law would be
violated (assuming no violation of noise ordinances or
incitement to breach the peace). If your children did not
wish to hear that language, they could only walk away.
Thanks to your heads-up-your-ass dereliction of duty, if
they read the same words in cyberspace, they could call the
FBI!

Cyberspace is the village green for the whole world. It is
the same as the village green our Founders knew as the place
to rouse the rabble who became Americans, but it is also
different. Your blind acceptance of the dubious -- make
that dogass dumb -- idea that children are harmed by hearing
so-called dirty words has created some pretty stupid
regulations without shutting down public debate, but those
stupid regulations will not import to cyberspace without
consequences that even the public relations whores in
Congress should find unacceptable.

In cyberspace, there is no time. A posted message stays
posted until it is wiped. Therefore, there is no way to
indulge the fiction that children do not stay up late or
cannot program a VCR.

In cyberspace, there is no place. The "community standards"
are those of the whole world. An upload from Amsterdam can
become a download in Idaho. By trying to regulate obscenity
and indecency on the Internet, you have reduced the level of
expression allowed consenting adults to that of the most
anal retentive blueballed fuckhead U.S. attorney in the
country. The Internet is everywhere you can plug in a
modem. Call Senator Exon an "ignorant motherfucker" in
Lincoln, Nebraska and find yourself prosecuted in Bibleburg,
Mississippi.

In cyberspace, you cannot require the convenience store to
sell Hustler in a white sleeve. The functional equivalent
is gatekeeper software, to which no civil libertarian has
voiced any objection. Gatekeeper software cannot be made
foolproof, but can you pandering pissants not see that any
kid smart enough to hack into a Website is also smart enough
to get his hands on a hard copy of Hustler if he really
wants one?

In cyberspace, there is the illusion of anonymity but no
real privacy. It is theoretically possible for any Internet
server to seine through all messages for key words (although
it seems likely the resulting slowdown would be noticeable).
Perhaps some of you read about America On Line's attempt to
keep children from reading the word "breast?" An apparently
unforeseen consequence was the shutdown of a discussion
group of breast cancer survivors. Don't you think more kids
are aware of "teat" (pronounced "tit") than of "breast?" Can
skirts on piano legs, er, limbs be far behind?

But silly shit like this is just a pimple on the ass of the
long-term consequences for politics, art and education. You
have passed a law that will get less respect than the 55
m.p.h. speed limit dead bang in the middle of the First
Amendment. Indecency is nothing but a matter of fashion;
obscenity is the same but on a longer timeline. This
generation freely reads James Joyce and Henry Miller and the
Republic still stands. The home of the late alleged
pornographer D. H. Lawrence is now a beautiful writers'
retreat in the mountains above Taos, managed by the
University of New Mexico.

Universities all have Internet servers, and every English
Department has at least one scholar who can read Chaucer's
English -- but not on the Internet anymore. Comparative
literature classes might read Boccaccio -- but not on the
Internet anymore. What if some U. S. Attorney hears about
Othello and Desdemona "making the beast with two backs" --
is interracial sex no longer indecent anywhere in the
country, or is Shakespeare off the Internet?

Did you know you can download video and sound from the
Internet? Yes, that means you can watch other people having
sex if that is interesting to you, live or on tape.
Technology can make such things hard to retrieve, but
probably not impossible. And since you have swept right
past obscenity and into indecency, the baby boomers had
better keep their old rock 'n roll tapes off the Internet.

When the Jefferson Airplane sang "her heels rise for me,"
they were not referring to a dance step. And if some Brit
explains the line about "finger pie" in Penny Lane, the
Beatles will be gone. All of those school boards that used
to ban "The Catcher in the Rye" over cussing and spreading
the foul lie that kids masturbate can now go to federal
court and get that nasty book kept out of cyberspace.

But enough about the past. What about rap music? No, I do
not care much for it either -- any more than I care for the
language you shitheads have forced me to use in this essay
-- but can you not see the immediate differential impact of
this law by class and race? What is your defense -- that
there are no African-Americans on the Internet, since they
are too busy pimping and dealing crack? If our educational
establishment has any sense at all, they will be trying to
see more teens of all colors on the Internet, because there
is a lot to be learned in cyberspace that has nothing to do
with sex.

There are plenty of young people in this country who have
legitimate political complaints. When you dickheads get
done with Social Security, they will be lucky if the
retirement age is still in double digits. But thanks to the
wonderful job the public schools have done keeping sex and
violence out, we have a lot of intelligent kids who cannot
express themselves without indecent language. I have watched
lawyers in open court digging their young clients in the
ribs every time the word "fuck" slipped out.

Let's talk about this fucking indecent language bullshit.
Joe Shea, my editor, does not want it in his newspaper, and
I respect that position. He might even be almost as upset
about publishing this as I a about writing it. I do use
salty language in my writing, but sparingly, only as a big
hammer. Use the fucking shit too fucking much and it loses
its fucking impact -- see what I mean? Fiction follows
different rules, and if you confine your fiction writing to
how the swell people want to see themselves using language,
you not only preclude literary depiction of most people but
you are probably false to the people you purport to depict.

Do you remember how real language used by real people got on
the air and in the newspapers? Richard Nixon, while he was
president, speaking in the White House about official
matters. A law professor and a nominee for Supreme Court
Justice arguing about pubic hairs and porno movies during
Senate hearings. Are these matters now too indecent for the
Internet? How much cleansing will be required of the online
news services? Answer: Enough cleansing to meet the
standard of what is appropriate for a child in the most
restrictive federal judicial district.

This is bullshit -- unconstitutional bullshit and also bad
policy bullshit. To violate your ban on indecency, I have
been forced to use and overuse so-called indecent language.
But if I called you a bunch of goddam motherfucking
cocksucking cunt-eating blue-balled bastards with the morals
of muggers and the intelligence of pond scum, that would be
nothing compared to this indictment, to wit: you have sold
the First Amendment, your birthright and that of your
children. The Founders turn in their graves. You have spit
on the grave of every warrior who fought under the Stars and
Stripes.

And what mess of pottage have you acquired in exchange for
the rights of a free people? Have you cleansed the Internet
of even the rawest pornography? No, because it is a
worldwide system. You have, however, handed the government a
powerful new tool to harass its critics: a prosecution for
indecent commentary in any district in the country.

Have you protected one child from reading dirty words?
Probably not, if you understand what the economists call
"substitution" -- but you have leveled the standards of
political debate to a point where a history buff would not
dare to upload some of the Federalist v. Anti-Federalist
election rhetoric to a Website.

Since the lobby reporting requirements were not law when the
censorship discussion was happening, I hope you got some
substantial reward for what you gave up. Thirty pieces of
silver doesn't go far these days.

-30-

(Steve Russell, retired after 16 years as a trial
judge in Texas, is Assistant Professor of Criminal
Justice at the University of Texas at San Antonio.)

This article may be reproduced free forever.

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