August 16, 2003

ACLU CIPA censorware memo

The ACLU released a legal memo for libraries on coping with CIPA, the Federal library censorware law. It came out two weeks ago, but it seems to have been little publicized.

Library filtering after US v. ALA: What does it all mean and what should we do

It prominently mentions the "visual depictions" aspect of CIPA, and makes interesting recommendations.

There's a notable paragraph, which is think is extremely important for any idea of Open Censorware :

"Some libraries have suggested creating their own software. Libraries can certainly do that. The statute does not require any particular product. But, any product used has to represent a "good faith" attempt to comply. It seems unlikely that any individual library could create a blocked sites list and keep it up to date."

I must say I got a big laugh out of the recommendation of:

"3. Join with ALA in pressuring the software companies to make their lists of blocked sites public"

Hmm, censorware companies should make their blacklist public. They ought to. They should. Blacklists should be public from the censorware companies. I say so. That's the way to do it. Right on. Have I mentioned the blacklists should be public?

That is, no matter how may times any civil-liberties group says it, the censorware companies don't care (see, for example DMCA testimony). But then, the ACLU certainly knows this.

Sigh. I'm about ready to quit, because I just can't publish more censorware research due to the legal risk involved. For all the talk of pressuring censorware companies above, there's just no support for my work.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in censorware , legal | on August 16, 2003 07:37 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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