January 15, 2004

Nitke v. Ashcroft (Internet obscenity law)Expert Witness Reports Submitted


[ One notable expert witness report:

"5. Geo-Location and the Internet ...
+ Seth Finkelstein - anti-censorship activist and programmer, recently hailed by the Library of Congress's Copyright Office


National Coalition for Sexual Freedom


Contact: Susan Wright (917-848-6544)

Expert Witness Reports Submitted in Nitke v. Ashcroft

New York, December 18, 2003 - The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has submitted expert witness reports for their landmark Communications Decency Act lawsuit, Nitke v. Ashcroft (Case No. 01 Civ. 11476). John Wirenius, attorney for plaintiffs NCSF and photographer Barbara Nitke, provided 31 expert witness reports and witnesses who will testify before the three-judge panel for the Southern District of New York.

The expert witness reports support the plaintiffs' contention that "local community standards" cannot be accurately applied to the Internet and, therefore, cannot be used to determine what is obscene. If the most restrictive communities can control what is placed on the Internet, then everyone will be restricted to that standard. The Internet is a world-wide phenomenon, therefore websites should not be held to standards specific to geo-location because community standards vary significantly from region to region and community to community.

Expert witness reports were submitted that establish self-censoring by artists because of the vagueness of this law. The importance of anonymity because of the frequent persecution of sexual minorities was also established as well as the social importance of sexually explicit speech in both art and education.

"This phase of the trial is critical because the evidence is on the table," said John Wirenius, First Amendment attorney and author of First Amendment, First Principles: Verbal Acts and Freedom of Speech. "The plaintiffs are providing the scientific grounds for our contention that visitors to the Internet cannot be tracked, and therefore limiting content on the Internet will limit free speech. The government is obligated to show, if they can, why our experts are incorrect."

[snipped very long list of expert witness reports]

National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
822 Guilford Avenue, Box 127
Baltimore, MD 21202-3707
e-mail: ncsfreedom[at-sign]ncsfreedom.org
phone: 410-539-4824
fax: 410-385-2827
2003 NCSF
Last update: 1/13/04; 9:41:50 PM

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in legal | on January 15, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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