January 13, 2005

Berkman Center's newsletter mentions me in Internet "community standards" case

The current edition of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society newsletter, "The Filter" No. 7.01 01.04.05, has an item on the Nitke case, and mentions my expert testimony. Thanks!

* Defining "Community Standards" for the Internet

Sections of the Communications Decency Act have concerned advocates for online freedoms since passage of the law in 1996. While many of the CDA's provisions about internet "indecency" were overturned in Reno v. ACLU in 1997, other provisions, such as limitations on ISP liability and restrictions about online "obscenity," remain intact. Plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit, Nitke v. Ashcroft, are now challenging these obscenity standards. New York artist Barbara Nitke, whose photography depicts sexual and controversial scenes, filed for declaratory judgment to protect online displays of her work in 2001, and written arguments in the case were finally submitted last month. One of the core issues raised in Nitke v. Ashcroft is the difficulty of determining "obscenity" on the internet, since its definition depends on measuring "contemporary community standards." Which community standards apply to the global Internet? Technology experts and internet activists have sided against the law based on this concern and as well as concerns about First Amendment freedoms and online anonymity. The case now falls to the Southern District of New York for a decision.

Plaintiff's Overview (John Wirenius): <http://www.wireniusreport.net/overview.html>
Original Media Coverage (CNN): <http://archives.cnn.com/2001/TECH/industry/12/20/obscenity.suit.idg/>
Expert Testimony about Challenges to Geolocation (Seth Finkelstein): <http://sethf.com/nitke/ashcroft.php

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in legal , nitke-v-ashcroft | on January 13, 2005 09:17 AM (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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