July 25, 2005

Court Decision In Internet Censorship Law (Nitke / Ashcroft)

[Update: PDF of court decision]

Nitke versus Ashcroft is a case challenging Internet censorship law, involving issues of "community standards" and the Internet. I (Seth Finkelstein) am serving as an expert witness in the case.

Case lawyer John Wirenius' blog entry describes the decision:

"[On July 25, 2005], the three judge panel of the Southern District of New York issued a 25 page per curiam opinion finding against the plaintiffs--us, to be clear--in Nitke v. Ashcroft. The decision is a stunner--as much for what it doesn't say as for what it does. The Court found that Barbara and NCSF (through The Eulenspeigel Society) had been chilled in their speech and had censored themselves because of the statute allowing the Government to choose which venue any artist using the Internet may be prosecuted in, and applying that local community's standards to all art on the Internet. The Court also found that Barbara and NCSF could not rest easy on the obvious social value of their speech, because not all prosecutors and not all juries see social importance the same way. Then they found we had not produced enough evidence as to how many artists would be chilled, and how local community standards varied. Thus, we had not shown to what extent the standards varied from community to community, and how much speech was effected."

I have a page of resources about the case at: http://sethf.com/nitke/
Expert Witness Report: http://sethf.com/nitke/ashcroft.php

Case lawyer John Wirenius' material: Overview: http://wireniusreport.net/overview.html
January 2005 Update: http://www.livejournal.com/users/jwirenius/2005/01/01/ http://wireniusreport.net/

NCSF's site: http://www.ncsfreedom.org/

Barbara Nitke: http://www.barbaranitke.com/

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in nitke-v-ashcroft | on July 25, 2005 10:33 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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