March 22, 2007

COPA links roundup

I doubt there's anyone who reads my blog who doesn't already know what I think on the various topics. But since it is incumbent on me to pundit about the "Children's Internet Protection Act" - COPA decision, I'll round up a few pointers for my obligatory post.

Note the opinion wasn't a surprise. Nothing is certain, but it was highly expected to turn out as it did, given an earlier similar ruling by the same judge, and encouragement there by the Supreme Court. This round was basically a refresh of the evidence in the record, and nothing much changed there.

Basics: American Civil Liberties Union: Blog - COPA: We Won!: (h/t: Catherine Crump)

Today brings excellent news for free speech: A court declared the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), a federal Internet censorship law, unconstitutional, and forbade the government from enforcing it. It has taken nearly a decade of litigation -- we first brought the suit in 1998, then called ACLU v. Reno.-- and two trips to the Supreme Court to achieve this result, so this victory for online free speech is especially sweet.

For "opposition research", it's also important to note what the censors have to say in reaction, e.g. Morality in Media:

"But even assuming that every parent with one or more computers in the home used [censorware] at all times on each computer and even assuming that [censorware] blocked all pornography and could not be circumvented by tech-savvy children, there would still be a huge problem -- namely, as children get older they increasingly have access to the Internet outside the home.

Lessig has his "HTM"proposal. I earlier sent him email with some extensive thoughts regarding it. I'll probably pass on a detailed comment or blog conversation. I can say things in private email about matters of history and free-speech politics that would be dangerous to put in a public posting. Tell it to the ACLU.

As to the censorware implications for me, well, I've written about that before

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copa | on March 22, 2007 04:20 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

Subscribe with Bloglines      Subscribe in NewsGator Online  Google Reader or Homepage


I was taken with the MiM press release. The final quoted paragraph nicely defines itself in its final sentence. I didn't realize MiM was so self-aware. And you gotta love your Google ads!

Posted by: walt at March 22, 2007 05:36 PM

I just watched Lessig's video on his <h2m> proposal. I hope your private email told him that his proposal is nutty. It's based on a facile equation between HTML markup and the world-wide web.

Quoting from Web Architecture from 50,000 feet by Tim Berners-Lee (Sept 1998):

The value of a common document language has been so enormous that HTML has gained a dominance on the Web, but it does not play a fundamental key role. Web applications are required to be able to process HTML, as it is the connective tissue of the Web, but it has no special place architecturally.

Professor Lessig needs to zoom down to the 50K foot level—because Congress won't.

If his proposal is seriously considered, the politicians are likely to write <h2m> into XSLT, DOM, and WSDL.

Posted by: Ned Ulbricht at March 22, 2007 07:40 PM