cr> Compuserve Ends Sex Ban


Craig A. Johnson

In a front page story in today's New York Times, Peter Lewis reports
that Compuserve has ended its ban on access to sex-related sites.  



                The New York Times, Wednesday, February 14, 1996

                        By Peter H. Lewis

"Citing a desire to leave Internet censorship to individual tastes 
rather than government decree, the online company CompuserveInc. 
said yesterday that it would restore worldwide access to most of the 
200 sex-related compute data bases it had recently blocked under press 
from German prosecutors.

"Instead of barring all of its 4.3 million subscribers from access to 
the controversial sites, Compuserve said it would provide subscribers 
with software that could be employed to selectively block any 
material the user finds offensive.

"Compuserve's decision to restore acces to the groups was condemned 
by conservative organizations, many of which had lobbied extensively 
to support the Communications Decency Act.

"'By this action, Compuserve is intentionally providing obscene 
material to its subscribers by making it available to them on their 
service and they do so at their peril,' said Cathleen A. Cleaver, 
director of legal studies at the Family Research Council, a 
conservative group in Washington.  'We will encourage the Justice 
Department to prosecute Compuserve for violating the Federal obscenity 
distribution statute.'

"Compuserve's action was praised by free speech and civil liberties 
groups.  'The Compuserve decision today is the right policy for the 
Internet,' said Jerry Berman, director of the Center for Democracy 
and Technology in Washington.  'It provides for user control and 
parental control, and is consistent with the free flow of information 
around the world.'"


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