cr> Policy Post 2.8 – CIEC Files Motion to Overturn CDA


Craig A. Johnson


Date:          Fri, 1 Mar 1996 18:42:35 -0500
To:            •••@••.•••
From:          •••@••.••• (Bob Palacios)
Subject:       Policy Post 2.8 - CIEC Files Motion to Overturn CDA

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  ____/____/__/ The Center for Democracy and Technology  /____/    
  Volume 2, Number 8
     A briefing on public policy issues affecting civil liberties
 CDT POLICY POST Volume 2, Number 8                        March 1,

 CONTENTS: (1) CIEC Files Request for Injunction of CDA, Sets State
               Landmark Court Battle for the Future of the Internet *
               Over 5000 Net Users have Already Joined the Fight! Have
           (2) Subscription Information
           (3) About CDT, contacting us

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The Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition Friday (3/1) filed a
motion for a preliminary injunction of the Communications Decency Act.
 The filing sets the stage for an historic court battle which will
determine the future of the Internet as a viable means for free
expression, education, and commerce, as well as the fate of the First
Amendment in the information age.  Witnesses will begin to testify
before the Philadelphia Federal court beginning March 21, 1996.

The Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition (CIEC) is coordinated by
the Center for Democracy and Technology, America Online, the American
Library Association, and others, including People for the American
Way.  Its 37 members include over 5000 individual Internet users,
libraries, book publishers, newspaper publishers, editors,
advertisers, commercial online service providers, ISP's, non-profit
groups, and civil liberties advocates.

Individual Internet users are encouraged to join the fight! All users
of the Internet are potentially subject to massive fines and prison
sentences under the Communications Decency Act.  Join the CIEC and
become a part of a landmark case which will determine the future of 
free speech online.

Over 5000 individuals have joined as of 5:30 pm Friday 3/1! For more
information, on what you can do to help overturn the CDA,  please
visit the CIEC web page at:

You must join by March 15, so please hurry!

The text of the CIEC complaint and other relevant information is
currently available on the CIEC web page. Copies of today's motion,
along with the declarations listed below, will be available on the
CIEC page shortly.


In the motion filed today, CIEC argues that the Internet is a unique
communications technology distinct from traditional broadcast mass
media and telephone networks, and that the broad content regulations
imposed by the CDA are unconstitutionally restrictive.  The CIEC
argues that because the Internet offers users tremendous control over
the content they receive, it deserves first amendment protections at
least as broad as those enjoyed by the print medium.  Specifically,
the motion states:

  "The Internet, and 'cyberspace' generally, is an entirely new
   communications medium that differs from other media in crucial
   respects: it is global, it is decentralized, it gives ordinary
   citizens unparalleled ability to communicate to and with others on
   a scale never before possible, an it is unobtrusive, because users
   access only the communications they affirmatively request. It
   therefor merits the highest level of First Amendment protection."
   (Page 2)

The motion goes on to argue:

  "In sum, this Court should accord to the interactive computer medium
  the most vigilant protection from government censorship and
  overreaching.  The unparalleled potential of cyberspace to
  effectuate the core policies of the First Amendment calls for a
  reaffirmance of our 'profound national commitment' to public
  discourse that is 'uninhibited, robust, and wide-open."

  "The challenged provisions of the Act, however, represent an
  indiscriminate and damaging retreat from that commitment, one that
  reflects an as-yet poor legislative understanding even of the basic
  operating methods  of cyberpsace.  Those provisions are facially
  invalid because they abridge far too much protected speech while
  affording little incremental protection for minors, and threaten to
  disrupt the rapidly unfolding development of a salutary
  communications revolution that until now has flourished with a
  minimum of governmental interference." (Pages 60 - 61).


Included in the CIEC filing today were declarations from individuals,
libraries, online service providers, content providers, publishers,
non-profit groups, civil liberties advocates, and even a US Senator. 
The declarations describe in detail the potential impact the CDA will
have on their rights to free speech on the Internet, and will be
considered by the court as evidence in the case.  The list of groups
filing declarations today includes:

Albert Vezza, Assoc. Director, Lab. for Computer Science, MIT (re:
PICS Project) America Online, Inc. American Booksellers Association
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression American Library
Association American Society of Newspaper Editors Association of
American Universities Association of American University Presses, Inc.
Association of Publishers, Editors, and Writers Association of
Research Libraries Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Center For Democracy and Technology
Commercial Internet eXchange Compuserve Incorporated Families Against
Internet Censorship Fort Vancouver Regional Library Free Library of
Philadelphia Freedom to Read Foundation Health Sciences Libraries
Consortium HotWired Ventures, LLC Interactive Services Association
Media Access Project Microsoft Corp,; Microsoft Network, L.L.C.
Microsystems Software, Inc. NETCOM On-Line Communications Services,
Inc. Newspaper Association of America OpNet Inc. Patrick Leahy, United
States Senator (D-VT) People for the American Way Prodigy Services
Company Recording Industry Association of America Scott O. Brander,
Office of Information Technology, Harvard University Society of
Professional Journalists Surfwatch Software, Inc. Timothy Berners-Lee,
Director, World Wide Web Consortium UC Santa Barbara Library
University of Pennsylvania Libraries Vinton Cerf, MCI
Telecommunications Services, Inc. Wired Ventures, Ltd.


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End Policy Post 2.8                                             3/1/96


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