Craig A. Johnson
The following is an update from the Center for Democracy and
Technology (CDT) Web page concerning the suit filed today by the
Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition, which is coordinated by the
CDT, the American Library Association, Association, America Online,
People for the American Way, and a broad coalition of other groups
This suit will be or already has been combined with the ACLU suit. This
is great news, as the juggernaut for free speech on the Net gathers
more and more steam!
The CDT URL is <http://www.cdt.org/ciec/index.html#members>.
Internet Users, Publishers, Online Service Providers,
Non-Profit Groups, and Civil Liberties Advocates
Launch Court Challenge to Fight The CDA
CDA is unconstitutional, Fails to Recognize Unique Nature of the Internet
A coalition representing a broad spectrum of Internet users,
Libraries publishers, content providers and access providers filed a
lawsuit on Monday February 26, 1996 in a Federal Court in
Philadelphia PA seeking to overturn the recently enacted
Communications Decency Act. The challenge argues that the Internet is
a unique communications technology which deserves First Amendment
protections at least as broad as those enjoyed as by the print
The group, known as the Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition
(CIEC - pronounced "seek") is coordinated by the Center for Democracy
and Technology, America Online, and the American Library Association,
and others, including People for the American Way. Its 35 members
include libraries, book publishers, newspaper publishers, editors,
advertisers, commercial online service providers, ISP's, non-profit
groups, and civil liberties advocates.
Join the Fight To Protect Free Speech and the Future of the Internet!
CIEC is inviting individual Internet Users to join this landmark
case to help protect freedom of speech and the future of the Internet
as a viable means of free expression, education, and commerce.
If you post messages to a public listserv, Usenet newsgroup,
participate in an IRC or chat session, or maintain your own World
Wide Web page, ftp or gopher archive, you could potentially face
$250,000 fines or 2 years in jail if someone, somewhere considers
the material you post to be "indecent" or "patently offensive"
Information on how you can join the CIEC Court Challenge
IMPORTANT: Don't Delay, this invitation will close March 15, 1996!
The Latest News
On Monday, February 26, the Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition,
the American Library Association, America Online, Compuserve,
Prodigy, Microsoft, NETCOM, The Commercial Internet eXchange, The
Newspaper Association of America, Wired Magazine, Hotwired, Families
Against Internet Censorhip, and several other plaintiffs filed suit
in a Federal Court in Philadelphia PA seeking to overturn the
Communications Decency Act on the grounds that it is a violation of
the First Amendment rights of all Internet users.
In a 55 page complaint that details the history of the Internet and
outlines how the network operates, the CIEC intends to educate the
court on how the Internet functions and why the broad content
regulations imposed by the CDA threaten the very existence of the
Internet as a viable medium for free expression, education, and
commerce. Among other things, the CIEC challenge argues that:
The Internet is a unique communications medium which deserves
First Amendment protections at least as broad as those afforded
to print media.
Individual users and Parents, not the Federal Government, should
determine for themselves and their children what material comes
into their homes based on their own tastes and values.
The CDA will be ineffective at protecting children from
"indecent" or "patently" offensive material online.
The CIEC challenge is separate from the case brought by the ACLU,
EFF, EPIC, Planned Parenthood, and several other plaintiffs in the
same Philadelphia court on February 8, 1996. The ACLU effort has made
significant and important headway in the past several weeks. The
CIEC case will reinforce the ACLU's efforts while focusing on the
unique nature of the Internet and alternatives to government content
regulations. ACLU and CIEC attorneys are closely coordinating their
efforts, and it is expected that the courts will eventually
consolidate the two cases.
The outcome of the legal challenges to the CDA will likely determine
the legal status of speech on the Internet and the future of the
First Amendment in the Information Age.
CIEC Documents and the Text of the Complaint
View the Text of the Complaint (large file - 115k)
Download a compressed text file of the complaint:
DOS/Windows version (self-extracting) (Available soon)
Mac version (Available soon)
Other Relevant Information and Related Court Challenges
CDT's Policy Post Anouncing the CIEC Challenge
CDT's Communications Decency Act Issues Page
Information about the ACLU, EFF, EPIC, Planned Parenthood, and Other Plaintiff's
The Department of Justice's Response to the ACLU's Request for a Temporary
Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition Members and Plaintiffs
The Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition is a large and diverse
group of Internet users, businesses, non-profit groups, and civil
liberties advocates, who share the common goal of protecting the
First Amendmet and the viability of the Internet as a mea ns of free
expression, education, and commerce. CIEC members believe that
parents, not the United States Government, are the best and most
appropriate judges of what material is appropriate for themselves and
Named Plaintiffs in the CIEC Challenge to the Communications Decency
American Library Association
America Online, Inc.
American Booksellers Association
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Society of Newspaper Editors
Association of American Publishers
Association of Publishers, Editors and Writers
Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition
Commercial Internet eXchange
Families Against Internet Censorship
Freedom to Read Foundation
HotWired Ventures Ltd.
Interactive Digital Software Association
Interactive Services Association
NETCOM On-Line Communications Services, Inc.
Newspaper Association of America
Society of Professional Journalists
Wired Ventures Ltd.
Members of the Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition
Americans for Tax Reform
Association of American University Presses, Inc.
Association of National Advertisers
Association of Research Librarians
Center for Democracy and Technology
Coalition for Networked Information
Media Access Project
Microsystems Software, Inc.
National Assoc. of State Universities & Land Grant Colleges
People for the American Way
Recording Industry Association of America
Special Libraries Association
Surfwatch Software, Inc.
University of California Santa Barbara Library
Last Update February 26, 1996 | For More Information Write •••@••.•••
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