EFF on Censorship Action [cr-951212]


Richard Moore

>From: "Craig A. Johnson" <•••@••.•••>
Date:          Sun, 10 Dec 1995
Subject:       EFF on Censorship Action

Excerpt from:  EFFector Online 08.20 * Censorship Protests & CDA Update
Saturday, 9 December 1995

Subject: Update on Internet Censorship Bills

The US House of Representatives members of the join conference committee
working on the telecom bill passed, Dec. 5, a gutted version of the White
amendment, that would criminalize "indecent" material online.  The fight
now moves to the Senate side of that committee, which is dominated by
sponsors of unconstitutional censorship legislation. Needless to say,
they are not expected to uphold the First Amendement.

The larger Congress, however, may be another story.  As public rallies
and online protests gear up, civil liberties organizations including EFF
are urging YOU to call your Senators and Representatives, as well as Dole
and Gingrich as Congressional leaders, to express your opinions on this
vital issue.

According to an e-press release from _American_Reporter_, this
online-only daily newspaper "threatened on Thursday to deliberately defy the
language of [the] U.S. House cyberporn proposal if it becomes law,
calling the measure a clear violation of the First Amendment."  Other
individuals and organizations - including a judge - have similarly promised
civil disobedience, with people almost literally lining up to challenge
the bill in court should it pass.  ACLU, EFF, and the National Writers
Union, among others, have indicated interest in mounting legal challenges
to any such censorship law.

The _Boston_Globe_ reports that at least one legislator, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA)
is skeptical about the proposed new law. "Markey said there's a good
chance Congress won't finish work on the overall telecommunications bill
this year.  Even if the bill is completed, a constitional challenge to
the law is very likely. Besides, the law won't stop people outside the
United States from posting pornography on the Internet." (from "Markey
Says Parents Key to Cyberporn Fight", Hiawatha Bray, _Boston_Globe_, Dec. 9).

Elizabeth Corcoran & Mike Mills report in the _Washington_Post_ that
Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) intends to "narrow the scope"
of the legislation, working with Rep. Rick White (R-WA), who's own
proposal was gutted in the conference committee. The _Post_ suggests
that they will try to push the legislation back towards a "harmful to
minors" (obscenity) standard, rather than the vague indecency standard
expected to be reported out of the conf. committee early next week.
Gingrich's plan would essentially force to be subject to at
least some of the same tests as obscenity - material with cultural,
literary or scientific value would be exempted.

The next (and possibly last, for this issue) meeting of the conferees on
the telecom bill has been set for 2pm EST, Tue., Dec. 12.  The telecom
bill conference report (that is, the final version of the bill) is
sheduled for a vote the week of Dec. 11.



 Posted by      Richard K. Moore <•••@••.•••>
                Wexford, Ireland (USA citizen)
                Editor: The Cyberjournal (@CPSR.ORG)

See the CyberLib at:
See Cyber-Rights library:

You are encouraged to forward and cross-post messages and online materials
for non-commercial use, provided they are copied in their entirety, with
all headers, signatures, etc., intact.