(resend) GovAccess re: censorship [cr-951214]


Richard Moore

Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.••• (Jim Warren)

Typical Example of How Any Hick Official Can Censor the Net, Nationally
One of Nation's Leading Civil Liberties Attorneys Comments on Censorship Mess


Typical Example of How Any Hick Official Can Censor the Net, Nationally

This is not a drill.  This is not hypothetical.  This is real.  This happened.

This illustrates the danger that every Internet host-owner will face as
soon as Washington's arrogant and spineless, pandering politicians finish
legislating government control on speech and press (when aided by computer)
- assuming that Clinton signs it, as a tiny part of the massively-funded
telecom reform bill.

Montgomery, Alabama, District Attorney Jimmy Evans wanted more publicity
for his race for state Attorney General.  So on February 13, 1990, he got a
local special grand jury - typically prosecutors' lap dogs - to issue
50-count criminal indictments against General Telephone & Electronics, GTE
Spacenet, U.S. Satellite, Inc., the Chairmen of GTE Spacenet and U.S.
Satellite, and the New York owners of the American EXXXtasy Channel - a
fully-scrambled X-rated satellite movie broadcaster.

In this way, this hick prosecutor imposed Alabama's constitutionally
questionable obscenity law on the entire western hemisphere.

EXXXtasy quickly went off the air, along with its fully-scrambled,
pay-per-view sister channel that showed regular theaterical movies.
Apparently fearful of becoming "unindicted co-conspirators," Hughes
Communications and its corporate parent, General Motors, quickly killed-off
the R-rated Tuxxedo that had been a contract user of one of the channels of
one of their birds.

There was never a trial, much less a defense, much less a conviction.

No Alabama residents were indicted in Jimmy's Excellent Adventure -
including the high school student who started it by taping the
[copyrighted] adult material that he unscrambled with someone's expensive

Little Jimmy got his publicity - in the evening news on all three networks,
and on the front page of the New York Times.

--jim  [Based on details published in VIDEO magazine, August, 1990]


One of Nation's Leading Civil Liberties Attorneys Comments on Censorship Mess

Date: Sat, 9 Dec 1995 23:58:52 +0001 (EST)
From: Harvey A Silverglate <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: GovAccess: Excerpts from Jim Warren's GovAccess.215.censor
To: Declan McCullagh <•••@••.•••>
Cc: •••@••.•••

I have for several years been representing the poet Allen Ginsberg. Prior
to the FCC's and Congress's adoption of the "broadcast indecency" standard,
Pacifica Radio each year read Ginsberg's classic poem "Howl" on the radio.
When the "broadcast indecency" rule took effect, and the "seven dirty
words"case was lost in the Supreme Court, Pacifica and every other station
stopped reading "Howl" and much of Ginsberg's other poetry on the radio.

We have made some progress by resort to the courts, such that there is now
a six-hour "safe harbor" during which "indecent" speech may be spoken on
radio (the hours when kids are presumed to be asleep). We are currently
seeking Supreme Court review.

The Dept of Justice and FCC are taking the view that since parents are too
busy to supervise their children's viewing and listening, the govt has to
do it for them! (This is the Clinton Administration!)

We should know within the month if the Supreme Court will review the case
(Pacifica Radio and others vs Federal Communications Commission, and Action
for Children's Television vs FCC - two consolidated cases).

This could have a real impact on the question of whether "indecency" may be
banned, consistent with the First Amendment. There's actually quite a bit
going on in the courts, including the Supreme Court, that could impact the
current battle over broadcast indecency on the Net.

My objection to the current debate is that they talk of "smut." My client,
Allen Ginsberg, wants to broadcast some of the finest poetry written this
century in this country.
              Harvey Silverglate
              Boston, Massachusetts



 Posted by      Richard K. Moore        <•••@••.•••>
                Wexford, Ireland | USA citizen | Editor: Cyberjournal

CyberLib:       http://www.internet-eireann.ie/cyberlib
Cyber-Rights:   http://www.cpsr.org/cpsr/nii/cyber-rights/

You are encouraged to cross-post list materials for non-commercial use,
in their entirety, with all headers, signatures, etc., intact.