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June 1995, Week 3


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Jeremy Butler <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 18 Jun 1995 10:25:23 CST
text/plain (44 lines)
The CDA represents the kind of "top-down," government-centered attempt to
regulate the content that demonstrates a lack of understanding of the
nature of this new medium. Legislation like the CDA -- particular when
based on regulatory approaches for wholly different media -- are certain
to create more practical and constitutional problems than they solve. It
is especially ironic that the Exon amendment, which would chill the
development of online services and communities and "dumb down" the content
of the Net's public spaces to a grade-school level, has been attached to a
bill deregulating communications infrastructure. This deregulation
has been presented as a boost to the pace of development of the very
technology to support these services and communities.
EFF believes that parents, not Congress or the FCC, have the primary right
and responsibility to determine what is appropriate for their children to
see. Furthermore, it is clearly wrong for Congress to attempt to make
outlaws out of adults for engaging in public speech that may not be
suitable for minors.  As Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter ruled in
Butler v. Michigan (1957):
"The State insists that, by thus quarantining the general reading public
against books not too rugged for grown men and women in order to shield
juvenile innocence, it is exercising its power to promote the general
welfare. Surely this is to burn the house to roast the pig. The incidence
of this enactment is to reduce the adult population of Michigan to
reading only what is fit for children."
And a legislative approach that was bad for the adult population of
Michigan nearly 40 years ago is surely just as bad for the adult
population of the Net today.
For More Information Contact:
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Mike Godwin  Shari Steele  (voice) +1.202.861.7700
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