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An Unfortunate (and I hope temporary) Change of Heart …

The year was 1995 and the biggest threat to Internet free speech was a bill called the “Communications Decency Act.” If passed, the bill threatened to criminalize all manner of constitutionally protected speech under the guise of keeping “indecent” material from being viewed by children. Momentum for passage of the bill was enormous. The bill passed…

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Craigslist Win Good for Free Speech, But Court Creates Murky “Section 230” Precedent

Last December CDT and several other organizations submitted a friend-of-the-court (“amicus“) brief urging the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court decision in favor of Craigslist.org. We are happy to report that on March 14 the federal appeals court did just that: it ruled that Craigslist can’t be held liable for discriminatory housing ads…

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CDT Mourns the Passing of Marv Johnson

Free speech lost a devoted defender late last week. Marv Johnson, who had fought to protect free speech at the American Civil Liberties Union for much of his professional career, passed away after a long struggle with illness. We, and everyone at CDT, mourn the loss of Marv. We will miss his quick wit and…

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Publius Maximus

The foolishness of state legislators when it comes to the Internet apparently knows no limits. After years of losing efforts to censor content online, a new evil has apparently been identified: anonymity. A Kentucky representative has filed a bill to make it illegal to post online without registering a real name, physical address, email address and including full name…

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Controversial Provision on Damages Deleted from Copyright Enforcement Bill

On March 6, the House Judiciary subcommittee with jurisdiction over intellectual property issues approved H.R. 4279, a bill aimed at strengthening intellectual property (I.P.) enforcement. But first the subcommittee made an important modification — it agreed to delete a highly controversial section concerning statutory damages in infringement cases involving compilations. This is a welcome change. As I described…

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FCC Chairman Strays Even Further From Reality, and Constitution

I read with horror the latest issue (Dec. 2007) of Indiana University’s Federal Communications Law Journal. The leading “article” is a transcript of a November 2005 debate among Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin and others about expanding the FCC’s regulation of indecency. During the debate, in response to a discussion about radio “shock jocks,”…

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New Legal Challenge to CD Ripping–One for the Red Herring File

Reports that the music industry is now claiming that it’s illegal to “rip” songs from a CD you own and put them on your hard drive are cropping up all over the Internet. Many of those reports point to a Washington Post article as the source of this news; meanwhile, a posting on Slashdot raised the…

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