Effects of S.314 (Communications Decency Act)

Robert Rothenburg Walking-Owl rrothenb at ic.sunysb.edu
Wed Feb 8 01:46:56 PST 1995

> On Wed, 8 Feb 1995, L. McCarthy wrote:
> > The battle over "obscenity" has been fought long and hard.
> > 
> > "Indecency" seems a remarkably nebulous term (and, of course, ludicrously
> > Victorian). I'd be interested in seeing a legal definition, and alarmed if
> > there isn't one (yet).
> Last I heard, the Supreme Court had never made a ruling on this. They 
> copped out and left it up to "Community Standards." This is partially why 
> the AA bbs case was sucessfuly prosecuted in another state.

I beg to differ. Remember the "Seven Dirty Words Case"? (I think WBAI/Pacifica
v. US, year?...). WBAI-FM in NY played George Carlin's "Seven words you can't
say on television" skit and was taken to court. The court ruled that there
were some obscene things which could be censored, but other things were
indecent so could at most be relegated to late night hours (and they've
struck down laws banning indecency 24 hours... I think some stations are
suing with the claim that such relegation constitutes censorship).

Don't remember their exact formulation, which isn't very exact anyway.

> > Don't even get me started on the "nudity" portion. I'm sure Jesse Helms is
> > already licking his lips over this one.
> Under the new legislation, might this not be illegal? ;)
> On another note, I mailed Stanton McClandish to find out what EFF's 
> position is on this. I tried browsing their archives, but lots of stuff 
> seems to have vanished from there.

Perhaps it was deemed too indecent to be on an archive site. Hell, they
cooperated plenty with the government on this.

It's a sad day when you might expect AT&T to stand up for your rights more
than the EFF...

> Sam

Just my opinions,

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