How age and PICS ratings may go down...

Tim May tcmay at
Sun Aug 3 19:47:34 PDT 1997

One way "voluntary" age ratings--very similar to PICS ratings--may be
mandated is through the kind of "plea agreement" cited below. (I don't
know if this site is real or not, but the post presents a scenario which
will become more common, I think.)

Someone writes something, or has a site, and is busted for some charge.
(There are many, even with what remains of the First Amendment. Child
porn, obscenity, the new copyright laws, the Anti-Terrorism Act, etc.) A
nolo contendre or guilty plea to a lesser charge is entered, with the
agreement that an age verification system will be used, or a PICS rating,
etc. And so the government gets the kind of censorship it wants.

(Duncan will likely argue that this is impossible to enforce. Maybe in the
limit, in the sense that some will fall through the cracks. But the
dangers to anyone hosting words or pictures on their sites is very real.
As more and more ISPs drop controversial material--think of several recent
cases, and perhaps even the case of our own John Young--and as more child
porn/celebrity nude/obscenity cases are the time the Thomases
are both out of prison, most sites will likely be heavily editing
themselves, imposing age limits, and using PICS ratings.)

The article is below.

--Tim May

> From: <thebridge at>
> Newsgroups:
> Subject: The celeb site illegal in Texas
> Date: 3 Aug 1997 10:20:21 GMT
> Organization: Commuter Communication Systems, Austin TX
> Lines: 36
> Message-ID: <5s1m15$2m6$732 at>
> NNTP-Posting-Host:
> Xref:
> The fakes page, along with the XXX passwords page, is the one that got
me in trouible with the law ans the community action groups. I used to
have these two pages  in the free access web, and it seems that many
people found it objectionable that kids could get to the "Celebrity
Blowjobs" and other work. They were right. I was wrong. I tried the
Ulysses argument, but they just wouldn't accept the rationale that
watching Kathy Lee give head had serious and important literary value. By
the way, this is the same page that generated the two-page write-up in
Internet Underground.
> So, I copped a plea, agreed to Adult Verification. Anyway, there is age
verification now, and I am free to offend the adults of my community, and
hopefully all communities everywhere.
> AdultSights're there dudes.
> non-members, you can get one instantly
> (also gets you in to my passwords page, my Encyclopedia (2200 celebs),
and much more, plus 2,000 other sites)

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