TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Court Decision In Internet Censorship Law (Nitke / Ashcroft)

Court Decision In Internet Censorship Law (Nitke / Ashcroft)

Monty Solomon (
Mon, 25 Jul 2005 22:51:49 -0400

by Seth Finkelstein

Nitke versus Ashcroft is a case challenging Internet censorship law,
involving issues of "community standards" and the Internet. I (Seth
Finkelstein) am serving as an expert witness in the case.

Case lawyer John Wirenius' blog entry describes the decision:

"[On July 25, 2005], the three judge panel of the Southern District
of New York issued a 25 page per curiam opinion finding against the
plaintiffs -- us, to be clear -- in Nitke v. Ashcroft. The decision is a
stunner -- as much for what it doesn't say as for what it does. The
Court found that Barbara and NCSF (through The Eulenspeigel Society)
had been chilled in their speech and had censored themselves because
of the statute allowing the Government to choose which venue any
artist using the Internet may be prosecuted in, and applying that
local community's standards to all art on the Internet. The Court
also found that Barbara and NCSF could not rest easy on the obvious
social value of their speech, because not all prosecutors and not all
juries see social importance the same way. Then they found we had not
produced enough evidence as to how many artists would be chilled, and
how local community standards varied. Thus, we had not shown to what
extent the standards varied from community to community, and how much
speech was effected."

I have a page of resources about the case at:

Case lawyer John Wirenius' material: Overview:

January 2005 Update:

NCSF's site:

Barbara Nitke:

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