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Appeals Court Rules On Internet Obscenity Standards

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the net-for-seven-year-olds dept.

Censorship 697

dark_requiem writes "The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that online content can be judged by the standards of the strictest community that is able to access it. The court upheld the conviction of pornography producer Paul F. Little, aka Max Hardcore, for violating obscenity laws in Tampa, despite the fact that the 'obscene' material in question was produced and sold in California. From the article: 'The Atlanta-based court rejected arguments by Little's attorneys that applying a local community standard to the Internet violates the First Amendment because doing so means material can be judged according to the standards of the strictest communities. In other words, the materials might be legal where they were produced and almost everywhere else. But if they violate the standards of one community, they are illegal in that community and the producers may be convicted of a crime. ... Jurors in Little's trial were told to judge the materials on the basis of how "the average person of the community as a whole — the Middle District of Florida" — would view the material.'"

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697 comments

Well, you're doomed... (2, Insightful)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083642)

...in the Land of The Free, corporations have a right to free speech so your constitution does not apply to you anymore, only to whom will financially benefit from that.

Re:Well, you're doomed... (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083682)

In other words, the materials might be legal where they were produced and almost everywhere else. But if they violate the standards of one community, they are illegal in that community and the producers may be convicted of a crime.

And this is news? When I went to bestiality.com [bestiality.com] and purchased a video of a horse blowing a chewy, voluminous load inside a woman, they warned me that I should make sure that it was legal in my state.

But TFA describes the 11th circuit which includes Georgia and Alabama. Those inbred perverts fuck their cousins by night and outlaw interracial sex by day. Goddamn perverts. And hypocrites. Hell, I might watch some interracial sex tonight just to spite them.

Re:Well, you're doomed... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083936)

> But TFA describes the 11th circuit which includes Georgia and Alabama.

Ok, I thought that there were at least eleven levels of appeals in that area ;-)

first circuit court of appeals
second circuit court of appeals
third circuit court of appeals
4th circuit court of appeals ...
11th circuit court of appeals ... ;-)))))))

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083752)

Very true. Corporations are the Leviathan turned against the people instead of protecting them.

So Iran's standards then? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083656)

So by that measure we should censor all pictures of women's faces as it violates the decency standards of Iran.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (5, Interesting)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083754)

So by that measure we should censor all pictures of women's faces as it violates the decency standards of Iran.

We can do better than that. Let's form a community that considers rules on internet decency the height of indecency.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (2, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084136)

Infinite recursion error.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (5, Insightful)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083762)

I suspect that this ruling only considers communities within the USA. But presumably, if (e.g.) an amish community decided that the very concept of a website was obscene (rather than just objectionable or undesirable), it would be valid under this precedent for them to sue everyone who ever produced a website.

You poor chaps over the pond really do seem to have the most bizarre legal decisions made for you, sometimes.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (3, Insightful)

annex1 (920373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083866)

It's really humourous when you live on the same Continent and watch with complete confusion as their entire country sues itself to death. I truly can't believe how litigious their society has become.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083900)

It's really humourous when you live on the same Continent and watch with complete confusion as their entire country sues itself to death. I truly can't believe how litigious their society has become.

If I were American I'd sue you for saying that

Re:So Iran's standards then? (0)

calibre-not-output (1736770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084070)

If I lived in the USA I'd sue you for suing annex1.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083942)

Just wait. It's only a matter of time until the Continent of Europe falls into that same litigious mode. There are already numerous cases of Germans being sued by Swedes for violating Swedish law (or vice-versa). Like the piratebay case for example. How can those citizens be subject to Danish law when they don't even live there? What a mess.

Even within the U.S. there are jurisdictional issues.

How will the State of Georgia arrest/punish a citizen 2000 miles away in California? If this website-publishing Californian continues to produce "nudie" photographs in direct violation of the court order, will Georgia send an invading army across ~10 states to collect him? I don't think states like Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, et cetera would appreciate that.

Neither is it the responsibility of California to enforce Georgian law. The Californian can remain free.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (2, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084202)

How will the State of Georgia arrest/punish a citizen 2000 miles away in California?

Extradition.

It's like those treaties we have with so many countries, but way easier. And if it turns into a federal case in any way, then extradition is a non-issue.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084242)

It's a federal case by definition, if I got that right, after all it certainly crosses state borders. Hell, it crosses international borders.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (5, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083868)

Ya know, a court can rule anything they feel like ruling. Their *opinion* does not trump the Supreme Law of the Land: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press....."

Or the Supreme Law of the State (in this case Georgia where the case happened): "Freedom of speech and of the press guaranteed. No law shall be passed to curtail or restrain the freedom of speech or of the press. Every person may speak, write, and publish sentiments on all subjects but shall be responsible for the abuse of that liberty." - Or the Constitution of California (where the citizen resides and to which law he is directly subject): "Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press."

It's time that we the People stop bowing to judges as if they were the ultimate authorities. They are not. The LAW is the ultimate authority within the Member States and within our Union. Enforce the Constitution - it is the law, and no politician nor judge can trump it. Our various Union and State Constitutions give us the right to speak freely, either vocally or in written form, and censorship violates those Supreme Laws.

As a wise man opined 200 years ago:

"The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch." Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1804. - "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps..... The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots." - Thomas Jefferson, 1820

Re:So Iran's standards then? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083912)

Well, yeah. That's all fine and dandy, but if people disagree about how the law (constitutional or not) applies to a given situation, what do you do? If this never happened, you wouldn't need courts, but it does, and thus you do.

Put another way, what do you propose?

Re:So Iran's standards then? (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083978)

Well I defer to someone smart than me - "But the Chief Justice says, 'There must be an ultimate arbiter somewhere.' True, there must; but does that prove it is either party? The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union, assembled by their deputies in convention, at the call of Congress or of two-thirds of the States. Let them decide to which they mean to give an authority claimed by two of their organs. And it has been the peculiar wisdom and felicity of our Constitution, to have provided this peaceable appeal, where that of other nations is at once to force." Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823.

You could also apply common sense.

Yes there's nudity and porn on the internet. So what? Nobody's forcing you to type playboy.com into your computer, so why is there a need for government to regulate these websites? *The government does not need to be involved.* The government should not be censoring the internet. At all. Let people censor themselves, by simply not going to sites they find objectionable.

They only reason to censor the internet, is to exert morality upon other people, and I find that to be tyrannical. I don't want Georgia's primitive, backwards morality enforced upon me or any other non-Georgian citizen.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31084020)

Can you please get the state right? The laws/police/prosecution are from Tampa, FLORIDA. The only way Georgia comes into this is that the case made it to Federal District court, and the 11th District happened to be in Atlanta. Georgia isn't doing squat to you -- rant about Florida.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084184)

It's not my fault the summary was written poorly (implying the court in Atlanta and the law under review was Georgian). But thanks for the correction. FLORIDA ALSO HAS A RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH, so I don't see how this obscenity law can be allowed to stand. Nor do I see how a Florida law applies to some guy who lives 2000 miles away.

Anyway bottom line: I have no desire to be subject to ANY law from a foreign state. I have enough problems dealing with the backwards morality of my own state (which has TWICE arrested boyfriends/girlfriends for sending each other nude photos via cellphone). Nuts.

Goatse links, for one (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084022)

Nobody's forcing you to type playboy.com into your computer

Except the people who post links on forums that claim to point somewhere interesting but in fact point to shocking gay porn [goatse.fr] . OK, maybe you're right, that's not forcing, but it's still coercion because it's fraud.

Re:Goatse links, for one (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084096)

You (not you, they) can always install Net Nanny [netnanny.com] , I'm sure it'll block those nasty websites.

I for one prefer to browse the interwebs freely, even if it means getting exposed to disturbing stuff.

Re:Goatse links, for one (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084212)

It's not government's responsibility to protect people from their own stupidity. I never click a link until I check the URL, and citizens will either have to learn to do the same, or *take responsibility* for their own laziness.

Which is what this all boils down to. Some guy in Florida doesn't want to take responsibility to censor himself from seeing playboy.com. Instead he wants to hand-over responsibility to the Florida Government, and have them censor his connection as if he was a child.

The other possibility is that he's a religious person, who thinks Yahweh/Allah/Whatever gave him the authority to control everybody else, and he's trying to use this case to clean-up the internet to fit his backwards moral code. So much for Freedom FROM religion.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084144)

IMHO both the European Union and the United States need the following amendment added to their Lisbon Treaty and Constitution, respectively, (and rewritten to fit the needs of each continent):

The "Protect the 9th and 10th Amendments" Act.
----- Proposed Amendment XXVIII.
Section 1. After a Bill has become Law, if one-half of the Member States declare the U.S. Law to be "unconstitutional" it shall be null and void. It shall be as if the Law never existed.
Section 2. The Supreme Court will have the authority to review cases, and as part of the ruling declare these cases constitutional or unconstitutional, however the decision by the States (section 1) shall be superior.
Section 3. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths* of the several States by the date January 1, 2050. *[This is called a Constitutional majority in legal parlance.]

.
.
.

I envision this amendment to be very useful in overturning, for example the $2500 fine to be levied against citizens who don't have health insurance. That law, once Obama signs it, will be clearly unconsitutional and then the 25 State Legislatures can overturn it.

In the European Union, such an amendment could be used to block the EU Government from exercising powers never granted by the Lisbon Treaty. As things stand now, there is virtually no limit to what the EU Government can control.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084162)

REVISED and shortened:

Section 1. After a Bill has become Law, if one-half of the Member States declare the U.S. Law to be "unconstitutional" it shall be null and void. It shall be as if the Law never existed.

Section 2. This article shall be inoperative, unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths* of the several States by the date January 1, 2050. *[This is called a Constitutional majority in legal parlance.]

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084206)

I think this is a bad idea, because it counts "states" and not people. We already have enough non-democracy built into our system, we don't need more.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084224)

Make it "two-thirds". I don't want to see every change of which party wins an election likely to flush the laws of the previous party in power without working at it.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084154)

So instead of allowing judges to be the ones who interpret the law, you would have this fall to politicians? Sadly, law always requires interpretation. Best that those doing the interpretation at least have as much training as possible... as long as they're all accountable.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084240)

>>>So instead of allowing judges to be the ones who interpret the law, you would have this fall to politicians?

STRAWMAN ARGUMENT (logical fail). I never said that. My point is that the obscenity law shouldn't even exist, because it violates three separate Supreme Laws - the U.S. Constitution, the Florida Constitution, and the California Constitution.

There are also jurisdictional problems - a Californian should not be subject to the laws of a foreign state (Florida). No legislation without representation. i.e. Florida should not be able to legislate anybody who does not have a representative to speak for them within the Florida government.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

jabbathewocket (1601791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083816)

IMO the judge was looking to be overturned on appeal so he didnt have to create precedent with his decision. The screwy part is that there is no way this case should have ever made it into a florida courtroom to begin with *shrug*

Re:So Iran's standards then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083840)

Meh I fail at typing in the morning, read that as "kick upstairs to the supreme court" rather than overturning itself.. I am still rather puzzled that this case made it to a florida courtroom and how that came to pass though.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084018)

Then the judge (or judges) is a coward. I would not have hesitated at all:

"The Laws of Florida do not apply to California citizens. Furthermore the Laws of California allow freedom of speech and the press. And the U.S. Constitution allows freedom of speech and the press without restriction. Therefore the California website is not violating any laws, and this case is dismissed as invalid. The State of Florida must pay for all legal fees incurred upon the California citizen."

Re:So Iran's standards then? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083894)

Very few women in Iran wear the veil. You, sir are totally ignorant and prejudiced.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084000)

You are right of course.

In the below article about Tehran's former police chief, they say that prostitutes wear veils or even chadors so, also, the ones wearing veils might not be the ones one would expect ;-)))

http://www.slate.com/id/2189816/ [slate.com]

Re:So Iran's standards then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31084122)

I don't know about the truth of your first statement. But I agree that most Americans are totally ignorant and prejudiced. It's a deadly combo. Their ignorance keeps them from ever knowing the depth of their prejudice and their prejudice makes it hard for them to accept anything insightful.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31084124)

Check-out Max Hardcore and tell me its not obscene - and I'm not from that strict community.

Re:So Iran's standards then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31084178)

that would not fly. Do you know anyone who doesn't wipe his ass with the Quran? Let's get rid of the Islam cancer!

No problem (5, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083658)

We just need to file a lawsuit in Fascistville, Texas to have the whole internet taken down for obscenity.

Trust me, I'm a Texan--we've got plenty of towns that would do.

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083700)

Except that Florida voted Democratic. I thought that unjustifiably singleing out a group of people as your enemy would be something fascists would do?

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083736)

I would prefer to take down all the creationist websites -- actually, there should some districts in the US left where those sites should be considered obscene (maybe Berkeley, CA?).

Re:No problem (1)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083864)

can obscene extend to the overall theme? take your pitchforks, it's time to burn that myspace pages once and for all!

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083906)

I would prefer to take down all the creationist websites -- actually, there should some districts in the US left where those sites should be considered obscene (maybe Berkeley, CA?).

I guess Berkeley could give that a shot if it dared. If they did, then chances are high that the court in some little podunk town in flyover country would find that Berkeley in and of itself is entirely obscene and an abomination upon creation, and order that all the denizens thereof be rounded up and incarcerated until the demons infesting them can be exorcised.

Re:No problem (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083800)

Another county to consider; Lancaster County
http://www.padutchcountry.com/index.asp [padutchcountry.com]

Shall we ban online sales of electric appliances, cars, phones, and anything else modern while we are on a roll?

Re:No problem (1)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083904)

I don't mean to nit-pick, but do they actually have access to the internet there?

Re:No problem (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084044)

Yes we do. We even have a competitive environment (Comcast or Verizon). Wooo. Think of Lancaster County as a suburb of Philadelphia.

Offtopic: Ya know it really annoys me when I hear people like Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh talking against "net neutrality". While I have a choice, many people are stuck with a monopoly like Comcast or Cox or Time-Warner for their internet. The purpose of net neutrality is to stop these monopolies from blocking websites they don't like, such as foxnews.com. Why would either Beck or Limbaugh be against that?

I think their opposition merely demonstrates their own ignorance about the issue.

Re:No problem (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084072)

P.S.

Anybody see that 10-minute long infomercial run be WCAU 10 (NBC10 Philadelphia) last night at 7:48 pm? It announced the takeover of the station by Comcast. The announcement listed every party involved in the NBC-to-Comcast transition, and it droned on-and-on-and-on for 10 minutes! I'm surprised the reporter did not run out of breath.

Wow. Pretty soon Comcast will be like Microsoft and gobble-up everything.

Re:No problem (2, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084196)

I think it's two things:

First, confusion of net neutrality (a good thing) with the "fairness doctrine" (eh, not so much). Whether the talking head himself is confused, or is just confusing his listeners, is up for debate.

Second, NIH syndrome. The perception is that it's an idea proposed by the democrats, so it must automatically be opposed, regardless of the content.

Remember, people like Rush, Beck, Michael Moore, Hannity, etc. are rabble-rousers. Their job is to say outrageous things to get people stirred up, which makes them listen to the show and (key point here) brings in money (whether through ticket sales or advertising dollars). They're just like Howard Stern, but talking politics rather than sex.

Re:No problem (5, Insightful)

thue (121682) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084066)

You have no imagination!

How about filing a lawsuit in some strict muslim community, where depictations of human beings and music is considered obscene?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_music#Permissibility_of_music [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_art [wikipedia.org] ("the depiction of the human form is idolatry and thereby a sin against Allah, forbidden in the Qur'an")

The court said "the strictest community". Nobody said it had to be a community based on the Christian worldview.

Without a doubt (4, Insightful)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083672)

This has to be, without a doubt, the worst decision I have ever heard a court involving the internet. It shows a blatant disregard for how internet works.

Re:Without a doubt (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083698)

I meant to say "heard a court make" but I'm just so angry, I couldn't get the right words out!

Re:Without a doubt (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083916)

Not only that but they have a blatant misunderstanding of how other jurisdictions work. Product Y is made in state A is illegal here, so it's now illegal everywhere. Wtf is that?

Re:Without a doubt (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084012)

Product Y is made in state A is illegal here, so it's now illegal everywhere. Wtf is that?

More like "Product Y is made in state A is illegal here, so it's now illegal for people in state A to ship to customers here."

Re:Without a doubt (2, Informative)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084174)

Except there is no shipping involved. The judge is expecting their to be a system in place that can determine where a computer user is coming from and automatically apply obscenity filters. Basically every website would have to set up blacklists/whitelists to determine which states may access the website or, as per this ruling, the host of the website may be liable for obscenity violations in another state. In the judge's eyes, passively providing access to material that is illegal in State A from State B makes you liable in State A even though you are not creating the offending material in State A, nor are you actively sending the material to State A.

Re:Without a doubt (2, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084024)

> It shows a blatant disregard for how internet works.

I guess the way internet works is irrelevant for some people. They make laws and decisions according to the way they think it *should* work. ;-))

Horseshit (5, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083694)

The Appeals Court dropped the ball on this one. If a crime was committed in that backwoods locale, it should be the person who viewed the porn who is charged, because they're the ones who took the active step of bringing it 'into' the jurisdiction. Yeah, it's some pretty foul porn, by most standards, but it was the police who ordered the damn things and downloaded them, not some otherwise innocent person. Frankly, it's a mockery of the law to charge him with crimes in that jurisdiction.

Re:Horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083764)

it's a mockery of the law to charge him with crimes in that jurisdiction.

Not really. It's decisions like this which merely demonstrate how draconian and dangerous the current laws actually are. What needs to happen is a complete overhaul of the legal system and the elimination of censorship laws altogether. Let the apologists and FUD-promoters and religious evangelists bitch and complain all they want, because deep down inside even the most fanatical of religious zealots and "Child Advocates" realize that being free from oppression and offended by pornography (or beheadings, or what-have-you) is far better than living in a police state. But these people don't tend to be interested in Freedom until people start talking about taxing their religious businesses. There's always a great deal of hypocrisy to these Right Wing zealots.

Re:Horseshit (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083848)

You're proving my point. If it wasn't a mockery of the law to charge, convict and imprison the man in that jurisdiction for something he did outside of that jurisdiction (and to note, where he did it, it was legal), then the law wouldn't need to be overhauled.

This is akin to charging, convicting and imprisoning a photographer because someone else displayed his photographs in "Uptight-ville". The difference is, this was done over the Internet, rather then a public gallery.

Re:Horseshit (2, Insightful)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083836)

A federal appeals court in California ruled in another case three months ago that a national community standard must be applied when regulating obscene materials over the Internet.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit, however, wrote that they "decline to follow the reasoning" of the California court.

You know this one is going to SCOTUS.

Re:Horseshit (1)

sictransitgloriacfa (1739280) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084030)

They may send it to SCOTUS, but that doesn't mean SCOTUS will grant certiorari. They could just let it stand.

Re:Horseshit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083976)

It's essentially the same as a ten year old case were some Baptist-fuck-minister in Tennessee or a similar state ordered some porn from a really, really sleazy couple in California. Then the couple was charged with sending obscenity through the mail.

I can't see why this isn't passed over as entrapment. The critical part of entrapment is "inducing someone to do something they would not otherwise have done". I'll bet the son of a bitch creamed his jeans with the porn a couple hundred times before reporting it to the post office.

It's also part of the race to the bottom on the internet.Germans don't want Nazi stuff traded, so eBay knuckles under. France doesn't like some other shit, so it's banned. Ragheads hate everything, so I guess we should all just go back to the sixth century.

OTOH, the camel-fuckers want to compete in sumo wrestling in the Olympics, so they want to add a bunch of clothes because they also think guy butt is obscene. Yeah, sumo in burqas -- that'll draw the crowds.

Re:Horseshit (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084026)

Presumably there's a jurisdiction somewhere where it's illegal for police to perform that sort of entrapment, or where downloading (and thus creating a copy) is a strict liability offence with no get-out for law enforcement. Clap them in irons, says I, and transport them there to answer for their foul crimes.

Re:Horseshit (5, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084216)

Obscenity laws like this shouldn't even exist in this day and age.

Seriously, obscenity? How about we go down to the soda shop and get some malts? Then we can go rough up the dorky kid and pitch woo to the cheerleaders. Check out those sexy ankles!

"The Community" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083704)

Yay. Time for this to be ruled by the scotus. They've been pretty clear on "community standards" and it's about time the internet was defined as "a community." SCOTUS did not say obscenity is defined by the most prudish members of the community. You can't simply pick the 13 most uptight pricks in town for your jury. It's time for people to be given full responsibility for the speech that is tolerated in their own homes and not the freedom to rule everyone else's homes based on the redneck perversions of that backward few.

Entrapment?? (5, Insightful)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083726)

Little is from California but was tried in Tampa after investigators here ordered his videos through the mail and downloaded them over the Internet.

Emphasis mine.
So basically these investigators took something that was legal at it's source and imported it into an area where it was illegal, and then blamed the supplier.

If they had of not actively done this, then no crime would have been committed.
(Of course IANAL etc).

Re:Entrapment?? (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083876)

Remember, the police are your friends!

(I believe this is a collolary of "It's okay if you're a Republican.".)

Re:Entrapment?? (1)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083932)

Yeah, well I had a friend who joined the police force, and I was friends with him right up till the point where he refused to book himself for accidentally running a red light.
These bastards seem to think the law doesn't apply to them.

Re:Entrapment?? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084040)

Would he book anyone else who accidentally run a red light, without being in any other violation (speed limit, influence, etc)? Most cops around here would probably stop the person, but wouldn't actually fine them if he/she thought it was a genuine accident.

Re:Entrapment?? (2, Informative)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084188)

Running a red light is more dangerous than speeding, mate. Sometimes following the speed limit is more dangerous than going with the flow of the traffic.

I remember one time I was driving through Vancouver, BC, and everyone was going 130kph. I'm pretty sure the speed limit was 90.

Re:Entrapment?? (1, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084156)

Do you turn yourself in to the police station when you accidentally run a red light and no police officers are around to witness it? How about jaywalking? Littering? Any of the other minor infractions you are guilty of?

If you're say you do and you're not posting from prison, you're a liar and a hypocrite.

This happens more than most people suspect (2, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084232)

one of the problems the type of business I am in has, its illegal to sell certain items in certain locales but adjoining ones can buy them. In some cases its not even legal to ship through (we are talking environmental laws mostly - some protect the local industry laws too)

We used to joke that some locales would have inspectors waiting for the trucks to leave the warehouse, let alone arrive at stores to see if "contraband" was on board. Of course this was all done to raise revenue for the locale. Where it got messy were the same buyers ordering from other distribution centers in hopes of getting around the restriction. My favorite restrictions are where the same product can be sold in a locale for one use but not another. This of course requires signed off paperwork stating the buyer is using it for the legal reasons and we confirmed they are. Trouble is, we have more money so if the buyer does something wrong we usually get fined for selling it.

Never underestimate the ability of government employees to abuse their position to impose their views upon you or bolster their community at the expense of yours

Jehovah! (2, Insightful)

Dartz-IRL (1640117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083738)

Or how declaring that Mary is not a virgin is technically a criminal offence in Ireland, but not wherever the server for slashdot is located.

How can people know what's legal/illegal in each and every bacwater community across a country as large as the US?

Re:Jehovah! (2, Interesting)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084116)

How big does the community have to be?

Can I just move out to the middle of nowhere in the midwest, deem religion and intelligent design obscene in my "community" and put an end to them on the internet?

Re:Jehovah! (1)

curmudgeous (710771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084234)

I find your ideas intruiging and would like to suscribe to your newsletter...

Little (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083746)

LOL, that's probably the silliest name you can have in that industry!

No wonder he's using a pseudonym...

Holy shit, don the Burkas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083748)

At least the Amish don't use computers.

Re:Holy shit, don the Burkas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083774)

Yes they do. There are amish bloggers dumbass.

idiot judge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083766)

So now because of this idiotic ruling most every web site will need to locate offshore. By these standards we could not put the bible or anything else up as some community might take offense and object. Maybe we could outsource our court system, its obviously broken beyond repair.

I'm coming for you Walmart!! (1)

ZuchinniOne (1617763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083808)

So does this mean I can sue Walmart for selling me shoes online that were made using slave-labor in the 3rd world?

Call it issue advertising... (1)

Spirald (9569) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083822)

If restrictions on speech are unconstitutional to the point that anyone with enough money can drown out opposing viewpoints in an election, how the hell do they justify allowing a district in central Florida to censor the internet?

It is very likely that corporate advertising that lies and tries to scare people into voting a certain way offends the standards of more than a few communities- say, Berkeley, for one. Under this precedent, Berkeley should start suing the folks who air those highly offensive anti-healthcare reform ads. I guarantee you that they'll have a sympathetic jury if all it takes is a local community standard.

Re:Call it issue advertising... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31084062)

The court recognizes different types of speech. You have political, religious, commercial, and obscene speech. Obscene speech (that is to say speech which is offensive to the ordinary, reasonable person of a community with no redeeming artistic or intellectual value is the most subject to regulation. Political and religious speech are explicitly protected under the first amendment. What's at issue in this case is a simple jurisdiction issue and I seriously doubt this case will stand up to appeal. Nice try though...

Finally law is on our side! (3, Insightful)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083852)

Perfect! Now we can have some GNU/Linux fans form a community, declare all proprietary software obscene and shut down sites of Microsoft, Apple and so on! Wow, and I thought that I'll never see "A Year of Linux on Desktop"!

What do you think, will RMS look good in black amish hat?

Entirely unreasonable (5, Insightful)

mepperpint (790350) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083862)

This ruling is entirely unreasonable for two reasons:

(1) This effectively extends the jurisdiction of an community law to the entire country

(2) This requires that someone know and understand all the laws of every community

I don't know whether the ruling is wrong with regard to the law or whether the law is horribly broken, but rulings like this are entirely unreasonable. It goes against the principles of the US to allow a small group of people to inflict their personal views and opinions on the entire country. I really hope that this precedent is changed, either by a successful appeal to the supreme court or better laws.

The result is (2, Funny)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083892)

That pictures of women who are not covered top to toe are considered porn.
I am sure thare are some communities of strict muslims in the US.

As a result, all newsstands must be closed down, and all newspapers will have to show pictueres only of men.

Stupidity rulez

Re:The result is (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083910)

That pictures of women who are not covered top to toe are considered porn. I am sure thare are some communities of strict muslims in the US.

As a result, all newsstands must be closed down, and all newspapers will have to show pictueres only of men.

Stupidity rulez

But make sure they are "Manly Islamic Men", no queers or kaffirs thank you ....

Re:The result is (2, Insightful)

MORB (793798) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083996)

The real result is that geolocation filters will become more prevalent, with content providers making it so their website are only viewable from the states/countries they intend to market their stuff to (and wherfe they know their content isn't illegal).

It's highly annoying. It's already pretty enraging when you come across a website that pretty much tells you "fuck you, this content can only be viewed from the usa".

Re:The result is (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084100)

Also , in my community, reading /. is illegal, so we might eventually all get arrested ;-)))

John Black
Creationist Community

Re:The result is (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084230)

That pictures of women who are not covered top to toe are considered porn.

      You had better not be making any drawings (Canada, Australia) of uncovered women, too. And make sure (Australia) that their breasts are very large. Or you are a "sex offender". How about we go and cover up all those naked people in paintings and chisel the genitals from sculptures, while we're at it?

      I myself find myself offended by a particular Dutch painter called Rembrandt. What a pervert. All the nudes he ever painted should be destroyed, and his "collectors" and any of his surviving kin thrown in jail.

We need to bring back (3, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083962)

Tar and feathering of stupid judges.

This will almost certainly be overturned but this court had to force the waste of millions of dollars anyway.

Sad, inconvenient truth (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31083968)

Frankly, it isn't the first time the USoA has dragged someone from somewhere else (like, oh, another country on a different continent), and tried and convicted them for ``crimes'' that might be arguable at best under any applicable law, or not even committed near the North American continent, or both. So the country, so the county. If you'd like this changed, don't stop at the county level, fix the country too. People the world over will thank you.

Well played, Internet (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083986)

Right below this story in my RSS feed was this [explosm.net] comic. How appropriate.

I agree (2, Funny)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 4 years ago | (#31083992)

The onus should fall upon the pornographers to keep their content out of Florida's tubes.

Re:I agree (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084092)

Tubes are my business.. MEH!

For those of you too young to remember history (2, Informative)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084048)

The practise is called 'venue shopping'. http://epic.org/free_speech/censorship/us_v_thomas.html

The Miller decision was applied and found to be applicable to this case. If you offend
someone in their place of residence, they are still offended. This is why buck naked fornicators
do not enter your home over the broadcast airways.

The Thomas case was a little different, but a conviction was obtained anyway.

Insanity (2, Interesting)

sictransitgloriacfa (1739280) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084084)

This is completely insane. Under this standard, Dan Savage could be prosecuted in Arkansas for writing about sex in California. A large percentage of the professional musicians in the US could be prosecuted for their lyrics. Everyone on 4chan could be prosecuted. (There had to be a silver lining somewhere.)

The First Amendment (*) (3, Funny)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084098)

We clearly all forgot that little footnote in the Bill of Rights which says "not a guarantee, void where prohibited by law, some rights sold separately"

Hey US court! (Or anyone else acting like that.) (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084104)

What makes you think, you got any power at all to rule over the Internet? The Internet is outside of any nation. You got as much power over it as you got over Saturn or Middle-earth.

So go ahead, make your fantasy rulings, living in your fantasy world. Until you lose any connection to reality, and we’re rid of you.

Re:Hey US court! (Or anyone else acting like that. (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084200)

What makes you think, you got any power at all to rule over the Internet?

      Well the fact that Max Hardcore is behind bars should be your first clue.

        I don't agree with the court ruling, but they certainly have the power - and are (ab)using it.

Does this apply to ALL "obscene" speech? (5, Insightful)

Rone (46994) | more than 4 years ago | (#31084114)

I have to wonder if the 11th would have been so quick to insist that the strictest local community standards apply in every case if non-pornographic material was involved. Hypothetical case in point:

    1) Some particularly radical bastion of liberalism / progressivism (Berkeley, perhaps, or another community with similar values) passes a city ordinance declaring particularly inflammatory anti-abortion speech as "obscene", "inciting to riot", etc.

    2) Arrest warrants are immediately issued throughout the south-eastern US for various high profile clergymen (e.g. Pat Robertson), and other pro-life firebrands as various pieces of inflammatory pro-life literature (e.g. videotapes) are purchased and received by members of the local police.

    3) Said individuals are arrested, extradited to California, tried, convicted, sentenced, and begin their prison sentences.

    4) During this time, they appeal their sentences through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

If the members of the 11th Court suddenly "switched team jerseys" and were sitting on the bench of the 9th Circuit court, would they uphold these convictions?

Using the reasoning they applied against Mr. Little (the defendant), they would. However, if you believe that these same judges would actually choose to follow this reasoning, I have a nice bridge to sell you.

Normally, I would expect that the Supreme Court would (eventually) backhand the 11th for such an egregious violation of the 1st Amendment, but given the recent much-broader-than-necessary ruling on campaign finance reform, I suspect that they'll find a way not to.

I'm all for free speech. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31084158)

Fags need to be shouted down for draining society of resources because they eat shit. They're diseased and serve no useful purpose with their rump roasting.

Anything less than a Burka is obscene (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31084204)

Most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. If an ethnic community should decide that woman not wearing a burka is obscene then all photos etc. on the internet not showing a burka should be considered pornographic. I've lost an enormous amount of respect for our judicial system with this decision.

How about Internet Community Standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31084210)

Why judge based on silly "geographical" community when we already have perfectly good online communities by which to judge what is obscene or not. So I guess the best judges of that is 4chan. We can go by the standard: "If it is too obscene for 4chan, it is too obscene" And solve this whole silly "obscenity" issue.
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