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Seattle Library Lets Man Watch Porn On Computers Despite Complaints

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the a-little-privacy-please dept.

Idle 584

The Lake City library is making news for their staunch position on the First Amendment, censorship, and the right to watch porn in the library. The problem started when library patron Julie Howe found a man watching some questionable material and asked him to move to another computer. The man refused and the librarian also refused to intervene when asked saying that the library doesn't censor content. "We're a library, so we facilitate access to constitutionally protected information. We don't tell people what they can view and check out," Seattle Public Library spokeswoman Andra Addison told Seattle PI. "Filters compromise freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. We're not in the business of censoring information."

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I like their position (5, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921163)

Unfortunately, some politician is going to smell opportunity and make them regret it.

Re:I like their position (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921209)

Unfortunately, some politician is going to smell opportunity and make them regret it.

How do you know the man in question isn't one?

Seems better than even odds to me...

Re:I like their position (1)

Squiddie (1942230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921313)

There's nothing wrong. As long as the man doesn't whip it out right there and then, everything is fine.

Re:I like their position (3, Insightful)

Columcille (88542) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921451)

Why? If it's already on display via the computer, what difference does it make if it's on display from his actions? Why not let him whip it out, since he's already allowed to put those images in front of everyone? The whole thing is crazy and the censorship arguments are ludicrous. Libraries absolutely need to filter this kind of content.

Re:I like their position (4, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921487)

Because allowing him to watch it is an exercise in free speech or something, that can be argued to be protected (what the whole story is about). Whipping it out and going "to work" would run afoul of indecent exposure or other such statutes.

I guess? IANAL and all that.

Re:I like their position (1)

Wain13001 (1119071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921517)

I agree with your points, but I disagree with your conclusion. I don't see the harm in letting him be naked in the library.

Re:I like their position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921701)

The library should have every right to not filter the internet.
They also have the obligation to call the police.

Re:I like their position (1)

sadness203 (1539377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921557)

Well, yes and no. It would be inappropriate if there was children around, I mean, just looking, not fapping.

But I always find it disturbing that people can look at that in public space... It's more of a social issue in this case, yet, I'll side with the librarian.

Re:I like their position (4, Informative)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921731)

There may be a legal issue, though. Libraries are not restricted by age. Porn is legally restricted by age.

Re:I like their position (4, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921715)

Actually, there is. Porn is age-restricted by law. A public library is not. Do you not see the disconnect here? The government can't (well, shouldn't) legislate what happens at home in regard to filtering, child access to computers, etc, but they sure as hell can control it at a public library. There ARE restrictions on use of public facilities, you know, and I think porn at the library counts. Any material that is age-restricted like that should not be accessible at public facilities unless they are also age-restricted. I like porn as much as the next guy, but really, digging it up at a public library? Come on.

Re:I like their position (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921541)

They should regret it. The position is stupid. As noted in the article, librarians shush you if you talk too loudly. When obsession with unrealistic libertarian free speech ideas go so far as to reward insensitive, self-absorbed weirdos and punish normal people who are genuinely being distracted in a setting that's supposed to be quiet and conducive to research, it becomes a stupidly idealistic position with no practical applicability.

If anything goes because OMG-MY-FREE-SPEECH-RIGHTS, then I can just stroll into the library screaming "Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" for three hours straight, and those prudes shouldn't be able to stop me. And as a real-world troll, I'll successfully drive away library visitors and ruin the whole purpose of the damn place. All in the name of some head-in-the-cloud ideal of freedom.

If you don't have any enforcement of civility, the jerks in society will ruin all good things. Please let's not allow weirdos to watch scat porn in the library just because you read Ayn Rand last week.

Re:I like their position (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921627)

If they keep the decibel level down, it's none of your damn business.

How Polite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921189)

>> The man refused

What a dick!

Oh won't someone think of the children! (1)

Urban Nightmare (147344) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921191)

Oh won't someone think of the children!

Re:Oh won't someone think of the children! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921215)

Careful! That kind of porn will land you in prison. ;)

Re:Oh won't someone think of the children! (4, Funny)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921343)

Bugger the children!!!

Re:Oh won't someone think of the children! (5, Funny)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921355)

No! No! Don't think of the children!

Re:Oh won't someone think of the children! (4, Insightful)

rts008 (812749) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921641)

I suspect sarcasm, but I can't be sure...does not change my reply.

They are thinking of the children!
1. This is an example of the 1st Amendment in real life. It reinforces some of what they are being taught in civics class.
2. Helps disabuse the notion that procreation is taboo, instead of natural and even necessary for the survival of our species.

See, it's all for the good of the children and their education...civics lesson and biology lesson, all rolled into one!

This seems to be perfect for a library role...education, easy access to knowledge, and preservation of knowledge.
   

First Amendment isn't relevant here (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921199)

The commitment to information access is admirable, but the article says that the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that libraries can filter content. Besides, I would want to make as many of my library patrons as comfortable as possible, as well as make it as family-friendly as possible, so I'd probably prohibit jerkin' it to the pr0n. Making people, potentially children, inadvertent viewers of pornography isn't something most governments are keen on supporting, and I suspect the library's policies will change after this media coverage.

This part made me laugh:

The dilemma was summed up by another library patron, Jessica Christensen, who told Seattle PI, "What I find ironic is that you can't talk too loudly at the Seattle Public Libraries or you'll be asked to keep it down so as not to distract the other patrons. You know, the patrons viewing pornography."

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (4, Insightful)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921229)

They CAN choose to filter content, but they've taken the stance of NOT being the morality police to decide what content is "acceptable" and what content isn't. Which is admirable.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921289)

It's not a "moral judgement" any more then telling someone to be quiet is a moral judgement. It's just creating an accommodating environment for the other library patrons. Do you really think some woman wants to look over and see some anal sex video on the screen? There is a point where a little consideration of others contributes to a better society. What kind of creepy asshole goes to the public library to watch porn?

By your logic, someone can come into a library loudly cussing up a storm for an hour, and nobody is supposed to tell him to shut up because OMG HIS FREE SPEECH.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (5, Insightful)

Dredd13 (14750) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921393)

The library isn't choosing what content to PROVIDE when they say someone has to be quiet and orderly.

By saying "you can view this but not that", or whatever, they're making a judgement call on the actual material they provide (albeit virtually) to their patrons, and to many librarians, that's the third-rail. You DON'T censor the material you provide to the patrons. You might have to prioritize some content over others when it comes time to buy them (what books are most in demand, etc., etc.), but if there's no cost difference involved to "serve porn versus not serve porn" to the patrons, then almost every librarian I know will choose to allow access to it, rather than be the censor.

And, to be honest, I don't care "what someone wants to see". You don't have some Constitutional right to not be offended.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921513)

And, to be honest, I don't care "what someone wants to see". You don't have some Constitutional right to not be offended.

So why not just let people fuck on the tables at the library? I mean, whatever consenting adults want to do -- right?

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921615)

Holy shit, is it "I refuse to understand the point being made and will continue to whip out completely irrelevant analogies" day?

No one is fucking on the tables. This is about what people are allowed to look at on the computer. That's it. Now, if someone wants to file indecency complaints against the patron in question for showing them or a child some people doing dirty deeds, then fine. But that's not what anyone is complaining about - they're all complaining that the library isn't playing morality cop, and for that, they can all go DIAF.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (3, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921733)

No one is fucking on the tables. This is about what people are allowed to look at on the computer. That's it.

And normal, rational people shouldn't have to witness graphic sex acts when they go to the library. It's you who doesn't seem to understand the point being made.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921643)

The library isn't choosing what content to PROVIDE when they say someone has to be quiet and orderly.

By saying "you can view this but not that", or whatever, they're making a judgement call on the actual material they provide (albeit virtually) to their patrons, and to many librarians, that's the third-rail. You DON'T censor the material you provide to the patrons. You might have to prioritize some content over others when it comes time to buy them (what books are most in demand, etc., etc.), but if there's no cost difference involved to "serve porn versus not serve porn" to the patrons, then almost every librarian I know will choose to allow access to it, rather than be the censor.

And, to be honest, I don't care "what someone wants to see". You don't have some Constitutional right to not be offended.

The problem is with the target audience. Libraries traditionally cater to families. You're not going to have many families in there if people are watching porn out in the open.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921689)

And, to be honest, I don't care "what someone wants to see". You don't have some Constitutional right to not be offended.

Well, sort of. Your rights are not absolute -- they end where the rights of others begin. You know, the old "First Amendment doesn't allow shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater" bit.

If you would like to stand by your theory as absolute, I will help you by demonstrating my right to move my punch does not stop where your face begins. I'm sure a few repetitions will cause one of us to change our mind. And don't try to claim some "no Constitutional right to punch" bullshit -- I'll yell "you're an asshole" the entire time so it will clearly be a freedom of speech issue.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (0)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921707)

If I were in Seattle, then I'd go there, and use the computers to load up images of aborted babies, to get my political views across to children.

Also, if I feel a little rude and spiteful, then I'll load up images of goatse, KKK guys hanging black guys, burning crosses, skinny Jews in concentration camps, etc. It would be so interesting to see the library gnash their teeth because of me, while a bunch of liberals come in and block all view of the computer that I'm using, in the name of free speech, of course.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921397)

It's a lot easier to choose to ignore someone sitting next to you watching porn, than to choose to ignore someone who's screaming, though.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921559)

It's a lot easier to choose to ignore someone sitting next to you watching porn, than to choose to ignore someone who's screaming, though.

One often leads to the other.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921563)

Do you really think some woman wants to look over and see some anal sex video on the screen?

Let that be a lesson to the bitch for not minding her own damn business.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921547)

Exactly. Many Librarians have stood up and spoken out against censorship in all it's forms. It's just they work in libraries and must not be used to yelling to be heard.

You don't like what they are watching, then don't stare at their screen. Same way with what book or magazine they are reading, stop looking over their shoulder and reading it. If you really want to see it, get your own copy or wait until that one is available.

Do you dislike porn? If so, then don't view it. There, that's simple enough.

As to bonch whining about librarians shushing someone who's being loud, that's not censorship, they didn't prevent him from communicating, just from being a rude impolite noisy pest that's disturbing the other patrons. Kind of like not allowing someone to knock other people down by ride skateboard inside a crowded mall isn't a violation of the skateboarders right. You have to have respect for other people.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921253)

>> libraries can filter content

Sounds like a slippery slope to me. Slippery with KY, bodily fluids, and lime Jello, but slippery nonetheless.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (2)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921255)

Agreed to both points. Having an additional room with computers in cubes rather than open-plan would help anyone wishing to use a computer with some measure of privacy, but that would create problems because people would feel they were being ostracized rather than having privacy respected, so that's not a good solution.

In the end, I don't know if there is a good answer -- in part because society has created so many "extra" meanings for things and has been hostile to anyone that it can label as "outsiders" that all of the technically good answers have become bad answers.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921431)

Our public library requires ID to use the computers. Cuts down on the illegal use of the computers. It also has the effect of cutting down on the embarrassing use of the computers.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921699)

It will also cut down on legal, entirely reasonable uses of the computers that are a bit more sensitive. There simply isn't any way to divide up the uses in a way that avoids harming someone, the best you can ever achieve is a compromise - harm only a restricted group of legitimate users in order to prevent the greatest number of non-legitimate or embarrassing users. But the greater you make the latter group, the greater you make the former group. That's unavoidable. The challenge is how to randomize the harm to legitimate users so that the harm is diffused rather than concentrated in specific minority areas.

Requiring ID fails on the randomization test. It concentrates the harm in specific areas. True, those areas are small but they still exist.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921261)

Why am I not surprised that I disagree with you, bonch? Libraries exist to enable access to information, even offensive and controversial information. I would probably recommend back-to-the-wall cubicles for computer use, so that others are not disturbed, but I don't think this should be blocked.

Put simply, porn shouldn't be just for rich people.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921293)

But the noise rule is content-neutral. That is, it doesn't matter what you're talking about, just that you're talking too loudly. Likewise, their approach to using the computer is content-neutral. The quote is a false comparison. The rule against noise would be analogous to the rule against using the computer for more than 30 minutes. The library is being totally consistent and fair.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (5, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921297)

Best thing is a compromise. Austin's libraries have some unfiltered machines where the monitor is located in the desk. This provides privacy, and keeps someone's hunt for pr0n from annoying the nearby patrons. There are machines with standard monitors, but those are filtered.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921421)

unfiltered machines where the monitor is located in the desk

This seems like the obvious solution.
It could easily apply to all information access - pornographic, seditious, or otherwise. Who knows who might be peeking over your shoulder?

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921577)

In my local branch library, there really is nowhere where they could put computers that would have this degree of privacy. It's a very open floorplan and there are children all over the place, all the time. (In fact, if I have any complaint about my library, it's that it could actually use a little more old-fashioned shushing and return the focus back to study materials -- it seems to have devolved into a combination video store and daycare.)

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921511)

Mod up. This is an excellent compromise!

Why does the library need to be "family-friendly" (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921327)

I really don't understand why any place adults go must be "family friendly". Go to the park if you want a family picnic. To make a library "family-friendly" would mean to remove anything anyone finds objectionable*, which includes a lot of philosophy, war books, medical books, sex education, yes erotica too. You want to turn a library into the Disney channel.

*) because let's be honest, people use the "think of the children" argument a lot when they want stuff removed they personally object to. Children don't give a shit about a nipple or breasts on TV, until such time that their hormones tell them to pay attention. Young adults *want* to see naked people and aren't in the least "damaged" by it. Before you jerk your knee, not every nude image is of goatse you know.

I agree that viewing porn in a library isn't the best use of the facilities, but we have gone too far with the "let's not offend anybody" and protecting the children. We should just lock the children up in special buildings until they're 18 (or whatever age we deem them adults) and be done with it, instead of turning the entire world in a children-safe playground.

Re:Why does the library need to be "family-friendl (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921471)

When I lived in Switzerland I observed people, for lack of a better term, fucking at the bus stop in the middle of the day (hands down the pants, moaning, fucking). I saw lesbians fucking (the naked kind) on the public beach that was filled with everyone, including families, having their weekend fun in the sun. People just don't care. If you avoid the crazy mindfuck of creationism and the idea that we somehow aren't animals, you'll simply realize that human children have been subjected to sex and reproduction from early ages for 10,000s of years at the very least (800,000 or so, depending on what you consider human).

Libraries exist to provide information privately and equally to all people. What they are doing is pretty admirable, imo, just as admirable as refusing to remove books because of some uptight jackasses 2 decades ago.

Yes, I have kids.

Re:Why does the library need to be "family-friendl (1)

Wain13001 (1119071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921543)

I wish I hadn't already commented so I could mod you up.

Re:Why does the library need to be "family-friendl (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921493)

Because good reading habits start young. If you don't teach people that libraries are awesome when they're young, they won't use libraries as an adult.

Re:Why does the library need to be "family-friendl (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921629)

I really don't understand why any place adults go must be "family friendly". Go to the park if you want a family picnic. To make a library "family-friendly" would mean to remove anything anyone finds objectionable*, which includes a lot of philosophy, war books, medical books, sex education, yes erotica too. You want to turn a library into the Disney channel.

Personally, I don't think a library should be any kind of TV channel. It should be a library. When more people visit the library to check out DVDs than books and it's so noisy that it's impossible to study, the library has already veered way off track, IMO.

As for "objectionable material," I think teens peeking between the covers of Tropic of Cancer is a far, far cry from young children seeing videos of women being violently anally penetrated and ejaculated upon when they weren't at the library looking for such material to begin with.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921333)

It's easier to ignore porn (just don't look at the screen), then it is to ignore a person yelling 1m away from you.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921425)

... so I'd probably prohibit jerkin' it to the pr0n.

You don't need to. There are already many, many, many laws on the books that would be applicable if anyone watching porn brought "Little Willie" out into public, many of which would probably put the idiot who did so behind bars for quite a while, while leaving him with a sex offender rap.

The Bible has to go then (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921473)

Besides, I would want to make as many of my library patrons as comfortable as possible, as well as make it as family-friendly as possible, ...

That's got to be one of the dumbest things I've read here in a long time.

Fine start censoring things that YOU think are "dangerous" to the children and it'll help me ban that pornographic, lying, superstitious filth - the Bible.

go ahead. Keep going. I'm gonna riiiiiiiddddde the slipery slope!

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (1)

Phernost (899816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921603)

I can censor what I say, I choose not to, the library is in the same position. I see no problem with a library providing pornographic material, as what is considered pornographic is subjective. Whether it is written or visual should not be a deciding factor.

It is not the library's job to shelter children from reality, it is their parents responsibility, if they wish to raise such sheltered individuals. A library is a repository of human knowledge and experience, or at least it strives to be. Censoring any part of that experience for all, just for the twisted logic of those too irresponsible to raise their children, in the way they demand, is shameful.

You could make the argument that pornography is harmful to all, but the category itself and the amount of harm are both subjective. Should we censor any and all art featuring genitals, because some people believe that is the only requirement for pornography? Shall we censor works about communism, socialism, and other forms of discourse, because to could be argued to lead to such things?

I do have no problem if a library wishes to create family friendly areas, or reorganize their layouts to avoid such clashes. I only ask that all things legal be available and uncensored. I may question the illegality of certain information, but that is a different argument for a different time.

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921625)

It is not ok to personally throw a molatov cocktail onto/into a library. That would be a destruction of public property, etc. But it would be ok to watch videos of illegal protest. It is not ok to personally do the things mentioned in this article, while in the library- clearly indecent exposure. So my question is, is it ok to expose others to this indecent exposure in the name of freedom of speech? It seems somewhat fair that by proxy you are basically committing indecent exposure even if not doing so personally. I have no idea what precedence there is here, maybe others do? Would this be part of the nuances of indecent exposure legislation and case law?

Re:First Amendment isn't relevant here (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921659)

People get emotional about this stuff, then lose sight the obvious middle ground. They should just contrive the computer installation so people can't see what other people are looking at. Nobody sees anything he doesn't want to, and nobody has to worry about busybodies looking over their shoulder.

Provocative, but the right thing (4, Insightful)

bobdinkel (530885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921201)

Librarians are really unsung heroes. Well, maybe not unsung, but they should be sung more. They're doing the right thing even if it seems creepy. Of course the second he starts tugging it, they need to haul him off.

Re:Provocative, but the right thing (0)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921445)

Of course the second he starts tugging it, they need to haul him off.

Why? Isn't it his constitutionally protected right to opine on the subject matter he's constitutionally allowed to view? If other actions can be protected speech, how can wanking off as a sign of approval not be?

I'd be curious to hear what these folks would do if someone set a flag on the floor and took a dump on it. That's constitutionally protected first amendment speech, too. Oh, wait, even SPEAKING in a library is limited, so they already limit first amendment rights.

Re:Provocative, but the right thing (3, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921635)

Because choking the chicken isn't speech. I know that speech has been stretched to the point of breaking by the Citizens United case, but that doesn't mean it was right.

Re:Provocative, but the right thing (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921545)

My sister was a public librarian. Mild mannered, serious, studious, introverted, and a quiet, but ardent radical when it came to access to information. It is a libraries duty to provide information, of all kinds, to anyone.* She was not atypical. Her libraries position on patrons viewing pr0n was to require them to use a privacy screen so the content was not viewable without some effort on the part of other patrons, and perhaps have them move to a more private location.

Whacking it in the library, however, was subject to arrest for indecency.

*okay, when the eight year old kid came in looking for information on leukemia, they usually would try to get a sense of why they were asking, and provide them with suggestions as to someone who could put it in context. But the high school kids looking for advice on cultivating cannabis, or bomb making? No problem. When the Patriot Act came out and said that library circulation records would be subject to search without warrant, many libraries destroyed their circulation records.

Re:Provocative, but the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921655)

Why?

Voters Filter Library Funding (1, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921207)

Librarian best think about this very carefully. Public libraries usually have boards, too. There's censorship and there's abuse of the 1st Amendment.

Re:Voters Filter Library Funding (4, Insightful)

pscottdv (676889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921291)

There are other things to think about as well. Often, having visible pornography in the workplace falls afoul federal sexual harrasment rules. What is the library going to do when they get sued by their own staff?

Re:Voters Filter Library Funding (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921695)

that was my second train of thought was harassment charges

Re:Voters Filter Library Funding (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921589)

Wait, censorship is abuse of the First Amendment. What's the difference?

Re:Voters Filter Library Funding (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921693)

Voters seldom get to vote on budgets in most cities, and certainly not at the line item level. Bond issues would certainly come under closer scrutiny especially in this economy. Federal funding of libraries [libraryjournal.com] is under close scrutiny over the last year.

On the other side, a Gates foundation study [oclc.org] found that people who find libraries "transformational" rather than simply "informational" are more likely to vote for more funding. (What transformational means is unclear).

Still there is a great layer of insulation between the library board and the tax payer.

  It may take years, but funding support will wane when local tax payers figure out they are funding something other than a quiet place to read where they feel comfortable sending their kids. I suspect it would not take much, perhaps only a rows computers filled by unwashed geezers in sweatpants with only one hand on the keyboard, before the library board will choose to sequester the material to specific parts of the library, if merely to preserve the library itself.

This story... (2)

NIN1385 (760712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921211)

broke slashdot for about ten minutes...

But would they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921217)

...censor the content if he was reading about how to make a explosives?

So why couldn't the complainent move? (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921227)

Why couldn't the prudish Ms. Howe move to another computer?

Re:So why couldn't the complainent move? (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921443)

So apparently all the weekend libertarians are going to come out and defend the library. By your logic, if someone is talking too loudly in the library and is disturbing you, you should leave. In fact, if anyone is being obnoxious, annoying, or offensive, it's somehow everyone else's fault. And the self-absorbed jerks get to rule the world.

Are people here seriously going to defend some creepy fuck watching porn at the public library? Really? Can I bring a stereo into the library playing loud gangsta rap? Free speech, mothafucka!

Re:So why couldn't the complainent move? (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921611)

There is a differnce between restricting behavior and restricting content.

And, before you go arguing that viewing certain content is restrictable behavior, I'll ask you to check your sophistry at the door.

Re:So why couldn't the complainent move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921691)

You sir(?) are my hero.

The issue is "free speech ZOMFG!!!!!" but in reality what is the worst that happens if we block porn? Ok so a kid wants to be silly and do a report on breast cancer. So he clicks on the first (now filtered in my perfect world) link and it turns out it isn't research, but some porn. He clicks the back arrow, clicks link number two, and he has his information. That's 10 seconds of his time. So to prevent, what, two people for 10 seconds a year from getting info on a legit topic we will allow creepy fuck after creepy fuck to watch porn, while children are in plain view?

I can't believe I'm about to say this shit: think of the children.

Re:So why couldn't the complainent move? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921697)

You are trolling beyond your normal silliness. Sight and sound are two different things.

Re:So why couldn't the complainent move? (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921553)

There may not have been another available. Here in Portland, for example, general purpose computers (as opposed to those who are used for specific purposes such as catalog access) are so in demand that a person has to sign up on a waiting list for using one for a half hour at a time.

The mummy returns.. (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921231)

I wonder what she would do in this case....

Best way not to see porn: don't look at it (3, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921233)

If people don't want to look at porn, why don't they just not look at porn? Why do they have to tell someone else that they can't look at porn either?

Re:Best way not to see porn: don't look at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921325)

The problem with this logic is it isn't just the individual looking at porn, they are inadvertantly exposing everyone else to porn as well.

Re:Best way not to see porn: don't look at it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921391)

The problem is he is watching it in a public place in plain view of everyone else. They would like to "not" look at it. But this guy is forcing upon everybody else. BTW, defenders are probably thinking, ah he is looking at naked attractive women or something. Well, what if his particular fetish is something like lemon party? Would it bother you to walk by and see that? Remember, what has been seen cannot be unseen.

Re:Best way not to see porn: don't look at it (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921711)

Public funds maybe?

This is not about porn, specifically (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921249)

If porn is filtered for being objectionable today, tomorrow it will be sexual education sites, LGBT rights websites, Erowid, a violent kickboxing site, fringe political sites, conspiracy theorists, supposedly "racist" material, gun sites, men's mags, Fark, or who knows what else.

The problem with trying to block "offensive" content is determining who gets to set the standard for offense and who gets to interpret it. This discretion will always be abused.

Content creators will almost always be unaware of these blocks and will certainly have little financial incentive to challenge them. Patrons will evade the blocks by going somewhere else. The result is a cabal of petty tyrants whose discretion goes unchallenged because nobody has sufficient motive for doing so.

Re:This is not about porn, specifically (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921427)

I've always found religion to be offensive. Can we ban all religion from public buildings?

Re:This is not about porn, specifically (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921687)

If porn is filtered for being objectionable today, tomorrow it will be sexual education sites, LGBT rights websites, Erowid, a violent kickboxing site, fringe political sites, conspiracy theorists, supposedly "racist" material, gun sites, men's mags, Fark, or who knows what else.

Or not. The problem with slippery slope arguments is that an objection that seems rational can quickly turn into a ridiculous overexaggeration that distorts the actual issues and derails the whole debate. (See what I did there?)

I thought this is the reason we had libraries. (4, Funny)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921257)

So it would give homeless a place to watch porn.

The rights of other patrons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921259)

"The man's right to access constitutionally protected information is fully protected (which I'm not in argument with), but our right not to be inadvertent viewers is not."

This.

While the library should be commended for refusing to prevent this person from viewing the material he wished to view, other patrons in the library should have the right not to see it. Asking him to move to a different computer in a less publicly visible location doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

Re:The rights of other patrons (3, Insightful)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921531)

What makes porn so much different from other subjects? You can find people that 'don't wish too see' material about just about anything.

evolution - check
global warming - check
any religion they don't follow - check
other sexual orientations - check
other races - check
history - check
other political parties - check ,.....

If people don't wish to see something, there is nothing keeping them from turning away. They shouldn't demand that the library ban something just because they lack the willpower to ignore something they are clearly interested in.

Common sense (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921273)

Yes, it's your constitutional right to watch porn, but it's a perfectly reasonable request to go to a computer where the screen isn't facing the whole room. Please just do it before people start citing you as a reason why we need more laws and less rights.

Re:Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921465)

Incorrect stance to take. You should defend their right to view it, rather than be primarily concerned with the unethical and wrong exploitation of such events to opress and impose upon the public at large.

The brainwashing worked.

Oh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921321)

"Filters compromise freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. We're not in the business of censoring information."

Load up some child porn, and we'll see how long the library believes in the First Amendment.

What's wrong with that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921335)

It's interesting that so many here on /. think porn is great and harmless. If it is, why not let everyone see it, including children? In fact, it should be encouraged and displayed in school as just another alternative to morals, which are man made anyway. All libraries should have porn readily accessible.

Porn is useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921347)

Porn just makes someone's frustration worse because it is at best a very poor substitute for real sex. Looking at pictures or even video == boring. The whole essense of sex is the interaction and shared experience, porn is sterile and lifeless by comparison. It's like having to live on taco bell when your body is desperately craving real food... it may fill up your stomach but you will still eventually starve to death on it.

Re:Porn is useless (1)

vipvop (34876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921437)

/. readers have been filling up on it, and they definitely don't look like they've been starving

FFS (5, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921375)

If the library had a little adult section where people could go borrow their first amendment supported material, fine.

But watching porn in public with non-interested people around you is inconsiderate, off-putting and a really creepy thing to do.

I'm all for free speech, but that doesn't mean the public have to help you being an asshole. If you want to shout insults to people on the streets, then perhaps that has to be allowed, but that doesn't mean you have to buy them a box to stand on and a megaphone.

Re:FFS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921583)

Perhaps, but if the First Amendment only protected speech that most of us approved of, would we need constitutional protection of it?

Re:FFS (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921585)

If the library had a little adult section where people could go borrow their first amendment supported material, fine.

As a kid growing up before the Web, nothing would have delighted me more than swingin' saloon doors at the back of my local library.
Got kicked out of magazine stores more than once, but librarians wouldn't do that.

Re:FFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921593)

A really nasty thought: if this access were provided in a dedicated or more private location, there might be, um, unintended consequences to that...

Re:FFS (1)

dittbub (2425592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921599)

its bad behaviour and i'm sick and tired of people using the first to excuse bad behaviour!

Re:FFS (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921661)

If the protesters where off in their own little "free speech" zone then fine. But protesting outside my office when I'm trying to relax at work is off putting and the drum circles are really creepy.

See the problem with free speech is that its often about stuff you dont agree with. The whole point is that its all allowed, or none of it is, because everything is going to annoy/insult/disgust someone. This is no different then books people dont like being banned from the library.

That being said to hell with the guy watching porn in the library. I just cant think of a valid reason to get rid of him.

Re:FFS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921669)

"If the library had a little adult section where people could go borrow their first amendment supported material, fine"

They would have to change the carpet in that room monthly

Rights...where they begin and end... (1)

JasonDT (550477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921407)

I'm not one for censorship...but there is a societal difference between what is acceptable in public and private spaces... And while some believe we can't step on anyones rights... You have to have a line somewhere... Should there be a law?...no...we have too many of those already... Should the moron watching porn in public realize some people find that offensive? ... Yes and I wish that would happen more, but not likely... Contrary to popular belief you don't have the "right" to do whatever the fuck you want...you have to live with a bunch of other people on this rock and you have to realize not everybody believes or thinks the same as you...

Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921581)

Watch your porn at home. That is digusting.

Nudity in Public? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921675)

Would this not fall into indecent acts/nudity in public laws?
I am all for individual freedoms and anti-censorship, and I even see the slippery slope of other similar topics, but it seems to me there has to be a better compromise then forcing everyone who wants to use the library to be confronted with that.

who is responsible (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38921679)

But then if children watch porn on library computers, is the library liable for allowing access to age restricted content on their systems? If the man was viewing porn on a computer in a public place, then he could be thought of the same as showign porn mag to kids.... and that is pretty much a endangerment or Lude & Lascivious crime right there.

Typical lowbrow shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38921709)

that neatly summarises the average western country these days. No, I don't want some loser watching pron when I'm in the library.

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