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Prevailing Against Michigan Censorship

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the voices-of-reason dept.

The Courts 201

mcneight writes: "In yet another battle for our rights online, the ACLU and 9 other plaintiffs have recently won a permanent injunction against enforcement of Michigan Public Act 33 of 1999 (The Child Online Protection Act). As the name suggests, it is net censorship with a pro-child happy face plastered on the front of it. Fortunately, the courts found it violated both the First and Fourteenth Amendments (protection of interstate commerce, in case you were wondering). Much greater detail is offered by the lead plaintiff in this case, Cyberspace Communications, Inc."

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Re:Question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#160935)

God: Space Chump, did you fail to notice Matthew 22:21 in which I commanded you to honor the government's legitimate power to levy taxes? "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," and all that?

Bobo: Umm, no...

God: Well then, did you fail to realize that in a representative democracy each person is free to exercise his right to vote to influence policy? That there's a bit of Caesar in each citizen?

Bobo: Umm, I'm not quite sure what to say to that.

God: Except in you, of course, there seems to a bit more Torquemada than Caesar. Did you use my name to justify a silly political viewpoint inappropriately? Was it effective, or was in, say, in vain?

Bobo: Wait!

God: Ass. Next!

Re:You are all puppets (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#160936)

Actually you're only partially right.

He was indeed given a sleeping dose, declared dead by CIA doctor operative and received plastic surgery. He is not, however, living a wealthy life in South America. Instead, he was hired by an organization called CURE to fight the crime outside the Constitution. He was turned into a formidable killing machine by Chiun, the Master of Sinanju.

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#160937)

First off, what are your 3 year old and 5 year old doing surfing the Internet? Aren't they a little young for that?
Secondly, what are they doing surfing the Internet unsupervised?

Come on! In the "land of the free", you want to censor the Internet, but leave the gory bits of the Bible alone? (There's a lot of sex and violence in the bible, but that's not the point.) In both cases, either an adult should provide some guidance (interpretation or rules). There's no excuse for you to abandon your parental responsibilities, and expect the rest of us, or the 'state' in general to perform them for you.

Get with the program, and take some personal responsibility.

Re:Question... (2)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#160938)

What's this, the book of objectivists? ;)

Put down that chisel! There is _not_ either an eleventh commandment that sayeth, "Sucks to be you"! ;)

Re:Two Minute Posting Block (2)

Chris Johnson (580) | more than 13 years ago | (#160939)

Ham on wry, if I'm any judge ;)

Re:A Battle Won But Who Wins The War? (1)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 13 years ago | (#160940)

"And I am particularly concerned about the safety of our children on the Internet, where they're subjected to child pornography and solicitation in a massive way."

This is so stupid it practically drools. First of all, the guy is talking about protecting children from pornography, not protecting children from *appearing* in pornography. But I guess pressing that old child-porn button never hurts, does it?

Second, the child-porn boogeyman is just that - an ill-defined spectre used to scare a gullible, uninformed populace. There's never been evidence of child-porn existing on any 'massive' scale, and it seems to me that our various police organizations have been looking for it pretty hard.

God, Bob Goodlatte is going to out-right-wing-wacko Ashcroft himself if he's not careful...

Re:Question... (1)

Tim Doran (910) | more than 13 years ago | (#160941)

Seems like a continuation of the disturbing trend in which legislators can make lots of impressive noise about insignificant issues and pass unconstitutional laws knowing full well that it'll be knocked out by the first judge it faces.

It's cheap, irresponsible politics and gets more dangerous with every far-right just Dubya appoints to the Supreme Court.

Re:Thanks guys. (3)

Stephan Schulz (948) | more than 13 years ago | (#160942)

To quote from the verdict:
The Court previously took judicial notice that every computer is manufactured with an on/off switch, that parents may utilize, in the end, to control the information which comes into their home via the Internet.
I find it very refreshing for a court to recognize this fact and even to put it into its written opinion. It's your responsibility to safeguard your children, not mine or the state's.

Moreover, I strongly believe that most childrens can stand a lot more than their parents believe.

Re:forcing our children to listen??? (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 13 years ago | (#160950)

I'm pretty sure that was a jab at the censhorship types who seem to argue that our children will be forced to listen to any bad words in music if we don't censor the music, not a suggestion that we actually force them to.

Re:won't somebody think of the children? (3)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 13 years ago | (#160951)

"Fuck" has the connotation it has because of our culture. Yes, I know culture is a very ambiguous word, and one us in the West may have a hard time grasping, but that's why. You were raised to think it was bad as was I, and, well, that's simplisticly what culture is.

Not that this means that there's a good reason for "fuck" to be somehow worse than any of the other fifty thousand expressions that mean the same thing.

As far as religion, there is nothing in my religion that says that "fuck" is bad. Taking God's name in vain isn't good, but that makes sense if you believe in the bloke, doesn't it?

Re:won't somebody think of the children? (1)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 13 years ago | (#160954)


This is everyone's favorite argument, and of course like most of the popular ones it's mostly bullshit.

You should have the right to shout "FIRE" at the top of your lungs in a crowded theatre. That's a free speech issue.

You also have to bear up to the consequences of your actions, IE taking responsibility (and punishment if necessary) of the resulting paniced crowd rushing blindly towards the exit. This is a civil liability issue. NOT a speech one.

We don't have to make it illegal to shout "FIRE" in order to solve that kind of problem. It's like inciting to riot. Your speech for that is protected, your ability to do so is most definitely not.

It's a fine line, but that's what these examples that open the floodgates are all about... courting that fine line to the point of absurdity.

Racial hate speech is the same sort of thing. We can't forbid it, we can only punish those who act on it, because we punish the ACT, not the speech that caused it or led to it. One can talk about murder without reservation (unless in high school it seems) however one cannot actually commit murder without bearing the consequences.

I agree, there can be no middle ground... all or nothing. Give an inch, they take a mile... just because those first few inches were more reasonable than the rest doesn't justify it.

People are stupid. It's a fact of life. /shrug If anyone has a solution to that problem, well... I'll vote you into office and you're welcome to take a stab at the matter. Good luck, you'll need it.

Re:The Liberal vs. Conservative Myth of America (1)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 13 years ago | (#160955)

Ding! We have a winner!

I'm sick of Republicrats anyway.

I like Libertarians.

The Liberal vs. Conservative Myth of America (5)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 13 years ago | (#160956)

Many Americans get seduced by the mythology which surrounds their particular political bias. One such is that [republicans/democracts] support more free speech than [democrats/republicans], that [liberal/conservatives] uphold basic freedoms while [conservatives/liberals] are actively attacking every freedom except [one that isn't important to you].

The truth is that both parties are actively attacking virtually every freedom, whether it is the Republicans' War on Drugs virtually destroying the fourth amendment (but it's for our children!) or the Democrats destroying our freedom of speech (you can't say the n-word!). Or, for that matter, the Democrats destroying the fourth amendment (raiding and seizing the property of white supremescists because of the racists' asinine political beliefs) or the Republicans decimating our basic freedom of speech (the obscenity laws and laws restricting speech on the internet).

Both parties, and people of both liberal and conservative stripes, are equally guilty of trying to, and often succeeding in, abridging the constitution for the advancement of their own political and/or social agenda. The same BTW is true of the Libertarians, who would have the constitution stop at the borders of anyone's private property.

Until we couch our arguments firmly in the domain of freedom vs. restriction and constitutionality vs. unconstitutionality we will all be missing the point, and will continue to elect people to political office who trample all over the constitution whenever it suits them. This is unacceptable, and it is time we as voters began making that clear to candidates of all parties, conservative, moderate, and liberal alike.

What get's me..... (3)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 13 years ago | (#160957)

Why do we have to have "net" laws???
there are countless laws already on the books that cover most any crime.. (Pedophillia? got laws for that.... let's use em!) all the supposed "problems" that we have with the internet already have laws, and can be enforced if they tried. The problem is shutting down the lawbreakers. You can raid a business and shove the trashbag in jail.. you cant do that to a russian narcophillia website... Unless you hire a internet police force that has a nice group of leet hackers that take the site down... (Oh gawd, lawlessness, evil and all that other jazz.)

Face it, do you as a citizen have the right to break down your neighbors door, ransack the house, and take what you think is bad? well the police do, so let's use that same analogy/tool to the net... Hackercops.... DDOS'ing the bad guys into submission...

Ok it sounds funny..... but something has to be done to give the current laws that work some bite in cyberspace..... (minuteman launches that target IP addresses???)

Dont censor, but give law enforcement the tools they need to uphold the law, otherwise we'll start having countries "unplug" from the net to protect the citizens. (Now we open more cans of worms... where does Country's law X override what is a protected freedom in Country Y?)

I say allow anything on the net.... cracking is legal, and DOS attacks are expected... It'll all sort out in the end or and up like the CB band.

Re:won't somebody think of the children? (1)

Bad Mojo (12210) | more than 13 years ago | (#160958)

"Seems to me that there's no such thing as a conditional freedom."

I suppose slander or yelling "fire" in a crowded theater is covered under this freedom? It's free speech, right?

NO! Just as much as the Pro-Censorship movement spends time miring it's followers in propaganda, so, too, do the free speech advocates. Not all speech is free. Get used to it. Suck it up and deal with it. You may have the right to say what you want in the US, but don't assume it's always protected as free speech.

I'm sick of this polarization of us vs. them in my society. Call me a realist, but everything has it's limits.

Bad Mojo []

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#160960)

First off, I don't see why the culture of the 'net shouldn't belong to those who were there first. In any other sort of society, cultural parameters are defined by the first people on the scene. I venture to say that never has a influx of newcomers so quickly wrenched a society away from its original norms of behavior.

Second, I don't mind sharing the 'net, but I mind when people move in and think they can take it over. The early-adopter scientific community was always happy to share with newcomers and explain how things are done, but the new folks didn't want any part of the existing culture, and they are now trying to force the old guard to submit to their new narrow-minded mold. The 'net wasn't for kids, it still mostly isn't, and adults are the people getting hurt in this attempt to rewrite the rules.

Gentrification's OK sometimes, until they tell you that you can't park your truck on the street any more. At that point it's not sharing any more; it's a land grab.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#160961)

But filtering software for adults isn't needed, and even where and when filtering software might be a good idea, it shouldn't be done by the state and it shouldn't be implemented in a way that makes the 'net kid-friendly even for adults.. Making things kid-friendly for kids is a parent's job.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

Re:Thanks guys. (5)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#160962)

This isn't directed at you personally, but more as a general question: when did the Internet become expected to be a big kid-friendly space, full of rounded corners, cushiony floor mats, easy-to-grip building blocks, and nonthreatening ideas? The 'net was originally a batchelor pad for scientists - they did work over it, and they had fun over it, often fairly adult fun. Almost from the start the biggest electronic business on the 'net has been pornography and other adult-themed content that you can't get as easily in Real Life.

I'm always a little surprised that the newer, more easily-offended netizens react in this way. You've essentially moved into someone else's neighborhood, and now you're going to make the clean it up whether they like it like that or not? It seems like there's a strong streak of moral superiority and just plain yuppiehood involved here, one that residents of San Francisco, or any other area where the cheap historic districts are attracting new money at a record rate, will recognize.

Put plainly: where did you get the idea that the 'net was kid-friendly, that it was somehow going to become kid-friendly once you got on board, or that it was ever kid-friendly to begin with? Maybe you got online thinking that it was like the town square, but the 'net is really a bunch of twisty little passages (all alike) through the world's biggest library - you never know what you'll find in there. I'm sorry if AOL or Earthlink fooled you on that one, but you should really take that up with them, and leave the rest of us to our porn.

Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

A Modest Proposal (was Re: think of the children) (2)

xantho (14741) | more than 13 years ago | (#160963)

Words do not carry with them an inherent moral or ethical value. Words are words are words (ad infinitum).

Well, what I really want to know, is if the word fuck is considered so bad, isn't it easier to just drop the connotations of the word from your brain than to try to make everyone else stop saying it? I mean, if it's such a bad word, why couldn't you just decide that it isn't. Poof, one less evil in the world. Of course, it isn't that easy, and I guess some people are lazy enough to try to make everyone else change, rather than changing themselves. I wonder if it's a genuine laziness, or that egocentric view that makes people believe that they themselves are the right ones, and everyone else is wrong.

I guess this solution doesn't account for perhaps a religious belief that that exact permutation of letters is morally wrong, but I'm not prepared to argue against that. I speak from the point of view of agnosticism.


You can thank Queen Victoria.. (2)

schon (31600) | more than 13 years ago | (#160974)

A thorough investigation of the Bible will reveal that there is no prohibition against these words, especially in English.

You're right - but the (mis?)conception that the "Seven Dirty Words" are bad doesn't come from the bible - it comes from Queen Victoria..

You remember her, right? The Ultra-Prude that decided that dogs had to wear skirts, and that piano legs had to be covered because they were too suggestive?

Since most North American was founded by the British, they're saddled with this legacy.. the problem is that they're so far away from the rest of Europe (who generally isn't saddled with such backwards concepts) that they aren't influenced by the more free societies.. (unlike in Britain, where the concept of sex being "dirty" has softened since Vickie's rule.)

Disclaimer: I am a British Citizen, and I fully support the Monarchy (and I even like some of them!)

Re:Salon Addresses this very issue (1)

revscat (35618) | more than 13 years ago | (#160976)

The article is talking about anti-censorship, and what do they do? They censor themselves!

Man, do you have Salon wrong. They were saying "Entertainment Weekly" prints f_ _ _. Salon has no such self-imposed restrictions.

Here, I did a search for "fuck" with their search engine and came up with 900 results, presumably the maxmimum number that will be returned. Here's [] the list. Enjoy.

- Rev.

Re:won't somebody think of the children? (3)

revscat (35618) | more than 13 years ago | (#160978)

I found this writeup over at E2 amusing: Jesus doesn't care if you say the word "fuck" [] .


Many Christians seem to believe that saying four letter words is a sin that makes the baby Jesus cry. It is surreptitiously implied that the Third Commandment, which prohibits taking the Lord's name in vain, is the source of this.

When it is spelled out like this, it is easy to see the fallacy. The Lord's name is not "fuck", even in Hebrew. Nor is the Lord's name "shit" or any other of the so-called 'bad words' that are frowned upon by so many. A thorough investigation of the Bible will reveal that there is no prohibition against these words, especially in English.

Ephesians 4:29 says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." This seems to apply to things such as gossip, the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, and most of the Southern Baptist Convention, but more weight is given to cuss words than these others.

This leads one to believe that the Christian aversion to four letter words is based more on a desire to be sanctimonious rather than truly Christ-like. Jesus loves people who say "fuck" just as much as those who do not.


Ok, full disclosure. I wrote it.

- Rev.

Re:won't somebody think of the children? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#160980)

I did a quick search on Google and fsck seems to be derived from the German word meaning to strike a hole in the ground, as in planting a seed.

On a related topic, I knew someone who had sex with an underage bearded girl from the circus. He was arrested for carnival knowledge.

ACLU isn't for everybody. (1)

GuavaBerry (50743) | more than 13 years ago | (#160981)

Before joining the ACLU, it would help to look at everything they've defended. Make sure you agree with them before blindly sending your money.

ACLU has nativity scene labeled unconstitutional []

ACLU defends Neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan parades []

Naturally, if you think they're right in both these cases, then go right ahead and become a card-carrying member (they do have nifty little cards).

Re:swearing (1)

Brew Bird (59050) | more than 13 years ago | (#160983)

Yup, this is just like 'second hand smoke' isn't it? Your right to swear a blue streak in public ends where me and mine's ears begin? Most people consider it common courtesy and 'good manners' to respect the sesibilities (sp?) of those around them. Those that do not, are generally treated as a menace to society and not tolerated. Like it or not, (to those of you folks who would 'dis' this AC for his/her comments) there are certain things you can't do, and remain a part of the society in which you currently participate in.

Sorry, thats the 'price' you have to pay if you want access to the technology, movies and P0rn our society makes. Those that can't or won't follow these simple rules will get no sympathy from me.

And to the AC: IQ has nothing to do with swearing. Some of the smartest people on the planet will swear a a string so long and filthy, if they think it is called for, to make even the horniest sailor blush 4 shades of red.
I would go further to say, a 'law' on swearing should be completely unnecessary. You proved that yourself, by having these fellows ejected from the store. People in general simply need to not tolerate it. That is a much higher form of 'law' than anything you will find written in a law book somewhere.

Anonymity guaranteed by Constituion? (3)

Ears (71799) | more than 13 years ago | (#160986)

I found something interesting in the preliminary injunction [] . The judge is drawing his conclusions:

1. The Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claims that:

[a--e skipped]
(f) The Act violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution because it prevents people from communicating and accessing information anonymously.

Wow! There's a federal judge that seems to think the Constitution says that we should all be able to surf and e-mail anonymously! I'd like the Constitution to say that, but I don't think it does.


Scarlet Letter U and Legislators (4)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#160989)

Here's what I would love to see:

A full listing of every legislator and executive who passed a law that was subsequently shot down as unconstitutional.

The US Government put in place certain 'checks and balances.' Between each branch of government, an interaction takes place to ensure that the original standards of the government are kept in force.

The President may Veto unsavory bills.

The Congress may block Presidential appointments.

The President may appoint Judges.

The Congress may amend the Constitution.

The Judiciary may strike down laws that do not pass the Constitution's guarantees.

Surely it is the job of the Judiciary to perform this very important task, but why do we have to rely on them so much? Is it too much to ask for legislators who know what is constitutional or not? Most of them are lawyers by practice, they should understand the issues.

I'd love to see a roster listing the authors of legislation, and the executive who signed them into law, next to each law that has been struck down.

  • Sen. Doodah (R-TX) and Sen. Blofeld (D-HI) authored Think of the Children Act 2001, signed by Pres. Yeehaw. Found UNCONSTITUTIONAL 6-3 in 2002.

Start with the federal laws, and then get down to state laws for each state. Put lawmakers on notice: you have taken an oath to defend the Constitution from enemies abroad and at home. We demand an end to the erosion of basic rights well-established by our nation's founders.

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

Seemlar (90176) | more than 13 years ago | (#160992)

Heaven forbid you actually have to BE a parent to your children and protect them yourself!

Re:Thanks guys. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#160998)

That is true then, you can't go down to the packey and buy ya liquah on a sunday. Course, any true MA resident knows that you are suposed to buy your liquah in NH anyway, avoid the tax man.

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#160999)

I live in MA, and its quite easy to buy a beer on sundays. Well, for some definition of beer, you have to go to a bar. Ive yet to find a bar that serves much other than piss water. (not that I have been to many bars around here)

When the closest thing to a real beer you can find is guiness... I supose your right, it is at least hard to find beer on sundays here...


Re:swearing (2)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 13 years ago | (#161002)

But certainly I don't want my kids whipping it out in front of their teacher and saying "suck my fat one" or something... that seems a bit over the line, since I don't want myself to do it either. But my kids should be able to say anything that I can say.

What can you say and what do you want to say? These are two separate issues, and you're obviously pro-censorship on children since you want to apply it on your own offspring. So you're really ambigous here. You can't be against censorship in one moment, and stamp down "unapproved" speech in the next.

- Steeltoe

Back to the rousseaunian argument about liberty... (2)

browser_war_pow (100778) | more than 13 years ago | (#161004)

"To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man." The greater liberal (as in liberal of the 18th and 19th centuries) argument: you have no right to restrain YOUR liberty with law because the law will affect future generations which may not want such restrictions and may not be able to repeal it while your generation is alive. Of course I guess when we allow populist idiots and demagogues to roam free Roussea's opening line in the social contract will be very much alive here in the US: "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains."

A Battle Won But Who Wins The War? (5)

Carnage4Life (106069) | more than 13 years ago | (#161008)

The Michigan law may have been defeated but the Federal Attorney General, John Ashcroft has vowed to jail porn site owners for violating obscenity laws [] . He and a couple of republicans are trying to resurrect the Communications Decency Act, here's a quote from from the Wired article.
A number of Republicans asked Ashcroft to pledge to prosecute raunch and ribaldry, but Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia -- who also, unbelievably, is co-chair of the Internet Caucus -- was the most persistent.

"The failure of the (Clinton) administration to enforce those laws has led to a proliferation of obscenity, both online and off," Goodlatte said. "And I am particularly concerned about the safety of our children on the Internet, where they're subjected to child pornography and solicitation in a massive way."

Asked Goodlatte: "I'd like to know to what extent the Justice Department will use its resources to assist state and local enforcement in combating this cyberattack on our nation's children."


Re:seems pretty good (1)

Senior Frac (110715) | more than 13 years ago | (#161009)

As someone who is neither a puritan nor a libertarian, the law just looks like a reasonable attempt to bring internet providers into the same playing field as brick and mortar on this issue. If you oppose all those original laws, just say so. But don't try to make this out as some evil and nefarious new thing.

That is exactly the point, yes. Who is to say that those original brick and mortar laws were acceptable to begin with? I think a taste of real freedom on the net has prompted many meatspace laws to be called into question. Not unrealistic.


Re:won't somebody think of the children? (2)

graybeard (114823) | more than 13 years ago | (#161010)

Seems to me that there's no such thing as a conditional freedom. At the risk of sounding like I'm making a false either/or proposition, either speech is free -- whether or not we like what is said -- or it's not.

Well, if you think "the promise we made to ourselves" is a positive "freedom of speech", you're wrong. For the first 81 years of the republic, the 1st amendment prohibited only Federal abridgement of speech. States could, and did, pass such laws. In 1868, the 14th amendment was passed, and then the Bill of Rights applied to the States as well. The funny thing is, nobody knew that until 1925 when SCOTUS told New York they couldn't make Gitlow shut up because the 14th amendment incorporates all the other amendments. Now, this reasoning is faulty, because unlike the 2nd amendment which asserts a positive "right to bear arms", the 1st amendment still doesn't. An incorporation would mean that a State can't force Congress to create a speech-abridging law, but of course, that is absurd.

Those of us who are truly interested in our rights, online or otherwise, don't like this kind of legal hocus pocus. If the Constitution can be made to mean anything, then it means nothing. The question of whether or not there should be a right of free speech, or privacy, or protecting the children, or almost anything else, is a policy question, not a legal one. These issues are properly decided by legislators, not judges.

And don't get me started on the Commerce Clause. []

Re:Click wrap... (2)

KahunaBurger (123991) | more than 13 years ago | (#161013)

I thought most of those porn sites already had a "you must be 18" agreement. Damn kids, already messing with the DCMA....

Do they enforce it? Do they even try?

Convenience stores put up little signs that say "you must be 18 or older to buy cigarrettes". But if they just count on the sign to do the whole job and take everyone's word for it that they are complying, they still get in trouble. I would guess, under this law (which I actually went and read) that such a "click through" shield might form part of a legitamate good faith effort, but would not be sufficent, especially if the site had never made any effort to enforce the warning.

Random idea - state sets up a secure site where people enter their drivers license number or whatnot and get a "I can have porn" cookie put on their hard drive. State site is set up not to keep records of which license numbers it was looking up. Porn sites, which of course NEVER try to get accidental visitors or mislead anyone about their content, set it up so that anyone without the cookie who tries to enter their site gets dumped into the authorization site. Parents have to decide if they want to veiw porn and risk their kids seeing it or remove it from their house (just like the decision a parent can make about books or magazines.)

Kahuna Burger

seems pretty good (4)

KahunaBurger (123991) | more than 13 years ago | (#161015)

The Child Online Protection Act. As the name suggests, it is net censorship with a pro-child happy face plastered on the front of it.

So with that endorsement and knowing the general /. sense of perspective, I went and read the whole damn law (not that it was that long.) And it looked pretty good. There were specific exceptions carved out for the internet that seemd to aknowlege the lesser control site proprietors have over their traffic. For instance, while simple nudity is included in the original prohibitions, to get in trouble an internet server would have to provide obcinity (sp?) as defined (and presumedly legally upheld since its over 15 years old) in the MI laws. The overall law also does not penalize exposure to minors unless it was knowing, or if the proprietor showed reckless disregard in allowing minors access. Exceptions are made for health workers, schools AND LIBRARIANS.

As someone who is neither a puritan nor a libertarian, the law just looks like a reasonable attempt to bring internet providers into the same playing field as brick and mortar on this issue. If you oppose all those orriginal laws, just say so. But don't try to make this out as some evil and nefarious new thing.

Kahuna Burger

Re:forcing our children to listen??? (2)

icqqm (132707) | more than 13 years ago | (#161017)

Now THERE's an interesting argument. We can't say things because other people are being forced to listen to us. You should write some law.

First of all, people (even children) being "forced" to listen to something (I don't remember any chains or other restraining devices) shouldn't constitute reason to curb free speech. And more importantly, you haven't answered the more pressing question of what exactly is so wrong with these words that they must be silenced.

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

bellings (137948) | more than 13 years ago | (#161019)

Now my kids will be exposed to all of the filth the Internet has to offer.

Yes. And you will undoubtedly allow them to play unsupervised in traffic, too.

Re:Question... (2)

fleener (140714) | more than 13 years ago | (#161020)

It was both a genuine attempt at legislation and a blatantly unconstititutional action in an attempt to appear productive. The two do not cancel themselves out.

We'll throw a whole bunch at the wall. I don't expect any of it to stick, but my constituents see me doing something, and if any of it sticks, then so much the better because hey, what do I care about the constitution and citizen rights?

Question... (2)

gowen (141411) | more than 13 years ago | (#161021)

Which leads to the question: Was this a genuine (misguided) attempt to introduce legislation or a deliberate blatantly unconstitutional bill introduced by people who wanted to be seen to be acting, without actually have to deal with the moral and legal grey areas?

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 13 years ago | (#161023)

You're surprised that all the AOLers, WebTVers, owners of computers with automatc coffee cup holders, and such similar whining latecomers are complaining about the Net? Pilots saw this coming years ago. These are the same kind of people who move next to an airport that's been around 60 years because the house/land/development is cheap, then complain about the noise and try to shut down the airfield. The sick thing is that they often succeed -- do not underestimate these kinds of people.

(I'm afraid of losing Montgomery Airpark --Gaithersburg/GAI -- to the people who will move into the new development currently being built right under the runway flight path)

What kíd ever said, "When I grow up, I wanna be the guy who sits next to the pilot?"


Who's your friend? Who's your Buddy? (2)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 13 years ago | (#161024)

Am I the only one who read the list of Amici? Didn't anyone notice our bestest buddy's name as a signatory? RIAA is the richest and most powerful of the signatories of that Amicus brief, and you know they probably had the most influence in writing it.


Re:Thanks guys. (1)

fedos (150319) | more than 13 years ago | (#161025)

Oops, I meant to buy beer at the liquor store. Should have been more specific.

Re:won't somebody think of the children? (2)

fedos (150319) | more than 13 years ago | (#161030)

From what I've heard, and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, fuck is an acronym that used by English polic officers a century ago when arresting prostitutes. They apparently thought it uncouth to write down what was actually going on and thus noted that they were being arrested For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

Re:Thanks guys. (3)

fedos (150319) | more than 13 years ago | (#161031)

Massachusetts is very liberal and progressive, for example: they just legalized tatoos. And they may start a discussion on allowing you to buy beer on Sundays soon.

Re:Salon Addresses this very issue (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 13 years ago | (#161034)

I started reading the article, but I had to stop and chuckle upon reading this:
Why, I asked, would you feel the need to hide those? Because, my friend explained, they had swear words in them. I pointed out that the worst thing his cousin was likely to see in "Entertainment Weekly" was, as it's so delicately printed in that magazine, "f _ _ _[sic!]," something the boy had certainly already heard in the schoolyard.

The article is talking about anti-censorship, and what do they do? They censor themselves! Seems a bit hypocritical. "Yes, there's nothing wrong with saying the F-word. No one should be afraid to say F---. It should be my right to say f***." It just seems ironic that Salon isn't willing to print "fuck" in an article decrying people censoring "fuck."


Michigan's contributions to the nation (1)

table and chair (168765) | more than 13 years ago | (#161036)

Via Slashdot, our accomplishments are:

Broad, constitutionally-ambiguous restrictions on speech; pioneering library internet filters; the prosecution of swearing canoeists; Jeff Bates...

I always wonder what the rest of the country must think of us. ;)

Re:Thanks guys. (5)

markbark (174009) | more than 13 years ago | (#161037)

Am I to understand that you allow a three and five year old to surf the net unsupervised?
Here's a concept for you.... it's called PARENTING. Why not do a little?
Surf WITH your kids. (I do about 8 hours a week with mine)
Don't get the legislature to stomp on the 1st amendment just because you won't spend time with the kiddles.

Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...

It doesn't say "unless someone says 'cunt' in a rap song or 'nigger' on a college campus or to prevent the access of [] by five-year olds.

Take risks! Accept Responsibility! Help put a lawyer out of work!


Re:won't somebody think of the children? (4)

Sir_Real (179104) | more than 13 years ago | (#161038)

Words do not carry with them an inherent moral or ethical value. Words are words are words (ad infinitum). Context is everything. What is considered appropriate or not is solely based on social mores and folkways. To many the word "girl" is as demeaning and deragotory as the word "cunt." Legislating the use of language outside of context is intractable and stupid. But it makes the conservative (well, puritan maybe) voters happy. Since they vote, they get what they want.

Our obsession with politically correct speech has led to things like the cessation of correct use of the word "sex." We now (incorrectly) use "gender" to discern sex. Nouns have gender, people have sex. (Except for the afformentioned puritans.)

Is there a mirror available? (3)

gscott (187733) | more than 13 years ago | (#161039)

I can't get to the information becuase of &**%^%&^% filtering software (Bess, that b---!)

Re:Salon Addresses this very issue (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 13 years ago | (#161040)

The article is talking about anti-censorship, and what do they do? They censor themselves!

Re-read the passage. The author was telling his friend that Entertainment Weekly was apt to print "fuck" as "F___". Salon prints the f-word all the time.

Re:Judge's grasp of technology (3)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 13 years ago | (#161041)

The Court previously took judicial notice that every computer is manufactured with an on/off switch, that parents may utilize, in the end, to control the information which comes into their home via the Internet.

Dear Judge,

I wish to turn myself in. I am in possession of a circumvention device which is in violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. As a human being, I was born with fingers. These devices, also known in some circles as digits, are capable of circumventing the Power Switch Content Protection measures that are installed on most computational devices, allowing me to gain access to information which I am not supposed to have.

I can no longer live with the guilt of knowing that I may someday break the law. Please, for the love of God, lock me up somewhere so that I won't hurt anyone or myself.


Junior J. Junior III

Re:ACLU isn't for everybody. (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#161043)

(first off, your links are backwards. :)

For every banner case that the ACLU takes that may make you uncomfortable, I think you'll find several cases where the injustice they are fighting against will make you even more uncomfortable.

Personally, I think a publicly funded Nativity is not only unconstitutional (and it was not the ACLU that decided this, but a judge, mind you) but it is obscene. This is what they use my tax money for? To promote a religion to which I do not belong? I thought the government was supposed to be religion-neutral here in the U.S.... oh well. Thankfully the ACLU stepped in.

But even so, I think if you read through the news reports at the ACLU site you'll find they are sticking up for a 15 year old who was harrassed out of her school after being suspended for casting a spell on her teacher (no, she was not caught casting the spell, the teacher became ill, that was the evidence that led the principal to this decision). You'll find they are defending a female student in Hawaii who, after being accused of stealing $20 was partially strip searched. You'll find that they are fighting to remove random drug testing for Michigan student athletes-- out of hundreds of tests given, only two positives have been found. You'll find that they worked in California to make it so that law enforcement actually need to prove that defendents are involved in gang activities before they can obtain injunctions restricting their activities based on said gang activity. Go back far enough and you find them helping out at the Scopes Monkey Trial, making it legal to teach evolution in school.

Thanks, ACLU!

Re:The Liberal vs. Conservative Myth of America (2)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#161048)

The socialists are good too for an opposing view :) Actually, it would be sort of funny if American politics turned into socialists vs/ libertarians (sort of like Slashdot:). At least then it would be a little more clear cut where the differences are.

"child pornography and solicitation in a..." (1)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 13 years ago | (#161049)

"The failure of the (Clinton) administration to enforce those laws has led to a proliferation of obscenity, both online and off," Goodlatte said. "And I am particularly concerned about the safety of our children on the Internet, where they're subjected to child pornography and solicitation in a massive way."

I'm sorry, but can someone please define "a massive way" for me? I mean, is it "everywhere you turn"? "fairly frequent"? "somewhat rare"? or "not quite non-existant"?

I only ask because I have spent a great deal of time on the internet. Like many of you here, I have been on the internet for a pretty long time (since 1993 in my case). I have visited a lot of sites, from here to gaming sites to online comics to humor sites to "free stuff" sites to portals, etc. Even the occasional pr0n sites (hey, I'll freely admit it). Never once in my entire 8 years online have I come across a site about "child pornography and solicitation". Perhaps I'm not looking hard enough?

And that is one of the funny things about the internet. You actually have to actively seek something to find it. You don't just boot up your computer, launch IE, and the default page is suddenly a kiddie-pr0n page when only yesterday it was MSN or something. No, one would actually have to go to a search engine or portal site and type in "kiddie pr0n" in order to find it. Now, I don't know about you, but I fail to see how that can be defined as "solicitation in a massive way."

So, please, someone explain to me what Mr. Goodlatte means by "a massive way."

Republicans publish web porn (3)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 13 years ago | (#161051)

I find this doubly amusing becasue the most anticipated web launch of voyeruistic porn in the history of the internet was not the fake virgins who were going to deflower each other on camera, but Ken Starr's detailed report on Bill Clinton's sex life. It was published on the internet the moment it was available after a party line vote, republicans in favor of publishing it, democrats against. It may be just ascii, but it's potent- I certainly learned a thing or two about Altoids and cigars!

I'll be at least over the hypocrisy issue once the folks who voted to publish the Starr report on the internet turn themselves in to the authorities. Then I'll start fighting to get them out on the grounds that they unconstitutionally imprisoned themselves :)


Re:Question... (1)

mshiltonj (220311) | more than 13 years ago | (#161053)

Which leads to the question: Was this a genuine (misguided) attempt to introduce legislation or a deliberate blatantly unconstitutional bill introduced by people who wanted to be seen to be acting, without actually have to deal with the moral and legal grey areas?

Does it matter? The effect of this law would still be the same. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


Click wrap... (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 13 years ago | (#161058)

I thought most of those porn sites already had a "you must be 18" agreement. Damn kids, already messing with the DCMA....

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

jcphil (243106) | more than 13 years ago | (#161060)

I remember discussing sex with my playmates (no pun intended) as early as five years old. By the time I was six, it was a raging discussion. The concept that children are traumatized by the very idea of sex is just bizarre to me. Do we suddenly become qualified to deal with it at age 13 years, 3 months and 6 days? I think that as children, the kids in our neighborhood were especially inclined to discuss sex with each other, because they knew they couldn't discuss it with their parents.

Re:ACLU isn't for everybody. (3)

Bonker (243350) | more than 13 years ago | (#161061)

that being said, not all people believe in free speech. those who don't probably shouldn't join...

George Bush is on record as saying 'There should be limits to freedom'.

The case in Michigan is the purest example of this, and the reason why it's important to fight for the rights of individual speech, even if those rights are held by someone who is a raving nutbar.

The Michigan COPA pretty firmly tried to put the kibosh on the internet sex thing. A national version, such as what John Ashcroft, that judgemental prick, is harping about would face the same fight. "Put internet sex-peddlers in prison, for the sake of the children".

Okay, so they outlaw internet porn or make it so difficult to get to that it might as well have been outlawed. What's next? Outlawing internet literature? How about all that nasty 'slash' fanfiction out there. That's pornographic, right? How about the vast amount of R and X rated Anime fanfiction? (Guilty!: [] ) We can use the first law as a precident to set the second to outlaw explicit text on the internet. Then, how about any kind of webpage that could even vaguely be construed as 'obscene'? That's a pretty broad category, which just about anyone could put any thought, image, or speech they didn't like into. It's also one we're allowing our congress to try to outlaw over and over again.

Personally, I'd rather deal with racism, sexism, and/or religious intolerance than lose my freedom of speech to speak out against them.

Judge's grasp of technology (5)

sacremon (244448) | more than 13 years ago | (#161063)

"Plaintiffs offered the testimony, at a prior hearing, of an expert who testified that other, less-intrusive means to filter the reception of obscene materials exist. A parent may utilize filters or child-friendly software to accomplish similar restrictions. The Court previously took judicial notice that every computer is manufactured with an on/off switch, that parents may utilize, in the end, to control the information which comes into their home via the Internet."

Looks like the judge had a good grasp of the practicalities of the situation, and a sense of humor as well.

Re:Click wrap... (1)

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) | more than 13 years ago | (#161064)

Well, yes, they do. Most porn sites are PAY sites, requiring you to have a valid credit card to get "service". The validated credit card *IS* the authentication of over-18 status...

Non-porn erotica (art, poetry, fiction) sites vary; some are serious about keeping minors out and require hard copies of authenticating documentation, and others (most hobby sites) are run by people who think it's all BS anyway and don't put up more than a token pop-up notifying you that it is an over-18 site.

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

o_kenway (246260) | more than 13 years ago | (#161065)

Sorry to re-iterate a point made elsewhere - YOU LET YOUR THREE AND FIVE YEAR OLD KIDS SURF THE INTERNET!?!?

The internet was never a place for kids. It was a place for sharing information between academics. Then we geeks (and in some cases soon to be acadmemics) saw how cool it could be to share other kinds of information - music, views, news and inforation on unusual topics - things you wouldn't find elsewhere like technical info on various bits of computer hardware, satalites etc. Then it became this "hip" trendy new thing. AOL was created and found that the only way that they could market it successfully was to dupe people into thinking that it was a family centric area. Now what do we have? Thousands of terabytes of dross - you know what I mean - the thousands of web site devoted to Brittany Spears et al and gigabytes of duplicate and mundane information.

What makes this harder to swallow are the hoards of concerned citizens who signed up AOL and now think that they should have a say on how things are run. We also have armies of politicians who have heard that the net is a hot issue and therefore want to jump on the latest bandwagon to gain votes from the moral majority. Most of these politicians wouldn't know how to use a computer if the outcome of world war III depended on it.

If you don't want your children to come to harm on the internet then either don't let them use it (it's not a god-given right y'know)or else take it upon yourself to protect them - install a netnanny or surf with them. It is simply not fair (or right) to barge into a new place and decide that YOU want to start changing the rules to suit you.

Remember: Jesus was killed by the moral majority!

responsibility (4)

DaBB (247418) | more than 13 years ago | (#161066)

I'm so sick of the idea that everything in the world should be safe enough for a child to stumble over. Isn't that what supervision is for? to steer them around or away from things which aren't suitable. I don't let mine watch 18 rated films, read Clive Barker books or drink alcohol - doesn't mean that I shouldn't be able to do it.

The problem of filtering in libraries is huge - why must the subject matter that can be accessed via the pc be suitable for all ages? do they only stock books that 5 year olds can read as well? why don't they just hook up a few pc's with DK software for the kiddies and leave the other machines alone for us.

Dumb question. (1)

Crusty Oldman (249835) | more than 13 years ago | (#161069)

Will somebody please tell me how a state can violate a prohibition on the federal government?

Score: 1. Too late to be relevant.

umm, you lost me... (1)

tewwetruggur (253319) | more than 13 years ago | (#161071)

I was most definitely not supporting censorship of any form. I am supporting active parenting, in which parents use their judgement to determine whether or not something is suitable for their child's audience. I don't want words to be silenced, but I want to act as a buffer for excesses that come my child's way until the time that my child is old enough to understand what they are hearing.

forcing our children to listen??? (2)

tewwetruggur (253319) | more than 13 years ago | (#161072)

I think that statement pretty much ruined your argument. You had me right up until that point. You don't force children to hear something that they probably should not. It is a matter of maturity. A parent should be prepared to explain such things, but not to the point of forcing it upon a child. That's just plain stupid.

Culture and other four letter words. (3)

Kibo (256105) | more than 13 years ago | (#161074)

I don't think culture is ambigious, certainly not more so than "fuck" or "dude". Why look at catcher in the rye, the irony of using "fuck" as a pro-establishment plot device, knowing it would be contriversial in the establishment. Proof that those who can read books, do, and those who can't burn them.

Elementaly, social constraints on unacceptable speach are really pathetic Orwellian attempts to control ideas. As if there were no bad words there would be no bad thoughts, and without bad thoughts there are no bad deeds. The original poster of this thread must be commended on his choice of words. "Bleating", that perfects describes that actions of panicked sheep. He simplified the problem to one word. Telling too. But there are all manner of forbiden words, some of these conventions I even abide by. But when you look at a word and its origins the truth is almost too mundane to bother. But its the impact a word has in the moment we live we judge it by. A quick examination of racial slurs would show the truth in this. Does anyone take offence to the Spanish word for black? Or a corrupted for the latin word for black? Don't say those words around the wrong people. To some extent, theres good reason for that. Those words have an odd emotional componant which will color them for quite a while. One certainly cannot make the case that the emotional componant isn't at least somewhat justified, regaurdless of what real connection it has with the word. Is fukk more acceptable than fuck? What about the Vietnamise guy I know named Phuc? Does he have to change his name? For a long time I called him "Ummm...dude." (Turns out it's pronounced foo'k). It's all good, we're all big boys and girls. Of course our parents let us grow up to be something other than super-sized children....

Re:won't somebody think of the children? (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#161079)

But what if a female child starts swearing in front of a man?

Re:responsibility (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#161080)

There is some wonder, though, why it can't be illegal for an adult to knowingly and deliberately send a porno picture to a specific child (that, perhaps, they aren't the guardian for.)

Re:Two Minute Posting Block (1)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#161081)

My brilliant witticisms and wry commentary flow faster than one every two minutes, too.

Re:Question... (2)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#161082)

Bobo: So you're just another super-thug, eh?

God: What?

Bobo: You heard me. You create an inferior universe where it's possible for people to hurt each other, and for what purpose?

God: To teach them to be good, sort the wheat from the chaff.

Bobo: And what do you do with these filtered good?

God: Umm, put them in a heavenly forever afterlife...

Bobo: ...where their "good" skills are absolutely useless?

God: Ummm....

Bobo: And you hold us morally responsible to help others, at very definite effort and cost, all the while sitting on your infinitely fat ass? ("God's Infinitely Fat Ass) (c) 2001 Bobo the Space Chimp)

God: Umm, well I'm still in charge here.

Bobo: Sorry, there is no largest infinity, no largest transfinite number. A god is nothing other than something that can do an infinite number of things in 0 time. Therefore there is no most powerful god.

God: Umm...

Bobo: Fortunately, the Aleph-12 Brothers have loaned me a transfinite entity containment unit that is guaranteed to inhale all gods of aleph-8 level and below...

God: Umm....

Bobo: ...which I believe is enough to cover your aleph-5 ass.

God: Umm.....



Bobo: The light is green, the trap is clean.

Sorry, all religions are fucked up and false, as demonstrated. Give it up.

Re:Question... (5)

Bobo the Space Chimp (304349) | more than 13 years ago | (#161083)

> The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

God: So you liked Social Security?

Person: Uhh, yeah. I voted with that in mind.

God: Please tell me where I told you to take money from one person, evil or otherwise, and give it to others, evil, poor, lazy, down on their luck, or otherwise.

Person: Uhhh....

God: Did I say to give of your own will from your own effort?

Person: Uhh, yeah.

God: Where did I rescind the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal?" Do I not even use the parable of a rich man and his money is his to do with as he wishes?

Person: Uhh, yeah.

God: So, what's your excuse?

Person: ...

God: I'm waiting...

Person: Uhh, everyone else was doing it.

God: Express elevator to Hell. Next!

Angel: Person #63,456,239,921 step forward! Sheesh, another "voter".

Re:won't somebody think of the children? (5)

freeweed (309734) | more than 13 years ago | (#161084)

this is a state where swearing in front of children is not only illegal -- it's occasionally enforced.

You know, when I first heard of this case, I honestly thought it was a joke. Like an April fools thing. Maybe I've grown up in a more enlightened setting, or maybe I'm just an ignorant crude redneck, but I honestly don't get it. Why do otherwise intelligent adults (yes, this is often debatable :) get so worked up over a couple of words? Think the TBS version of The Breakfast Club. They must say 'flip you' a hundred times. I know what they mean, 8-year old kids know what they mean, hell.. my 92-year old Grandmother knows what they mean. And yet... putting the letters F U C K together as a word would do ... what exactly?

I've never in my life found a compelling argument over why 'we' label some words as 'bad', and not others. Beyond 'I was raised to think the f-word is bad', or religious reasons, I've never once heard of why.

Let's face it - we eventually realize that our parents aren't the supreme authority on the universe, and most people beyond the staunchest zealot tend to question at least some of the established religious dogma. Why precisely do we still have this fixation with our language?

Re:Thanks guys. (2)

mech9t8 (310197) | more than 13 years ago | (#161085)

If these 'newbies' you moan about are yuppies who move into your neighborhood and immediately start a campaign to gentrify the area, you are are a spoiled 2-year-old brat who refuses to share his toys.

That analogy doesn't work at all... maybe the 2-year-old who refuses to *give up* his toys. Or maybe the kid who lend out his favorite toy and when he got it back out half the parts were missing.
Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.

Re:Thanks guys. (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 13 years ago | (#161087)

I think a better analogy would be a nice neighborhood where someone new moves in and puts a rusty old junker car on blocks in their front yard.

Re:Blatant Karma Whoring: (1)

3am (314579) | more than 13 years ago | (#161088)

Okay, here's a reality check:

The ACLU is an advocate/lobbying group for the for the First Amendment.

Examine the degree to which the ACLU is "psychotic" and how they pursue there goals "to the point of stupidity", and then compare your finding with the tobacco lobby, the gun lobby, the energy lobby, etc... - you will find the ACLU is very typical in there zeal. how they are very atypical is in their ideals.

everyone who supports the ACLU eventually wonders if they take their cause too far... [] however, it hard to underestimate the extent to which they have preserved our (fragile) freedoms. rousseau (i think) said something to the extend that in a free society, we are only as free as the most oppressed among us...

remember that the ACLU is a product of the tireless efforts by politicians and special interest (read: religious right's) groups to take away the freedoms we're guaranteed in the constitution's bill of rights. and while the ACLU is liberal, supporting the first amendment should have nothing but bipartisan support - free speech seems to be an even greater concern to most conservatives (i am chagrined to say.. as a 'flaming liberal' myself).

Re:seems pretty good (2)

3am (314579) | more than 13 years ago | (#161089)

exactly.. it sounds pretty good.

this is what's bad and unconstitutional:

with regards to performance....

"...Sexually explicit performance" means a motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation that, in whole or in part, depicts nudity, sexual excitement, erotic fondling, sexual intercourse, or sadomasochistic abuse. Sexually explicit performance includes, but is not limited to , any performance described in this subdivision..."

i believe the term is 'overly broad'. laws that limit free speech exist, but must meet extremely stringent requirements.

also, the law doesn't apply only to "obscene" material, but in fact extends to it. the law also covers "sexually explicit material".

in their defense, this law is meant to apply only to brick&mortar and online porn retailers... but good intent doesn't count for much. they still have to be very careful with the wording of the law...

Re:ACLU isn't for everybody. (2)

3am (314579) | more than 13 years ago | (#161090)

would it help if they selectively picked and chose only fuzzy happy cases??

guess what! that nativity scene was unconstitutional (build it off public property, then), and the nazis and kkk have a right to march where ever the hell they want (if they have a permit, which under constitutional protection they have a right to obtain...)

just because these cases leave a bitter tast in you mouth doesn't mean the ACLU is wrong. they have always worked on the principle that no one is going to pass a law saying "section 1a. everyone hereby loses their right to free speech" - free speech is eroded gradually. all cases that abridge freedom of expression are going to be targeted with equal energy.

i would actually think that this would be comforting, that they aren't subjective about what cases they take on...

that being said, not all people believe in free speech. those who don't probably shouldn't join...

swearing (3)

glyph42 (315631) | more than 13 years ago | (#161092)

The concept of swearing being "bad" is just so, so arbitrary that it pisses me off. It's as if someone, a long time ago, thought "Hey, people are feeling too good about themselves... I think we need more rules to place on people's lives... what haven't we restricted yet? Hmm... Oh, I've got an idea: let's pretend that some words that you can form with our alphabet are bad and tell people that it's immoral to utter them! Hehe. Yeah, that oughta get 'em going for a while! Quick! Spread the word! In the name of morality!"

Stupid, stupid control freaks, controlling for the sake of it.

But certainly I don't want my kids whipping it out in front of their teacher and saying "suck my fat one" or something... that seems a bit over the line, since I don't want myself to do it either. But my kids should be able to say anything that I can say.

Re:Thanks guys. (3)

gmz (320638) | more than 13 years ago | (#161099)

Now my kids will be exposed to all of the filth the Internet has to offer.

Better that than "unrestricted censorship" in the future! Or, as Mike Godwin put it:

"I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say 'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'" --Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation (from the FreeNet-Project's web page) []

won't somebody think of the children? (5)

137 (325909) | more than 13 years ago | (#161103)

It's nice to see that all the shrill bleating about our poor, poor children is finally starting to lose its emotional stranglehold on censorship discourse in Michigan. Not a minute too soon, either. After all, this is a state where swearing in front of children is not only illegal -- it's occasionally enforced [] .

It always struck me as strange that we Americans can justify neatly overthrowing one of our basic tenets of freedom simply by waving our hands and muttering something vauge about "protecting the children." Of all the tests of free speech, why do we fixate on one of the most pointless? Real free speech would demand that, should a neo-Nazi demagogue come along, we grit our teeth and support their right to talk. But let's ignore that thorny issue for awhile and focus on our children, who will surely be hellbound if they hear any cussin'.

Seems to me that there's no such thing as a conditional freedom. At the risk of sounding like I'm making a false either/or proposition, either speech is free -- whether or not we like what is said -- or it's not. Freedom is one of those places where there is no middle ground. Any restriction on freedom does it in.

That said, I think it's time that we Americans either live up to the promise we made ourselves, or we set aside our smug claims to freedom as just so much outdated, naive dreaming. I know which I prefer, even though it will mean protecting hate speech, corporate advertising (as long as we buy into the myth of corporate personhood), and yes, even forcing our children to listen to words we don't like.

Not the only law on the books... (1)

JLinden (332375) | more than 13 years ago | (#161104)

Unfortunatly, there is still the law that requires filtering in public schools. All schools must now have software installed to "protect the children." I wonder if the ACLU is doing anything about this.

Re:Thanks guys. (1) (410908) | more than 13 years ago | (#161105)

What are you childs doing on the Net?
the 3 years old should already be processing the new Kernel 18.4789.15pre-9,and the 5 years old busilly hacking through the new CIA network.

If you can get your 5 year old to compile a Kernel, you shouldn't be alarmed he's seeing Porn.

If he cannot do it yet, well, teach him, and keeping a non smoking station will be your main problem.

And that from a guy whose first PC experience was :"Format C:Y/N", which allowed him to undertand the term "Why you little Bast$z" 8)

14th Amendment vs. Interstate Commerce (1)

Quixotic Raindrop (443129) | more than 13 years ago | (#161106)


Interstate commerce is covered under Article I, Section 8, clause 3, of the Constitution. The 14th Amendment primarly requires states to provide Due Process and Equal Protection under the Law to all citizens of those states, in accordance with the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 13th Amendments.

Do porn sites exist? (1)

Tachys (445363) | more than 13 years ago | (#161107)

Whenever I hear about cases like this I always think about how I have never seen a porn site. Yep, in my 6 years of browsing the internet I have never seen any porn sites. I guess it is because I have never looked for them.

Or could maybe porn sites don't exist at all. Maybe this is all part of a mass hysteria?

Re:Thanks guys. (1)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 13 years ago | (#161110)

The beauty of the system is that spoiled-brat yuppies 'gentrify' (read 'homogenize and drive out anyone who isn't like them') a neighborhood by enacting laws that're hostile to people who aren't part of their closed socioeconomic group.

On the net no one gives a rats ass how much they whine or complain, and the laws they pass are virtually unenforceable (only good in the USA, and sometimes Europe - laughable in the other 300 nations of the world). So their bitching and moaning means little, if anything, compared to what they can do in the real world.

On the net one can thumb their noses at the yuppies and move on, leaving them to howl into the wind. Let 'em scream about 'morals' and 'standards' and 'protecting the children'; nothing they can do in the Real World (TM) will have any measurable effect on the virtual one.

And given what they've done in the real world, I'd say this is a good thing.


Re:won't somebody think of the children? (4)

blang (450736) | more than 13 years ago | (#161112)

The clip about the guy who fell out of the canoe is hilarious.

But on a serious note though, I wonder if the judge ever contemplated what scenario would scare children the most:
1) Hearing a man swearing like a champ after falling into the water, or
2) Seeing a man being forcefully dragged away by the holy police.

Wonder if children in Michigan lie awake at night wondering if they'll be thrown in jail because of something they said the day before?

Scarier though, is how easy it is to manipulate children. Both in communist Soviet Union and nazi Germany, children were encouraged to rat on their own parents, and the kids did so with abandon. So parents in Michican, beware of the kid.

Re:ACLU isn't for everybody. (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#161114)

"This is what they use my tax money for? To promote a religion to which I do not belong?"

So where was ACLU when your (and mine) tax money was used to condone and disrespect religion as it was a case in NY some time ago?

Re:ACLU isn't for everybody. (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#161115)

"that judgemental prick"

So he has something he believes in? How fucking inconsiderate and old-fashioned!

Re:Living in Michigan (1)

GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#161116)

Interesting. I read a story about bunch of library employees suing local officials for NOT allowing them to install blocking software.
Their grounds for a suit? Sexual harassment at work - they complain about being forced to deal with computers with porn sites loaded by visitors and left with some explicit images displayed on the screen.
It is interesting how ACLU will handle this thing since they are very much in favor of enforcing work sexual harassment's laws.


GPLwhore (455583) | more than 13 years ago | (#161117)

Sure , I mean what kind of revolution is that without at least some heads rolling ...

These Pigs Don't Have Kids SPQR (1)

Zorro2001 (455789) | more than 13 years ago | (#161122)

Most people are proud of the human body & so are most of the people of the World. These pigs want to destroy American freedom because the are making believe that they are psychotics, afraid their children will become retarded if they see what is commonly shown on tv in most of the rest of the world.

We don't need laws; *they* need help. I find a number of thinjg visually goatse but not bad enuff for me to throw away my rights; my kids need to know the face of bad taste.

There isn't a single line in our bible that indicates that nakedness or cursing is evil or bad, its an invention of the free masons. Contrarywise Jesus is known to have cursed...'for by their fruits shall ye know them. [ yeah and until 1969 100000 kids used to carry rifles to school on the subway for the gun clubs & you could buy dynamite in your grogers in the 50's]

Re:swearing (1)

datarat (457636) | more than 13 years ago | (#161123)

What can you say and what do you want to say? These are two separate issues, and you're obviously pro-censorship on children since you want to apply it on your own offspring. So you're really ambigous here. You can't be against censorship in one moment, and stamp down "unapproved" speech in the next. Let's be realistic. There are societal norms that have to be observed. Freedom of speach doesn't mean you have the right to be rude or abusive, so one of the things children need to be taught is that while they have the right to say "bad" words, there are inappropriate times. This is a survival lesson. If they focus on their "right" to say things to the exclusion of when and where it's a good time, then while they're shouting about how it's their right to call somebody suburban white trash they'll be getting their civil rights violated by a broken beer bottle. Children need to learn these things, if only so that they know the kind of reactions words and actions will generate. Final words on the subject. Recently there was a police incident near the home of a friend. During the clean up and the report my friends son began to taunt an officer, being insulting etc. The boy was 17, btw. The officer told my friend to control her son, which she responded to by telling the officer that he'd best look the other way. He threatened to take her to jail if she touched the boy. The kid didn't know that what he was doing would get him in trouble, because he was just talking, and he has the right to say whatever he wants. But his mother couldn't correct him, either. Would she have been restricting his rights, or teaching him a valuable lesson?

Re:Judge's grasp of technology (1)

Floin (457959) | more than 13 years ago | (#161124)

It's nice to see that if our legislators aren't going to approach this whole "Internet" thing rationaly, at least our judiciary will.

Living in Michigan (2)

tfreport (458641) | more than 13 years ago | (#161125)

I am a Michigan resident. This law has been debated many times over in my state by the papers, politicians, and families. In the end I am happy that the law has been overturned.

This however does not mean much will change. In the Grand Rapids Public Library System (Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan on the opposite side of the state to Detroit) the software blocking software was never installed. The library system said that it was censorship that they did not support.

What they did do is restrict anyone under 16 to use computers that were in view of a librarian or have a parent sign out the time.

In the end this overturned law is not going to help my life. The law itself had done nothing to change how I lived or surf in the library at all.

Re:Not the only law on the books... (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 13 years ago | (#161126)

Only if the school accepts E-Rate funds.
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