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Groups challenge Massachusetts 'harmful to minors' Internet speech law

(07/17/10 7:01am)

A coalition of free speech groups, publishers and booksellers filed suit July 13 against the State of Massachusetts to block enforcement of a law that would fine and/or imprison for up to ten years anyone who operates a Web site or transmits through e-mail, instant message, text message and other forms of online communication nudity or sexually related material deemed harmful to minors. Massachusetts’ attempt to craft such a law is the latest in a long line of efforts by  states and the federal government to punish those who post “harmful” material online.




This is a big #$%&@-ing deal - federal appeals court strikes down FCC's "fleeting expletives" rule

(07/13/10 5:27pm)

Setting up a showdown at the Supreme Court that could topple the 32-year-old "seven dirty words" standard for broadcast indecency, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday that the First Amendment prohibited the Federal Communications Commission from fining television stations for "fleeting expletives" blurted out on their broadcasts. The 3-0 ruling in Fox Television Stations, Inc. v.


Could funeral protesters' case give colleges greater authority over "offensive" speech?

(07/15/10 10:17pm)

On the surface, it does not appear that college students would have much at stake in a court case arising out of the attention-grabbing antics of Kansas clergyman Fred Phelps, whose repugnant anti-gay protests outside the funerals of American soldiers got him sued by the family of a slain Marine. But a coalition of free-speech advocates is telling the U.S.


Montana student recognized for resisting school's cover-up of athletes' grades

(07/23/10 4:34pm)

Will Meyer is grateful for the Student Free Press Award that he received in the Montana High School Better Newspaper contest, but the sting of the censorship battle that prompted his recognition remains. Meyer, who will begin his tenure as editor-in-chief of Bozeman High School's Hawk Talk in August,  was recognized for fighting to prevent administrative censorship of the newspaper, after the principal prohibited the staff from running the complete version of a story that listed the average GPAs of school athletic teams. In what Meyer called "one of the most interesting things the paper did all year," the administration stopped the newspaper from printing the average GPAs that fell below 3.0, which Meyer said only made the school look like it had something to hide. Meyer's experience highlights the abuse of administrative power that is all too common with prior-review regimes that are trying to maintain a polished image for their schools. But Meyer, who was sports editor at the time of the story's publication, said the staff didn't have an agenda when writing the article, and its publication wasn't intended toe embarrass the school.