ALERT - Join Netizens In Announcing the CDA Decision When It Happens (fwd)

Josh Hehner (josh@cs.toronto.edu)
Fri, 7 Jun 1996 15:46:03 -0400


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 10:35:56 -0400
From: Jonah Seiger <jseiger@cdt.org>
To: ciec-members@cdt.org
Subject: ALERT - Join Netizens In Announcing the CDA Decision When It Happens

June 5, 1996

Dear CIEC members:

As you know, a decision in the court battle over the (un)constitutionality
of the Communications Decency Act is expected to be announced very soon,
perhaps even before the end of this week.

In anticipation of the decision, and in an effort to spread the news
throughout the Net when the decision is announced, the Center for
Democracy and Technology (CDT) has teamed up with the Voters
Telecommunications Watch to "Spread the Word".

I am writing to ask for your help.

If you maintain a World Wide Web site, please join us in announcing
the decision, in real time to the entire Net, by following the simple
instructions below.

If you don't maintain your own site but still want to get involved, visit
the CIEC web page (http://www.cdt.org/ciec) for information on rallies,
Online events, and other things you can do when the decision is announced.
You can start by forwarding this message to your friends.

And of course, the full text of the decision, analysis, and other
information will be posted to the CIEC web page as soon as they become
available.

Win or lose, the outcome of this case will have a profound impact on
the fate of the Internet and the future of freedom of expression in the
Information Age. With your help, the entire global Internet community
will have an opportunity to join together to announce this historic
decision.

Thank you very much for your help!

Jonah Seiger
<jseiger@cdt.org>
Policy Analyst/CIEC Online-Coordinator
Center for Democracy and Technology

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__ _________ __ __ ____ ____ _____
\ \ / /_ _\ \ / / / / / ___| _ \_ _| Raise the roof
\ \ / / | | \ \ /\ / / / / | | | | | || | for the Court's
\ V / | | \ V V / / / | |___| |_| || | decision on net
\_/ |_| \_/\_/ /_/ \____|____/ |_| free speech!
Voters Telecommunications Watch / Center for Democracy and Technology

JOIN TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NET USERS IN SPREADING THE WORD
ABOUT THE FIRST RESULT OF THE FREE SPEECH LAWSUIT

June 5, 1996

Redistribute (intact, please) only until June 28, 1996
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Table of contents
News - A decision in the court case is near
How to participate
How will this campaign work?
Press information on this event
Background: what is the CDA?

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NEWS - A DECISION IN THE COURT CASE IS NEAR

The fate of the Internet and the future of the First Amendment in the
information age hang in the balance. As early as this week, three federal
judges in Philadelphia are poised to issue a ruling in the law suit
challenging the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which restricts
constitutionally protected speech on the Internet.

Will the court rule that the CDA is unconstitutional? That the Internet is
a unique communications technology that deserves the same First Amendment
protections enjoyed by the print media? Or will the court side with Senator
Exon, conservative "pro-family" groups, and the Justice Department who have
argued that the government is the best judge of what material is
appropriate online.

Regardless of the outcome, the decision will have a profound impact on the
future of the Internet as a medium for free expression, education, and
commerce.

JOIN TENS OF THOUSANDS OF YOUR FELLOW NETIZENS IN ANNOUNCING THE DECISION

When the Communications Decency Act was signed into law by President
Clinton on February 8, 1996, the World Wide Web went black in protest.
When the decision in the historic legal challenge to the CDA is announced,
join tens of thousands of your fellow netizens in spreading the word on the
decision and its impact.

This campaign follows in the steps of the Turn the Web Black campaign,
which was a tremendous success. Believe it or not, many Internet users
had only superficial knowledge about the proposed law and the enormous
press coverage and online awareness afterwards mobilized large numbers
of people.

In addition to the online campaign, there are currently rallies planned for
New York, press conferences from the CIEC and the ACLU, and a net campaign
to raise awareness to the decision and the effects it will have on free
speech.

The result of the first CDA decision is an extremely important milestone in
the fight for free speech online. Will the net look more like print, or
more like Saturday morning television?

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INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

In anticipation of the decision, you can help keep your fellow Netizens
informed on the latest news and participate in a dramatic demonstration
when the decision is announced.

1. Add the following link *TODAY* in a prominent location on your web site:

<a href="http://www.vtw.org/speech/">
<img src="http://www.vtw.org/images/question.gif"
alt="Free speech court decision" align=top></a><br clear = all><br>
A decision is near in the fight to overturn the Communications Decency Act.
<br>Watch this image and follow the link for more information.

2. To let us know you have joined us, fill out the form at
http://www.vtw.org/speech/
with your URL. A list of participating pages will be displayed.

3. Attend the online press conference with lead CIEC (Citizens Internet
Empowerment Coalition) attorney Bruce Ennis on HotWired. More details
are available on the WWW page.

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HOW WILL THIS CAMPAIGN WORK?

After you have added the link (above) to your page, an animated image
signifying that a decision in the case is expected soon will be
displayed on your site. By clicking on that image, visitors to your
page can jump to a site containing the latest news and information on
the case.

As soon as a decision is announced, the image will be changed
automatically (the update will happen at our server - you will not have to
do anything), and Netizens throughout the entire global Internet will
immediately be aware of the result (win or lose).

By clicking on the updated image, visitors to your page will be able
to obtain the text of the decision, analysis, and other relevant
information.

Until the decision is announced, there will be information about upcoming
events and rallies on the VTW Free Speech page, http://www.vtw.org/speech/

------------------------------------------------------------------------
PRESS INFORMATION ON THIS EVENT

For more information on this event, including press inquiries, please
contact:

Jonah Seiger, Policy Analyst, Center For Democracy and Technology (CDT)
<jseiger@cdt.org> +1.202.637.9800

Shabbir Safdar, Online Representative, Voters Telecommunications Watch (VTW)
<shabbir@vtw.org> +1.718.596.2851

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BACKGROUND: WHAT IS THE CDA?

The Communications Decency Act was passed as part of the Telecommunications
Reform bill in February 1996. The law seeks to protect minors from
objectionable or sexually explicit material on the Internet by imposing
stiff criminal penalties on the "display" of "indecent" or "patently
offensive" material online.

Opponents to the new law argue that while well intentioned, the CDA fails
to account for the unique nature of the Internet, and that it will have a
far-reaching chilling effect on constitutionally protected speech online.
On a global, decentralized communications medium like the Internet, the
only effective and constitutional means of controlling access to
objectionable material is to rely on users and parents, not the government,
to decide what material is or is not appropriate.

Two lawsuits have been filed to challenge the constitutionality of the CDA
in a Philadelphia federal court. The cases have been consolidated and an
decision is expected in early June 1996.

The cases have been brought, respectively, by The Citizens Internet
Empowerment Coalition (CIEC), comprised of civil Liberties groups,
libraries, Internet Service Providers, Commercial Online Service Providers,
Newspaper, Magazine and Book Publishers, and over 45,000 individual
internet users, and a coalition of civil liberties groups, authors, and
others organized by the ACLU.

Detailed information on the legal challenges, as well as information about
the CDA, is available at the following web sites:

Legal Challenges To The CDA
----------------------------

* The ACLU - http://www.aclu.org/

* The Citizens Internet
Empowerment Coalition (CIEC) - http://www.cdt.org/ciec

Background Information On The CDA/Internet Censorship Issues
------------------------------------------------------------

* The ACLU - http://www.aclu.org
* Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) - http://www.cdt.org
* Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) - http://www.eff.org
* Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) - http://www.epic.org
* Voters Telecommunications Watch (VTW) - http://www.vtw.org

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