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PoliTechBot.com: Friend of Court Brief: News Orgs Say DeCSS Ruling Infringes Freedom of Press

Jan 26, 2001, 22:20 (2 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Bryan Taylor for this link. ]

"The amici curiae are journalism membership and trade associations, online publications, and academic institutions which are concerned that the District Court's opinion, should it be affirmed, will significantly chill freedom of the online press by stifling one of its important features, linking. Amici curiae believe that if online journalism is to thrive, courts must allow it the unqualified First Amendment protection afforded its print counterparts, a result already mandated by the Supreme Court. The District Court's subjective test to determine "linking liability," which departs from previously unquestioned freedom of the press principles, is a dangerous precedent; it allows Congress to authorize prior restraints on whole classes of information published on the World Wide Web, the publication of which is constitutionally protected in all other media."

"The amici curiae represent the broad range of journalistic interests and are eminently qualified to speak to the Court on these issues...

  • The Online News Association...
  • The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press...
  • The Newspaper Association of America (NAA)...
  • The Student Press Law Center...
  • Wired News...
  • The Pew Center on the States...
  • The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law...
  • The College of Communications, California State University, Fullerton..."

"Amici curiae are keenly aware that this case presents the issue of linking liability for the first time and that this holding may be the model for how future courts consider freedom of the online press hereafter. The importance of this case to amici curiae and the entire online journalism community cannot be overstated. Amici curiae urge that this court honor the Supreme Court's endorsement of the World Wide Web as a "dynamic, multifaceted, category of communication" and exercise extreme caution so that the still-evolving field of online journalism is not substantially hindered at this critical stage in its development."

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