Free Expression in the Age of the Internet: Social and Legal Boundaries

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Westview Press, 2000 - Business & Economics - 331 pages
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In Free Expression in the Age of the Internet, Jeremy Lipschultz investigates the Internet and its potential for profound change, analyzing the use of its technology from social, political, and economic perspectives. Lipschultz provides new insights on traditional legal concepts such as marketplace of ideas, social responsibility, and public interest, arguing that from a communication theory perspective, free expression is constrained by social norms and conformity.Lipschultz explores social limits on free expression by first examining history of print and electronic media law and regulation. He utilizes the gatekeeping metaphor, the spiral of silence, and diffusion theory to explore current data on the Internet. He uses Reno v. ACLU (1997) as a case study of current First Amendment thinking. This book includes recent evidence, including samples of content from Internet gossip columnist Matt Drudge, and the investigation of President Clinton as it unfolded on the World Wide Web.The analysis is related to broader issues about Internet content, including commercial and other communication. The new technologies raise new questions about legal and social definitions of concepts such as privacy. Free expression is explored in this book under the umbrella of a global, commercial economy that places importance on legal rights such as copyright, even where those rights limit free flow of ideas.The Internet places free expression on two tracks. On the one hand, corporate players are developing cyberspace as a new mass media. On the other hand, the Internet is virtual space where individuals have the power to connect and communicate with others in ways never before seen. This groundbreaking text advancing new media scholarship uses the most current case studies from the Internet to show free expression in practice today. Lipshultz presents a relevant and efficacious social communication theory of free expression which critically examines the necessary factors involved in comprehensive policy analysis and enactment.
  

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Contents

Political and Economic Considerations
94
of the Drudge Report
166
A Survey of the Range of Internet Content
173
J Whitehouse gov
188
Email Listservs and Other
201
Chapter Summary
221
Property and Commercial Rights in a Digital Age
239
Comparative International Issues
261

Other Approaches
55
Broadcast Versus Print Models of Free Expression
59
Normative Legal Versus Social Theory Approaches
79
Social Constraints
88
Toward Thinking About Free Expression in a Digital Age
277
References
309
Index
321
Copyright

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Page 102 - But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas— that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.
Page 108 - The basic guidelines for the trier of fact must be: (a) whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards" would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest; (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law; and (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
Page 47 - Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition. To allow opposition by speech seems to indicate that you think the speech impotent, as when a man says that he has squared the circle, or that you do not care wholeheartedly for the result, or that you doubt either your power or your premises.
Page 47 - I think that we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death, unless they so imminently threaten immediate interference with the lawful and pressing purposes of the law that an immediate check is required to save the country.
Page 51 - Thus we consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.
Page 42 - The liberty of the press is, indeed, essential to the nature of a free state ; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications ; and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public : to forbid this is to destroy the freedom of the press : but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity.
Page 46 - The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger...
Page 105 - ... interactive computer service to display in a manner available to a person under 18 years of age, any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs...
Page 52 - ... no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.
Page 47 - When a nation is at war many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.

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About the author (2000)

Jeremy Lipschultz is acting communication chair and professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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