Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age

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MIT Press, Jun 20, 2003 - Computers - 426 pages
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Lawyer and writer Mike Godwin has been at the forefront of the struggle to preserve freedom of speech on the Internet. In Cyber Rights he recounts the major cases and issues in which he was involved and offers his views on free speech and other constitutional rights in the digital age. Godwin shows how the law and the Constitution apply, or should apply, in cyberspace and defends the Net against those who would damage it for their own purposes.Godwin details events and phenomena that have shaped our understanding of rights in cyberspace--including early antihacker fears that colored law enforcement activities in the early 1990s, the struggle between the Church of Scientology and its critics on the Net, disputes about protecting copyrighted works on the Net, and what he calls "the great cyberporn panic." That panic, he shows, laid bare the plans of those hoping to use our children in an effort to impose a new censorship regime on what otherwise could be the most liberating communications medium the world has seen. Most important, Godwin shows how anyone--not just lawyers, journalists, policy makers, and the rich and well connected--can use the Net to hold media and political institutions accountable and to ensure that the truth is known.
 

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Contents

A New Frontier for Free Speech and Society
1
Where the Virtual Meets the Real Free Speech Community and Ethics on the Net
25
The Net Backlash Fear of Freedom
63
Libel on the Net
79
When Words Hurt Two Hard Cases about Online Speech
109
Privacy Versus Society?
143
The Battles over Copyright on the Net and Other Intellectual Property Encounters
185
A Bad Spin and a Cyberporn Primer
247
Fighting a Cyberporn Panic
259
Courting the Future The Communications Decency Act of 1996
319
Free Speech and Communities What the Lawyers Know
355
Notes
369
Index
387
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Mike Godwin is the author of Cyber Rights : Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age. A current and highly controversial topic, Godwin discusses the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Time's Cyberporn issue, and libel conflicts experienced by journalists on the Internet. Each important event is carefully detailed, with the ramifications for restricting free speech. This book is more than just a dry legal account; it is highly readable and contains stories that could affect the rights of everyone. Godwin serves as counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and is an activist for free speech in cyberspace. He has appeared in several important Internet cases, including the defeat of the aforementioned Communications Decency Act of 1996.

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