By far the best-documented and most level-headed, readable, and informative book yet on the subject of freedom of speech on the Internet. Wallace and Mangan provide blow-by-blow chapters detailing the backgrounds and legal proceedings in each of the primary landmark U.S. episodes to date:
Memphis vs. Robert Thomas' Amateur Action pornography BBS
U.S. Government vs. Phillip Zimmerman's PGP
The University of Michigan student's snuff postings
Stratton stockbrokerage vs. Prodigy
The Church of Scientology vs. the world, in attempts to squelch anti-Scientology discussions on the Net
Comon sense vs. Martin Rimm's so-called "quantitative analyses" of Net pornography
Candyland's Bomb recipe pages
U.S. Senate Communications Decency Act proceedings
and thoughtful analyses of precedents in the legislation of previous telecommunications technologies (telephony, radio, and television)
My only complaint: either the authors (or, more likely, the publishers) opted for a sensationalized title that does not do justice to the much broader coverage actually provided. Highest Recommendation.
From Publishers Weekly
The Internet, in the authors' provocative analogy, is "a constellation of printing presses and bookstores, and thereby entitled to the full protection of the First Amendment." Using a series of detailed case studies, this legal handbook condemns as inappropriate to cyberspace the Supreme Court's 1973 standard whereby a local community can set nationwide criteria for what constitutes obscene or indecent speech. Wallace, a lawyer, vice-president of Pencom Systems and author of The Computer Consultant's Legal Guide, and computer journalist Mangan blast the Communications Decency Act, just passed by Congress, as a radical attack on First Amendment guarantees of free speech. This legislation, going far beyond its purported aim of banning violent and pornographic material, could be used to censor and criminalize political and sexual speech, they warn. Setting forth a moral, political and legal framework for the decisions facing Congress and the courts, the authors advocate a voluntary self-rating system as the only restriction applicable to cyberspace.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.