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Sex, Laws, and Cyberspace Hardcover – February 28, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co; 1st edition (February 28, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805047670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805047677
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,945,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Felix Sonderkammer on November 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
I own but have not read Sex Laws and Cyberspace in its entirety. This is because the book is poorly written and hard to read.
The book deals with cogent questions about types of pornography and legal problems in the theory and practice of censoring it.
However, it appears Wallace and Mangan aimed at length instead of lucidity in each paragraph and chapter. Reading page after page of their rambling narrative is simply too much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
The title of the review about sums everything up. It started off very slow and boring and I almost put it down. I was sick, however, and struggled on. The book gets a lot better in later chapters, but since it references the beginning a lot, you have to struggle through the beginning. There's some really good quotes in the last chapter. The use of traditionally offensive issues like online kiddie porn and violent "erotica" to illustrate the issues (in the beginning) was a decent attempt to shock the reader into re-examining digital law from other perspectives, but may backfire or upset some.

As others have noted, though, it is quite dated.
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By David Jackson on August 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this book does not cover the topic as expected. I was disappointed in the contents and actually wanted to send it back to the shipper. In this case it's just a lesson learned.
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