Another First Amendment Win in Ohio

April 22, 2010 -

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, Ohio has ruled that a state statute, which imposes penalties for disseminating sexually-explicitly material to minors, cannot be applied to open communications, such as websites, public chatrooms or email-based listservs and mailing lists.

In American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) v. Strickland, the Court ruled (PDF) that the law should apply only to “personal directed” communication—such as person-to-person email or a private chatroom—“between an adult and a person that the adult knows or should know is a minor.”

The San Francisco Examiner previously noted the importance of the case to a variety of online sellers, including videogame retailers:

The group had argued the law could be applied broadly to online material and erode the constitutional free speech rights of online booksellers, newspaper publishers and video game dealers. Technology, they say, can't always keep the harmful information from children.

The decision follows Ohio’s Supreme Court clarifying a pair of specific questions relevant to the case earlier this year.

ABFFE President Chris Finan commented on the decision:

The federal court's narrow construction of the Ohio statute recognizes that the First Amendment protects the right of adults to use websites and other electronic means for communications that might be inappropriate in a one-to-one communication with a minor.

"We should certainly have in place adequate legal safeguards to shield children from objectionable content, but those safeguards cannot unreasonably interfere with the rights of adults to have access to materials that are protected by the First Amendment,” added Media Coalition General Counsel Michael Bamberger.


Comments

Re: Another First Amendment Win in Ohio

My personal opinion is that obsenity laws in general are unconstitutional and should be scapped altogether. Don't get me wrong, i definetly don't think young children should be exposed to sexually explicit material but then again young children don't seek out that material to being with and it's the sole responsibility of parents to make sure that their children aren't exposed to media they find unsuitable or inapproriate for them, not the nanny-state.

 "No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: Another First Amendment Win in Ohio

Long term they probably will be overturned at some point, though it will probably be quite some time.  Right now the country is actually getting less comfortable with sex rather then more so it would not be a good time for a judge to obey the constitution over tradition/precedent.  Coupled with the unwillingness of people to fight them lest they be pained as perverts/pedophiles/whatever, leads to less backlash against them then there should be.

It will not be an easy fight though.  Look at how much trouble there is over 2nd amendment fights, and those groups are MUCH better positioned then 1st amendment ones, esp 1st amendment for adult content groups.

Re: Another First Amendment Win in Ohio

Personally i'd love to see another Free Speech absolutist like Hugo Black or William O. Douglas put on SCOTUS or even a near absolutist like William J. Brennan but i doubt that it's going to happen. The loss of Stevens (he believes that obsenity cannot be legally defined in a narrow enough and non-vague manner and therefore it can't be barred) on the Supreme Court is pretty bad as he is a libertarian when it comes to most Free Speech issues and i hope Obama picks someone with a very pro-free speech record to replace him.

 "No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

"No law means no law" - Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

Re: Another First Amendment Win in Ohio

Always a happy way when freedom of speech gets a win.

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Another First Amendment Win in Ohio

"The group had argued the law could be applied broadly to online material and erode the constitutional free speech rights of online booksellers, newspaper publishers and video game dealers."

 

Hate to say it, but that might have been part of the point behind the law.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

Which Feminist Frequency video are you looking forward to most?:

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Wonderkarpgoogle fiber coming to atlanta georgia. I'm gonna try to get a transfer to atlanta just to get google fiber. lol01/28/2015 - 9:13am
Wonderkarpotherwise Its just going to feel like another unnecessary reboot to me01/28/2015 - 9:09am
Wonderkarpmy god, thats an awesome ghostbusters cast. why couldnt it just be a sequal and not a reboot though!? I hate Reboots and I'd rather have a new story with new characters than a gender swapped rehash. Throw in Dan Aykroyd to link the two franchises.01/28/2015 - 9:08am
E. Zachary KnightThe mandatory free trial aspect was one of my favorite features and I was greatly disappointed when they ended that part of it.01/28/2015 - 8:31am
E. Zachary KnightMecha, I never considered that a problem as the Ouya is capable of rendering games at a better than PS2 capability. However, the ease of development for Android has greatly lowered the bar for the vast number of games published for Android based systems.01/28/2015 - 8:30am
MechaTama31Goth_Skunk: It's not too late for CiVIlization... ;)01/28/2015 - 12:40am
MechaCrashI thought one of its other big issues was all the "quality" of phone games with all the portability of your television.01/27/2015 - 11:34pm
E. Zachary KnightApparently, people did not want a $100 console, they wanted a $200 one for a $100 price tag.01/27/2015 - 11:18pm
E. Zachary KnightI remember when people were demanding Ouya used the new and untested Tegra 4 processor rather than the tried and true Tegra 3, increase the RAM to 2Gigs and various other expensive addons.01/27/2015 - 11:17pm
ConsterCraig: perhaps I should've used the word "unreasonable", as in people clamoring for stretch goals that would guarantee they lose money on each deck.01/27/2015 - 10:04pm
Andrew EisenIt's my favorite movie. I'm looking forward to it as well.01/27/2015 - 9:16pm
Goth_SkunkI grew up idolizing Ghostbusters. I'm extremely excited to see another film.01/27/2015 - 8:52pm
Goth_SkunkEscapist -- via Hollywood reporter -- gives us a glimpse at the probable cast of the new Ghostbuster's movie: http://ow.ly/I3GyZ01/27/2015 - 8:51pm
Craig R.Nearly $4.2m in a week for Exploding Kittens. Can anything truly be unrealistic at this point?01/27/2015 - 8:50pm
prh99I am sure. Just have no interest in tropes in general or her take on gender portrayal.01/27/2015 - 7:44pm
Goth_SkunkI personally enjoy replacing letters with numbers in titles of movies and games. I think Firaxis missed out on a huge chuckle by calling it "Civilization V" and not "CiVilization."01/27/2015 - 7:20pm
Andrew EisenI bet I can guess how you voted!01/27/2015 - 7:02pm
prh99Never actually watched one, probably won't start.01/27/2015 - 6:15pm
E. Zachary KnightConster, when are unrealistic stretch goal demands anything new? They happen in every Kickstarter I have seen.01/27/2015 - 5:58pm
E. Zachary KnightAE: You forgot the "The video that conforms to my preconceived ideas about gender in games" option.01/27/2015 - 5:56pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician