“Constitutional Law in Cyberspace” Liveblog

I’m at the Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy in New Haven for the week, with the first session tutorial about to get underway, Mike Godwin of the Wikimedia Foundation presenting on “Constitutional Law in Cyberspace.”

(Mike’s best known as author of “Godwin’s Law.” Any references to Hitler or Nazis will be noted.)

My 1st effort at liveblogging, we’ll see how it goes.

Focus on US Constitutional Law, “not everyone chere is American.”

US Copyright Law has been in Internationalized.

Judicial Review “But what if Private action threatens freedom, ie through code?” Constitution was crafted in an era in which the ability of private entities to interfere with free speech and privacy was limited.

Every word in 1st Amendment resonates in cyberspace.

“When is speech so dangerous that it must be restricted? Schenck v US (1919),  Holmes and Brandeis Abrams v US (1919), Whitney v California(1927) Dennis v US (1951)

In last 2 weeks, UK has outlawed “extreme pornography.” Tendency to “deprave or corrupt.” Canada too, influenced by Catherine McKinon’s theory, what happened to NAFTA?

Nuremberg Files: Anti-abortionists list Doctors’ names, addresses, cheerleading acts of violence. Causing? Can this ruling be reconciled w Brandenburg v Ohio (1969)?

Mike arguues that written, as opposed to spoken material, almost never creates “imminent lawless action,” as the reading process demands reflection.


  1. Is a website a bookstore or a phone company? Adult bookstores are deemed familiar with, and thus liable for, any materials on the shelf.

    Kubby v Compuserve (1991), Compuserve not liable for material posted by members.

    Communications Decency Act Sec. 230 :”get out of Jail free card” for providders. Mike among Attys challenging CDA, Section 230, “we carefully avoided challenging Section 230.”

    Sec. 230 made it possible for providers to remove content without assuming liability for any remaining content. He nonetheless, as Wikipedia’s Atty, advises employees and Board members notto edit except for copyright.

  2. This ties i with the youtube/Lieberman story today too.

Comments have been disabled.