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FEPP Archives - Court and Agency Briefs

Friend of the Court Brief in Indianapolis Video Games Censorship Case
(November 8, 2000) - Scholars and authors specializing in the field of media and communications submitted a brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit explaining that there is no scientific or empirical justification for a censorship law that barred access by any person under 18 to any video game that contains simulated "graphic violence" and is considered "harmful to minors." In March 2001, the court invalidated the law.

Supreme Court Brief in the "COPA" Case
(September 2001) - Four sexuality scholars' organizations, along with the National Coalition Against Censorship, filed a brief with the Supreme Court explaining that there is no body of scientific evidence establishing that minors are harmed by reading or viewing sexual material. Hence, the "Child Online Protection Act," which criminalizes "harmful to minors" expression online, is not justified by any compelling governmental interest. In May 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that using the vague notion of "community standards" as part of the definition of what is "harmful to minors" is not in itself unconstitutional, and sent the case back to the lower courts for further consideration. (See Supreme Court Punts.)

Friend of the Court Brief by 33 Media Scholars in St. Louis Video Games Censorship Case
(September 25, 2002) - 33 media scholars, historians, psychologists, and games researchers filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, opposing a law that bars minors from video games containing "graphic violence." The scholars' brief explains that, contrary to popular belief, most efforts to prove adverse effects from media violence have yielded null results, and that "experts on childhood and adolescence have long recognized the importance of violent fantasy play in overcoming anxieties, processing anger, and providing outlets for aggression."

Friend of the Court Brief in Supreme Court Internet Filtering Case by Organizations Concerned About the Digital Divide
(February 10, 2003) - FEPP filed a brief on behalf of Partnership For Progress on the Digital Divide, Harlem Live, and other organizations arguing that the "Children's Internet Protection Act," which forces libraries to install Internet filters on all computers, worsens the digital divide and thus relegates many Americans to second-class information citizenship.

Comments to the FCC on Broadcast Localism
(November 1, 2004) - The Brennan Center for Justice, the Consumer Federation of America, and 30 other organizations urged the agency responsible for regulating the public airwaves to repair the lack of localism and diversity in commercial broadcasting by providing more opportunities for independent community-oriented nonprofit media.

The Free Expression Policy Project began in 2000 as a project of the National Coalition Against Censorship, to provide empirical research and policy development on tough censorship issues and seek free speech-friendly solutions to the concerns that drive censorship campaigns. In 2004-2007, it was part of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. Past funders have included the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Open Society Institute, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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