FEPP Archives - Issues - Sex &
Paper To The National Research Council: Identifying What Is Harmful
or Inappropriate for Minors
In Front of the Children: "Indecency," Censorship, and the Innocence
(March 5, 2001) - Have adverse effects from pornography
been scientifically identified? Or is the issue essentially one of morality
and socialization of youth? This White Paper, submitted to the National
Research Council's Committee on "Tools and Strategies for Protecting
Kids from Pornography and Their Applicability to Other Inappropriate Internet
Content," points out that there are non-censorial approaches to concerns
about kids' access to pornography - such as media literacy and comprehensive
sexuality education. On May 2, 2002, the NRC released a 402-page report
that largely agreed with FEPP's White Paper. Click
here for a summary.
(2001, 2nd edition 2007) - From Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter, censorship
is often based on the assumption that children and adolescents must be protected
from information about ideas. In the award-winning book, Not in Front
of the Children: "Indecency," Censorship, and the Innocence of
Youth, Marjorie Heins explores the history and politics of indecency
laws and other censorship aimed at youth.
Court Brief In "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
Commentary: Book Banning in the 21st Century: What's at Stake in the CIPA Case
(March 20, 2002; updated May 31, 2002) - The "Children's
Internet Protection Act" - or CIPA - mandates that all public schools
and libraries using federal funds for Internet use or connections must
install a filtering system. Given the well-documented fact that all Internet
filters mistakenly block thousands of sites that don't even have sexual
content, CIPA poses a major threat to intellectual freedom, and indeed,
to the very function of libraries.
Children's Hearts, Minds, and Libidos:
What's at Stake in the COPA Case
(April 18, 2002) - Salon.com and the Kama Sutra screen saver were just a few of the sites threatened with censorship as
the Supreme Court prepared to rule in Ashcroft
Through Civil Lawsuits, and Threats Against a University Press
(April 23, 2002) - What was all the fuss about Judith
Levine's controversial book Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting
Children from Sex? Also, a review of Robert O'Neil's The First
Amendment and Civil Liability, which describes how lawsuits against
movie directors and book publishers are threatening creative freedom.
Research Council Adopts FEPPs Approach to Internet and Youth
(May 2, 2002) - The NRC released a 402-page report that
largely agreed with a white paper that FEPP submitted to the Council on
three crucial issues: Internet filters, media literacy, and "harm
to minors" from sexually explicit content.
Bites the Dust
(May 31, 2002) - A federal court ruled that requiring
Internet filters in public libraries violates the First Amendment. See
Ignoring the Irrationality
of Internet Filters for commentary on the Supreme Court's reversal
of this decision.
Submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration
(NTIA): Internet Protection Measures and Safety Policies
(August 26, 2002) - FEPP's White Paper to the NTIA, outlining
the serious educational problems that are inherent in Internet filtering
technology, and suggesting more effective ways of addressing concerns
about minors' access to the wide variety of content on the World Wide
Web. The agency's report, released in August 2003, recognized the limits
of filtering technology as a response to concerns about minors' Web surfing,
but it also read like a sales pitch for filter manufacturers. See Government
Report a Sales Pitch for Internet Filters.
(December 17, 2002) - If you are interested in the origins
of our present-day struggles over sexual information and ideas, Helen
Lefkowitz Horowitzs detailed rendering the 19th century landscape
is packed with incidents and insights. Rereading Sex: Battles Over
Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth-Century America.
on Trial: The Story of 3 Landmark
(Winter 2002) - The trial that freed James Joyce's Ulysses;
the case that broke the Catholic Church stranglehold over American movies;
and the McCarthy Era case that ended teachers' loyalty
Strange Case of Sarah Jones
(January 24, 2003; updated February 20, 2003) - Where does
the federal government get the power to ban a feminist rap poem?
Revolution" is Not "Indecent" After All
(February 20, 2003) - Under pressure from a lawsuit
by the feminist rapper Sarah Jones, the FCC changed its mind and ruled
Jones's powerful rap poem is not indecent after all.
Disastrous State of Sex Education
(April 4, 2003) - In Talk About Sex, Janice Irvine
concludes that America must rid itself of the "the culture of stigma"
before it can have a sane policy of sexuality education.
the Irrationality of Internet Filters, the Supreme Court Upholds CIPA
(June 24, 2003) - The June 23, 2003 decision allowing Congress
to mandate Internet filters in public libraries as a condition of federal
aid ignores or understates the massive censorious effects of filters.
In many ways, they are more insidious than flat bans on "indecent"
Than Seven Dirty Words
(August 4, 2003) - The FCC's threat to revoke broadcast
licenses because of vulgar radio content focuses on a truly gross call-in
show describing such bizarre sexual practices as "the Rusty Trombone,"
but the broader issue is the unconstitutionality of the agency's vague
Government Report is a Sales Pitch for Internet Filters
(August 20, 2003) - The National Telecommunications and
Information Administration's flawed August 2003 report naively accepts
the claims of filter manufacturers.