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Issues - Internet

Social Media Censorship
(November 19, 2015) - offers information and help to people whose postings have been taken down by social media sites.

Untangling the Steven Salaita Case
(September 4, 2014) - The University of Illinois' last-minute withdrawal of a job offer because of anti-Israel tweets has created a nationwide controversy. What are the legal issues? How does academic freedom fit in?

Book Banning, Obscenity, and "Harm to Minors"
(June 3, 2014) - The Fair Observer interviews Marjorie Heins.

Battles Continue Over Internet Filters
(November 11, 2012) - Two recent court cases have challenged discriminatory blocking of web sites that support gay and lesbian rights and that provide information on nonmainstream religions.

Can Anti-Gay Marriage Petitioners Keep Their Identities Private?
(Nov. 2, 2009; updated July 27, 2010) - An ongoing First Amendment battle pits the public interest in openness and disclosure against the constitutional rights to anonymity and privacy.

The Trials of Judge Kozinski
(July 13, 2008) - When it comes to sexual humor, what standards should apply to a judge's private web files?

FEPP's Slide Show of Controversial and Censored Art
(May 2008) - From the erotic frescos of Pompeii to today's battles over fair use - an entertaining and informative history of censored images.

The Harry Potter Lexicon Goes to Court
(March 8, 2008) - J.K. Rowling claims copyright infringement while the Lexicon publisher argues fair use. A federal judge will soon decide.

Can Cellphone Companies Censor Text Messages?
(October 24, 2007) - Verizon's blocking of a Naral/ Pro-Choice America message might be illegal if text messages, like phone calls, are covered by "common carrier" rules.

A Proposal to Police "Morality" in Domain Names
(August 24, 2007) - ICANN is considering a plan to ban any "generic top-level" domain names that "undermine religious, family or social values."

"COPA" is Struck Down Again
(March 23, 2007) - A federal court's March 22 decision touts Internet filters as more effective than a criminal law in barring minors from sexual speech.

Intellectual Property and Free Speech in the Online World
(January 2007) - A new report from the Fair Use Network surveys how online service providers are coping with cease and desist letters and takedown notices.

"Reclaiming the First Amendment"
(January 22, 2007) - A conference sponsored by the Brennan Center and Hofstra Law School explored the viability of a "right of access" along with other reforms that might help democratize the mass media.

First Post-CIPA Lawsuit Filed
(November 21, 2006) - The ACLU of Washington has sued a library district for refusing to dismantle Internet filters.

The Perils of Filtering in a post-Grokster World
(November 3, 2006) - On remand from the Supreme Court's decision condemning file-sharing networks, a judge dangerously relies on overbroad copyright filters.

You Can Play Fantasy Baseball, But Can You Google It?
(August 16, 2006) - Two current "intellectual property" disputes threaten our favorite sit-down sports.

The Disconnect Between Fact and Rhetoric
(August 2, 2006) - A recent conference, "Beyond Censorship," touts ratings and filters, and buys into myths about proven harm from sexual or violent content.

Fact Sheets on Media Democracy
(August 2006) - The companies that own the mass media have a powerful influence over our culture, our political system, and the ideas that inform public discourse. This set of interlocking fact sheets gives background on broadcast and cable conglomerates, Internet access and WiFi, the First Amendment and media regulation, and the movement for media reform.

Net Neutality Takes Center Stage
(May 30, 2006) - How broadband technology and a bad Supreme Court decision have come to threaten the once-democratic Internet.

White Paper to the Nebraska Broadband Task Force: The Need to Permit Broadband From Public Entities
(May 22, 2006) - The Brennan Center and six other groups have filed a brief explaining why states shouldn't bar their cities, towns, and public power companies from offering high-speed Internet access.

Internet Filters: A Public Policy Report
(May 2006) - Internet filters categorize expression without regard to its context, meaning, and value. Yet these sweeping censorship tools are now widely used in schools and libraries. This fully revised and updated report surveys nearly 100 tests and studies of filtering products through 2006. An essential resource for the ongoing debate.

A Big Step on Orphan Works
(February 9, 2006) - The U.S. Copyright Office is recommending new legislation to encourage distribution and use of works often hidden from public view.

Will Fair Use Survive? Free Expression in the Age of Copyright Control
(December 2005) - The product of more than a year of research - including many firsthand stories from artists, scholars, bloggers, and others - Will Fair Use Survive? paints a striking picture of an intellectual property system that is perilously out of balance.

Two Defeats - and a Silver Lining
(June 28, 2005) - The Supreme Court's Grokster and Brand X decisions may be disappointing, but file-sharing technology survives, and the campaign for media democracy goes on.

Understanding Grokster
(March 28, 2005) - The Supreme Court hears argument on March 29 in the hottest case of its term - the entertainment industry's suit to stop peer-to-peer technology. What are the legal issues, and the stakes for online communication?

Friend of the Court Brief Challenges Laws That Shrink the Public Domain
(January 28, 2005) - The Brennan Center and other groups are urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to recognize that laws eliminating copyright "formalities" harm free expression by starving the public domain.

The Information Commons
(June 2004) - In the face of dramatic media consolidation and new laws that increase corporate copyright control, the emerging information commons offers new ways for producing and sharing information, creative works, and democratic discussion. FEPP's policy report describes the growing movement for democratic alternatives to for-profit control of information and ideas.

Filtering Fact Sheet
(July 2003) - Despite well-documented problems of overblocking, Internet filters are now widely used in schools and libraries. FEPP's fact sheet summarizes the most salient facts about filters.

Ignoring the Irrationality of Internet Filters, Supreme Court Upholds CIPA
(June 2003) - The justices say that to the extent that erroneous blocking of "completely innocuous" Internet sites raises a constitutional problem, "any such concerns are dispelled" by the law's provision giving libraries the discretion to disable the filter upon request from an adult.

"The Progress of Science & Useful Arts": Why Copyright Today Threatens Intellectual Freedom
(2003) - Music swapping -- encryption -- the frozen public domain -- where should we draw the line between rewarding creativity through the copyright system and society’s competing interest in the free flow of ideas? FEPP's policy report covers "fair use," copyright term extension, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and more - without legalese.

Not In Front of the Children: "Indecency," Censorship, and The Innocence Of Youth
(2001, 2nd edition 2007) - From Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter, Internet filters to the v-chip, censorship is often based on the assumption that children and adolescents must be protected from "indecent" speech. In Not In Front of the Children, FEPP Director Marjorie Heins explores the history of indecency laws and other censorship aimed at youth. Not in Front of the Children won the 2002 American Library Association's Eli M. Oboler Award for the best published work in the area of intellectual freedom.

For More Materials on the Internet in 2001-04, go to the Archives Page.


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.

All material on this site is covered by a Creative Commons "Attribution - No Derivs - NonCommercial" license. (See You may copy it in its entirely as long as you credit the Free Expression Policy Project and provide a link to the Project's Web site. You may not edit or revise it, or copy portions, without permission (except, of course, for fair use). Please let us know if you reprint!