The Communications Decency Act
Clinton over a year ago is clearly in need of serious revisions due, not only to
indecent or dangerous text, lewd images, and other things deemed inappropriate
such as The Jolly Rodgers and the Anarchist’s Cookbook are easily obtained on
the Internet user has started to drop, it has became apparent that something has
to be done about the pornography and other inappropriate info on the net.
On February 1, 1995, Senator Exon, a Democrat from Nebraska, and Senator
Telecommunications Reform Bill.
On April 7, 1995, Senator Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, introduces
bill S714. Bill S714 is an alternative to the Exon/Gorton bill. This bill
commissions the Department of Justice to study the problem to see if additional
legislature (such as the CDA) is even necessary.
The Senate passed the CDA as attached to the Telecomm reform bill on
supported by 16 Senators that actually understand what the Internet is. Seven
to the CDA, including Newt Gingrich, Chris Cox, and Ron Wyden. On September 26,
1995, Senator Russ Feingold urges committee members to drop the CDA from the
Telecommunications Reform Bill.
On Thursday, February 1, 1996, Congress passed (House 414-9, Senate 91-
5) the Telecommunications Reform Bill, and attached to it the Communications
Decency Act. This day was known as “Black Thursday” by the Internet community.
One week later, it was signed into law by President Clinton on Thursday,
breaking any of the provisions of the bill is punishable with up to 2 years in
prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
On the “Day of Protest,” thousands of home-pages went black as Internet
citizens expressed their disapproval of the Communications Decency Act.
Presently there are numerous organizations that have formed in protest of the
Women’s Rights) The ACLU is currently involved in the lawsuit of Reno vs. ACLU
in which they are trying to get rid of the CDA.
In addition to Internet users turning their homepage backgrounds black,
there was the adoption of the Blue Ribbon, which was also used to symbolize
their disapproval of the CDA. The Blue Ribbons are similar to the Red Ribbons
Blue Ribbon Campaign.” The Blue Ribbon’s Homepage is the fourth most linked to
To be linked to means that they can be reached from another site. It’s pretty
hard to surf around on the Net and not see a Blue Ribbon on someone’s site.
Writers Union, filed suit in federal court, arguing that it restricted free
Godwin is regarded as one of the most important online-rights activists today.
He is the staff counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and has “won
universities, at public rallies, and to the national media. Although this all
he calls the “great Internet sex panic of 1995.” During this time, Godwin
Coalition executive director Ralph Reed on Nightline, and headed the attack on
the study of online pornography.
The study of online porn became the foundation of “Time Magazine’s”
the study proved that pornography was “popular, pervasive, and surprisingly
weeks later, the magazine ran a follow-up story admitting that the study had
The CDA is a bad solution, but it is a bad solution to a very real
absolutely true that the CDA, is out of bounds in it’s scope and wording. As
conversations won’t land them in jail.” Even something as newsstand-friendly as
the infamous Vanity Fair cover featuring a pregnant and nude(but strategically
covered) Demi Moore might be considered indecent under the act, and George
Carlin’s famous ’seven dirty words’ are definitely out. CDA supporters are
right when they say the Internet and online services are fertile playgrounds for
pedophiles and other wackos bent on exploiting children.
time that they are online, but that is both an unfair and an impractical answer.
better than to look at pornography. The latter would appear to be the better
alternative, but that just isn’t practical. If kids are told not to do
something, they are just going to be even more curious to check out porn. On
the other hand, many parents are less technologically informed than their kids.
Many would not know how to find, install, and understand such programs as
CyberPatrol or NetNanny.
The future of the CDA seems to be fairly evident. It doesn’t look like
reaching in its powers, it is virtually unenforceable. As with anything in
print, much of the material on the Internet is intelligent and worthy of our
attention, but on the other hand, some of it is very vulgar. The difficulty in
separating the two rests in the fact that much of the Internet’s value lies in
federal government to censor means granting it the power to determine what
information we can and cannot have access to.”
Temptations to sin will always be with us and around us so long as we live
in this world.