ROC On Line: Smash Cyber Censorship!

by: Randy Lee Payton

This Spring Rock Out Censorship joined the nationwide campaign to stop S. 314, the so-called "Communications Decency Act of 1995," proposed as legislation by Senator James Exon (D-NE) as a means of "protecting" us (oh, and of course "the children") from "smut" on the Internet.

Our forces dogged S. 314 from it's onset informing ALL the Senators of the Committee how the bill would violate the Constitution, assault the liberties of net users, spawn expensive litigation --all while failing to reduce access by children to pornography one iota.

This legislation was ultimately adopted over these objections, however, by the Senate Commerce Committee in a voice vote on March 23 as an amendment to another bill the Telecommunications Competition and Deregulation Act of 1995. "What upsets me most" declared David Banisar of the Electronic Privacy Foundation (202-544-9240), "is that all those people who contacted their legislators (1,500 total e-mails, phone calls and faxes by our count) were reduced to the condescending phrase of 'internet people.'"

This amendment will subject on-line users to scrutiny and criminal penalties if their messages are deemed to be "indecent, lewd, lascivious or filthy." That a Senate Committee could be swayed to support this clearly unconstitutional legislation because of the invoking of a few pseudo-moralistic "buzz words" by Senator Exon and co-sponsor Senator Slade Gorton (R.-WA) is truly sobering and points to the protracted nature of our battle to retake our freedoms ahead.

The future of that once great hope of freedom in communications, the Internet, is now put in serious question. At a time when musicians and small, independent labels are experimenting with the Internet as a means of presenting their music/recordings to a worldwide "global village" audience, these bills clearly represent an attack upon America's Creative Community. Rock Out Censorship vows to take the fight against the implementation of this legislated "Cyber-Censorship" to students, youth and other freedom-loving citizens through our literature tables and other presentations at concerts in Ohio, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the days and weeks ahead. Join us.

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