LAW BANNING ONLINE PSEUDONYMS DEFEATED

Friday, June 20, 1997

New York -- On the eve of a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the federal law criminalizing "indecency" on the Internet, two federal district judges, one in New York and one in Georgia, today struck down laws barring free speech in cyberspace.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the New York and Georgia challenges as well the federal lawsuit, will be available after 3:00 p.m. today to comment on the dual victory. The New York law, dubbed "mini-CDA," adopted much of the language of the censorship provisions of the Federal Communications Decency Act, much of it word for word, while the Georgia law criminalized anonymous or pseudonymous online speech.

The decisions, issued by Federal District Judge Loretta A. Preska in New York and Federal District Judge Marvin Shoob in Georgia, mark the first rulings in challenges to state Internet censorship laws. The ACLU has also challenged a law in Virginia barring state employees from accessing so-called indecency. The Virginia case, Urofsky v. Allen, was filed on behalf of six state university professors and is set to go to trial in the fall.

(Source: ACLU On-Line News)

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