Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

What's Local On The Internet?

from the that-old-question-again? dept

It's baaaaack. Over the years, it seems like the one big legal question that never really gets answered is how courts are ever going to be able to apply local laws and local standards to the internet, where the definition of local goes haywire. The latest indication of this is that a three judge panel has shot down an attempt to overturn the Communications Decency Act. The original case was brought on the grounds that "local" standards for indecent material based on geography didn't make sense on the internet -- and could create chilling effects for artists creating content in one place where it was fine, but which would be considered indecent elsewhere (when viewed over the internet). It sounds like the decision was more of a punt -- as the judges noted that the artist in question was chilled, but then stated the arguments didn't show enough evidence about how many artists would be chilled or about the different community standards in different places.

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