Magazine article American Libraries

ALA Files Supreme Court Brief in CIPA Case. (News Fronts Washington)

Magazine article American Libraries

ALA Files Supreme Court Brief in CIPA Case. (News Fronts Washington)

Article excerpt

ALA filed its response February 10 to the Justice Department's brief defending the Children's Internet Protection Act. The Justice Department appealed the case after a three-judge panel in Philadelphia overturned the law because it forces public libraries that accept federal funds to filter Internet access for all users, even though its stated aim is to shield only minors from sexually explicit content.

In its brief, ALA claims there is no "valid analogy between filtering Internet access and the inevitable content-based choices a library makes when it acquires materials for its physical collection. With the provision of Internet access, the library opens up a portal to a huge amount of communication, much of which would never be purchased for inclusion in a physical collection. It cannot then sever access to a limited class of that universe--relying entirely on the secret decisionmaking of third parties--and claim that this is akin to classic physical collection development."

"Internet filters inevitably block access to many thousands of Web sites that do not meet the software companies' own definitions, let alone those set forth in CIPA," the brief adds: "The state may not censor protected speech in order to suppress unprotected speech. …

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