fbpx

2010-07-14 [Press Release] Will the Roberts Court Uphold the 2nd Circuit’s Indecency Decision?

Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
Press Release
Will the Roberts Court Uphold the 2nd Cir. Indecency Decision?

Contact Information
Frederick S. Lane
Cell: 802-318-4604
E-Mail: FSLane3@gmail.com
Web: www.FrederickLane.com

For Immediate Release: July 14, 2010

Washington, D.C. (July 14, 2010) — Somewhere, George Carlin is smiling.

Yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the Federal Communication Commission’s ban on broadcast indecency, ruling that the FCC’s policy is “unconstitutionally vague” in the case of Fox Television Stations, Inc. v. FCC. The government has 60 days to request review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Court’s decision in the case is seen as a major victory for broadcast media companies, who have long chafed under speech regulations that don’t apply to cable television or the Internet. As the Court noted, after the FCC began cracking down on alleged broadcast indecency in 2004, numerous broadcasts were dropped or curtailed out of concern for possible fines.

“This is a powerful ratification of the fundamental importance of the First Amendment in American society. The FCC’s effort to crack down on indecency, particular during the term of former FCC chairman Michael Powell, was never more than a cynical sop to so-called ‘values voters,'” said Frederick Lane, author of the 2006 book “The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture.”

“It was intended to give the illusion of governmental action, with little or no concern for the damage done to free speech in this country,” Lane added.

It is likely that the government will ask the Supreme Court to review the 2nd Circuit decision. If the Court agrees to do so, it will have to squarely face the question of whether “indecent speech” can ever be defined with sufficient precision to provide warning as to what can and can’t be said on the air. Given the Court’s unanimous rejection of an indecency standard for the Internet in 1997 and the successful introduction of parental controls like the V-chip, it is hard to see how the FCC’s vague and capricious standard can be upheld.

“Indecency is in the eye of the beholder,” Lane said, “and in a rapidly-changing and pluralist society like the United States, the government does far more harm than good by trying to impose an arbitrary standard of behavior for broadcasters. There are sufficient alternatives and tools in place to allow individuals and their families to choose their own content, which is the intent behind the First Amendment.”

Questions Your Audience May Have:

* What was the basis of the 2nd Circuit’s decision?
* Why is broadcast different from cable and the Internet?
* Will the government appeal, and if so, why?
* Will the Roberts Court agree to hear the case?
* How is the Roberts Court likely to rule?
* If the Roberts Court upholds the 2nd Circuit, what happens then?
* Is the FCC permanently out the indecency business? Should it be?
* What can parents do to protect their children (or themselves)?
* Why is George Carlin smiling?

About Frederick Lane

Frederick Lane is an author, attorney, educational consultant, expert witness, and lecturer based in Burlington, VT (but currently researching and writing in Washington, D.C.). In addition to his professional activities, he also serves as chair of the Burlington School Board.

His 2006 book, The Decency Wars: The Campaign to Cleanse American Culture, covered the Jackson/Timberlake 2004 halftime show controversy in detail and explored how the incident fit into a history of decency battles in the United States. Shortly after the publication of The Decency Wars, Lane was invited to appear as a guest on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” to discuss the issue with host Jon Stewart. Lane has also appeared on a variety of other media outlets, including CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the BBC, and MSNBC.

Lane’s fifth book, American Privacy: The Four-Hundred-Year History of Our Most Contested Right, was published in January 2010 by Beacon Press. A paperback edition is scheduled for release in January 2011. Lane is currently working on a resource guide for parents, teachers, and school administrators on the risks of online activity by teens and preteens.

For Additional Information:

Caitlin Meyer
Publicist
Beacon Press
25 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
617-948-6584
cmeyer@beacon.org

Frederick S. Lane
Cell: 802-318-4604
E-Mail: FSLane3@gmail.com
Web: www.FrederickLane.com

Frederick Lane



Frederick S. Lane

Author
Attorney
Expert Witness
Lecturer

Upcoming Lectures:



July 20, 2010
“American Privacy: Can a 19th-Century Right Survive 21st-Century Technology?”
eCampus, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

July 28, 2010

“Can You See Me Now? The Growing Problem of Sexting in the Public Schools”

Catawba County Schools, Newton, NC

July 30, 2010

“LimeWire Made Me Do It — And Other Digital Excuses”

Offices of the Federal Defender, MD & ED Tenn.

September 9, 2010
“There’s No Such Thing As Safe Sext”
Arizona School Boards Association Annual Law Conference

October 13, 2010
Keynote Address — Bill of Rights 101
American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont
Castleton State College

October 29, 2010

“Can You See Me Now? The Growing Problem of Sexting in the Public Schools”

Vermont School Boards Association Annual Conference

February 17, 2011
“The History of Privacy in America”

The Warren White Lecture, Drury University, Springfield, MO

March 3, 2011
“There’s No Such Thing As Safe Sext”
Boston College & Boston College Law School


Frederick S. Lane is an author, attorney, educational consultant, expert witness, and lecturer who has appeared on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the BBC, and MSNBC. He currently serves as chairman of the Burlington (VT) School Board. His fifth book, “American Privacy: The Four-Hundred-Year History of Our Most Contested Right,” is now available from Beacon Press or the retailer of your choice. Visit http://bit.ly/37DI3D for additional information.

Contact information:
802-318-4604 | fslane3@gmail.com | www.FrederickLane.com | www.ComputerForensicsDigest.com

If you do not wish to receive further emails, Please Click Here

Copyright © 2010 Mathom Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved.
My mailing address is: 12 Catherine Street, Burlington, VT 05401

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.

Spread the word. Share this post!