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[FYI] In Shaping of Internet Law, First Amendment Is Winning


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In Shaping of Internet Law, First Amendment Is Winning  

                  By Joan Biskupic
                  Washington Post Staff Writer
                  Sunday, September 12, 1999; Page A02 

When a federal judge refused to stop the gadfly operator of an 
Internet site from publishing confidential Ford Motor Co. documents 
last week, she described the dispute over trade secrets as a clash 
between free speech and commercial innovation.  

"In this case, the battle is won by the First Amendment," Detroit 
Judge Nancy G. Edmunds concluded, allowing the operator of the 
blueovalnews.com site to continue posting the confidential documents 
he said he had received anonymously.  

Legal experts touted Edmunds's opinion as a major precedent for free 
speech in cyberspace. But it is only the latest in an emerging 
pattern of decisions enhancing expression in the communications 
revolution that is the Web.  

Equally striking, the ruling in the Ford case illustrates how even 
though the Internet has transformed how people go about their lives, 
it has not transformed the law. Unlike the rise of broadcast 
television and other media over the decades, in which new 
technologies generated new bodies of law and extensive government 
regulation, the Internet is being treated much like newspapers or 
books, with judges emphasizing the primacy of the First Amendment.


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