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CDT on Bertelsmann Internet "Self-Regulation" Proposal (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 09:19:42 -0400
From: Liza Kessler <lkessler@CDT.ORG>
Subject: CDT on Bertelsmann Internet "Self-Regulation" Proposal

CDT Releases Memo Analyzing Controversial Bertelsmann Proposal

Free expression on the Internet has lately been challenged by increasing
calls internationally for industry "codes of conduct" and other
comprehensive efforts to control content in the guise of industry
"self-regulation," often with government encouragement or backed up by
government enforcement threats.

On September 10, the Bertelsmann Foundation released a Memorandum,
"Self-regulation of Internet Content," at its Internet Content Summit in
Munich, Germany.  CDT raised concerns that the Memorandum's recommendations
jeopardized free expression on the Internet, by (1) promoting a single,
comprehensive, global rating system developed with government involvement
or backed up by government enforcement; and (2) in the name of
"self-regulation," encouraging Internet Service providers to codes of
conduct controlling the legal content of their subscribers.

Today, CDT is posting its analysis of the Berterlsmann Memorandum, in which
we outline the risks to free speech posed by a comprehensive, global rating
system and by government involvement in self-regulatory codes that target
speech. CDT's analysis states,  "At the core of the proposal is an attempt
to impose centralized control on Internet content and to use a single
common rating system to restrict an inherently diverse and decentralized


Liza Kessler
Staff Counsel
Center for Democracy & Technology
1634 Eye Street NW, Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20006
202 637 9800
fax 202 637 0968