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V Chip Act Essay Research Paper In

V Chip Act Essay, Research Paper In the process of unbridling the burdened telecommunications industry, Congress somehow forgot itself and managed to regulate a new blossoming business. This

V Chip Act Essay, Research Paper

In the process of unbridling the burdened telecommunications industry, Congress

somehow forgot itself and managed to regulate a new blossoming business. This

industry was one that was a true and unadulterated free market. It is the

Internet. This market place, which resides everywhere yet nowhere in a place

called cyberspace, deals in one thing: information. Each day millions of people

trade uncountable letters, memos, posts on newsgroups, photographs and

innumerable conventional and unconventional information. This is done at the

rate of millions of gigabytes each hour. Nevertheless, tucked away under Title V

of the otherwise agreeable telecommunications deregulatory law, is a measure

called the ?Communications Decency Act?? It is also known as the ?State

Censorship Edict?. Whatever its name, it is simple disastrous. The

Communications Decency Act is cyberspace?s first encounter with the red tape

of government. In the new law, the President and members of congress seek to

shield us from what they call ?obscene, indecent and offensive? material.

Though specifically aimed at protecting minors from pornography, Title V is both

ambiguous and broad. The law will hold citizens liable if they use the Internet

public or accessible to minors ?any comment, request, suggestion, proposal,

image, or other communication? having anything to do with unfit material. The

Communications Decency Act will basically adversely affect millions of Internet

users. It will create legal double standards and it will result in the

?criminalization? of the commonplace. The Act will also set a dangerous

precedence for state interference in cyberspace. The communications Decency Act

will affect far more than just the ?hard core? pornography that legislators

say they had in mind when they wrote the law. Assuming the law is strictly

enforced, countless textual and photographic works in art, literature, and the

sciences will become illegal. Such items will include pictures of the ?Venus

De Milo?, the text of J.D. Salinger?s work The Catcher in the Rye, pictures

of Michaelango?s ?David?, most biological texts, and a multitude of other

things. All of their works would carry fines of up to $250,000 and five years in

prison, according to the legislation. The measure applies equally to the

Internet news groups, World Wide Web pages, and any public databases, chat

rooms, or archives which minors can access. The very notions that a citizen may

be blamable under the law, be without malice, be without criminal intent, or be

without blame, are not only silly but also frightening. In addition, there are

irreconcilable legal inconsistencies in the Communications Decency Act. For

example, neither Penthouse magazine nor the corner store that sells it is guilty

of a federal crime when a minor buys the publication and gets exposed to

?obscene, indecent, or offensive? scenes. But under this Act they all would

be responsible. Another problem is that the law does not even mention or

acknowledge consent. Regardless of whether it is you or the recipient or both

who ?initiated the communication?, the act is considered criminal. In other

words to strike another person in the face, without permission, is called

assault. And it is usually against the law. Yet, to strike a man continually,

with his consent, as he tries to hit you too is called boxing or prize fighting.

This is lawful and for most people fun to watch. To call a person a

?criminal? after they willingly takes actions to log onto and then access

information from his account, World Wide Web page, or database is ridiculous.

Anyone who has ever spent time online understands that the Internet and services

such as America Online, CompuServe and others like them are not a passive media

like television or the radio. They are active in the sense that the user must

actually go and get the content they whish to view. In addition there are

currently available filtering software that allows parents and teachers to

screen out indecent Internet content. So how can there be either crime or blame

with active use of the Internet. Because the President signed the legislation,

in reality an assenting citizen will be permitted by law to do most anything

after his or her 16th birthday. That is the age of consent in most states. Yet,

in cyberspace a person will be relegated to downloading weather maps and images

from the Hubbell Space Telescope until their majority two years later. They

would not even be able to research on the ?net?, things that they are

learning in school. Federal tampering with speech and individual violation is

nothing new in the United States. The Sedition Act of 1798 once allowed federal

officials to imprison citizens who defamed or brought ?into contempt or

disrepute? the President and congress. And in the present day a person is

unable to turn on a television or radio or even talk to another person without

being guilty of the defunct Sedition Act. The Federal Communications Commission

maintains volumes of ?administrative law? regulations, none of which were

voted upon, governing demeanor and speech on the airways. So it is no wonder

that they feel obligated to also regulate the Internet. The logical solution to

all this lies not with the government, but with parents. If they choose, parents

may monitor their children?s Internet use. Monitoring a child?s Internet use

is a far easier chore than monitoring the television, books, or magazines. In

addition, computer programs and the actual machines can be made to require

passwords.

1) Chester, Caren. ?There?s Trouble in ?South Park??, Asbury Park

Press. March 23, 1998 pA1, pA6. 2) Martin, Patti. ?Family Life?, Asbury Park

Press. March 26, 1998 pD1, D4. 3) Albiniak, Paige. ?V is for Voluntary??,

Broadcasting & Cable. Oct. 13, 1997 v127 n42 p19 Cahners Publishing Company

1997. 4) ?V-chip and Violence Ratings? Broadcasting & Cable. April 9,

1997 p43. 5) ?V-chip Technology Waits for Washington? Broadcasting &

Cable. Dec.30, 1996 v126 n53 p8 Reed Publishing USA 1996. 6) Littleton, Cynthia

?Choosing the V-chip? Broadcasting & Cable. September 16, 1996 v126 n39

p33 Reed Publishing USA 1996. 7) ?Samsung Electronics Will Partner with V-chip

Manufacturer Tri-Vision Electronics to Build V-chip Equipped TV Sets.?

Broadcasting & Cable. Nov 10, 1997 v127 n46 p96 Cahners Publishing Company

1997. 8) McAvoy, Kim ?V-chip Committee Rejects Call for Education Icon?

Broadcasting & Cable. July 29, 1996, v126 n32 p14, Cahners Publishing

Company 1996. 9) Fleming, Heather ?Democrats? Platform Celebrates V-chip

Kids Deal.? Broadcasting & Cable. August 12, 1996 v126 n34 p16, Reed

Publishing USA 1996. 10) Albiniak, Paige ?It Takes Time to Make a Safe TV; Set

Manufactures Say They Can?t Make Proposed V-chip Deadline.? Broadcasting

& Cable. December 1, 1997, v127 n49 p18, Cahners Publishing Company, 1997.

11) Fleming, Heather ?TV Gored in Chicago? Broadcasting & Cable.

September 2, 1996 p6, p7. 12) Littleton, Cynthia ?Ratings rollout Could be

Delayed? Broadcasting & Cable, September 16, 1996 p33 p34. 13) Thilbodeau,

Patrick ?FCC: PUT V-chip on PCs?? Computerworld November 3, 1997 v31 n44 p3

Computerworld, Inc., 1997. 14) Cohen, Sarah ?Trial TV Rating System Starts

Amid Controversy.? Electronic News(1991) Jan 6, 1997 v43 n2149 p6 Cahners

Publishing Company, 1997. 15) Hilgart, Art ?Stuff a Gag in the V-chip.(censorship

of television)? The Humanist Sept-Oct 1997 v 57 n 5 p3 American Humanist

Association, 1997. 16) Hickman, Angela ?Warning: This PC may be Offensive.?

PC Magazine Dec 16, 1997 v16 n22 p30 Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, 1997. 17)

Trillin, Calvin ?Child?s Play.? Time Dec 30, 1996 v148 n29 p48, Time Inc.

1996. 18) McCullagh, Declan ?The V chip, coming to a Computer near You.?

Time Nov 3 1997 v150 n18 p36 Time Inc. 1997.

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