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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
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    .kids Bill Moves Forward | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 4 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: .kids Bill Moves Forward
    by Grumpy on Tuesday March 05 2002, @11:15AM (#5135)
    User #2759 Info
    Fair points regarding "community standards," except that there's already a model in place for how to regulate content... courtesy of our pals at the "we don't want to regulate the Internet" Federal Communications Commission.

    The best corollary to what we're likely to see in kids.us is the FCC guidance restricting broadcasts of "indecent" material. The FCC defines indecent as "language or content that refers to sexual or execretory material in a manner that is patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium" - I may be off by a couple words, but that's the gist of it.

    Indecency is protected speech under the First Amendment (unlike its cousin obscenity), but it can also be channelled to times and places where unattended, unsuspecting children are not likely to be in the audience. For radio and TV over the public airwaves, that's 10pm to 6am.

    Furthermore, the FCC and Supreme Court both have abandoned the ideal of "local community standards," opting instead for the infamous "I know it when I see it" approach as easier and more equitable to enforce. Which standard do you think is preferred: the corner bar or the white-gloved tea room? (Hint: recent FCC guidance suggests that extended discussions of passing gas may be indecent.)

    My point (if there is one) is that the feds are quite comfortable imposing content guidelines when it suits their purposes... and in designating this section of the Internet for children, they sidestep all the overbreadth arguments that doomed the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and Child Online Protection Act (COPA) from the outset.

    I'm not sure yet if I'm in favor of kids.us. If it means that the U.S. government will limit its content restrictions to that small namespace, then it's probably a net gain for the rest of us. If it's a foot in the door for further govt. regulation (see, e.g., Judge Hilton's ACPA decision on barcelona.com)... then we all need to stay tuned for further developments.

    - Grumpy
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    Re: .kids Bill Moves Forward by Grumpy
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