310: "ANNOY.COM" Wins First Round in Communications Decency Act Challenge. (fwd)

I wonder if Cokie Roberts has seen this site.....

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 01:05:23 -0700
From: Cyber Rights <cyber-rights@Sunnyside.COM>
To: "Multiple recipients of list cyber-rights@cpsr.org"
Subject: cr> "ANNOY.COM" Wins First Round in Communications Decency Act Challenge.

Sender: info@annoy.com (Info@annoy.com)



April 8, 1997, San Francisco -- Former South African, Clinton D. Fein,
president of the San Francisco based multimedia firm ApolloMedia
Corporation, announced today that the company attorneys and the U.S.
Attorney General agreed to a stay of further briefing of and oral
argument on their challenge to the Communications Decency Act.
ApolloMedia filed a lawsuit against Janet Reno, Attorney General of
the United States, challenging the constitutionality of the
Communications Decency Act (CDA) on January 30, 1997.  The lawsuit was
filed concurrently with the launch of the company's "annoy.com" web
site. The CDA was signed into law by President Clinton in February
1996, which makes the communication of anything "indecent with the
intent to annoy", a felony punishable by a fine and up to two years

The critically acclaimed and highly controversial annoy.com
(http://annoy.com) web site has evoked global reactions from
Yugoslavia to the West Bank for its unapologetic and hard-hitting,
in-your-face approach to political and social issues, and its
irreverent use of technology, including a cautious warning from the
New York Times to the President and other politicians. The site allows
visitors to the web site to send anonymous email messages or digital
postcards to politicians and public figures that could be considered
"indecent" with an "intent" to "annoy". They can also participate in
unmediated and unfiltered threaded discussions ranging from gun
control to abortion and the military. Under the CDA, ApolloMedia could
be committing a felony, both because of the services it provides to
its clients and as host of annoy.com.

"This is clearly a First Amendment victory and the Attorney General
has done what she had to do," said Fein.  "As importantly, our
challenge precludes her from using "children" as a defense, and so we
agreed to extend the period in order to give her time to attempt to
formulate opposition that purports to hold some constitutional muster,
if she can, while allowing all parties to be guided by the Supreme
Court's decision." ApolloMedia also filed an amicus brief in the
current challenge before the Supreme Court.

"It was no problem to allow the government more time to continue its
hopeless quest for a rationale that purports to justify this vague and
unconstitutional statute," said Michael Traynor of Cooley Godward LLP,
one of the First Amendment experts representing ApolloMedia. "Meanwhile
annoy.com can advance without the imminent threat of prosecution."

"The government's disarray is almost comical, said well known First
Amendment attorney William Bennett Turner of Rogers Joseph O'Donnell &
Quinn, also representing ApolloMedia.  "No matter how long they take,
the government won't be able to concoct a defense of this clumsy law
that stands a chance under the First Amendment."

Fein adds that the response to ApolloMedia's challenge by most
American media has been mixed.  "This is not a CNN sound bite. We've
just won the first round of a battle that has global implications," he
said, "I appreciate the praise, and don't give a * about the
carping. I'm more concerned with annoy.com's stated mission, which
already, in its infancy, provides mechanisms that level the political
playing field, and allow people a voice that has been taken away from
them. Veiled references to Larry Flynt are like water off a ducks

See also:

Clinton D. Fein
President, ApolloMedia Corporation
Telephone: 415/552-7655

Michael Traynor
Cooley Godward LLP
Telephone: 415/693-2000

William Bennett Turner
Rogers, Joseph, O'Donnell & Quinn
Telephone: 415/956-2828

Tsan Merritt-Poree
Cooley Godward LLP
Telephone: 693-2000

  Posted by Andrew Oram  - cr-owner@cpsr.org - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS
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