Freedom of Speech in Cyberspace from the Listener's Perspective: Private Speech Restrictions, Libel, State Action, Harassment, and Sex

University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1996

Posted: 20 Dec 1996

See all articles by Eugene Volokh

Eugene Volokh

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

This article looks at various free speech problems from the perspective of maximizing the value of cyberspace for listeners. In particular, it argues that 1. Private editing of electronic conferences (discussion lists, newsgroups, chat groups, bulletin boards, and the like) is constitutionally permissible, constitutionally protected, and valuable for listeners. 2. Heightened libel liability for edited conferences is inappropriate. 3. Electronic conference editing should be considered "private" even if the conferences are on government- owned computers and are run by government employees, so long as the editing decisions are not attributable to a government agency. 4. Applying telephone harassment statutes and "hostile public accommodations environment" harassment law to online speech is unwise and generally unconstitutional. 5. Existing statutes barring public display of "harmful-to- minors" material -- which have largely been upheld by lower courts in the offline world -- may already bar the posting of such material online. Applying these statutes online, though, would be unconstitutional, because less restrictive alternatives (such as a mandatory rating system) are available.

Suggested Citation

Volokh, Eugene, Freedom of Speech in Cyberspace from the Listener's Perspective: Private Speech Restrictions, Libel, State Action, Harassment, and Sex. University of Chicago Legal Forum, 1996. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=10257

Eugene Volokh (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-206-3926 (Phone)
310-206-6489 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
969
PlumX Metrics