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Monday, January 09, 2006

First, They Said You Can't Criticize a Congressman 60 Days Before an Election; Now They Say You Better Not "Annoy" Anyone on the Internet

I am not making this up. Go here.

Like I said: Big Government breeds Big Stupid Invasive Regulations of Every Little Detail of Your Life Just Like This One.

Thank you, Sen. Arlen Specter.

HT: The Irreplaceable Declan McCullagh


If anybody knows, Prof. Eugene Volokh knows and he sees big problems here:

"How is this different from traditional telephone harassment law? The trouble is that the change extends traditional telephone harassment law from a basically one-to-one medium (phone calls) to include a one-to-many medium (Web sites).
"This is a big change. One-to-one speech that's intended to annoy the one recipient is rarely of very much First Amendment value; people are just rarely persuaded or enlightened by speech that's intended to annoy them.

"It has some value (see item 3 below), but to the extent that it's in some measure deterred, the loss to public debate isn't that great - speakers are still free to speak to others besides the person they're trying to annoy.
"But one-to-many speech that is intended to annoy one or a few readers, but intended and likely to enlighten or persuade many other readers, is potentially much more valuable. Juan might think that the target of the speech deserves to be berated for his misconduct, and that the target's supporters deserve to be berated for siding with the target; but Juan might also want the rest of the public to hear about the target's misbehavior, and to be persuaded to think less of the target, or to act differently themselves."

Much more here at The Volokh Conspiracy.