Internet Censorship - Just Say No

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Internet Censorship: Just Say No

In December of 1994, a young college student named Jake Baker posted one of his fiction pieces in an newsgroup. Usually, his contributions to this widely-read site consisted of short stories about rape, torture, and murder of women. In this particular newsgroup post, he continued with his usual contributions; however, he took it a bit further by writing about one of his fellow classmates, using her name and identity in the piece. Faculty members at the University of Michigan discovered his story and later expelled him from school. Federal agents then raided his house, arrested him, and discovered copies of e-mail Baker had exchanged with a Canadian, mapping out his and the Canadian's plan to
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Obviously, Jane Doe couldn't ignore something like that so easily, and it was only natural that she pressed charges. But according to the First Amendment and federal law, Baker's threats were "unsuccessful;" therefore, no action could've (or should've) been taken against him.

In thinking about cases such as Jake Baker's, it truly would be too difficult to enforce United States standards and regulations on a global medium such as the Internet. There are probably millions of sites out there on the Web that contain such sexual content as did Baker's story. As one University of Michigan student mentions, "The Internet allows individuals access to a larger audience. This effectively gave Baker a larger audience for his stories, which otherwise would have never seen them....I definitely question the wisdom of allowing just anyone access to such publishing power...but I'm not sure that I even consider Usenet news as real media" ( The same student goes on to say that Baker's stories were reserved only for a section entitled "" -- a place filled with sexually explicit stories -- therefore, Baker had the right to publish his offensive sex stories, since it was contained within this separate Internet section. Usenet news may not be "real media," but I still think that the Internet would be too difficult to censor entirely,
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