Tuesday, March 10, 1998
Annoy.com Parent Blasts Justice Department Memo in Ongoing Communications Decency Act Battle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANNOY.COM PARENT BLASTS JUSTICE DEPARTMENT MEMO IN ONGOING COMMUNICATIONS DECENCY ACT BATTLE
March 10, 1998, San Francisco -- San Francisco based multimedia firm ApolloMedia Corporation, today released new documents filed in their ongoing federal court challenge to the Communications Decency Act, accusing the Department of Justice of employing diversionary tactics in an attempt to avoid an unfavorable court decision or judicial condemnation of the provision being challenged in federal court.
In a tactic similar to one used in the Reno v. ACLU court battle, the Attorney General, Janet Reno, filed a memo sent to all U.S. attorneys from acting Assistant Attorney General, John C. Keeney, instructing them to limit prosecutions to communications that are "obscene" only, not "indecent."
ApolloMedia filed a lawsuit against Reno, challenging the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) on January 30, 1997. The lawsuit was filed in support of the launch of the company's "annoy.com" web site. (http://www.annoy.com)
"The filing of this memo by the Department of Justice is a last ditch attempt to head off a finding that the CDA's 'indecency' prohibition is unconstitutional," said ApolloMedia President, Clinton Fein. "It does nothing to address the vagueness of the definitions of either 'indecent' or 'annoy', and offers publishers no guidelines whatsoever as to what is legally permissible under the CDA. The fact that every U.S. attorney in the land has been alerted to annoy.com's challenge emphasizes that we be governed by clearly articulated and well constructed legislation."
Arguing against their own position in Reno vs. ACLU, the government now suggests that the meaning of the word "indecent" in 223(a) is different from the meaning of the same term in 223(b) of the provision, contradicting and confusing what Congress and the President intended by implementing the law.
ApolloMedia's suit was heard by a special three-judge on October 20, 1997. To date, no decision has been handed down, although ApolloMedia recently requested a prompt decision.
Last June, the Supreme Court declared the CDA's prohibition of "indecent" speech on the Internet unconstitutional in a separate case in which ApolloMedia filed an amicus curiae brief. The company's annoy.com web site has been rife with controversy from the day it launched, and continues to generate strong reactions around the globe for its unapologetic and hard-hitting, in-your-face approach to political and social issues, and its irreverent use of technology, including extensive coverage and debate in publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.
Additional information about the lawsuit and associated documents can be found at http://annoy.com/case.html
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