Comments on: COPA is struck down Blog, news, books Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:01:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kyra D. Gaunt, Ph.D. Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:54:00 +0000 I work in childhood studies and once viewed the video and recommendations 2 years ago. It’s no longer available above. The links do not work. Why? And how can I access this vital info again?

By: Antwan Thu, 18 Apr 2013 02:34:53 +0000 Amazing! Its in fact remarkable article, I have got much clear idea on the topic
of from this article.

By: John Swanson Thu, 31 Jul 2008 01:37:20 +0000 I dislike negitive stuff! Instead of someone declaring content is harmfull, why not say it is “Kid Safe”. And maybe an age qualification. Then someone who puts a “Kid Safe” tag on porn content did something and not just oops, I forgot to place a h2c tag.

By: Silence is golden Thu, 03 May 2007 02:04:04 +0000 The irony is that a web site like is free speech, and a penis entering a vagina is harmful to minors. For a 12 year old, buying the ideas of hate speech is way more harmful than seeing pornography, and I doubt it would adopt the H2M tag any time soon. The bottom line is that no amount of law or code can replace proper parenting. As for blocking international sites altogether, all I can say is this is not the Lessig I thought I knew.

By: hedora Tue, 10 Apr 2007 08:20:12 +0000 If the US government would stop blocking the proposal to add .XXX domains then we’d most of the advantages of the proposal without passing a single law. The idea with .XXX domains is that porn sites would register a .XXX domain name. Then censoring routers, browsers, and/or software firewalls would refuse to lookup .XXX domain names. Technological provisions (reverse dns lookups) would allow existing porn sites to keep their current addresses without bypassing the filters.

The porn industry has been lobbying for this for years. It’s more reliable than current filters, and they’d prefer self-regulation to new classes of legal liability. The sites have an incentive to register .XXX domains, since they don’t enjoy receiving complaints from angry parents.

Of course, neither the .XXX or the h2m proposals handle the really harmful stuff on the Internet, nor do they provide parents with much control over other types of content.

Are hate speech groups really going to censor their own sites? Should they be expected to? What about sex-ed sites? Religious historians? Ultimately, local communities and parents are going to want to answer these questions; the producers of the content aren’t qualified to do so.

By: Andrew Radley Tue, 03 Apr 2007 14:36:10 +0000 Nedu,

The access medium is orthogonal to the nature of the service I’m thinking of.

It’s worth looking at the anti-virus market to see how well the ‘end-user is responsible for all’ model works. Today anti-virus sales are at their highest. Anti-virus software installs are at their highest. But virus infections are also at their highest.

This indicates that there is a problem with this model, namely that the system of entrusting security to your average end-user is doomed to failure as their ability to absorb the level of detail required to protect themselves is doomed to failure.

What’s required is for ISPs to offer Internet Access services where the content is cleaned up before the subscriber gets it. Just like the water system. It doesn’t preclude people also taking their own brand of water filter into their home as well, but it does mean that the service is safe at the point of use. But the responsibility for running the technical elements for the majority of users is taken up, at a cost, by their ISP. The operations team of an ISP is far more able to run a good quality anti-malware service, or any other content security service than probably 95% of the their end-users.

My other point is that all these things must be configurable by the end-subscriber. I’m advocating a subscriber lead Internet, rather than a publisher/conduit lead Internet. Nothing more, nothing less.

By: Adrian Lopez Tue, 03 Apr 2007 13:40:19 +0000 This book should be required reading for anybody who suggests that indecent speech be regulated on the basis that it’s harmful to minors.

By: Alan Green Sun, 01 Apr 2007 21:37:37 +0000 I may have missed some detail (I’m better at reading than watching videos) but here are a few issues that I think would need addressing before a law came into being:

1. Is a search engine based in the US responsible for wrapping h2m tags around foreign, h2m content?

2. Will all web pages created pre-enactment need to be updated with h2m tags, as appropriate?

3. Society’s standards change over time. Will web content need to be periodically re-fitted with h2m tags?

4. Services such MySpace, LiveJournal, Digg, Wikipedia, and their smaller bretheren create web content from information entered by diverse groups of individuals. Will these individuals be responsible for indicating the h2m state of their content? If not, isn’t it likely that these services will wrap all user generated content in h2m tags, because that’s the simplest way to ensure they stay on the right side of the law?

5. What about video, pdf, bittorrent and so forth? What about the next big protocol after html? I suppose the law, rather than mentioning a specific piece of technology like the h2m tag, could create a regulatory authority that addressed each technology.

6. Perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying about the specifics of the law being able to be challenged in court. Courts are of no use to 99% of content creators. We don’t have the money, and if we had the money, we don’t have the time.

By: poptones Sat, 31 Mar 2007 15:31:39 +0000 “The Law” has also made “perfectly clear” the rules for one man owning another, and for one man putting himself above another, and for beating one’s wife. The law tells us that homosexuality is deviant behavior, that sodomy is harmful to a society which tolerates it, and that you can marry that 14 year old with her parents consent but you better not take any honeymoon photos…

The law is an ass. Asking “how do we make the global internet better reflect our narrow perspective” simply won’t get you a reasonable answer no matter how hard you try to spin it. There are huge cultural differences even within one city; catering to political whims to overwhelm anything which threatens the most vocal minority’s ability to “regulate” all of society simply cannot serve liberty.

By: Patrick Fri, 30 Mar 2007 23:27:48 +0000 Labeling is certainly one way to go about filtering material that is “harmful to minors”, but my concern is what happens to those people that make a mistake in labeling? Are they to spend time in prison and/or pay a fine because a prosecute and judge have a different interpretation of the law? The law is pretty clear regarding content like pornography being harmful to minors, but what about content who’s harmfulness to minors isn’t as clear? It seems like a sure fire way to encourage the more litigious among us to sue or file charges every time there is any doubt whether content is harmful or not. The tags themselves may not be much of a burden, but the threat of prison time or expensive lawsuits certainly could be unless there is a less subjective way of identifying content that needs to be tagged.

I am sorry some here can’t seem to argue their point without personal attacks. Calling someone a worm or a despot accomplishes nothing, but making this an emotional shouting match.

By: Adrian Lopez Fri, 30 Mar 2007 14:16:02 +0000 Why should “harmful to minors” speech be regulated at all? Before I support any sort of regulation I’d like to be certain that this sort of speech is, in fact, harmful to minors. Without scientific proof, regulating “harmful to minors” material in any way is no different from legislating morality.

The fact that filters suck is no reason to embrace regulation. Let’s instead get rid of regulations that mandate the use of filters, and to enact laws that enable site owners to sue for libel when the content of their websites is misrepresented by filtering software vendors.

By: nedu Fri, 30 Mar 2007 02:45:16 +0000

I have felt for a long time that there are a number of things that we as technologists can do to improve peoples experience of the Internet: [1 2 3]

Andrew Radley,

Broadly speaking, the essence of your itemized list can be summed up as moving the subscriber’s security perimeter from customer premises equipment to internet access provider equipment.

What about subscribers on shared media? Particularly cable modems? Is expanding their security perimeter really such a good idea?

By: nedu Fri, 30 Mar 2007 02:02:37 +0000 GtRI,

The CP80 proposal is just another tagging and filtering proposal. While superficially plausible, it does not make engineering sense.

I do hope you’re aware that a “port” is nothing more than a field within the TCP, UDP, or other transport layer header. That is, it’s just a number.

How do you expect your tagging and filtering solution to cope with various forms of IP-over-IP tunneling? Specifically, IPv4-over-IPv6 and IPv6-over-IPv4? You’d need deep packet inspection–and at that point you’re no better than any other filtering solution. Otoh, if you propose to just prohibit the technologies that we need to transition to IPv6, then your proposal is DOA.

Anyhow, you’re just handwaving over the problems of tagging and filtering, while claiming to have a general solution. That makes CP80 look like vaporware snake-oil.

By: Henry Enrich Fri, 30 Mar 2007 00:56:49 +0000 You really ARE a worm, aren’t you?
Since other countries wouldn’t be beholden to your wonderful “governmental action” you advocate BLOCKING content from other countries? That’s pathetic. You really are worthless, Larry. “Great Firewall of U.S.A’ here we come, courtesy of the pathetic “free culture” blowhard himself!

There is very literally no way that you could EVER possibly redeem yourself to me now. The idea that the State should BLOCK CONTENT from areas that it cannot control is fucking TOTALITARIAN BULLSHIT — and you actually posture as an advocate of “free culture”.

I detest you. This isn’t just a ‘dispute’ — this is wholehearted advocacy that the Nanny-State FORCIBLY take over the internet, mandate ‘content filtering’, and block access to ALL CONTENT outside it’s jurisdiction.

(And I thought Google’s decision to help the Chinese censor the ‘net was bad. You advocate something far worse, and you do so in the name of “protecting children.” Pathetic.

(Nobody should be suprised here, however — many ‘educated’ men supported Hitler’s Germany AND the former Soviet Union. This time, totalitarian despotism will at least wear a “family friendly” smile.


By: GtRl Thu, 29 Mar 2007 23:51:07 +0000 >Exactly what problem is your CP80 Internet Chanel Initiative >designed to solve that isn�t already addressed by or by

Kids aren’t the only people that would like a porn-free Internet experience and the CP80 initiative covers all technologies that exist and will exist, as well as deal with forums, blogs and social communities.

>Is the problem just that you would like the internet to be more >like cable television? Or is it just that you would like to >magically hand-wave some sort of silver bullet?

What exactly is your point Nebu. Do you think that the Internet is a force of nature of physical/unalterable law of science? It is a man-made creation that can be evolved to better serve the needs of the people that use it. If it can be fashioned so that you can get your porn and I can block it, then why not?

>Sorry if I sound a little adversarial�but exactly what problem >is it that you�re trying to solve with this initiative?

Two problems. 1). It bring order and accountability to an otherwise chaotic and irresponsible community; and 2). it allows individuals to choose whether or not they want access to adult content.

By: marcus Thu, 29 Mar 2007 21:39:33 +0000 I have two reactions to this topic. The first reaction is that parents who try to control what content their children *can* access by technology are doing something dangerous in the first place. In my opinion, the more sensible way is to educate the child such that it can deal with this problem sensibly out of its own responsibility. A child who is determined to access certain content will find one way or the other to get at it.

The second reaction is that supposing we have that the child does not want to access this content, we still need a way to suppress it. Take the number in your presentation: 66% of the children exposed to pornography did not want to. In fact, this is just a particular case of any filtering of information on the internet, and not specific to children. What if I, as an adult, do not want to be exposed to flame wars, pornography, or graphic violence, or, worse in my opinion, advertisement, or brainwashing mainstream media “news reporting”? How can any user of the internet sensibly access the information he wants to access and filter out information he doesn’t want to see? I have a strong suspicion that the same solution should work for advertisement as for pornography. This seems to be a good test case, and I am not sure that your proposal fits the bill.

There is a huge problem here. The freedom of the internet creates a vacuum of content filtering. This vacuum wants to be filled, but in my opinion not because we require one party (parents) to control what another party (children) sees, but because every one of us wants to control what they see for themselves. Unforunately, I don’t have a good proposal for that.

By: Gram Thu, 29 Mar 2007 20:34:32 +0000 I guess the question you have to ask :

Is content anarchy on the internet more important than giving some choice to parents and individuals (a choice that exists in all other forms of media except the internet)?

If content anarchy is more important to you, then any new idea or attempt to fix a world wide mental health crisis, is going to be a waste of time with you so can go back to your porn and self-abuse sessions.

If giving some choice to parents and individuals is more important than you must realize that there is a real problem, and in my opinion, problem that must be solved with legislation and technology. Professor Lessig thanks for taking the time to offer a real solution to the problem.

By: Pat Gunn Wed, 28 Mar 2007 14:35:09 +0000 Harry,

It would be a lot easier to take you seriously (or even read your whole post) if you didn’t use all those cliches and other signs of trolling. There is little room for all the CAPITAL LETTERS and “oops, but you’re an idiot so you disagree with me”-type phrasing in polite discussion. It’s possible to disagree in a way that continues discussion and won’t turn people off from listening to you.

By: Andrew Radley Tue, 27 Mar 2007 05:57:21 +0000 There are some strong arguements here on a number of different fronts.

However, the main thing is that the person paying for the service should be able to decide what is appropriate for their household or business. That is simply not what the ISPs are delivering, and therefore proposals like CP80 start to gain ground.

I have felt for a long time that there are a number of things that we as technologists can do to improve peoples experience of the Internet:

1. Most people do not need or use all the protocols on the Internet, therefore shouldn’t have them enabled for residential subscribers until they ask. This is not to deny them anything, but limit the exposure they have to things they cannot deal with. As an example, there have been many cases of parents becoming liable for the music & movie content that the children have downloaded over P2P. Given that in many homes the children are more technically literate than the parents, it seems only logical to give the basics out as a starting point for a service (HTTP, SMTP, PoP3 etc) so that the parent is in charge of what is going on inside their home.

2. Allow them to defined what they consider to be acceptable in terms of web content via an easy to use interface with the ability to over-ride the categorisation engine that is providing the service. Once again, this is entirely down to the subscriber to define, although there’s nothing wrong with providing the subscribers with some starting templates. Simple to understand modesl are already out there with film classifications they just need applying to this ‘new’ context.

3. Provide a network based anti-malware service so that they can be safe from the start of using the service, rather than the current model of allowing a subscriber to downlaod software if they want. This is the biggest weakness in subscriber security as it provides a level of choice that they are typically unable to make. Once again, this can be turned off if the subscribers wishes to do that, but it should be there turned on by default when the subscriber signs-up.

None of this affects freedom of speech any more than a parents choice of which channels to buy from their cable provider, or what books to buy their children.

The technology is out there, it’s just a matter of making the business case to the service providers that this is what the subscribers want, and in a lot of cases, need.

By: poptones Sun, 25 Mar 2007 18:54:54 +0000 At least two local ISPs offer “family safe” service. It doesn’t cost extra and the people are free to choose it or not. If one doesnt like the service at company A they can always go for company B; I go for company C because I want none of it.

Seems to me this is an entirely non-issue save for lawmakers and politicians looking to make some money for themselves and heighten their control over the market and the people.

By: Brandon Yarbrough Sat, 24 Mar 2007 04:03:55 +0000 There’s something in this presentation that doesn’t sit well with me. Here you argue that the reason current filtering software is harmful to speech is that it blocks too much legitimate content. However, when you point out that this law could not affect websites in other countries, you offer as a solution blocking all international content until they adopt similar legislation. Isn’t that the same problem times 1000? Surely blocking everything the rest of the world has to say is a much greater problem than Net Nanny accidentally blocking breast cancer awareness sites.

I like the h2m tag idea anyway, though I’m not sure I like mandating it. Seems to web-specific. What do we do with websites built largely around flash? or emails? or usenet or IRC? There are plenty of other protocols out there, and if the h2m system was a glowing success, I’d be worried parents would assume that they could make the entire Internet safe by enabling a check for it in only the web browser.

By: Henry EMrich Fri, 23 Mar 2007 22:26:11 +0000 ?[July 4, 2001 - LUBBOCK, TX.] Free speech is under siege at the
margins of the Internet. Quite a few countries are censoring access
to the Web through DNS [Domain Name Service] filtering. This is a
process whereby politically incorrect information is blocked by
domain address — the name that appears before the dot com suffix.
Others employ filtering which denies politically or socially
challenging subject matter based on its content.”

The above is from a document titled the “hactivismo manifesto”. It highlights the fact that INTERNET CENSORSHIP is already happening — and that it is already rampant.

The sad fact, Professor Lessig, is that it is pernicious little lawyer-worms like YOU who give aid and comfort to the pro-censorship forces by your concessions. You’ve pretty much given them every bit of ground you possibly could on this issue while still being able to (hypocritically) continue to classify yourself as an advocate of “freedom of speech”.

The valid social policy is NOT to aid “families” in any of their attempts at “thought-control”. If you wouldn’t support (for example) the banning of “huckleberry finn” by a school district, then why in HELL would you support the electronic equivalent? Mr. Lessig, if anything, the local school-boards that ban Twain’s book because of the word “nigger” are infinitely LESS odious than your capitulation on this issue, if only because they legally mandate censorship on a merely LOCAL level. The idea of adding pro-censorship code to HTML — for whatever reason, covering ANY content whatsoever — is egregious. It’s not whether the technology censors out ‘too much’ or not — it is, more fundamentally, the perception that the State has ANY ROLE WHATSOEVER in “helping” parents inculcate their own narrowmindedness into the younger generation. The State has NO business aiding families in that manner.

Creeping totalitarianism is very easily sugarcoated — especially when it’s “for the chi-i-i-i-ldren!”


By: nedu Fri, 23 Mar 2007 21:28:42 +0000 Lara,

Exactly what problem is your CP80 Internet Chanel Initiative designed to solve that isn’t already addressed by or by PICS/RDF?

Is the problem just that you would like the internet to be more like cable television? Or is it just that you would like to magically hand-wave some sort of silver bullet?

Sorry if I sound a little adversarial—but exactly what problem is it that you’re trying to solve with this initiative?

By: Lara Spencer Fri, 23 Mar 2007 20:41:40 +0000 Why not have a la carte ports? We could ask web publishers to publish “h2m” material on one range of port numbers and other material on ports that are suitable for children. This would be more like the hardcopy world and zoning.

Any user then could purchase from their ISP access to all ports service, some ports, or just general content ports (not h2m ports). If the block is made at the ISP level, it can’t be circumvented on the home computer by all but the extremely skilled techie kid with a lot of expensive equipment.

Some parents will choose to limit access to some Internet content. Everyone else will never notice any difference. It is like chosing not to enter a certain store because it does not sell what you want your kids to have; surely a parent has a right to do that without it being a First Amendment problem. It hardly seems unfair to allow parents who do have strong views on pornography to have a choice short of throwing the Internet out (hardly realistic in this society) and sitting next to their curious teenager 24/7. (Why don’t we leave issues like gun access, alcohol, drugs, etc. to parental control?) Is it unreasonable to facilitate some choice for these folks, if it is going to cost so little for everyone else?

“Legitimate” pornographers who are not trying to trap or target kids should be fine with either the invisible label or the simple configuration to serve to a different port.

Just as there are those posting Supreme-Court-defined “obscenity” now on the Internet, even though it is illegal, there will be those who will continue to feed extreme images without the labels or appropriate port designation. What would you do about those?

By: Henry EMrich Fri, 23 Mar 2007 19:57:52 +0000 Prof. Lessig, I can no longer take you seriously as a thinker.

This is pathetic — even lower than your bungling of the “Eldred” case (thanks to you, twenty more years of Disney monopoly — good going Larry!)

Your “modest” proposal is idiotic.

1. You assume that “law” and the attendant punishments for violating it) is somehow persuasive or effective. Sorry, wrong answer: the whole “p2p” (peer-to-peer) scene seems to revolve around people who, for various reasons, don’t give a shit about copyright or whether such-and-such file is “legal” to download. “Law” is only meaningful if it’s enforceable AND if people can be threatened badly-enough by the penalties.
But even the worst penalties aren’t themselves persuasive all of the time: “civil disobedience” anyone?

Your proposal hinges on several really bad ideas:

1. You accept the notion of “obscenity” in a legal context.
2, You accept the (extremely questionable) idea that particular imagery or content can be ‘harmful to minors’. (Same argument made by every ‘well-meaning’ school board that bans Huckleberry Finn, by the way.)
3. You advocate LAWS REQUIRING ‘tagging’ of this supposedly “harmful to minors’ material, so as to ‘help parents’ censor what their children see.

Great job, Lessig — you’ve managed to make just about every error possible in this issue.

First, whether or not there’s a law ‘requiring’ thuch tagging of ‘objectionable’ content is already moot beforehand, given the fact that at least SOMEBODY is going to fail to comply with that ‘law’ for philosophical or ideological reasons. “Civil dissobedience’ in action.

Secondly, who exactly gets to draw up the lists of content which gets ‘invisibly tagged’? Is it porn? What about ‘sexually explicit’ stories? What about news-feeds that happen to include footage of dead bodies (due to our wonderful continuous warfare of late)? Do we go for the “conservative’ route and censor sexual content, the “liberal” route of censoring ‘hate-speech’ and “politically-incorrect’ content, or the “compromise’ route of censoring everything?

This is pathetic, Lessig. Who’s to say, further, that OTHER organizations BESIDES “parents’ won’t use this wonderful ‘invisible tagging’ for their OWN purposes? There’s already a great example of your wonderful plan in action — two of them, in fact:

The Chinese government has been attempting for several years to censor what it’s children (oops, I mean ‘citizens’) can view on the Internet. Thankfully, genuinely freedom-loving individuals are constantly creating workarounds and anti-censorship tools to thwart such oppression.

The “Church of scientology” had a “free internet-connectivity’ CD out for awhile, for it’s member’s use. (The only problem was that they had placed the equivalent of your wonderful ‘invisible tagging’ technology — hidden DLL’s — which prevented the web browser or any other application from displaying web-pages or searches which were antithetical to the Church of Scientology. Look it up, Professor.

Further, your “let’s get the government to make a law to compel a ‘market response’ is the same tired old, recycled, “there oughta be a law….” thing that EVERY advocate of further governmental expansion uses.

Professor Lessig, I really hoped you were a capable and sincere person — reading your book “free culture” was a real eye-opener. But first, you completely muff the “Eldred” case because you failed to understand how to approach it — thanks for the twenty-year copyright extention, by the way — and THEN you advocate government ‘intervention’ to ‘help parents’ by mandating censorship-technology?

Thankfully, even if this monstrous proposal of yours WOULD get taken seriously, there are BETTER people than you who will promptly devise “tag-muting” to thwart such censorious bullshit.

The funny part is, I actually had respect for you at one time.