Introduction...

Freedom of Speech is one of the most fundamental principles upon which our Country was built. Introduced by the Founding Fathers in the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, it contains no ambiguity. Paid for in blood, by thousands of fellow Americans who fought and died so that future generations could possess, cherish, and pass this gift on, it has been vital to the past, present and future of our Great Nation. Yet, in present days it has become one of the most controversial issues and subjects for interpretation.

Porn Newz - Adult Industry News, Events & Articles

Monday, April 28, 2008

FreedomStreams ’08 Raises Nearly $15,000 for Free Speech Coalition

FreedomStreams ’08 Raises Nearly $15,000 for Free Speech Coalition
FreedomStreams '08, the third annual one-day fundraising event organized by Hotmovies and its studios to benefit the Free Speech Coalition, took place April 15 and raised almost $15,000, according to a press release sent out this morning.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Site of Adult Book Store to Become Church

Site of Adult Book Store to Become Church
After two years of planning, the site of the former Apple Adult Book Store in Montclair will become the home of Mision El Redentor Pentecostal Church.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pro, Anti-Porn Speakers Debate in Mankato

04-24-2008 10:50 PM
KEYC Television

CTAs the political debates seem to be coming to an end, a new one is taking place right here in Mankato. Tonight, porn legend Ron Jeremy squared off with anti-porn activist Craig Gross, debating the pros and cons of the adult entertainment industry. Like it or not, porn has entered the mainstream... with stars like Jenna Jameson becoming best-selling authors, and Ron Jeremy himself breaking into mainstream films. But the industry has always had its critics... who insist that pornography has negative effects on adults, youth and relationships. Those concerns were spotlighted in tonight's debate at MSU. Ron Jeremy says, "We're having this debate because it's a multi-billion dollar business and I feel it deserves defending. Craig is a good guy, we're friends, but he attacks my industry. I'm not on the attack, he is. I like his career, I have no problem with his career." Pastor Craig Gross says, "I'm not here tonight to take away their right, to try to convince them that hey, you can't look at it. I'm here to say here's some truth about this stuff." Bresnan Arena at the MSU campus hosted the event entitled, 'Porn: Good or Bad?' A chance to let students and the public get a closer look and the inner-workings of the billion-dollar adult entertainment industry....(read more)

SEE THE ARTICLE

Wisconsin's Free Speech Legacy

What is freedom of speech? Why care about it? Is there too much freedom of speech? Does anyone ever have their right to free speech violated? This visual and descriptive introduction to freedom of speech addresses these and more questions through important historical and contemporary Wisconsin cases involving national security, political protest, religious speech and freedom of the press.

This is a non-partisan presentation aimed at stimulating discussion about, and increased knowledge of, our First Amendment right to free speech and its relationship to democracy and citizenship....(read more)

Porn At Library? Free Speech Issues Arise


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Pornography can still be seen on computers at Sacramento Public Libraries --for now.
The possibility of banning pornography on library computers was discussed Thursday by board members of the Sacramento Public Library.
However, the board was deadlocked in a 7-7 split vote and no decision was made.
Concerned parents made their voices heard at Thursday's meeting.
"How dare you not want to protect our children," Brenda Bennett said.
Robin Littau added, "I will never let my kids be alone in a library."
Some parents said the material should be blocked so children can't get to it; others said that's a violation of free speech.
The first issue being considered involves Internet filters. Adults can turn off the filters, but teenagers and children cannot. The filters sometimes block sites that have information about medications.
The second issue is a "shoulder-tap" policy that would allow library staff to ask people to stop looking at a Web page that might be offensive to others.
Board members told KCRA 3 that after seven years of debate they won't address the pornography issue again anytime soon.

Click HERE to go to the Article

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Free speech wins out: Sign ordinance to stay as written


Thursday, April 24, 2008
By JO ANNE KILLEEN Staff writer
The city of Onalaska will not issue a moratorium on electronic signs. The issue came up before the city of Onalaska Planning Commission Tuesday night when commission member Knute (Skip) Temte raised an objection to the political message posted on the electronic sign at Del’s Auto during the mayoral campaign. The message was promoting Robert Muth for mayor.Muth was in the audience as the Plan Commission discussed the issue, but declined an invitation to speak.The sign ordinance on the books with the city of Onalaska might not hold up in a court of law, according to city Land Use and Development Director Jason Gilman. He told Plan Commission members the existing Onalaska code regulates the type of message a sign — whether on a business, electronic, billboard, or yard sign — may include. However, the Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down as unconstitutional any regulation of content or messages a municipality or government might try to enforce, most strongly protecting political messages.“I want everyone to be aware we don’t have control over content, but we do have control over installation,” Temte said. “We need to have a moratorium on these signs.” Temte was responsible for putting the item on the agenda......(read more)
WANT TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE? CLICK HERE

Texas Strip Clubs Subject to Unconstitutional Pole Tax

By: Peter Warren
AVN
04/24/2008


Injunction against fee suspended pending state appeal

AUSTIN — Texas district Judge Stephen Yelenosky ruled last week that the state could still collect a fee from strip clubs previously declared unconstitutional while the state appeals that decision, according to the Associated Press.

A letter issued to strip club owners by the state comptroller following Yelenosky's ruling said the first "pole tax" payments were due immediately, and if gone unpaid, would have a five percent penalty added.

The fee — a mandatory $5 cover charge to go toward sexual assault services and health care for the poor — was overturned March 28 by state district Judge Scott Jenkins as a violation of the First Amendment.

Because Attorney General Greg Abbott appealed Jenkins' decision, the injunction against the state's collecting the fee automatically became suspended.

"It's a grave injustice that the attorney general and the comptroller would use procedural court technicalities to continue to trample on the rights of these business owners," said attorney Stewart Whitehead, counsel for the Texas Entertainment Association, which includes more than half of the state's adult clubs.

The Google Voice: Free Speech in Search

Posted by Amy
April 24, 2008
11:59 AM


"There is no human involvement or manipulation of results, which is why users
have come to trust Google as a source of objective information untainted by paid
placement."
(1) This is what Google's Technology Overview page used to say. Now, this phrase is noticeably missing.
(2) Human involvement or not, Google's search results have been recognized as having what seems like a very human right - freedom of speech.

From the beginning, Google founders recognized that their search engine was a business and not merely a resource. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote a paper about the creation of Google as Ph.D. candidates at Stanford. In that paper they stated, "we expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers."

(3) Today, 99% of Google's revenue comes from ads.
(4) Brin and Page's early acknowledgement that search results would likely be biased toward advertisers, combined with Google's search results being considered protected free speech, could change the way users view Google's search results. But how did Google's search results become recognized as protected free speech? It started with one company: Search King......(read more)

To get the full story, click HERE

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Love Shack Submits Ante Litem Notice for $668,000 to City of Johns Creek

April 23, 2008

On Wednesday, April 16, on behalf of Love Shack owner John Cornetta, attorney Cary S. Wiggins issued an ante litem notice to Mayor Mike Bodker of Johns Creek to request lost profits in regards to the city’s wrongful denial of a sign permit for the Love Shack extending to Oct. 16, 2007.
This ante litem notice made an offer to settle for a payment of $668,000 along with the issuance of a sign and banner permit.
In the letter to Mayor Bodker, Wiggins wrote, “I am using October 16, 2007 as the beginning injury date. (I say ‘beginning’ because the injury is, or injuries are, continuing.) This is the date when the City’s decision to deny Love Shack’s applications became ‘final.’ The extent of the injury is pervasive and centers on lost profits. If, as Love Shack contends, the City’s motive in denying the permit applications was to make it difficult for patrons to find the store, a considerable amount of lost profits is foreseeable damage.”
Although the letter made an offer to settle this case between the Love Shack and the City of Johns Creek, this has nothing to do with the Love Shack’s other ongoing cases against the City of Johns Creek and Fulton County.
This letter from Wiggins can be found in its entirety at http://www.cornettta.com/ and http://www.loveshackonline.com/.
To speak directly with John Cornetta, please contact his assistant Kate Cook at 770.458.4386 ext 105.
Stay tuned to http://www.cornetta.com/ and http://www.loveshackonline.com/ as this case is far from over.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Texas strip club pole tax struck down

AccountingWEB.com
22-Apr-08



The famous pole tax imposed at the beginning of the year on visitors to Texas strip clubs has been struck down as unconstitutional.
On March 28th, District Judge Scott Jenkins concluded that the tax, "while furthering laudable goals," violates the Constitution's First Amendment protection for freedom of expression, reported Associated Press.
The tax was introduced on January 1st and was expected to raise money for healthcare and anti-sexual assault programs.
But a consortium of strip club owners called the Texas Entertainment Association mounted a legal challenge against the tax.
Witnesses testifying on behalf of the strip clubs last year stated that the clubs could go out of business if they had to add the $5 tax to their cover charges. In their counter arguments, the State's lawyers said the tax was within the legislature's powers to regulate businesses that serve alcohol and offer nude performances.
After the verdict, Stewart Whitehead, who was acting on behalf of the Texas Entertainment Association, commented: "We hope this sends a message nationally that these establishments are protected by the First Amendment and you can't impose an unfair tax on them just because they are an easy political target."
The Texas Attorney General said he would "vigorously appeal" the decision. The Baltimore Sun has more details.

Collier County will amend its sign law to comply with First Amendment

By KATY BISHOP
Tuesday, April 22, 2008




Collier’s sign laws need editing to protect freedom of speech.

County commissioners had a closed attorney-client session Tuesday about a lawsuit alleging that Collier’s sign code violates a business’s freedom of speech. After the session, they voted unanimously to change the code so it doesn’t violate the First Amendment.

Mobile Exposure, a Bonita Springs-based mobile advertising company, filed a lawsuit alleging Collier’s prohibition of moving signs on the company’s trucks violated its right to free speech. The lawsuit was filed in June in U.S. District Court in Fort Myers.

Mobile Exposure sells advertising on trucks, and as the trucks travel down the road, slats on three sides rotate every eight seconds like window blinds to reveal a total of three advertisements each.

In February, the federal court granted Mobile Exposure owners Jon McLeod and Kevin Morrison a preliminary injunction, forcing Collier to allow them to rotate their signs in the county until the suit is settled.

U.S. District Judge John Steele granted the preliminary injunction because Mobile Exposure proved substantial likelihood that they would win the case, he wrote in his opinion.

First Amendment cases like Mobile Exposure’s require the court to decide whether the sign regulations are content-based or content-neutral, meaning whether the government is regulating based on the message of the sign, Steele wrote.

If a law is content-based it must pass a strict scrutiny test and is constitutional only if it is the least restrictive way to advance a “compelling state interest,” he said.

But Collier’s sign code distinguishes between permitted and prohibited speech based on ideas or views expressed and includes content-based exemptions and prohibitions, Steele wrote.

For example, commemorative signs, “No Tresspassing” and “No Dumping” signs are exempt from the code, while moving signs aren’t allowed unless they display time or temperature.

The parts of the sign code at issue in the case aren’t “narrowly tailored” enough to accomplish the county’s goals in aesthetics, traffic safety and economic growth, and those interests aren’t compelling enough to justify content-based restrictions, Steele wrote.

Mobile Exposure met the four requirements for a preliminary injunction, the judge concluded, and proved substantial likelihood that it would win the case.

Commissioners voted to comply with the court’s order and not enforce the code against Mobile Exposure, and to instruct the county attorney to move forward with a settlement on the case.

If a settlement is reached, it will come before the commissioners for approval, Jacqueline Hubbard, assistant county attorney, told commissioners at the meeting; if a settlement cannot be reached, the commissioners asked the attorney to move forward with mediation in federal and state court.

Attorneys Richard Annunziata, representing Mobile Exposure, and Jeff Klatzkow, representing Collier County, declined comment, citing the pending litigation.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Variety: Porn Downturn May Portend Economic Downturn

Variety: Porn Downturn May Portend Economic Downturn
Variety Editor-In-Chief Peter Bart suggests that the recent slump in the adult industry may be the harbinger of serious economic times.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Adult shop issue felt across state






APRIL 18, 2008

THE CONTROVERSY surrounding the opening of a proposed adult shop close to a school in Proserpine has reverberated across the State.
Acting Premier Paul Lucas said the State Government would now review issues surrounding adult stores opening close to schools.
"The State Government will look at ways whether through changing state policies or strengthening council planning schemes to regulate how close to schools adult stores could be established," Mr Lucas said.
Director of Davy Lane Adult Shop Roley Jackson said he was surprised to a degree about the controversy surrounding his shop.
"It had to happen some time. I guess with all the controversy with the school it is not surprising."
Mr Jackson said he thought the uproar over his particular store would die down, but the overall issue of adult store locations wouldn't.....(read more)

Texas Strip Club Tax, Declared Unconstitutional, Still Being Collected During Appeal

Texas Strip Club Tax, Declared Unconstitutional, Still Being Collected During Appeal
A state district judge has told Texas strip clubs that the state can collect a strip club fee — which was declared unconstitutional — while the state appeals the ruling.

FOXSexpert: U.S. Sex Laws, Amusing to Just Plain Silly

Friday, April 18, 2008
By Yvonne K. Fulbright


Are you breaking the law? When it comes to sexual expression, exploration and pleasure, you may be a criminal and not even know it. Both historically and currently, some of our most intimate moments have been made punishable by law.
And — wouldn’t you know it? — the United States takes the cake. While countries around the world are all guilty of trying to control our sex lives, the U.S. has more laws regulating sexual behavior than all the European countries combined.
Outdated, unthinkable, erotophobic and downright ridiculous, we should thank our lucky stars that enforcing them is another matter.
Sex toys are banned in some states, such as Alabama. Sexual intercourse between unmarried couples is illegal in Georgia. Flirting is banned in San Antonio, Texas. Oral sex is banned in Indiana. Anal intercourse is banned in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sexual positions beyond missionary are illegal in Washington, D.C. Sleeping naked is illegal in Minnesota.
Laws protecting minors aside, most people will agree that the government should not be telling you what to do in your bedroom. As President Bush has said: "In our free society, people have the right to choose how they live their lives."....(read more)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Commissioners urged to adopt county rules on adult businesses


By Susan Redden
sredden@joplinglobe.com
April 17, 2008


CARTHAGE, Mo. — Jasper County shouldn’t wait to adopt additional restrictions on sexually oriented businesses, opponents of such operations told the County Commission on Thursday.
Nearly 20 local residents went to Jefferson City on Wednesday to support a bill that would strengthen state regulation of businesses such as Vegas Video, an adult-video outlet that recently opened between Joplin and Sarcoxie.
They said elements of the bill could be approved as an ordinance in Jasper County, because they have withstood challenges in appellate court. The commission has been looking at an ordinance to target adult-video stores and similar operations. But the panel decided to delay action after a Jackson County ordinance on which parts of the measure were based was challenged in federal court...(read more)

Love Shack, Johns Creek Trade Blows

Love Shack, Johns Creek Trade Blows
The city of Johns Creek sent retail outlet Love Shack a letter of intent to deny its 2008 business license. Love Shack responded by requesting $668,000 compensation for lost profits.

Ben Stein and the ‘Fair Use Doctrine of Free Speech’

Posted by Dan Slater
April 17, 2008, 9:11 am

Newly-returned from three days at the Harry Potter fair use trial, a veritable crash course in fair use, the Law Blog was interested this morning to read that the producers of an upcoming movie — starring a lawyer, no less — had invoked fair use in a statement they put out.
Online at WSJ today is an article by the Journal’s Ethan Smith in L.A. about a group of filmmakers who, according to the piece, have “incurred the wrath” of Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, for using 25 seconds of the song “Imagine” in their movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” which opens tomorrow.
The film, according to the WSJ, stars Ben Stein, a Yale-educated lawyer, game-show host, journalist and actor (”Bueller? Bueller?”) who for the film affects a persona akin to a conservative version of Michael Moore (”Sicko,” “Fahrenheit 9/11″). The film apparently tries to make the point that American academia discriminates against people who espouse “intelligent design” theory — an alternative to evolution that would allow for the participation of a supernatural force in critical biological processes.
In a statement, the film’s producers conceded that they didn’t seek permission, but they called the use “momentary,” and said, after “seeking the opinion of legal counsel it was seen as a First Amendment issue and protected under the fair use doctrine of free speech.” ......(read more)

LO author looks at First Amendment

The Lake Oswego Review
Apr 17, 2008


Can you recite the first 10 words of the First Amendment?
When Lake Oswego author Barry Adamson, a UCLA School of Law graduate, was asked that question he was sobered by the fact that he could not, and in fact, since law school hadn’t given it any thought.
Darrell Scott had posed the question, three years after the Columbine High School incident. Scott’s daughter Rachel was one of the first students to be killed in the Columbine incident. Scott, appalled at the extent to which the nation’s public schools scorn the values and principles held dear by our nation’s founders, believed that the education system’s relentless disdain for those values and principles would inevitably yield generations of moral monsters who would perpetuate even worse incidents.
Humbled by the experience, Adamson began to research the origin, purpose and meaning of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ...”) adopted in 1789 in response to demands for guarantees of religious liberty. Reading what the Court had to say about it would not suffice; he had to dig deeper.
The result of his research is his book “Freedom of Religion the First Amend-ment and the Supreme Court, How the Court Flunked History.”
As a result of his research, Adamson contends a re-examination of the amendment and its clear meaning is in order....(read more)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The April 24th debate over pornography at MSU can be enlightening as well as entertaining




The news that a pornography debate has been scheduled to take place at Minnesota State University no doubt was greeted with winces and head-shaking in certain quarters. The pro-porn/anti-porn debate will feature a Christian critic of pornography against none other than Ron Jeremy, who has appeared in more than 1,900 pornographic movies.

Patrons may witness the debate at MSU’s Bresnan Arena at 8 p.m. on April 24.
At first glance, we might pooh-pooh this event as a frivolous show, something better suited to a Jerry Springer episode — an occasion for the kind of self-indulgence all-too-often associated these days with college-age sensibilities. But we should think again.

Whatever your take on pornography — that it is a harmless, even liberating form of entertainment protected by the First Amendment — or a degrading, even dangerous trap for many Americans — this kind of debate has done much to enlighten....(read more)

Freedom of speech imperative

Posted 04-20-2008 at 5:10PM


During President Shirley Ann Jackson’s recent town hall meeting, she announced the plan to create a framework for approving artistic presentations and exhibits before they are brought to the Institute. As RPI continues to broaden its focus as a university to include the arts and humanities, it is crucial that the Institute maintains a commitment to supporting free and open discussion of ideas. While such a vetting process could be implemented correctly and constructively, there is a very real possibility that it could be used to enforce an overly conservative set of policies regarding art on campus, which would severely damage the reputation of the Institute and its growing art program.
During the town hall meeting, Jackson emphasized the importance of pushing the technological and creative boundaries of artistic expression through the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center program. Based on the recent decision to shut down the Wafaa Bilal exhibit, it seems that political and social boundaries may be an exception to this commitment to the arts.
The importance of free speech should not be underestimated...(read more)

Turkish Parliamentary Commission Adopts Amendment To Free Speech Law

Published: 4/16/2008

ANKARA - Turkish Parliament's EU Adjustment Commission adopted on Wednesday a bill to make amendments to articles 301 and 305 of Turkey's penal code.
Article 301 of the Turkish penal code criminalizes insulting "Turkishness". Under the amendments proposed by the government, the term "Turkishness" will be replaced by the "Turkish nation."
The bill requires prosecutors to receive a green light from the Turkish President before they could press any charges under the law and lowers the upper limit of jail sentence from three to two years, opening the way for the suspension of the jail term of those convicted under Article 301.
The bill will be debated at Justice Commission on Friday....(click here to see the article)

Christian Photographer Accused of 'Discriminating' Against Same-Sex Couple

By Pete Winn
Senior Staff Writer
CNSNews.com

The New Mexico Human Rights Commission ruled on Wednesday that an evangelical Christian photographer discriminated against a lesbian couple by refusing a job to photograph the couple's same-sex commitment ceremony. Religious rights attorneys plan to appeal. The commission ordered Elaine and Jon Huenins, owners of Elane Photography in Albuquerque, N.M., to pay the lesbian couple $6,600 in attorney fees."It is just a stunning disregard for the First Amendment," said Jordan Lorence, a senior legal counsel for the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the photographer couple in court."W e will appeal this ruling to state district court," Lorence told Cybercast News Service. Carrie Moritomo, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, said the complaint was brought in 2006 by Vanessa Willock, a civil rights officer at the University of New Mexico....(read more)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ADF law suit against UMBC is frivolous and unfounded

By Saira Khan
Senior Staff Writer

Free speech is not a concrete concept. Guaranteed to us by the First Amendment, it’s idea is a little more complex than it may seem and evolves with time. What kind of speech is free? What kind of speech is too free? Is offensive, hateful, and/or harmful speech free nonetheless?

While the idea of free speech is a fantastic one (let me acknowledge that it is because of the First Amendment that I sit here and write this article), there are many people out there who take it a step too far. People such as Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is considered a hate group, perverse the liberty that we were given by our founding fathers to the point that we must question and limit it.....(read more)

Rice lauds Turkey on free speech, urges more rights

Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:54pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday commended Turkey's government for seeking to revise a law that limits free speech, but urged it also to protect the rights of religious minorities.

In remarks to the American Turkish Council in Washington, Rice encouraged predominantly Muslim Turkey, a key U.S. and NATO ally, to stay true to democratic secular principles.

"We commend Prime Minister (Tayyip) Erdogan for stating recently that parliament will amend Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which criminalizes insulting Turkishness," she said.

Turkey's ruling AK party submitted to parliament last week the long-awaited revision to the law, which has been used to prosecute dozens of writers, including Nobel Literature Prize winner Orhan Pamuk.

"Expressing one's belief is not an insult to the state, it is one of the highest forms of citizenship," Rice said.

Turkish government officials acknowledge the law has embarrassed Turkey abroad, but reform has been delayed several times because of opposition from nationalists........(read more)

Berlin, Adult Novelty Store Face Off In State Supreme Court


Courant Staff Writer


Last year, a state Superior Court judge rejected a lawsuit by VIP that challenged the town's sexually oriented business ordinance. VIP still has another state case pending against the town, along with a federal lawsuit.


BERLIN — A court case sparked by the town's battle to keep an adult sex toy, video and "romance shop" from opening in a middle-class neighborhood played out Monday with dry legal arguments in state Supreme Court.

The hearing on "VIP of Berlin LLC v. Town of Berlin et al" was the latest round in a dispute over the legality of the town's ordinance regulating the location of sexually-oriented businesses, including strip clubs and adult novelty stores.

It's an important case to town leaders, who see their ordinance as a way to control the adult businesses that have popped up here in recent years, upsetting residents and giving the town unwanted notoriety

Everyone is holding their breath to see what happens with this case," Mayor Adam Salina said after the hearing. "We feel very strongly that we have every right to enact and enforce this type of ordinance."

"This is going to have far-reaching impact on many municipalities. Freedom of speech and right to privacy are at stake"

Click HERE to read the entire article.

McCain Wrong to Support Media Shield Law

By Cliff Kincaid
The American -Daily
04/15/08



The Bush Administration is absolutely right - and Senator John McCain is absolutely wrong - on the issue of the so-called "media shield law" before Congress. The purpose of the law is to enable people claiming to be journalists to hide their anonymous sources of information even when those sources are involved in or have knowledge of criminal or terrorist activity

The bill would also give federal protection to anonymous sources in and out of government who hide behind the media in order to destroy or damage the lives of innocent people.

President Bush has threatened a veto but the media are counting on Congress to override it.

The bill puts in the hands of federal politicians and judges the ability to define a “legitimate” journalist or blogger who is deserving of federal protection. As such, it restricts First Amendment rights to a certain group of people currently in favor with federal authorities.

In endorsing the bill, Senator McCain told an Associated Press forum, “There will be times, I suspect, when I will wonder again if I should have supported this measure. But I trust in your integrity and patriotism that those occasions won’t be so numerous that I will, in fact, deeply regret my decision.”

This seems to be a big roll of the dice with our lives on the line.

My reading of the First Amendment says that Congress should stay out of the business of deciding who and who is not a journalist. My reading of the Constitution is that journalists are like everybody else―citizens of the United States―and that when they have knowledge of criminal activity, they should disclose that to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Why should the media be above the law?

The answer is that they have the power and ability to work their will on the Congress....(read more)

Freedom of speech is one of the biggest advantages of the modern society. Today, we have a possibility to express our thoughts, influence processes,



If Brigitte Bardot (73) had been fifty years younger, French President Nicolas Sarkozy might have made her France’s First Lady and her nude pictures might have been sold to help charities in Cambodia. Now, instead, the French are taking her to court.

The former French sex symbol stood trial in Paris today for “inciting racial hatred” against Muslims. The public prosecutor demanded that the former filmstar be given a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros.

In December 2006, Bardot wrote a letter to Sarkozy, then France’s Interior minister, to demand that Muslims anaesthesize their animals before slaughtering them. In her letter she said, referring to Muslims, that she is “fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its habits.”

Since 1997 Bardot has already been fined four times for “inciting hatred” against Muslims. Recently she was given a fine of 5,000 euros. Public prosecutor Anne de Fontette told the court today that she was seeking a tough sentence because she is getting “tired of prosecuting Mrs Bardot.” The former star refuses to shut up. The verdict of the Paris court is expected on 3 June.

Go to Article

California eyes new free-speech protections in schools

A bill seeks to protect teacher advisers when student newspapers anger administrators.

Eleven-year teaching veteran Teri Hu was adviser to The Voice, the student newspaper of Irvington High School in Fremont, Calif., when school administrators told her not to let it publish a story critical of school policies on teaching assistants. Two months after she refused, Ms. Hu became "former" adviser to The Voice.

Janet Ewell, a tenured teacher in Garden Grove, was enjoying the praise in her 2002 school evaluation until she came to the part about her performance as advisor to journalism students. "[The principal] let me know he didn't like three student editorials, one about school bathrooms, one about the cafeteria and one about teachers who are not available to help students," recalls Ms. Ewell. "Then he told me I wouldn't be advising them the next fall."

Scenarios like those above occurring in schools across California have prompted the state to take the national lead again in protecting free speech rights on campuses.....(read more)

A right to not be offended?


Do universities have a customer-service responsibility to their students to rein in expression that makes students uncomfortable?


Lukianoff (Anti-free-speech zones) and Shermer (Schools have rights too) discuss what roles, if any, a school has in monitoring the expressions of its students


***


Michael Shermer is the publisher of Skeptic magazine (skeptic.com), a monthly columnist for Scientific American, an adjunct professor in the School of Economics and Politics at Claremont Graduate University and the author of 10 books.

Greg Lukianoff is a constitutional lawyer and the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (thefire.org). He is a frequent guest on national TV news programs and a blogger at the Huffington Post...........


CLICK HERE
to read the entire debate

Monday, April 14, 2008

Texas AG to appeal 'pole tax' ruling

by Chris Rizo
April 14, 2008

AUSTIN (Legal Newsline)-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is intending to appeal a judge's decision that the state's $5-per-patron fee on strip clubs is unconstitutional, a spokesperson told LNL.

The fee, which took effect in January, was approved by state lawmakers as a way to generate annually more than $40 million in additional revenue to help bankroll anti-sexual assault programs as well as health care programs for the uninsured.

However, Travis County District Judge Scott Jenkins ruled last month that the so-called "pole tax" is unconstitutional because the fee infringed on First Amendment protected expression.

In his ruling, the Austin judge ruled that the pole tax didn't pass constitutional muster because, among other things, healthcare had no nexus to the strip clubs that were at least partly bankrolling the programs.

"There is no evidence that combining alcohol with nude erotic dancing cause dancers to be uninsured," the judge wrote.

Tom Kelley, a spokesman for Abbott, told Legal Newsline that the attorney general's office is "intending to appeal" the judge's ruling.

Stewart Whitehead, an Austin attorney for the Texas Entertainment Assn., which challenged the law, told The Los Angeles Times that the law unfairly targeted Texas businesses whose patrons would likely not speak out about the fee.

"We hope this sends a message nationally that these establishments are protected by the First Amendment and you can't impose an unfair tax on them just because they are an easy political target," Whitehead was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

A New Legal Reality

A New Legal Reality
Many are wondering if the days of governmental harassment and politically motivated prosecutions of the industry are finally over.

" Can we now simply conclude that the adult entertainment industry has won its culture war with the religious right? "

Manufacturers Group Loses Ethics Lawsuit

Associated Press
04.14.08



WASHINGTON - The National Association of Manufacturers lost its courtroom challenge to the part of the new lobbying and ethics law that requires trade groups to release names of certain members.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly handed down the 57-page decision on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, rebuffing the trade group's argument that the law violates the First Amendment rights of its members.

The group had also sought a preliminary injunction to prevent enforcement of the provision in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which requires trade associations to disclose the names of members, who contribute more than $5,000 in a quarterly period for lobbying activities, by April 21....(read more)

"It's difficult to understand how some of the conclusions she reached conform to the requirements of First Amendment law,"
said Quentin Riegel, the group's vice president for litigation.
"A number of the conclusions were weak and the law itself has many problems that remain."


News groups to raise First Amendment awareness

News Media Update
District of Columbia
April 14, 2008



Saying that the goal is to fight the public view of the press as “unethical snoops” and restore them to the “heroic investigators” that they once were, the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) and the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) announced a new public awareness campaign at their 2008 Capital Conference in Washington, D.C., today.

Toni Locy, the USA Today reporter who is currently appealing her contempt-of-court citation for refusing to divulge her sources in the 2001 anthrax mailing controversy, was at the presentation and held up as one example of why such a campaign is necessary.

ASNE announced that it has formed a partnership with more than 1,000 news organizations to build up support for the First Amendment in unprecedented ways. They have created an ambitious campaign to digitize more government information and are working together to improve reporters’ capabilities as watchdog journalists and to offer readers more access to government documents online.

The Liberty Tree Initiative has also recently been launched to challenge public attitude and a general lack of awareness of the First Amendment. This coalition has the daunting task to reach out to a new generation with a highly interactive, integrated marketing campaign that is being currently being developed.

Censorship of religious art fails educational and First Amendment tests

Religion has been a major theme of artwork ever since humans gained the ability to express themselves through drawing and sculpture. To remove religion from art is like removing the saxophone from a jazz band; it can be done, but the sound will contain considerably less richness and texture.

That’s the problem with the grading policy of a Tomah High School art class that says, “Art work that has any violence, blood, sexual connotations, religious beliefs will not be accepted.” It’s a policy that should be reversed before it’s struck down in federal court.

The Tomah School District last month was slapped with a lawsuit over a drawing that displayed a cross and the words “John 3:16. A sign of love.” The student received a zero for the landscape assignment, and the family contacted the Alliance Defense Fund, which filed suit in federal court.

Had the student simply gotten a zero for including an extraneous object on a landscape drawing, the grade would have been appropriate. However, the grading policy prohibits any religious expression in artwork done anytime during the course. The policy makes no sense, either from a constitutional or educational standpoint. The Alliance Defense Fund cited a 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case that said neither teachers nor students “shed their constitutional rights to free expression at the schoolhouse gate,” and Tomah’s grading policy is clearly censorship based on religious belief.

But it’s not just a First Amendment issue.....

UPDATE ON “UNION SQUARE BOONDOGGLE”: Street Artists Fight Back

By Alex Kane
April 14, 2008

Street artists expressing their First Amendment rights in Union Square Park won a victory after successfully protesting their eviction from the park early last week.

On Friday, April 4, a Parks Department official approached artists who had set up in the park and told them that, due to the construction of the private restaurant in the north pavilion, they would not be allowed to sell their art on Wednesdays and Saturdays, two of the most popular days for artists to sell their work, and that the artists were to vacate the park....

Outrage at sex shop location

By: Leah Fineran

A CONTROVERSIAL sex shop is set to open less than 10m from a $1 million Varsity Lakes youth skate park.

The Playhouse Adult Store at Burleigh Waters is relocating from a Reedy Creek Road industrial precinct where it operated illegally for three years.

The store, operated by Lucky Bitch Pty Ltd, was forced to move to a retail space after the council last year refused to approve an application to remain in the industrial precinct.

The store's move into a three-storey, mixed-use building at 14 Cassia Drive has sparked outrage from the local community, who say the shop's position will draw 'undesirables' to the residential area and long-awaited multi-purpose youth facility.

The youth park is a joint State Government and Gold Coast City Council project and is expected to open in six weeks, with a BMX track, events stage, skate bowl and public art.

The adult shop's move comes as Acting Premier Paul Lucas last week said the Government would review industry regulations after an adult shop recently opened opposite a Catholic primary school at Proserpine in north Queensland.

The Varsity Lakes location is almost 2km from Marymount College on Reedy Creek Road, but area councillor Jan Grew said an adult shop on Cassia Drive was 'wrong' as it was opposite a youth facility.....

Behavioural ads form of ‘free speech’, says Newspaper Association of America

by Laura Oliver
April 14, 2008


The Newspaper Association of America (NAA) has weighed in on the debate surrounding behavioural targeting of newspaper ads online, saying privacy standards proposed by the US’ Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could ‘infringe on newspapers’ First Amendment rights’, according to a report on Online Media Daily.

Targeted online advertising, says the group, is “not only truthful advertising speech, but advertising speech that meets their [the audience’s] interest”.

Ads are a form of free speech so long as they are not misleading, the association wrote in its comments to the commission:


“Efforts to restrict what newspaper websites publish, and the basis by which editors and advertisers make decisions regarding what to publish, run directly counter to core First Amendment rights, and can amount to a prior restraint.”

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Support Freedom of Speech PETITION

We, the Undersigned, endorse the following petition:

Dixie Chicks - Freedom of Speech Threatened!
Target: Dixie Chicks, Rep. Catherine Ceips
Sponsor: Tyler Andrew


Support Freedom of Speech!A new assault on free speech arose today in the South Carolina State Legislature. In what is clearly an attempt to curb our civil liberties, State Rep. Catherine Ceips wants the Dixie Chicks "to apologize" to South Carolina military families for anti-Bush sentiments expressed by the lead singer in London. What is happening to America, if we cannot exercise our civil liberties and speak out when we disagree with our government?Ceips said that she plans to introduce a resolution to condemn comments by Dixie's lead singer Natalie Maines who supposedly "told an audience at a London show that she was ashamed" that Pres. Bush "was from Texas, the group's home state." Ceips said if the resolution "wins House approval," she'll "send the resolution to the Dixie Chicks.""To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong,is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt speaking against Wilson's crackdown on dissent after the U.S. entered WWI. Sign this petition to the Dixie Chicks letting them know you support their freedom of speech, and tell Rep. Ceips that you are concerned about her willingness to overlook and seriously undermine the principles on which the United States of America was founded....(go to the petition site)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sex and Louisiana Law and Legislature

Written by: Stephen Sabludowsky

In an article by Jeremy Alford in the “Ind”, Alford cites that State Senator, Julie Quinn, a Metairie Republican, “at the request of the Louisiana Family Forum, a Christian-conservative group, has filed legislation that would have regulated “sexually-oriented businesses and their employees.” While currenly the legislation is only a concept, according to Alford, the author cites Quinn to say, “When you have all of these porn stores and gentleman clubs — if you even want to call them that — all within close proximity, there are concerns about pockets of criminal activity sprouting up,” she says.

Perhaps Senator Quinn could use some help with the legislation.



How about first starting that when a member of an elective body gets ensnared in a sex ring, that member is automatically recalled from office regardless as to party affiliation, whether that gentleman or gentlewoman admits to any details related to a self-described “sin”? The statute of limitations could be ten years to include legislative hopping due to term limits or frailties in federal laws.

What about all prosecutors being compelled to release all names associated with a prostitution ring if that prosecutor is proceeding against anyone for prostitution or related crimes?

In light of Bobby Jindal’s desire to put sex offenders in Angola and place their pictures on the Internet, why don’t we put the pictures of “John’s” on the Internet so we will know who might be lurking in our neighborhoods and bar them from one hundred yards from all schools, libraries and public pools?

Senator Quinn is right when she says there are concerns about pockets of criminal activity sprouting up. Both political parties should be concerned about these criminal activities and should not lionize the perpetrators as if they are Godfathers with everyone kissing their rings. We have our public morals about which we should be concerned (which is not just limited to cock fighting) and a good place to start would be in our state legislature. Alternatively, if the legislature does not like these above ideas or question their constitutionality’s, why not just legalize prostitution. For one, it doesn’t require a high school education, it could fill plenty of vacant Louisiana jobs, I hear the pay can be great and it would certainly relieve some of the stress after those long special and regular sessions. Or, so, I have heard.

If you have any ideas, tell us on our “buzzboards” and we will pass them on to Senator Quinn to fill in her now vacant legislation.

Joining the FSC Board

Joining the FSC Board
I have been elected to the board of the Free Speech Coalition. I do not know if that is an honor or not but I do know that at the moment it feels like an imprecise achievement.

A Gold Coast city councillor says he hopes a review of Queensland's planning laws will help the city with its regulations on adult stores.

A Gold Coast city councillor says he hopes a review of Queensland's planning laws will help the city with its regulations on adult stores.

Residents of Proserpine, in north Queensland, have expressed concerns about plans to open a store near a primary school and the Acting Premier has announced a review of state laws.

The chairman of the Gold Coast council's planning committee, Ted Shepherd, says his council is moving to amend its planning scheme to restrict the shops to fringe business areas.

"To get our planning scheme changed will probably take about 12 months of pretty hard administrative work to get an amendment through on the planning scheme, so if Paul Lucas can come through with legislative amendments, that'll make our job a heck of a lot easier, but more importantly it'll put the regulation through a lot quicker," he said.

Sexy time: The public and the world of sex - Scene

Sexy time: The public and the world of sex - Scene

2 practical reasons 4 complying with 2257

The subject of 2257 has been beaten around many times from how it doesn't really protect children, to the burdensomeness of compliance, etc, etc.
The fact is that 2257 is on the books as a law, but complying with 2257 just for that reason isn't enough for most webmasters. I would like to suggest two reasons why you should look at 2257 compliance from a different perspective.
The intent of 2257 is that if a child was found to be used in production, that distributors of that content would be able locate those images and videos and take them down. By being able to locate the bad content, you remove yourself from the cross hairs of possession and distribution of child porn.
The problem is that most websites don't track where their images came from. Their idea of 2257 compliance is creating a 2257.html page and either copying the content producer's address from some other website, or they did record which content producers they used.
This form of 2257 documentation does nothing to resolve the problem of locating and removing the bad content.
You would need to know where those images and videos were used on your website. This is what the "record keeping" part of the 2257 statue speaks towards.
There are many ways to keep track of digital content, from paper filing to databases. The simplest methods could include:
- embeding some kind of ID of the content producer in the filename or folder
- use an excel spreadsheet with the following fields:
filenamecontent producerdirectory location
More advanced methods of inventory tracking is to use a CMS.
If you point at any image/video on your website and you can't identify which content producer that it came from, then you just failed one of the 2257 tests.
2257 became more convoluted when they tried to say all website operators should have the ID's and do all the cross referencing responsibilities that the primary producer is supposed to do. I won't be getting into those issues.
By keeping track of the porn inventory, you go along way in complying with the spirit of 2257.
In the event there is a child found and the news story breaks, every webmaster who licensed content from that content producer would need to be scrambling to remove those images and videos.
If those images and videos are still up, you are now in possession of child porn, and also a distributor of child porn.
Your surfers and members who think they are accessing legal content, are now in possession of child porn.
At that point, who knows what ramifications there might be from surfers and members suing paysites for endangering them with illegal content, let alone the federal prosecutions.
The other practical reason for going through the "record keeping" exercise is on the issue of copyright infringements.
There are content producers out there who are looking to find their images on websites, using spidering technology to let the computer do the sniffing.
One real possibility is a content producer thinks he has found your website to be a copyright infringer, where in reality you licensed the content, but didn't notify them of the website the content was on. Many content producers have it in their licensing agreement that you must identify what website the content is being used. Many will fail to update them.
When you get slapped with the copyright infringement charge, if you knew where the image in question came from you could then look it up in your records to show to the copyright infringement cop that you had licensed the images, but did not update their records for the website. At this point, its not copyright infringement, its more of a licensing issue that can easily be resolved by complying with the terms of the content license.
So many are just sticking their heads in the sand on 2257 because they disagree with the law. You can't do that as a business owner when there are civil and criminal ramifications to your (in)actions.
The bottom line is know where your images come from my doing some form of documentation that allows you to be able to take down known CP images as well as protect yourself from a false copyright infringement claim.
Fight the bookkeeping!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Love Shack Appeal Denied

"Owner John Cornetta found in contempt of court"
By: Peter Warren
04/04/2008


JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Love Shack owner John Cornetta has been found in contempt of court by a Fulton County judge and denied his appeal in Federal Court for a retroactive business license that would have brought him into compliance with the city's zoning laws, according to local news sources.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville ruled March 28 that Cornetta was in contempt of court for continuing to operate the Love Shack in disregard of his Feb. 28 ruling that the store qualified as an adult business and thus could not operate in its current location per Johns Creek zoning regulations.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No evidence that porn causes harm

02 April 2008
Human Nature, Media

One book on my to-buy list is the recently-released The Porn Report by Alan McKee, Katherine Albury and Catharine Lumby. Until I get around to that, Danny Yee’s review has some juicy tidbits (ooherr).
[T]he common stereotypes are wrong: unsurprisingly, given that pornography users make up about a third of Australian adults, they are fairly representative of the broader population, with the major exception being that fewer than one in five of the respondents were women(Continue Reading)

Banner's removal revives debate over free speech

By BETH REESE CRAVEY, The Times-Union
beth.cravey@jacksonville.com
4/2/2008 - 6:55 am

Clay County to review its rules on signs after backlash from residents.

The longstanding conflict between free speech and sign regulation has arisen anew in Clay County, where a patriotic - but illegal - banner was ordered removed by a county code enforcement officer.

But in the ensuing debate, county commissioners found no easy answers on how to balance free speech, patriotic and otherwise, and the desire not to have a cluttered community.

"It's a quagmire," Commissioner Harold Rutledge said.

The canvas sign, which reads, "Salute Every Generation's Heroes" and is mounted on PVC pipe, has hung for two years in front of Annabelle's Interiors Inc. at 46 College Drive in the Orange Park area.

Ella George, the office manager for the store, said the banner was removed Tuesday. She said the sign was initially erected because store owner Annabelle Hamachek and her employees supported the military and wanted to say so publicly.

But banners are not allowed in Clay County, except for specially permitted, temporary ones that advertise a public event. So-called "free speech" signs must be wooden or plastic, no bigger than 3 square feet, no higher than 6 feet.

Irate residents took up the banner's cause, arguing that its patriotic message warranted protection, particularly in military-friendly Northeast Florida.

"I, along with MANY others are really ticked off about Clay County's decision to cite a business owner to remove a patriotic banner that's NOT advertising the business but rather encouraging support of our troops," said Steve Eide in a series of e-mails to commissioners. "Some things need to be changed, and those 'things' are the [county] employees and board members who have disregard for patriotic Americans and our fighting men and women who are sacrificing for US."

County officials wondered whether residents would support banners or large free speech signs if someone used them to criticize the military or express another unpopular sentiment.

"You have to take the good with the bad," Rutledge said during a sign code discussion Monday afternoon by the commission's Policy Committee, which plans to review the entire sign code over the next few months. "We can't regulate the message; we can regulate the size."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

NYC Lawyers Subpoena Code

Posted by Zonk
Tuesday April 01, 07:46AM
The just-trying-to-get-along dept.



RonMcMahon writes "Lawyers for the city of New York have subpoenaed the text message records of thousands of people involved in demonstrations at the 2004 Republican National Convention.
Tad Hirsch, creator of the TXTmob code that enabled convention demonstrators to transmit messages to thousands of telephones, has been instructed to release the content of messages exchanged on the service and to identify people who sent and received messages.
Hirsch argues that release of such information would be a violation of users' First Amendment and privacy rights.
'I think I have a moral responsibility to the people who use my service to protect their privacy,' said Hirsch."

Even Republicans like trial lawyers, sometimes

Posted April 1, 2008 3:06 PM
By Frank James


Just because you're a Republican congressional leader whose party tends to inveigh against trial lawyers at the drop of a legal brief doesn't mean you can't savor having a federal judge order a Democratic Party colleague of yours to pay you more than a $1 million in attorneys' fees.

That's just the situation in which Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the House Minority Leader, finds himself. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan ordered Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) to pay Boehner $1,053,181.40 in attorney’s fees and costs.
Boehner's lawsuit against McDermott stems from a hoary case in which McDermott made public way back in 1996 an ilegally recorded phone call involving congressional Republicans who were discussing then House Speaker Newt Gingrich's ethics problems.
The judge also ordered McDermott to pay roughly $40,000 in interest. All this was above and beyond the the more than $60,000 the court previously told McDermott to pay in damages.
Boehner spun his success in court not as a win in the on-going, partisan trench warfare that passes for governing these days but rather as a victory for the American people.

"Over the past 10 years, I have consistently said that Members of Congress have a responsibility not only to obey the laws of our country and the rules of our institution, but also to defend the integrity of those laws and rules when they are violated. Congressman McDermott broke the law, and as a result, he shattered the bonds of trust between our institution and the men and women we represent in the halls of Congress. I remained committed to this case in order to begin restoring those bonds, and to uphold the belief that no one – including Members of Congress – is above the law. With this decision, the American people can take comfort in knowing that these important principles have been reaffirmed."
The Associated Press reported that McDermott was spinning hard in the other direction. He portrayed the outcome, a clear loss for him, as a victory for the First Amendment.

McDermott called the court fight with Boehner "a long and costly battle," but said the million-dollar judgment was "a small price to pay in defense of so fundamental a principle, and freedom, as the First Amendment." Because of the protracted legal challenge,
"the First Amendment is stronger today, and shielded by new case law that
will buttress its capacity to protect the publication of truthful information on
matters of public importance long into the future,"
McDermott said in a statement Tuesday. "Knowing this, I am proud of my role in defense of the First Amendment."

War over porn endures

Efforts to change laws find mixed results
BY BRENT D. WISTROM
The Wichita Eagle


Kansas' war over porn may never end. Every year, family values advocates, politicians and countless local governments try to push strip clubs and adult video stores farther away.
And every year, First Amendment advocates, business interests and a hint of public outcry join up and kill most of the bills that would force many sex-oriented stores out of business.
So will these tougher laws ever pass?
"It's inevitable," said Phillip Cosby, executive director of the Kansas City office of the National Coalition for Protection of Children and Families.
"They usually fail because the Constitution usually doesn't support the law," said Charlie O'Hara, a Wichita lawyer who has represented some adult-video-store owners. "It violates the Constitution. But they always come up with different theories.".....

Federal judge ruling that college alcohol-ad ban violates free speech


The AP reports that a federal judge today has overturned Virginia’s decades-old ban on alcohol-related advertising in college newspapers, saying that the law violates the student publications’ right to free speech.
U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck sided with the student newspapers at the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, which said the restrictions of certain references to alcoholic beverages in print and online media hampered their ability to make money because they’ve had to turn down potential advertisers.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s rules were adopted in 1988 to curb underage student drinking, but Lauck ruled Monday that the department has failed to show that the ban reduced such behavior.

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