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CIPA Article in First Monday

First Monday–one of the best journals on the Web–has an outstanding, must-read article about CIPA: “Potential legal challenges to the application of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in public libraries: Strategies and issues,” by Paul T. Jaeger and Charles R. McClure.

These gentlemen speak truth to justice, outlining not only short-term implementation problems but issues that touch the heart of our profession, pointing out that librarians “need to be aware of the true nature of the dilemmas that CIPA creates in libraries”–such as forcing librarians to be “speech gatekeeper[s]”–and stressing the many limitations of filters.

With librarians rolling over on the filtering issue as a done deal, it’s good to read a critique of CIPA that doesn’t rush to conclude that filtering is palatable or inevitable, and that focuses not only on the potential damage to the First Amendment CIPA presents, but on the many possible challenges to this new law.

Like most items published by First Monday, “Potential Legal Challenges” is a fairly chewy read. Set aside the lightweight blogs today, and make time to absorb, think about, and discuss McClure and Jaeger’s excellent article. The First Amendment you save could be your own.

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