April 27 Homework

Outline

Intro

-Founders, importance of first amendment, introduce protesting, obscenity and internet as important factors of a changing time

Paragraph 1

-Internet as a brand new method for communication.

-Communications decency act

-Digital millennium copyright act

-Effects of those acts

Paragraph 2

-Protesting and how it is constantly challenged

-Protesting cases usually win with free speech because it is the most clear part of the first amendment

-Anti-war protests-sticky situation

Paragraph 3

-Obscenity

-No clear definition

No matter who you are, or what you do everyday, there is one consistency that everyone in the United States experiences and that is expressing oneself or seeing other people express themselves.  The freedom to express oneself is a concept that makes America a destination for many people that do not have that in their own countries.  It is important to keep the spirit of the first amendment alive in our daily lives.  The first amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (Constitution).  The first amendment is clear but it does not provide any rules to follow in specific situations.  The founding fathers wanted to provide the American people the freedom of speech and petition against the government in a peaceful way in order for people to always be able to express how they feel about the government in order to keep a system that is governed by the people.  The newly founded America did not want to make the same mistakes that the mother land England made regarding persecution of religion, speech and protesting.  By creating the first amendment the United States stands apart from other nations in giving people the right to express themselves about politics, religion and all other subject matters that people wish for the world to know.

Since the writing of the first amendment and the Constitution, there have been vast changes in society.  Modern technology has greatly changed the ways in which people communicate with one another and have altered the information that is conveyed between people as well.  With new technology comes new problems of enforcing laws and there is the possibility of new interpretations of laws or codes in order to accommodate to the new ways that people interact and the effect that has on every day lives of the people of the United States. The advancements of new technology, and a streaming media have brought new ways of communicating with one another.  The Internet, public protesting and expressing one’s opinions on a daily basis have all been greatly affected in the past decades. It is important that the first amendment be interpreted in different ways in order to keep up with a changing society. New regulations and interpretations of the first amendment are necessary to occur because the changing modes of communication have brought new challenges.  The ever changing interpretations of obscenity have divided people, and it is necessary for the courts to attempt to draw the lines between what is and is not obscene in order to give the American people guidelines to follow.  The court system in recent years has been dealing with many cases having to do with public protesting, protesting anti-war sentiments and content that is posted on the Internet. These cases have changed the way that the first amendment is interpreted and because of the continuing advancements of technology, more cases will arise to cause the public and the court system to continue to re-interpret the first amendment to fit the current society.

-Courts constantly trying to define what obscenity is

-Different opinions from different resources about what is obscene

Conclusion

-Wrap it all up

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April 25 Homework

When the founders were writing the amendments to the Constitution they could not have known what would be in store for the United States in the future.  The strides in technology that have happened in the last 220 years is mind blowing.  Especially in the last thirty years, since the invention of the Internet the ways in which people communicate and express their opinions have been constantly evolving and ever changing.  In the 1990s is when the Internet started to become accessible to everyone and easy for most people to use.

The courts have made many decisions that deal with the Internet and controlling the content on the Internet, one of those decisions was creating the Communications Decency Act in 1996.  This act attempted to provide some regulation of the content on the Internet in order to keep certain information deemed inappropriate away from children (Chang 982).   The intentions of the creation of the act was to provide parents and other concerned adults some security in the content of the growing reach of the Internet.  But only a year later the U.S. Supreme Court came to the decision that the Communications Decency Act violated the first amendment and was no longer enforced.  The creation and termination of the act was one of the first attempts to regulate the content on the Internet, and because it was later taken back it shows how trying to define what is appropriate to be put on the Internet is a very difficult balance to achieve.

One act that is considered by most everyone to be inappropriate content on the Internet is hacking.  Displaying links or codes associated with hacking is not protected under the first amendment.  The article “Online Limits to the First Amendment” talks about the issue of free speech on the Internet and mentions an act that changed the way information is viewed on the Internet.  The article states, “…the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA), a law designed to protect copyright holders’ ability to put digital fences around their content and placing restrictions on what can be published online and what people may access”(Lemos 3).  The act was in response to a posting of a hacker website that put up links to illegally hack into DVDs (Lemos 2).  When the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was enforced, many other websites and companies found that it was a way to keep people from accessing their private information or people saying untruthful remarks.  DMCA is a step towards some filtering system on the Internet that can block content that is seen as unsuitable by some people.  While the courts seemed somewhat cautious about creating an act that does regulate speech it was a law that was necessary to create in order to create some structure on a new up and coming method to mass communication among people all over the world.

It is hard to find a balance between what should and should not be put o Internet.  Not only because it is a free way to communicate with one another but also because it is such a news method of communication.  The Internet has only been a major part of the daily lives of people for a decade, compared to other forms of communication like the newspaper or protesting in public areas.  The issue of copyright laws has also been a major discussion over the freedom of expression on the Internet.  Due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act many companies have declared that other people on the Internet are using their ideas and words and made those claims under the DMCA and have won sent cease and decease letters and have won gotten the other party to stop their actions (Lemos 4).

The Internet has made such a huge impact on the world and has managed to make the vast continents of the earth seem smaller and made communication to people and organizations around the world easier and quicker.  With those changes, the United States has a responsibility to enact some regulations of the type of speech that is used on the web, in order to protect people’s privacy and to copyright their ideas and actions.  It is necessary to protect people on the web just as much as on public streets.


April 20 Homework

No matter who you are, or what you do everyday, there is one consistency that everyone in the United States experiences and that is expressing oneself or seeing other people express themselves.  The freedom to express oneself is a concept that makes America a destination for many people that do not have that in their own countries.  So it is important to keep the spirit of the first amendment alive in our daily lives.  The first amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (Constitution).  The first amendment is very clear but it does not provide any specific rules to follow in given situations.  The founding fathers wanted to provide the American people the freedom of speech and petition against the government in a peaceful way in order for people to always be able to express how they feel about the government in order to keep a system that is governed by the people.  The fathers also wanted freedom of religion so there was always a guarantee that no one would be persecuted for their beliefs.  The newly founded America did not want to make the same mistakes that the mother land England made regarding persecution of religion.  By creating the first amendment the United States stands apart from other nations in giving people the right to express themselves about politics, religion and all other subject matters that people wish for the world to know.

Since the writing of the first amendment and the constitution, there have been vast changes in society.  Modern technology has greatly changed the ways in which people communicate with one another and have altered the information that is conveyed between people as well.  With new technology comes new problems of enforcing laws and there is the possibility of new interpretations of laws or codes in order to accommodate to the new ways that people interact and the effect that has on every day lives of the people of the United States. The advancements of new technology, and a streaming media have brought new ways of communicating with one another.  The Internet, public protesting and expressing one’s opinions on a daily basis have all been greatly affected in the past decades. It is important that the first amendment be interpreted in different ways in order to keep up with a changing society. New regulations and interpretations of the first amendment are necessary to occur because the changing modes of communication have brought new challenges.   The court system in recent years has been dealing with many cases having to do with public protesting, protesting anti-war sentiments and content that is posted on the Internet.  These cases have changed the way that the first amendment is interpreted and because of the continuing advancements of technology, more cases will arise to cause the public and the court system to continue to re-interpret the first amendment to fit the current society.


April 18 Homework

Part 1: An important term that is still being debated on the specific definition is obscenity.  The word may seem like a simple definition enough to define, but every individual sees different words and acts as obscene while others may seem those same wrods and acts as normal and completely acceptable in everyday life.  Walter Berns defined obscenity in his book as, “An absecene work is now defined as a work that, taken as a whole, appeals to a prurient interest, poUSrtrays sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner, and-this is new since 1971-does not, when considered in its entirety, hae ‘serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.'” this is a broad definition and some people who are more strict in their views do not agree with it at all.  The difficult with defining obscenity is that it will constantly be changing with our society in how much more controversial content we will allow to be public.  It is central in deciding what will and will not be protected by the first amendment rights, with no solid definition of what obscenity there is no easy way to clearly decide what will be protected by the first amendment.

Knowing what a public area is important to know when dealing with the rights of public protesting and where the line is drawn for people that want to protest.  USLegal defined a pulic place as, “A public place is generally an indoor or outdoor area, whether privately or publicly owned, to which the public have access by right or by invitation, expressed or implied, whether by payment of money or not, but not a place when used exclusively by one or more individuals for a private gathering or other personal purpose.”  When dealing with the rights of public protesting, people can only protest legally in public areas.  Howeer, people still want to out restrictions on where people can protest and what they can say, even though the protesters are protected under the first amendment.

New technology is a big issue when it comes to defining the new terms of the first amendment.  New technology mainly involves the internet and all of the ways that the internet can be obtained.  That can be through the phone, computer, Ipad, or any other new technology that has been happening through the past few years.  New technology is key in the modern ways that the first amendment will be defined because the internet gets people’s thoughts and words out into the public almost instantaneously so there must be some regulation that is more immediate than the older ways that the first amendment was enforced.

Part 3: The advancements of new technology have brought new ways of communicating with one another.  The internet, public protesting and expressing one’s opinions on a daily basis have all been greatly effected in the past decades.  New regulations and interpretations of the first amendment are necessary to occur because the changing modes of communication have brought new challenges on deciding whether or not some language is considered appropriate or not.

the thesis answers the question of what has changed in current times that has brought new interpretations of the first amendment.  the thesis answers this by stating very clearly that technology has brought changes and because of that new regulations are necessary.  new regulations are necessary because laws must change in order to accommodate what the society at the time calls for.  much like the different interpretations of the Constitution, the same applies here in keeping the meaning of freedom of speech alive without taking it too far to let any and all language be acceptable.

The advancements of new technology, and a streaming media have brought new ways of communicating with one another.  The internet, public protesting and expressing one’s opinions on a daily basis have all been greatly effected in the past decades. It is important that the first amendment be interpreted in different ways in order to keep up with a changing society. New regulations and interpretations of the first amendment are necessary to occur because the changing modes of communication have brought new challenges.  The government does not have the ultimate say on whether or not some language is appropriate or not because people can always get their message out in the world eventually.


April 13 Homework

Part 1:  “…, the Court has made it clear that the states and municipalities may not absolutely forbid the use of public property for the purposes of speaking or for the distribution of handbills and the like.  But they may place reasonable restrictions on this use of a public forum, restrictions taking into account what might be called, in the words of another part of the Constitution, the time, place and manner of the speech.”  -Walter Berns, The First Amendment and the Future of American Democracy.

Berns is saying here that the states and the enforcements of those states have no right to dictate what is being done on public property whether that be  handing out information in pamphlets or protesting.  However, they can somewhat control what is being said based on the time, place and content of what is being said and whether or not what is being said on public property could be considered dangerous or some sort of invasion of public information.  In regards to my paper, this is an important quote because it states very clearly that there cannot be restrictions put on public speech and actions, except in cases where time, place and manner of speech is under watch.  The interesting part of tat rule is that it is vague and provides little guidelines about when to restrict speech.  Therefore, it is put in the hands of law enforcement to decide when is it necessary for the freedom of sppech to take a back seat to security.  It is the backbone of my paper of the fine line between expressing one’s free speech and when it crosses lines into threatening talk or obscene language that is unacceptable in the public’s eye.

“The fact that the Supreme Court would allow some regulation of first amendment uses of school property, and the prohibition of disruptive protests, does not detract from the significance of the Court’s holding in Tinker: the recognition that the first amendment excludes certain physical areas from permissible state total prohibitions of first amendment activities.”-“The First Amendment Right to a Public Forum” by Allan Hornino.

The quote focuses on the first amendment and the school system.  It states that there are some regulations that are made by the school system that are considered to be constitutional but what happened in the Tinker case was crossing a line.  The state does not have total and complete control over some areas that are protected under the first amendment.  The case entioned in the quote “Tinker” is about three students in Des Moines in 1965 who were wearing black arm bands to school to protest the Vietnam war and were sent home because of that.  Even though the school allowed other political  symbols, the school did not allow this arm band.  In a 7:2 decision by the supreme court the children won their case because they have a first amendment right to protest the way by wearing those arm bands.  Both the case and the quote can be used in my paper to support how there are some areas that are regulated by certain authorities, like the school district in determining what young people can wear tos chool and what language they can use in school, but sometimes the restriction impede on free speech and expressing one’s views about politics or some social change.

Part 2: Both quotes state approximately the same thing in that the first amendment does not completely allow people to say whatever they want in any place they want to.  The quotes state how there are certain times, places and circumstances where the speech and expressions should be restricted in order to keep peace and stability in a community.  The quotes differ in the fact that the second quote is more specific and shows that the first amendment does take some triumph in cases where people are non-violently stating what their thoughts and opinions are about some social change.  the first quote is more general and states just the basic rule of thumb in enforcing the first amendment in appropriate ways.  the authors of the first quote is more interested in the concepts of the first amendment and the results of the court rulings and how they have effected the meaning of the first amendment.  the author of the second quote is very focused on the specific sourt cases and the rulings of the case in the short term matter and not as concerned with the broad reach that a decision could make.


April 6 Homework

I picked up three books in the library that seem to be good sources, luckily i got three because after looking at it more thoroughly, is not as reliable as I hoped.  But the book that I believe is the most academic is “The First Amendment and the Future of American Policy” by Walter Berns.  The book has chapters dedicated to different aspects of the first amendment like religion and the founding principle, religion and the Supreme Court, freedom of expression and two other chapters that I’m not too interested in.  The chapter that I would be most interested in would be the last one discussing freedom of expression and morality.  It talks about obscenity and what that means to certain people.  Berns also points out what the founders might have meant when they wrote the amendment and how the meaning has changed in today’s terms.  This is the first reference I found that directly connects the founder’s words to how we interpret them today.  The writer, Walter Berns is a professor at georgetown university and is a scholar of constitutional law and political philosophy.  He is a reliable source because he is well educated in the topic that he is writing on.  The book is also in the library of congress, which is a legitimate place to be for a book about politics and the meaning of the constitution.  The book would be useful for me because it has different sections that all relate to my focus in some way.  And as I mentioned previously, it is the first reference that relates the founder’s meaning to what the meaning of free speech is today.  By using this source it will make my paper stronger and more well-rounded.


April 4 Homework

Part 4: The first online source I found was CNET news and I found it on google news.  The article is about a court case from 2001 regarding the first amendment rights of what people say on the internet.  The article is interesting now to look on because it took place at a time when the internet was just starting to become the main mode of communication and speaking to other people.  The article talks about two lawsuits, one in which it was ruled that anyone could say what they wanted on the internet because of the first amendment right to free speech.  The second case reputed that case and ruled that people could not say what they wanted on the internet and it was necessary to censor oneself and what content they spoke of.  The main issue is with hackers, and the information that they put on the internet about how to break certain codes on websites and important businesses.  There is a lot of back and forth on the rights of whether hackers can say what they want to about codes and other ways links to hack websites, even the supreme court did not seem to certain on their ruling that the first amendment did have limits depending on content and circumstance.  The article does seem reliable for a news article.  The people mentioned are cited and there are many companies and people mentioned that are quoted many times to show what their opinions were to support the message of the article.  Also, CBS, where the article is originally from, is a reliable news source and delievers news that is respected by many people.  For my paper I would definitely use this article because it was a lot of good quotes and opinions that i can use to support my foci.  To be able and look back on the first amendment rights of something so important now like the internet will be very interesting to include in my research as well.

The second article i found was from worldpress.org  and the website is called The Blaze.  This article is very recent and deals witht he ruling of the Westboro case.  It involves a church protesting outside a veterans funeral declaring anti-gay saying and extremely emotionally disturbing messages.  however, the supreme court ruled that the church was within the first amendment rights and there was nothing that the father of the dead soldier could do.  The supreme court was reluctant to give this ruling but the church was within their rights, making for a very frustrating case.  The article does use quotes and facts of the supreme court to make themselves seem more reliable. but if were to use this subject in my paper i might look in other places on the internet to find more thorough information.  The place i might look would be somewhere more well-known and respected.  But the subject of the Westboro case is something that I definitely want to explore and to use to make a point in my essay that sometimes the rights of the first amendments can be frustrating to uphold in cases such as this.

Part 5: For the blog search i found one blog post on blogsearch.google regarding a public employee that claims her first amendment rights were violated.  The article states that there were posters and letters that were written anonymously defaming the president of the college that this woman worked at.  She claimed that her first amendment rights were being violated because she was just voicing her opinion and that the school can not tell her what to say and not to say.  In the coust case she denied writing the letters and also that her first amendment rights were being violated.  The article points out that doesnt make sense if did not write the letters then her first amendment rights could not have been violated.  The case then becomes a matter of the woman trying every defense in the book to try and get herself out of trouble.  The article is interesting and it comes from a seemingly reliable source, but with a blog there is not real evidence to prove if the facts stated are real or just the opinion of the person writing the blog.  However, that being said, i would still probably use this in my paper just to show the declaring the violation of the first amendment rights is a way for people to say whatever they want about anything and still find a way to claim that they were in the right.

The second blog i found was from icerocket (gotta love that name) and blog was UP/News Report: First the Facts.  The article deals with a man in Texas who was holding up a political sign outside of a polling booth.  He was arrested because the city of Watauage where he was had just recently banned political signs on all public property during the political season.  The man was unaware of this and therefore he was arrested.  The man claims his first amendment rights were broken and a court case took place and the man ended up winning and against the city.  The blog where this was posted seems like a reliable source and a place where the information would be legitimate.  I would use this in my paper to show that there are specific laws created by some people in some areas who know that people like to use their freedom of speech to voice their opinions and some people attempt to make laws and regulations to try and limit that speech, even if it is for only a week or two every year or every few years.  It is an interesting aspect of the first amendment that would be good to cover in my paper and to alert readers that free speech is always allowed, as this case proves.