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CBLDF Is Fighting For Free Speech in Tennessee and Utah

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The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has been busy lately defending our free speech rights.  The first fight is taking place in Utah Last Wednesday along with a coalition including the ACLU of Utah and Media Coalition, asked the federal district court in Salt Lake City to permanently bar enforcement of a Utah statute that restricts constitutionally-protected speech on the Internet.  The statue in question was passed in 2005, but has not been enforced due to an injunction.

The court case is Florence v. Shurtleff, No. 05-CV-485 (United States District Court, District of Utah) and according to the CBLDF:

Utah’s law seeks to regulate all Internet speech that some might consider “harmful to minors,” including works of visual art, photography, graphic novels, and information about sexual health and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.

Over in Tennessee another fight involving speech on the internet is also being waged.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law HB 300.  This brilliant piece of legislation makes criminals who posts an image, phrase or link online that causes “emotional distress.”  This is the case even if the person who suffers distress wasn’t the intended recipient.

The language of the bill is extremely vague and open to interpretation; a prosecutor need only convince a jury that an image, phrase, or link was posted with the express purpose of causing distress in order for HB 300 to be invoked.

The legislation also strips you of your right of due process by giving authorities the right to access servers of social networking sites located in Tennessee without a warrant when certain conditions are met.  Now if only we were fighting this before it was passed….

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