Monday, January 22, 2007

Adam Liptak of the New York Times is off to a mixed start with his legal column.

Today's New York Times introduced "Sidebar," a new column on legal issues with "Fair Housing, Free Speech and Choosy Roommates." I'm impressed by the choice of this topic, which is at the confluence of several critical legal issues, and the author, Adam Liptak, does a very good job of explaining that. I suspect that I will become a regular reader of this column. However, his tone in one spot annoyed me because of its apparent lack of appreciation for the importance of one of those issues.
"To compound matters, Congress created a second kind of mischief in 1996 when it enacted the Communications Decency Act. Almost in passing, that law made online companies immune from lawsuits over information they transmit but do not create." (the emphasis is mine)
The internet cannot function as a means of free communication if web sites are held responsible for the content of speech that they facilitate. The alternative would turn every internet company into a censor. Imagine if the telephone company had to review every phone call for offensive speech! What Congress did in 1996 was in no way mischief. It established a principle that is fundamental to the way the internet should work.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

It seems to be spring

These pictures were taken today (January 7, 2007) near my home in University Park, Maryland.