Author: Christopher Schiller

New York Bills Attempt to Peek Under the Mask of Anonymity

Anonymous political commentary has been the bedrock of our country’s discourse since before we were a country. Two identical bills, together the so-called Internet Protection Act, are in the legislative process of the New York State Senate and Assembly and aim to eliminate the ability to anonymously participate in political discourse and other discussions that take place on the internet. In their current form, the bills rip the mask off of legitimate, First Amendment protected speech in a vague and an ill-conceived effort to eliminate cyberbullying and “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” (source: First Amendment Center).

If the bills stand as written and make it to law, we could live in a world where Superman may be able to save Metropolis but he could only blog about it as Clark Kent, and then only if he gives his home address. Wouldn’t the villains in the comic world love that kind of leverage? What about those in the real world?

Click through for CBLDF blogger Christopher Schiller’s analysis of the importance of anonymity and the concerns raised by these bills.

Florence v. Shurtleff – The What’s and Why’s in Plain Language

Earlier this month, a ruling was handed down in Florence v. Shurtleff, a long-disputed internet censorship law that sought to require Utah’s Attorney General to create a blacklist of websites containing “harmful-to-minors” materials, required ISPs to rate content, and included criminal penalties for violations. CBLDF was among the plaintiff group that challenged the law, which resolved last week after seven years of legal action. Christopher Schiller provides a short overview of the case, including what was at stake for the State and for free expression.

Censorship, Consequences and the Creative Process

by Christopher Schiller

Throughout the history of comics there are many brave examples of artists tackling controversial subject matter, which has been fodder for many stellar, ground breaking works. Often the tension of controversy is required to have a conversation of great substance with the audience. But there are those who attempt and often succeed in restricting these conversations through censorship, often with dire consequences. The novelist Salman Rushdie, no neophyte in the arena of censorship battles, has recently commented on the impact of censorship on both the works and their creators, pointing out that there is more lasting resonance in the consequences of the prior restraint of creative endeavors than is immediately apparent.

Click through for a discussion of Rushdie’s commentary on censorship and the chilling effect of censorship on the creative process.