On December 8, a remarkable group of Internet policy experts and lawyers gathered in San Francisco for a conference on the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1997 decision in Reno v. ACLU, a landmark ruling that struck down parts of a 1995 law would have greatly restricted free speech online, while preserving a small part of the law that has in turn enabled online innovation and free speech to blossom.
Authored largely by Senator James Exon of Nebraska, The Communications Decency Act, passed in 1995, sought to impose decency standards on the Internet, much like those that existed for broadcast television.
That the Supreme court struck down the anti-free speech provisions of the CDA in 1997 while leaving Section 230 intact is a testament to the work of a small group of men and women, lawyers and advocates, and the organizations that supported them: The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and many other concerned groups joined hands to bring their concerns to the courts—and to the public.
See Also: The Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition
“The Citizens Internet Empowerment Coalition came together to oppose Congress’ first attempt to regulate content on the Internet, the Communications Decency Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court found unconstitutional on June 26, 1997.”
See Also: ACLU Materials and Documents re: CDA