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Brief on Behalf of Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide in United States v. American Library Association

On February 10, 2003, FEPP submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a coalition of nonprofits and youth media organizations in a constitutional challenge to the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA requires that all libraries and schools receiving certain federal funds or discounts for Internet connections are required to install filters on all computers, for adults and minors alike. The case challenged only the library provisions of CIPA.

The brief notes that even at their least restrictive settings, filters wrongly block tens of thousands of valuable, non-pornographic Web pages, including public health sites, political sites, and job search and career sites. This puts people who depend on libraries for Internet access - including lower-income citizens, the elderly, the disabled, and residents of rural areas - at a discriminatory disadvantage compared to people with computers at home or work.

The brief argues that filters "undermine public libraries' core functions as information providers and conduits for participation in democratic life."

Signers of the brief include Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, Harlem Live, Pacific News Service, Peacefire, Rock Out Censorship, TRUCE, and Wiretap Magazine.

Read the brief.

On June 23, 2003, the Supreme Court upheld CIPA.


The Free Expression Policy Project began in 2000 to provide empirical research and policy development on tough censorship issues and seek free speech-friendly solutions to the concerns that drive censorship campaigns. In 2004-2007, it was part of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. The FEPP website is now hosted by the National Coalition Against Censorship. Past funders have included the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Open Society Institute, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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