Video Presentation: “America’s First Amendment Twilight Zone”

by on March 12, 2009 · 133 comments

Today, it was my great privilege to guest lecture at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. Under the leadership of Ed Felten, who also runs the excellent “Freedom to Tinker” blog, the CITP has quickly become one of America’s premier institutions in the field of IT policy matters. David Robinson, who some of you will remember from his days as an editor at The American, serves as associate director of the CITP program and was kind enough to invite me to speak.  And our own Tim Lee is currently studying there as well.  I wish I was smart enough to get into that program!

The topic of my talk was “The Future of the First Amendment in an Age of Technological Convergence” and I used the opportunity to create a narrated video of this presentation, which I have made to several other groups through the years. In this presentation, I talk about “America’s First Amendment Twilight Zone,” which refers to the fact that identical words and images are being regulated in completely different ways today depending on the mode of transmission. This illogical and unfair situation could eventually threaten the Internet, video games, and all new media with many of the misguided regulations that have long been imposed on broadcast television and radio operators. In my presentation, which you can watch below, I make the case for changing our First Amendment regime to ensure “bit equality”; all speech and media platforms should be accorded the gold standard of First Amendment protection.

The presentation is based upon several other essays, court filings, and law review articles I have written on the topic, including:

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