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Software Technology Your Rights Online

The First Amendment and Software Speech 194

Posted by timothy
from the hello-world-vs-the-state dept.
First time accepted submitter stanlrev writes "When is software, or content generated by software, 'speech' for First Amendment purposes? That is the question that Andrew Tutt seeks to answer in an article published today in the Stanford Law Review Online. He argues that the two approaches commentators and the Supreme Court have proposed are both incorrect. Software or software-generated content is not always speech simply because it conveys information. Nor is software only speech when it resembles traditional art forms. Instead, the courts should turn to the original purposes of the First Amendment to develop a new approach that answers this question more effectively."
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The First Amendment and Software Speech

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  • by Quila (201335) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:01PM (#41994251)

    Today the greatest threat to democracy is the power of special interest groups. These groups have agendas of their own, and they act in ways that their individual members might not

    Like unions! They oppose laws that restrict their ability to use their members' money to influence elections even when the beliefs of the union are opposite the beliefs of the member. Unfortunately, for many people quitting the union is not a realistic option due to various laws (no right to work) and circumstances. Members of the NRA or Greenpeace can just opt to not renew. Shareholders in corporations can sell their shares. But union members are mostly screwed.

  • A computer is a tool (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davidwr (791652) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:42PM (#41996177) Homepage Journal

    Just about any information-processing software can do a person or team could do if they had infinite time and storage space.

    Perhaps it would make more sense to look at "computer-generated" speech as if a person or team of people was "running the algorithm" and presented the result to the person asking for the data.

    For example, if in the pre-computer, pre-health-privacy era my boss asked me to give him a report of what doctors had prescribed what drugs in the state for the previous year, I would go and talk to each doctor, buy the information from them, write my report, and hand it to him. If it's legal for a non-automated, all-human process to generate and publish this report, then it should be legal for a computer to do so. If it's not legal for people to do it - say, due to privacy laws - then having a computer do it shouldn't change the legality.

When you don't know what you are doing, do it neatly.

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