Online pornography in australia: lessons from the first amendment



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Liberating Cyberspace: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and the Internet (1999) 13, 27.

32 C Edwin Baker, Human Liberty and Freedom of Speech (1989) 7.

33 Wojciech Sadurski, Freedom of Speech and Its Limits (1999) 8-10.

34 Alexander Meiklejohn, ‘The First Amendment is an Absolute’ [1961] Supreme Court Review 245; see also Richard Fallon Jr, ‘Post on Public Discourse under the First Amendment’ (1990) 103 Harvard Law Review 1738.

35 Owen Fiss, The Irony of Free Speech (1996) 2-3.

36 Sadurski, above n 33, 22-7; Eric Barendt, Freedom of Speech (1985) 21.

37 Ronald Dworkin, ‘Is there a Right to Pornography?’ (1981) 1 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 177, 177.

38 Sadurski, above n 33, 17.

39 Ibid 19-20; Barendt, above n 36, 18.

40 Dworkin, above n 37, 185.

41 Margaret Blanchard, ‘The American Urge to Censor: Freedom of Expression Versus the Desire to Sanitize Society – From Anthony Comstock to 2 Live Crew’ (1992) 33 William & Mary Law Review 741, 771, 774.

42 Ibid 803, 828-34.

43 See generally Lee Bollinger, The Tolerant Society: Freedom of Speech and Extremist Speech in America (1986).

44 Sadurski, above n 33, 33; see also Greenawalt, above n 29, 147.

45 Mill, above n 29, ch 1; Beth Gaze and Melinda Jones, Law, Liberty and Australian Democracy (1990) 382.

46 Greenawalt, above n 29, 122.

47 Stella Rozanski, ‘Obscenity: Common Law and the Abuse of Women’ (1991) 13 Adelaide Law Review 163, 177, 181; Gail Dines, Robert Jensen and Ann Russo, Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality (1998) 21-2; MacKinnon, above n 13, 462.

48 Barbara Sullivan, The Politics of Sex: Prostitution and Pornography in Australia Since 1945 (1997) 3.

49 Rozanski, above n 47, 178-9.

50 Dines, Jensen and Russo, above n 47, 23-8.

51 Anne Orford, ‘Liberty, Equality, Pornography: The Bodies of Women and Human Rights Discourse’ (1994) 3 Australian Feminist Law Journal 73, 91; Rozanski, above n 47, 164, 193; Dines, Jensen and Russo, above n 47, 23; Susanne Kappeler, ‘Pornography: The Representation of Power’ in Catherine Itzin (ed), Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties (1992) 88, 91.

52 Liz Kelly, ‘Pornography and Child Sexual Abuse’ in Catherine Itzin (ed), Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties (1992) 113, 116.

53 Ibid 116-7; Catherine Itzin, ‘Pornography and the Social Construction of Sexual Inequality’ in Catherine Itzin (ed), Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties (1992) 57, 65.

54 Kelly, above n 52, 113, 115.

55 For example, in the video produced by The Education Resource Centre, Institute of Education, University of Melbourne, Cutting Edge – Against Pornography: The Feminism of Andrea Dworkin (30 June 1992), several horrifying accounts are given, including of a snake being inserted into a baby’s anus and a young girl being raped by her father or grandfather.

56 For example, reports of a woman’s labia being nailed to a table: Catherine Itzin, ‘Pornography and Civil Liberties: Freedom, Harm and Human Rights’ in Catherine Itzin (ed), Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties (1992) 553, 569.

57 Jill Meyer, ‘In Search of a Right to Escape From a Pornographic Society’ (1996) 23 Northern Kentucky University Law Review 553, 568.

58 H L A Hart, Law, Liberty and Morality (1963) 31-3.

59 Mill, above n 29, ch 1; Gaze and Jones, above n 45, 382.

60 D F B Tucker, Law, Liberalism and Free Speech (1985) 127-33; Hart, above n 58, 47.

61 Kappeler, above n 51, 91.

62 See below Part VII(C).

63 See Dines, Jensen and Russo, above n 47, 109-34; Deborah Cameron and Elizabeth Frazer, ‘On the Question of Pornography and Sexual Violence: Moving Beyond Cause and Effect’ in Catherine Itzin (ed), Pornography: Women, Violence and Civil Liberties (1992) 359, 361-7; MacKinnon, above n 13, 477-80.

64 Dworkin, ‘Against the Male Flood’, above n 4, 528; see also MacKinnon, above n 13, 477.

65 Itzin, above n 53, 67.

66 Ibid 68.

67 MacKinnon, above n 13, 461-3, 473-8; MacKinnon, Only Words, above n 4, 118-20.

68 MacKinnon, Only Words, above n 4, 95-7.

69 Rodgerson and Wilson, above n 3, 36; see also Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 113-14.

70 C Edwin Baker, ‘Harm, Liberty, and Free Speech’ (1997) 70 Southern California Law Review 979, 984.

71 Ibid 982.

72 Sadurski, above n 33, 121-2.

73 See, eg, MacKinnon, above n 13, 483-5; MacKinnon, Only Words, above n 4, 29.

74 Sadurski, above n 33, 123.

75 Rae Langton, ‘Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts’ in Tom Campbell and Wojciech Sadurski (eds), Freedom of Communication (1994) 95, 110.

76 Sadurski, above n 33, 123-32.

77 Catharine Lumby, Bad Girls (1997) xxv; Strossen, ‘A Feminist Critique’, above n 3, 1131.

78 Strossen, ‘Defending Pornography’, above n 3, 146; see also Strossen, ‘A Feminist Critique’, above n 3, 1128-30.

79 Nancy Friday, Women on Top (1991) 4-5, cited in Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 173.

80 Jean MacKellar, in collaboration with Menacham Amir, Rape: The Bait and the Trap: A Balanced, Humane, Up to Date Analysis of Its Causes and Control (1975) 260, cited in Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 173.

81 Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 172-3; Nancy Friday, Forbidden Flowers (1994) 169-71.

82 See General Assembly of the United Nations, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, UN Doc A/RES/54/263 (2000).

83 Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 179-88; Nadine Strossen, ‘Book Review: The Convergence of Feminist and Civil Liberties Principles in the Pornography Debate’ (1987) 62 New York University Law Review 201, 211-12; Strossen, ‘A Feminist Critique’, above n 3, 1137-9. Contra: Andrea Dworkin, Woman Hating (1984) 184; Catharine MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989) 113, 125; Andrea Dworkin, Pornography: Men Possessing Women (1979) 23.

84 See, eg, Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 41; Strossen, ‘Hate Speech’, above n 3, 454.

85 Cf Strossen, ‘A Feminist Critique’, above n 3, 1135.

86 Jeffrey Goldsworthy, ‘The Constitutional Protection of Rights in Australia’ in Greg Craven (ed), Australian Federation: Towards the Second Century (1992) 151, 171; Fiss, above n 35, 16; MacKinnon, above n 13, 471; cf Alon Harel, ‘Bigotry, Pornography, and the First Amendment: A Theory of Unprotected Speech’ (1992) 65 Southern California Law Review 1887, 1902.

87 Sadurski, above n 33, 99-101; MacKinnon, above n 13, 483-5; Dworkin, ‘Against the Male Flood’, above n 4, 515, 529.

88 MacKinnon, above n 13, 471.

89 Ibid 483-5.

90 MacKinnon, Only Words, above n 4, 9-10, see also 40-1.

91 Ibid 9.

92 Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 192; Strossen, ‘Hate Speech’, above n 3, 461-2.

93 Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 180, 254.

94 Dworkin, ‘Against the Male Flood’, above n 4, 515, 533.

95 Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 31-2, 62; Strossen, ‘Hate Speech’, above n 3, 462-8; Strossen, ‘A Feminist Critique’, above n 3, 1145; cf David Knoll, ‘Anti-Vilification Laws: Some Recent Developments in the United States and their Implications for Proposed Legislation in the Commonwealth of Australia’ (1994) 1 Australian Journal of Human Rights 211, 234.

96 Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 11; Meyer, above n 57, 566; Blanchard, above n 41, 766-7.

97 Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 20-1.

98 Ibid 228-9.

99 Ibid 164-70.

100 Lawrence Lessig, ‘Reading the Constitution in Cyberspace’ (1996) 45 Emory Law Journal 869, 892.

101 Ibid 885-6.

102 Ibid 888-9.

103 Ibid 894.

104 Thomas Krattenmaker and L A Powe Jr, ‘Converging First Amendment Principles for Converging Communications Media’ (1995) 104 Yale Law Journal 1719, 1736; Adrianne Goldsmith, ‘Sex, Cyberspace, and the Communications Decency Act: The Argument for an Uncensored Internet’ [1997] Utah Law Review 843, 843.

105 David Lindsay, ‘Censoring the Internet: the Australian Approach to Regulating Internet Content’ (Research Paper No 9, Centre for Media, Communications and Information Technology Law, University of Melbourne, 1999) 34.

106 Lessig, above n 100, 887.

107 Lindsay, above n 105, 20, 22.

108 These difficulties have not been resolved by the Online Services Act, see below Part VII(C).

109 Dominic Andreano, ‘Cyberspace: How Decent is the Decency Act?’ (1996) 8 St Thomas Law Review 593, 597, 610; Newey, above n 31, 31.

110 Marty Rimm, ‘Marketing Pornography on the Information Superhighway: A Survey of 917 410 Images, Descriptions, Short Stories and Animations Downloaded 8.5 Million Times by Consumers in Over 2 000 Cities in Forty Countries, Provinces and Territories’ (1995) 83 Georgetown Law Journal 1849; see the discussion in Peter Johnson, ‘Pornography Drives Technology: Why Not to Censor the Internet’ (1996) 49 Federal Communications Law Journal 217, 224-5.

111 See, eg, Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States v American Civil Liberties Union, 521 US 844, 854, 867-9 (1997); Andreano, above n 109, 600-1; Angus Hamilton, ‘The Net Out of Control – A New Moral Panic: Censorship and Sexuality’ in Liberty (ed), Liberating Cyberspace: Civil Liberties, Human Rights and the Internet (1999) 169, 170; Goldsmith, above n 104, 846-7, 857.

112 See below Part VI(A); Goldsmith, above n 104, 855-6.

113 438 US 726, 740, 746 (1978). See also above Part II.

114 492 US 115 (1989).

Ibid 126.

115 United States v Playboy Entertainment Group Inc, 529 US 803 (2000).

116 But see Krattenmaker and Powe, above n 104.

117 Action for Children’s Television v Federal Communications Commission (No 3), 58 F3d 654 (DC Cir, 1995).

118 Pacifica, 438 US 726, 748 (1978).

119 Ibid 748-9.

120 Ibid 748.

121 New York v Ferber, 458 US 747 (1982); see also ibid 749.

122 438 US 726, 719-30 (1978).

123 47 USC s 223 (1996).

124 Communications Decency Act, s 223(a)(1)(B), 47 USC s 223 (1996).

125 Communications Decency Act, s 223(d)(1), 47 USC s 223 (1996).

126 Communications Decency Act, s 223(e)(5), 47 USC s 223 (1996).

127 521 US 844 (1997).

128 Ibid 867, 868-9.

129 Ibid 854, 867-9.

130 Ibid 868-70.

131 See Sable, 492 US 115, 126 (1989).

132 Reno No 1, 521 US 844, 879 (1997).

133 See Miller, 413 US 15, 24 (1973).

134 Reno No 1 521 US 844, 874 (1997).

135 Ibid 871.

136 Ibid 856, 881-2.

137 Ibid 856-7.

138 Miller, 413 US 15, 24 (1973).

139 Anne Branscomb, ‘Anonymity, Autonomy, and Accountability: Challenges to the First Amendment in Cyberspace’ (1995) 104 Yale Law Journal 1639, 1654; see also Goldsmith, above n 104, 860.

140 Reno No 1, 521 US 844, 877-8 (1997).

141 Ibid 878.

142 Lessig, above n 100, 893-5.

143 47 USC s 231 (1998).

144 413 US 15, 24 (1973).

145 Child Online Protection Act, s 231(e)(6), 47 USC s 231 (1998).

146 Child Online Protection Act, s 231(c), 47 USC s 231 (1998).

147 217 F3d 162 (3rd Cir, 2000).

148 Reno No 2, 217 F3d 162, 166 (3rd Cir, 2000).

149 See Hilary Charlesworth, ‘The Australian Reluctance About Rights’ in Philip Alston (ed), Towards an Australian Bill of Rights (1994) 21, 25; see also Elizabeth Evatt AC, ‘Meeting Universal Human Rights Standards: The Australian Experience’ (Paper presented at the Department of the Senate Occasional Lecture Series, Parliament House, Canberra, 22 May 1998).

150 Brian Galligan, ‘Australia’s Political Culture and Institutional Design’ in Philip Alston (ed), Towards an Australian Bill of Rights (1994) 55, 63; Goldsworthy, above n 86, 158.

151 Peter Bailey, Human Rights: Australia in an International Context (1990) 84-6. The provisions listed are ss 8, 16, 24, 30, 31, 34, 41, 51(ii), 51(xxiiiA), 51(xxxi), 75, 80, 84, 88, 90, 92, 99, 100, 102, 104, 109, 113, 116, 117, 119, 128.

152 See Goldsworthy, above n 86, 151-2.

153 Australian Constitution s 24.

154 Australian Constitution s 128.

155 On the question of whether Australia should introduce a Bill of Rights see generally Philip Alston (ed), Towards an Australian Bill of Rights (1994); Enid Campbell and Harry Whitmore, Freedom in Australia (2nd ed, 1973) 432-56; Frank Brennan, Legislating Liberty? A Bill of Rights for Australia (1998); Goldsworthy, above n 86, 160-76.

156 Charlesworth, above n 150, 28-33.

157 Constitutional Alteration (Post-War Reconstruction and Democratic Rights) Bill 1944 (Cth); see George Williams, Human Rights under the Australian Constitution (1999) 251-2.

158 Charlesworth, above n 150, 22-3, 53.

159 Galligan, above n 151, 59; see also Eugene Kamenka and Alice Erh-Soon Tay, ‘Introduction: Human Rights and the Australian Tradition’ in Alice Erh-Soon Tay (ed), Teaching Human Rights (1981) 1, 3.

160 Strossen, ‘Hate Speech’, above n 3, 458-77; Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 30-2; cf Fiss, above n 35, 12-13; MacKinnon, Only Words, above n 4, 71.

161 Goldsworthy, above n 86, 153; Hugh Collins, ‘Political Ideology in Australia: The Distinctiveness of a Benthamite Society’ (1985) 114 Daedalus 147; cf Galligan, above n 151, 61-2.

162 Cf Sir Anthony Mason, ‘Future Directions in Australian Law’ (1987) 13 Monash University Law Review 149, 163; Goldsworthy, above n 86, 165; Dworkin, above n 37, 202-5.

163 Attorney-General v Guardian Newspapers (No 2) [1990] 1 AC 109, 283, cited in Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997) 189 CLR 520, fn 62.

164 For example, in one case a group of Indigenous Australians challenged the validity of legislative restrictions on the use of certain words related to the Bicentenary. In its decision, the High Court made only passing reference to the importance of free expression: Davis v Commonwealth (1988) 166 CLR 79, 100, 116.

165 Australian Communist Party v Commonwealth (1951) 83 CLR 1.

166 Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950 (Cth) s 4.

167 Communist Party Dissolution Act 1950 (Cth) ss 9, 10.

168 Charlesworth, above n 150, 26.

169 Orford, above n 51, 75.

170 See above Part III(A) for a discussion of art 19.

171 Chu Kheng Lim v Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs (1992) 176 CLR 1, 74.

172 Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs v Teoh (1995) 183 CLR 273, 287; Ivan Shearer, ‘The Relationship between International and Domestic Law’ in Brian Opeskin and Donald Rothwell (eds), International Law and Australian Federalism (1997) 34, 94.

173 Chu Kheng Lim v Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs (1992) 176 CLR 1, 38; Polites v Commonwealth (1945) 70 CLR 60, 69.

174 Opened for signature 16 December 1966, 999 UNTS 171 (entered into force 23 March 1976). Australia became a party on 25 December 1991.

175 See, eg, Toonen v Australia (1994) 1(3) IHRR 97 and the Human Rights (Sexual Conduct) Act 1994 (Cth) s 4, discussed in Hilary Charlesworth, ‘International Human Rights Law and Australian Federalism’ in Brian Opeskin and Donald Rothwell (eds), International Law and Australian Federalism (1997) 280, 297.

176 See, eg, Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v Commonwealth (No 2) (1992) 177 CLR 106; Nationwide News Pty Ltd v Wills (1992) 177 CLR 1; Mabo v Queensland [No 2] (1992) 175 CLR 1; Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997) 189 CLR 520; Levy v State of Victoria (1997) 189 CLR 579; Kruger v Commonwealth (1997) 190 CLR 1.

177 Nationwide News Pty Ltd v Wills (1992) 177 CLR 1; Australian Capital Television v Commonwealth (No 2) (1992) 177 CLR 106; Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997) 189 CLR 520 559.

178 McGinty v Western Australia (1996) 186 CLR 140.

179 Nationwide News Pty Ltd v Wills (1992) 177 CLR 1, 48-9 (Brennan J).

180 Lindsay, above n 105, 36.

181 Stephens v West Australian Newspapers Ltd (1994) 182 CLR 211, 232.

182 Theophanous v Herald & Weekly Times Ltd (1994) 182 CLR 104, 124 (Gaudron J). On the impact of this case on defamation law see generally Sally Walker, ‘The Impact of the High Court’s Free Speech Cases on Defamation Law’ (1995) 17 Sydney Law Review 43.

183 Nationwide News Pty Ltd v Wills (1992) 177 CLR 1, 53 (Brennan J).

184 Australian Capital Television v Commonwealth (No 2) (1992) 177 CLR 106, 132 (Mason CJ).

185 Theophanous v Herald & Weekly Times Ltd (1994) 182 CLR 104, 124.

186 Levy v State of Victoria (1997) 189 CLR 579.

187 Williams, above n 158, 168.

188 Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997) 189 CLR 520, 560.

189 Sally Walker, ‘Lange v ABC: the High Court rethinks the “constitutionalisation” of defamation law’ (1998) 6 Torts Law Journal 9, 14-15.

190 McGinty v Western Australia (1996) 186 CLR 140.

191 Langer v Commonwealth (1996) 186 CLR 302.

192 Lange v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997) 189 CLR 520, 567-8.

193 Lindsay, above n 105, 58.

194 Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) sch 5, s 22(5).

195 Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth), sch 5, s 82.

196 See generally Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 (Cth).

197 Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) sch 5, ss 10-11.

198 Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) sch 5, s 40.

199 Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) sch 5, ss 10-11.

200 See Brendan Scott, ‘Silver Bullets and Golden Egged Geese: A Cold Look at Internet Censorship’ (2000) 23 University of New South Wales Law Journal 215, 220; Peter Chen, ‘Pornography, Protection, Prevarication: The Politics of Internet Censorship’ (2000) 23 University of New South Wales Law Journal 221, 221-3.

201 Scott, above n 201, 218-20.

202 Chen, above n 201, 222.

203 Ibid; Lindsay, above n 105, 122.

204 Cited in Lindsay, above n 105, 20.

205 Ibid 119-22.

206 Chen, above n 201, 226.

207 Lindsay, above n 105, 123-49.

208 Ibid 150.

209 Ibid 121.

210 Ibid 69.

211 Ibid 71.

212 Ibid 49, 65; Chen, above n 201, 223-5.

213 Dworkin and MacKinnon, above n 4, 83-4.

214 Strossen, Defending Pornography, above n 3, 13, 82; Jacobs, above n 15, 801-2.
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