September 02, 1998

Reporter Vol. 4 No. 2

3 min

Venable's NII Reporter

v. 4, No. 2 (rev.)

Venable's NII Reporter is an electronic publication of the Information Law Group covering the significant legal and public policy issues encountered on the Information Superhighway. This publication highlights topical issues affecting information providers and users of cyberspace. Readers are encouraged to use the feedback form, or E-mail, to suggest additional topics, provide additional news items, or respond to comments in the publication.

Library Internet Filtering Litigation

Venable is representing the Loudoun County, Virginia, Library Board in defending their installation of filtering software on their Internet public access terminals. On December 22, 1997, a complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia claiming that the use of filtering software by a public library violated the First Amendment.

On February 2, 1998, Venable filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint, asserting that there is no prohibition under the First Amendment on the use of filtering software by a public library. A copy of the memorandum in support of that motion (with links to Supreme Court cases cited), prepared by Ken Bass and Damon Wright, is available on this site. We have also posted a copy of a companion memorandum supporting a second motion that seeks to dismiss all claims against the individual defendants on grounds of immunity.

The Motion to Dismiss was supported by the Declaration of Cindy Timmerman.

On February 5, the ACLU filed a Motion to Intervene on behalf of several Web publishers. Their proposed complaint is available on the ACLU website. On February 12, 1998 we filed our Response to that Motion.

On February 13, the Plaintiffs' filed their Oppositions to our Motions. On February 18, we filed a Response to Plaintiff's Opposition to Our Motion to Dismiss.

On April 7, 1998, Judge Brinkema issued an Opinion GRANTING the Motion to Dismiss the individual Defendants and DENYING the Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. The litigation will now proceed to a hearing to determine whether the filtering system employed by Loudoun County is a lawful means of precluding access to obscene materials on the Internet.

On April 20, 1998, Venable filed an Answer to Mainstream Loudoun's Complaint and an Answer to the Intervenors' Complaint.

At the pre-trial conference on August 20, 1998, a trial was scheduled beginning October 14, 1998. We expect the plaintiffs will move for summary judgment on or before September 8, 1998, and that argument on that motion will be scheduled for September 29, 1998.

NOTE: For the convenience of our readers, all future filings in this case that we post to the Venable Website will be referenced from this page. If you want to stay abreast of the case, create a bookmark to this page and just check the revision date to see if there are any new filings.

For more information on Venable's Information Law Group, contact

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