Tag Archives | law

How 42-Year-Old Porn Might Screw Video Games

“Censors are, of course, propelled by their own neuroses. That is why a universally accepted definition of obscenity is impossible. Any definition is indeed highly subjective, turning on the neurosis of the censor.”

So said U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Douglas in 1968, arguing against most of his colleagues who felt that selling nude magazines to minors should be a criminal offense. The courts, he said, should not decide what’s suitable for people to read. That decision is best left to parents or religious groups.

As today’s Supreme Court grappled with the legality of selling violent video games to minors, Douglas’ dissent in Ginsburg v. New York seemed as relevant as ever.

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Silicon Valley Police Involved in iPhone 4G Investigation

Police in Silicon Valley have launched an investigation into the lost iPhone prototype that made its way in to the hands of Gizmodo, CNET reported late Friday. Law enforcement officials told the site that criminal laws may have been broken as a result of the transaction, but did not provide much more in the way of detail.

CNET’s source claimed that Apple had been contacted, and it was thought that a computer crime task force from Santa Clara County (where Apple is headquartered) was heading up the investigation. Everything is preliminary, and the investigation will only see if enough evidence exists to press charges.

It is not known if the investigation directly targets Gizmodo, the person who found the device, or both. Some legal analysts have said in the least that Apple may have a case against the prototype’s finder, and possibly Gizmodo as well depending on the facts.

Pressing charges against the site may not be as straightforward as some think: as I wrote Tuesday Apple does share some culpability in the matter, and due to First Amendment issues and past Supreme Court decisions, it’s much harder to criminally prosecute the press for leaks.

However, those cases did not deal with confidential information obtained in the manner that Gizmodo did, so it’s unclear how much those decisions would apply here.