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Judges refuse to overturn Net obscenity law

New York panel rejects arguments from fine art photographer who specializes in sadomasochistic imagery.

A special three-judge panel declined to overturn a 1996 federal law prohibiting anyone from sending obscenity across the Internet. The New York panel on Monday rejected arguments from Barbara Nitke, a fine art photographer who specializes in sadomasochistic imagery, who had filed suit in December 2001 to overturn the law.

The lawsuit had targeted the Communications Decency Act's restrictions dealing with obscenity and community standards, arguing that applying old-fashioned geographical rules about what's acceptable makes no sense on the Internet. The judges agreed that Nitke was right to be worried about being prosecuted under the law--but concluded that she did not provide sufficient evidence to justify striking down that portion of the CDA.