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Congressional Committee Rules on Net Content

A Congressional conference committee tonight has approved a broad proposal to criminalize certain kinds of "indecent" communication on the Internet. A new version of the so-called White Bill would prohibit the online transmission of "indecent" material to minors...the "indecent" standard is the one that has been held to include the FCC's so-called "seven dirty words," some works of fiction like Catcher In The Rye and Ulysses, as well as some rap lyrics and nude paintings. Before tonight's modifications, the original White Bill used the phrase "harmful to minors" as the standard...that standard is used by many states but is not tested at the federal level. The "indecent" standard was apparently substituted after lobbying by Republican Congressman Robert Goodlatte of Virginia.