Twitter Users Similar to Colonial Americans

A federal judge has ruled this year on a 2006 case that a man cannot be prosecuted for tweeting harassing phrases as it violates his First Amendment rights. This is great news that will serve as a precedent for future cases. Let it be known that you cannot be prosecuted for harassement on Twitter. But this can apply to more than just harrasement. Just like you have a right to protest, you have the right to say anything you want on Twitter. And in a time of SOPA and the NDAA, it’s good to know that some things work out in the end.

The judge on this case made a great statement regarding this right. And just like Gizmodo posted an excerpt of his statement, I will too, because there’s no way I can paraphrase it:

Because this case involves First Amendment issues, terms that were in use by citizens when the Bill of Rights was drafted may help in understanding the legal context of Blogs and Twitter. Suppose that a Colonist erects a bulletin board in the front yard of his home to post announcements that might be of interest to others and other Colonists do the same. A Blog is like a bulletin board, except that it is erected in cyberspace rather than in one’s front yard. If one Colonist wants to see what is on another’s bulletin board, he would need to walk over to his neighbor’s yard and look at what is posted, or hire someone else to do so. Now, one can inspect a neighbor’s Blog by simply turning on a computer.

Twitter allows the bulletin board system to function so that what is posted on Colonist No. 1’s bulletin board is automatically posted on Colonist No. 2’s bulletin board for Colonist No. 2 to see. The automatic postings from one Colonist to another can be turned on or off by the owners of the bulletin boards, but there is no mandatory aspect of postings on one Colonist’s bulletin board showing up on the other’s. It is entirely up to the two Colonists whether their bulletin boards will be interconnected in such a manner.

This judge’s words show a great understanding of the internet and modern communication. It’s refreshing to see a judge that isn’t out of sync with society.

via Gizmodo

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