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ABC News - July 29, 2002

Love or Obscenity? S/M Photographer Challenges Internet Decency Standards

By Dean Schabner

ABCnews.com, July 29, 2002

When Barbara Nitke wanted to put her photographs of loving couples on the Internet, she thought she should check into the laws first.

That's because Nitke's recent photographs have been focused on how some couples express their love through sado-masochism.

What Nitke found after reading up on Internet law and talking to lawyers was that the remnants of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, much of which was declared unconstitutional in 1997, could conceivably put her in hot water if her work was considered obscene in some communities. She feared she could be charged with a crime and be forced to take the work down.

So Nitke, along with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a group described on its Web site as "committed to protecting freedom of expression among consenting adults", filed suit against Attorney General John Ashcroft and the U.S. government, challenging the CDA's use of "local community standards" to define what can be considered obscene on the Internet.

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