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New York judges refuse to say Internet obscenity law is unconstitutional

By LARRY NEUMEISTER

Associated Press Writer, July 25, 2005, 7:58 PM EDT 

NEW YORK -- A special three-judge federal panel on Monday refused to find unconstitutional a law making it a crime to send obscenity over the Internet to children.

The Communications Decency Act of 1996 had been challenged by Barbara Nitke, a photographer who specializes in pictures of sadomasochistic sexual behavior, and by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, a Baltimore-based advocacy organization.

They contended in a December 2001 lawsuit brought in U.S. District Court in Manhattan that the law was so broad and vague in its scope that it violated the First Amendment, making it impossible for them to publish to the Internet because they cannot control the forum.

A judge from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals and two district judges heard the facts of the case and issued a written decision saying the plaintiffs had provided insufficient evidence to prove the law was unconstitutional.

The panel noted that evidence was offered to indicate there are at least 1.4 million Web sites that mention bondage, discipline and sadomasochism but that evidence was insufficient to decide how many sites might be considered obscene.

The judges said the evidence also was insufficient for them to determine how much the standards for obscenity differ in communities across the United States.

The court said it was necessary to know how much the standards vary to decide if those creating Web sites would be graded for obscenity unfairly when compared with those who market traditional pornography and can control how they distribute the material.

As the law stands, a communication is obscene if according to each community's standards it appeals to the prurient interest, depicts or describes sexual conduct in an offensive way and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

The law requires that those sending the communications take reasonable actions to restrict or prevent access by children to obscenity, sometimes by using a verified credit card, debit account or adult access code as proof of age.

Nitke, who has exhibited her work for more than 20 years, said she will appeal the ruling.

"I'm appalled," she said. "I think it's vitally important to keep the Internet free for education, the arts and open discussion on sexual targets."

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom also was disappointed with the ruling, spokeswoman Susan Wright said.

"Personal Web sites and chat groups that include discussions and images of explicit sexuality are at risk of prosecution," she said. "Basically, we proved we're at risk of prosecution, and speech has been chilled because people are afraid to put anything sexual on their Web sites."

Group lawyer John Wirenius said in a statement that the court declined to find the law unconstitutional "by setting a standard so high that no plaintiff could have met it."

"They required us to prove facts that the government has refrained from making a paper trail on for 30 years," he said.

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom works to change antiquated laws, oppose censorship of consensual sexual expression and help people who are facing the threat of prosecution or legal action, its Web site says.

Link to original...

Published in CDA Media

Fotog vs. Feds in Obscenity Law: Files suit to keep photos on Web

by Veronica Vera

New York Daily News, July 15, 2002

Photographer Barbara Nitke is used to being behind the lens, but if legal matters heat up, she may soon find the government focusing on her.

Nitke is ready to step into the foreground as the chief plantiff in Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom vs. John Ashcroft and the US Government in a challenge to the Communications Decency Act, which governs obscenity on the Internet.

The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 11 in Manhattan Federal Court of New York; the government moved to dismiss, and the plaintiffs have moved for an injunction.

The case continues to make its way through the courts.

Nitke, whose photo show "20 Years" opened on Friday at the Art at Large Studio in Manhattan, began her career in 1982 as a still photographer on movie sets.

But since 1994, her emphasis has been on chronicling the intimate lives of couples. She has gained a considerable reputation as a fine-art photographer and is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.

Photojournalist Mark Peterson, who attended the packed opening, commented, "There is a beauty and ethereal quality to her work that forces people to look at it in a different way than they might have when they walked into the room." He compared her work with that of Robert Mapplethorpe, who stirred controversy with his erotic photos.

Nitke's involvement in the civil liberties lawsuit began when she decided to create a website on which to show and sell her work. Aware that her photographs are highly provocative, she consulted several lawyers regarding obscenity laws, only to discover that under the Communications Decency Act, obscenity is a gray area determined by community standards.

A 1997 Supreme Court ruling struck down half of the act, the "indecency" section, when it determined that if a work is indecent but still can be found to have redeeming social value, it can be displayed in public. But the "obscenity" portion of the act still stands. Among the lawyers Nitke consulted was John Wirenius, legal counsel for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.

The members of the coalition, "a national organization committed to protecting freedom of expression among consenting adults," were also concerned about obscenity statutes and decided to pursue a proactive stance and challenge the law. They asked Nitke to be the plaintiff because, as Wirenius said, "We wanted to make clear that under the current law, a serious artist whose work is sexually explicit and controversial could be prosecuted."

The tactic proposed by the coalition to sue the government to either define or eliminate the obscenity law appealed to Nitke, who said she believed, "Why wait to respond to trouble if you can nip trouble in the bud?"

Barbara Nitke's "20 years" can be seen through August 3 at Art at Large, located in the Film Center, 630 Ninth Ave. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 1pm to 6pm and Saturday and Sunday by appointment.

This article appeared on:
www.nydailynews.com

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Published in CDA Media

Nerve

December 11, 2001

Photographer Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) filed a lawsuit today, claiming the Internet censorship provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) violates the First Amendment right to free speech.

The provision stipulates that "local community standards" will judge whether or not something is indecent. Yet attorney John Wirenius argues that "By allowing the most restrictive jurisdiction to define what speech can be banned as obscene from the Internet, the CDA allows one community to limit what the entire nation is allowed to discuss, to read or to view. The First Amendment does not allow any one locality to impose its morality on the nation."

Artists like Barbara Nitke fear that their artwork could be targeted by John Ashcroft, who has promised to enforce obscenity laws.

Published in CDA Media

NCSF Tackles "Community Standards" For The Web

By Mark Kernes

Adult Video News, February Issue

Washington, DC

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom may not be a household name, even in the adult entertainment industry, but if their recently-filed lawsuit succeeds, they may go down in history as the first group to secure Americans' core constitutional speech rights. 

NCSF is based in the nation's capital [~] in fact, only a few blocks northwest of the Capitol itself [~] and their objective is to protect freedom of expression among consenting adults, which for them includes a large number of citizens who practice "alternative sexual lifestyles."

The group, and one of its members, Barbara Nitke, filed suit on December 10 to challenge one portion of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA) that the ACLU never got around to [~] some would say, "didn't have the balls to consider" [~] challenging when they filed their suit in 1997, which suit resulted in the term "indecent" being struck from the law as an unconstitutional restriction on Internet free speech.

But the CDA also criminalized Internet "obscenity," and that taboo remains in the law. And as far as plaintiffs' attorney John F. Wirenius is concerned, that's equally unconstitutional.

"Obscenity is unprotected speech, but not all material is obscene from jurisdiction to jurisdiction," Wirenius told Wired News. "Material may be considered obscene in Utah, for example, but not in New York. Whose standards are supposed to be applied to the Internet?"

The problem is the Supreme Court's Miller test for obscenity, which may or may not be implicated in the Child Pornography Prevention Act (COPA) case which was argued by the ACLU before the high court in late November. In order for a work to be obscene, it must appeal to the prurient interest of the average citizen; be completely devoid of any literary, artistic, political or scientific value; and must offend the standards of the community in which the work is being prosecuted, which for most jurisdictions is the state in which the charges are brought.

The trouble with the test is, the Internet has no "community" [~] or, to put it another way, it is its own worldwide community, a "problem" faced by every country whose government finds offensive some material on some Website based abroad and out of that government's control. For instance, it is universally agreed among adult webmasters that no matter what laws are passed to limit the adult content of American Websites, the same or harder material can easily be found on (and downloaded from) Websites based in Europe or the Far East.

"The Internet is not a physical or tangible entity, but is rather a giant network which interconnects innumerable smaller groups of computer networks," argues the lawsuit. "It is thus a network of networks, linked up for communications and data-sharing purposes. The Internet links networks of computers from around the world, forming what is in essence a global network of private and public computers, not regulated by the government of any nation or other central governing body.

"Through devices such as links, or more formally by explicit affiliation, Users of the Internet commonly form 'virtual communities,' loose associations of individuals or groups of similar value systems and/or interests to promote discussions of various topics."

What Nitke and the NCSF are concerned about is maintaining their abilities to engage in frank sexual discussions and to view and exchange "erotic content whether fictional, reminiscence or pictorial" on the Web.

"The websites of various NCSF members, both organizational and affiliate, and associates and affiliates of NCSF Foundation, are strongly sexual in content, but observe the mores of the communities in which they serve [~] that is, they respect the notion that sexual conduct between consenting adults should be 'safe, sane and consensual.' While they may be graphic in a manner that might be offensive to more traditionally-minded communities, members' websites are not patently offensive to the communities they serve. Moreover, members' websites uniformly require a declaration that any person accessing their content is of legal age, and provide advisories as to the nature of the matters discussed therein that are clear without being  themselves explicit."

Moreover, "Plaintiff Nitke, as the proprietor of the website www.barbaranitke.com, publishes an array of erotically-oriented and themed images. Such images, while potentially offensive to members of more traditionally-minded communities, are not offensive to the members of the community to which plaintiff Nitke belongs."

That "community," according to the suit, is the group of voluntary Internet users who choose to access adult material on the Web. However, "The CDA does not provide any definition of 'local community standards' as an element of obscenity," argues the lawsuit. "Because of the indeterminate nature of what community standards would be employed to judge speech employing the medium of the Internet, plaintiff Nitke, members of plaintiff NCSF, and associates affiliates and board members of plaintiff NCSF Foundation have been chilled in their expression... By subjecting all speech on the Internet to potential liability under the local community standards of the most restrictive jurisdiction in the nation, the CDA is unconstitutionally overbroad."

The NCSF and Nitke aren't seeking any monetary damages through the suit. They are, however, asking the high court to define what the "community" of the Internet is.

"All the laws that we have on obscenity are based on local geographical standards," Wirenius notes. "It's a pre cyber-law world. The very definition of obscenity assumes the content provider can control where the content is viewed, and by limiting distribution he or she can limit the content's exposure. That's no longer true in an Internet age."

It's a case [~] Nitke v. Ashcroft [~] that adult webmasters should be watching at least as closely as ACLU v. Ashcroft, since both cases have the potential to enable free speech, even sexual speech, to the extent contemplated by an unfettered reading of the First Amendment [~] or, alternatively, to mire the Internet in such a morass of regulation that purveyors of adult material may have no choice but to relocate their servers offshore or in Europe.

The case, by virtue of provisions in the CDA itself, is on a "fast track," which means that once the Southern District of New York rules on its merits, any appeal will be taken directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Still, the timetable of such action is currently indeterminable, but there's a better-than-even chance that an opinion in this case may come down even before COPA's. In any case, the whole adult community will be watching.

Published in CDA Media

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.

To respond to this article, write to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Published in CDA Media

Reports about the activities of the NCSF Media Committee

NCSF has an active media committee which provides interviews for print, radio, and television. We creates press releases, action alerts, and entertainment media updates. The Media committee also provides media training and coaching to coalition partners, advocacy groups and responds to hundreds of media related queries. With the action around the CDA lawsuit as well as other media events, this has been a busy year. This report details NCSF media activities over the last twelve months.

NCSF Media Activity Report - 2007
NCSF Media Activity Report - 2006

 

Published in Media Activity Reports

September 2005 - September 2006

The NCSF Media Committee reviews, edits, and refines the documents that NCSF publicly distributes. The media committee consists of Susan Wright, Allena Gabosch, Anita Wagner, Lisa Vandever, Lolita Wolf, Howie Z., and Keith, who creates and distributes the NCSF Media Updates.

Interviews
Susan Wright gave 57 interviews with most of the media outlets contacting
NCSF, indicating that NCSF has much higher profile than before the CDA lawsuit. These interviews were given to the New York Times (multiple reporters), Chicago Tribune (multiple reporters), Baltimore Sun (multiple reporters), Boston Herald, Esquire, Daily News, Inside Edition, Montell Williams Show, Maxim, Hustler, Bitch Magazine, and Las Vegas City Life, among others.

Press Releases, Action Alerts and Entertainment Media Updates
NCSF
broadcast a press release about the Supreme Court decision on Nitke & NCSF v. Gonzales in March, 2006, which was carried in full or part in dozens of media outlets around the country. Reporters continue to call regarding the case to be the most recent. Salon.com requested an interview with Susan and John Wirenius in mid-August regarding ongoing obscenity prosecutions.

NCSF broadcast a press release in October, 2005, when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced that his office intended to target "bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior" in pursuing new obscenity prosecutions. NCSF also sent out a press release in January, 2006, supporting Google when the U.S. Justice Department subpoenaed them to compel the Internet search engine to turn over records on millions of its users' search queries.

NCSF sent out an Action Alert in September, 2005, when an evangelical Christian group that targeted Southern Decadence, a world-famous LGBT event, stating "Hurricane Katrina has put an end to the annual celebration of sin."

Lisa Vandever created three Entertainment Media Updates in the last year. Regarding the Montel Williams Show entitled "Multiple Love: Polyamory" airing November 29, 2005, Lisa stated: "The episode did present a good and articulate range of people involved in various polyamorous relationships and a positive understanding of why someone might choose polyamory over monogamy." Regarding Big Love on HBO, Lisa stated: "As a "water cooler show," the series will warrant our continued notice for its ability to coalesce discussion around topics of great relevance to sexual freedom, providing opportunities to interject our experiences and viewpoints through letters to the editor, participation on message boards and even casual conversation. Regarding Dr. Phil's "Twisted Love" which aired on February 2, 2006, Lisa stated: "All in all, the show should be critiqued for its dismissive stance towards polyamory and encouraged to understand that many people are able to enjoy healthy and supportive polyamorous relationships."

Media Incidents
The major media incident of the year involved the New Year's Eve Ball at the Orlando Crowne Plaza Hotel Airport on New Year's Eve, 2006. A number of false press reports were published nationally regarding the conduct of attendees. The producers of this lifestyle event along with Bob Hannaford of the International Lifestyle Association, alerted
NCSF and we immediately broadcast a press release correcting the false and inflammatory statements made by "soccer parents." NCSF's press release killed the story and the soccer parents who had been scheduled for a Florida radio show cancelled their appearance and ceased to give interviews to reporters.

NCSF was subsequently informed by two event producers that their contracts with InterContinental hotels to host alternative sexual events had been placed on hold pending InterContinental's investigation of the Orlando Ball incident. NCSF sent a letter to Kevin Kowalski, President, InterContinental Hotel Group Brand, giving them the correct information and protesting their arbitrary hold on the contracts. In subsequent conversations, Stephanie Yudin, PR Manager for the Brand, confirmed that InterContinental found no wrong-doing by the producers or attendees of the Orlando New Year's Eve Ball. Yudin stated that as long as alternative sexual events follow local and state laws, and abide by InterContinental's morality clause which prohibits nudity and sexual activity in the public areas of the hotel, it's up to each hotel's discretion whether or not they host alternative lifestyle events.

Another media incident took place in April, 2006, involving Club Tabu (now an NCSF Coalition Partner). Club Tabu is a lifestyle club in Greater Baltimore county which was targeted by the president of a local neighborhood association. Susan gave a dozen media interviews with print, radio and television reporters emphasizing that Club Tabu had established their club legally and that adults have the right to gather in private. The media publicity died within a week and the club continues to operate normally.

Requests for Media Help from Constituents
Susan receives hundreds of emails from constituents who send news articles about alt sex issues, ask questions about dealing with the media, or comment on
NCSF's Media Outreach Project, press releases, Media Updates and Action Alerts.

Susan worked with 26 people (more than double last year) giving them media assistance and in assessing group and event websites. Susan was also contacted by three other sexual advocacy groups for help with their media messaging and for training their spokespeople and board members.

For confidentiality reasons, NCSF can't give the names of the groups or individuals we've helped. Some individuals who were publicized in the media include: Miss Kitty, owner of Kokomo Kinksters; Georgia, a pro-Domme and author who appeared on the O-Reilly Factor; and another pro-Domme, Mistress Jezebel, who gave an interview to a NY Times reporter in July, 2006.

NCSF is here to help you – the SM, swing, and polyamory communities. If you have a problem with the media because of your sexual expression, please call NCSF for assistance. You can visit our Web site on www.ncsfreedom.org or call our media hotline at 917-848-6544.

Please support NCSF in our effort to change the political, legal, and social environment in the United States. We are committed to making a difference.

Join NCSF as a member or please hold a fund-raiser and donate to NCSF!

Published in Media Activity Reports

You don't have to answer the interviewer's exact question.

You rarely see the question in TV or print interviews, only the response. So feel free to pick out one word or phrase in the question and respond to that. For example, if they ask, "What do you think when people say you're eroticizing violence?" give one of your sound-bites: "Safe, sane and consensual sexual expression is not violence because at any time the participants can stop what's happening." For example, if they ask, "What does your husband think about you cheating on him?" give one of your soundbites:
 
Don't repeat nasty or inflammatory phrases.
See the above question - and don't repeat, "SM isn't eroticizing violence because..." or "Swinging is not cheating..." That makes their point for them.
 
Universalize the questions.
If the reporter says something like, "You people who beat each other up..." or "You people who have sex with other people..." then respond with, "We, like you and everyone else in America, believe we have First Amendment rights to express our sexuality in any way that is safe and consensual."
 
Use standard terms rather than "scene" language.
If you start saying "scene" and "munch" and "leather" and "vanilla" and "top" and "bottom" etc. then people won't understand you. Use vanilla terms as much as possible, or very rarely use terms and define them as you use them. ie "The top, that is the person giving the stimulation, must respect limits."
 
Keep repeating your sound bites.
It doesn't make for a stimulating conversation, but that's the way professionals get their point across. The reporter will ask their question several times, trying to get you to expand on what you're saying, to get a more sensational quote. Just be firm and keep repeating your point. They will respect you for it, and will print the sound bites you give them. Check out our recommended sound bites for the SM, swing and polyamory communities.
 
Flag your sound bites.
This is done by saying, "The most important thing to remember is that sadomasochists educate each other about safe, sane and consensual sexual practices." Or "A key part of having engaging in polyamory is communication prior in order to negotiate both partner's limits and desires."
 
Don't do anything sexual on camera.
In this case, a picture is NOT worth a thousand words. Don't let reporters take pictures of your polyamory family sitting on the bed. Don't do an SM scene in front of a camera. We need activists who will speak up for the SM-Leather-Fetish communities and explain the serious issues such as discrimination and violence against our people.
 
Wear appropriate attire.
This means business or casual wear, such as an activist t-shirt. Don't wear revealing fetish wear or lingerie. See above--a picture is NOT worth a thousand words. If our communities want to be taken seriously, we must present an image that the average person can relate to.
 
Don't utter a word you aren't prepared to see in print.
Reporters will try to make you comfortable with them, to chat with them informally. Those are usually the quotes they use. You aren't there to make friends or "sell" the reporter on alternative sexuality, you are there representing the community and yourself in the best light possible. Stay friendly, but reserved, and think before you speak. If you make a misstep, then stop and start all over again. Then the reporter will have to use the completed thought.
 
Don't do or say anything you feel uncomfortable with.
By the time you get into an interview, then the story will be printed or produced no matter what you do. You are completely free to say NO to anything you don't like. It is highly unlikely the reporter will just walk away and end the interview, even if they try to say you MUST do something or answer something. If the reporter keeps insisting, use one of your sound bites: "We believe that consent is the basis of any good relationship. You are becoming abusive by not respecting my limits."
 
Use the name of organizations.
Say you're a member of NCSF or the International Lifestyle Association. Mention the name of your local group. Explain that many groups are educational and social organizations that have been in existence for many years: "Over 500 educational and social, nonprofit groups exist in America for SM-Leather-Fetish practitioners."
 
Be animated, confident and happy.
In TV interviews in particular, often the best thing is not what you say but how you say it. People will remember the image of your happy, confident expression much longer than the words you say.
Published in Activist Resources

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom does media advocacy for the millions of Americans who suffer discrimination and persecution because of their normal interest in some form of alternative sexual expression, such as SM, fetishes, polyamory, and swinging. A great deal of the bigotry against sexual minorities occurs because of a lack of information and the resulting negative depiction by the media. We offer resources for both the media and the alternative sexual expression communities.

Published in MOP Articles
1. Leather-bound librarian provided 'sadistic, yet caring' services online
2. Locals shocked after police arrest pair in S&M raid
3. Swing away! Lifestyles Convention unites wife-swappers, sex-watchers
4. Sex and the Student Body
5. Rubber Maids
Published in Media Updates Archive
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 Next > End >>
Page 3 of 3
Resources for Media

Resources for Media

Includes vital statistics on alternative sexual expression, interview contact list, and a selection of articles from national publications.

Community Resources

Community Resources

Includes tips on how to speak to the media, sound-bites on alternative sexual expression, and a primer on how to write a letter to the editor.

"NCSF" in the News

"NCSF" in the News

CDA Media Reports

CDA Media Reports

Media reports covering the Communications Decency Act lawsuit launched by co-plaintiffs NCSF and Barbara Nitke.

  • NEWSBYTES - December 19, 2001

    Net Obscenity Provisions Revocation Sought NEWSBYTES By David McGuire http://www.NEWSBYTES.com December 19, 2001, Washington, DC -- A small civil liberties group has asked a federal judge in New York to revoke what remains of an Internet pornography law that was gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997. In a complaint filed in a New York City Federal Court [http://www.USCourts.gov ] last week, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom [https://ncsfreedom.org…






    Tags: Media News
  • San Francisco Bay Guardian - January 14, 2002

    Techsploitation By Annalee Newitz San Francisco Bay Guardian, January 14, 2002   HERE'S YET ANOTHER wacky fact you probably didn't know about the Communications Decency Act ole Bill Clinton signed into law way back in 1996: the good citizens of some small town in Arizona or southern California might have the power to send you to jail if they think the contents of your Web site are "obscene." The CDA…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • San Francisco Frontiers - January 23, 2002

    Communications Decency Act A Lingering Coup de Grace? By Tim Kingston   January 23, 2002   You may dimly recall the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which unsuccessfully attempted to define and proscribe "indecency" on the Internet. That law's legal core--its indecency provision--was immediately challenged and rapidly struck down as unconstitutional by free- and electronic-speech advocates. But, what many may not know is that another portion of the law, prohibiting…






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  • Ynot News - January 2, 2002

    Can David Beat Goliath in the Battle of Obscenity? Part 2   By Judd Handler   Ynot News, January 2, 2002   Last week's editorial featured an interview with John Wirenius, lead counsel for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and Barbara Nitke, an adult content photographer. Wirenius, on behalf of the NCSF and Nitke, filed a lawsuit on December 11 against Attorney General John Ashcroft seeking to overturn Internet…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • Ynot News - December 20, 2001

    Can David Beat Goliath in the Battle of Obscenity? By Judd Handler   Ynot News, December 20, 2001   One would think it would take the giants of the industry to force the government to rethink existing, not-applicable-to-the-Internet obscenity laws. On the contrary, the little players may be the ones who are successful in getting the federal government and the Supreme Court to throw out irrelevant local community standards when…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • Wired - December 12, 2001

    New Suit Targets Obscenity Law By Julia Scheeres Wired, December 12, 2001    A national organization that promotes sexual tolerance and an artist who photographs pictures of couples engaged in sadomasochism filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to overturn Internet obscenity laws. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and photographer Barbara Nitke argue that the obscenity provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is so broad that it violates free speech.…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • Spectator Magazine - January 11, 2002

    STANDING UP TO BE COUNTED: BARBARA NITKE CHALLENGES JOHN ASHCROFT ON S/M AND INTERNET OBSCENITY By David Steinberg Spectator Magazine, January 11, 2002 "No matter how we're wired to express love, freedom is having the courage to be who we are." - Photographer/plaintiff Barbara Nitke On December 11, Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom brought suit in New York City's Federal District Court, seeking to have the…






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  • New York Press - August 28, 2002

    What's Obscene in Podunk By John Strausbaugh New York Press, August 28, 2002   Barbara Nitke is a well-known and much-seen photographer in her field. She's president of the New York Camera Club and teaches a course in darkroom technique at SVA. A nice, neat, sweet individual, she's the very very last person in New York City you'd suspect of being a pornographer. Which she's not, not exactly. She's more…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • New York Newsday - July 25 2005

    New York judges refuse to say Internet obscenity law is unconstitutional By LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press Writer, July 25, 2005, 7:58 PM EDT  NEW YORK -- A special three-judge federal panel on Monday refused to find unconstitutional a law making it a crime to send obscenity over the Internet to children. The Communications Decency Act of 1996 had been challenged by Barbara Nitke, a photographer who specializes in pictures of…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • New York Daily News - July 15, 2002

    Fotog vs. Feds in Obscenity Law: Files suit to keep photos on Web by Veronica Vera New York Daily News, July 15, 2002 Photographer Barbara Nitke is used to being behind the lens, but if legal matters heat up, she may soon find the government focusing on her. Nitke is ready to step into the foreground as the chief plantiff in Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • Nerve - December 11, 2001

    Nerve December 11, 2001 Photographer Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) filed a lawsuit today, claiming the Internet censorship provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) violates the First Amendment right to free speech. The provision stipulates that "local community standards" will judge whether or not something is indecent. Yet attorney John Wirenius argues that "By allowing the most restrictive jurisdiction to define what speech can…






    Tags: Media CDA
  • CNN - December 20, 2001

    Lawsuit targets last scraps of Net-obscenity law By Sam Costello (IDG News) CNN, December 20, 2001 The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) and artist Barbara Nitke have filed a lawsuit challenging the remaining provisions of the Communications Decency Act, much of which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997. The act, or CDA, was passed in 1996 and was the first U.S. law designed to allow…






    Tags: CDA Media
  • Adult Video News - February, 2002

    NCSF Tackles "Community Standards" For The Web By Mark Kernes Adult Video News, February Issue Washington, DC The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom may not be a household name, even in the adult entertainment industry, but if their recently-filed lawsuit succeeds, they may go down in history as the first group to secure Americans' core constitutional speech rights.  NCSF is based in the nation's capital [~] in fact, only a…






    Tags: Media CDA News
  • 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…






    Tags: Media CDA
NCSF Newsletters

NCSF Newsletters

A quarterly newsletter produced by the NCSF staff to inform our communities about the important work our coalition is doing.

  • NCSF Newsletter: 4th Quarter 2014

    NCSF Newsletter 3rd Quarter, 2014 edited by Julian Wolf In this issue 2014 Roundup NCSF Thanks! Incident Reporting & Response Daily Flogger Satire Guest Blog: Out To The Doctor? Are You Ready for 50 Shades? Media Updates Representing on FetLife NCSF's 2014 Roundup         2014 has been a year of progress for NCSF and for people who are kinky and nonmonogamous. The national conversation about gay marriage, consent, and…





    Written on Monday, 05 January 2015 14:08
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 3rd Quarter 2014

    NCSF Newsletter 3rd Quarter, 2014 In this issue NCSF Mental Heath Survey Incident Reporting & Response NCSF Thanks! Merchant Services Question A Touch of Humor Media Updates Representing on FetLife NCSF Mental Health Survey Please take the NCSF Mental Health Survey! We would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences:   https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FZ2XDMP    NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University's Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to…





    Written on Friday, 19 December 2014 16:32
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2014

    NCSF Newsletter 2nd Quarter, 2014 In this issue Go to the Cops Poly in the Vanilla World Meet Your Board Coalition Corner Media Updates Available for Your Event Representing on FetLife  Go to the Cops  Susan Wright You CAN go to law enforcement to report assault even if you're kinky. I get so mad when I hear people say, "You can't go to the cops," or "They'll treat you badly because…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:16
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 1st Quarter 2014

    NCSF Newsletter 1stQuarter, 2014 In this issue Erotic Awakenings Take the Consent Violations Survey 2014 Annual Meeting Meet Your Board DC Professional Dominatrixes Rock NCSF Expands Its Legal Resources Polyamory as Orientation? Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy Representing on FetLife Erotic Awakening interviews NCSF Board Member Jsin  Listen to NCSF Board Member Jsin's interview about NCSF that took place at the recent Beat Me in St. Louis. Hear what…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 09:45
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 4th Quarter 2013

    NCSF Newsletter 4th Quarter, 2013 In this issue Happy New Year! NCSF's Consent Violations Survey 2014 Annual Meeting Meet Your Board Sexual Freedom in the News An Obituary for Leigha Fleming Representing on FetLife Happy New Year!   From all of us at the NCSF we hope you had a wonderful holiday season and your new year is already great.   Return to Top Coming Soon! NCSF's Consent Violations Survey  …





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 04:10
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2013

    NCSF Newsletter 2nd Quarter, 2013 In this issue Come talk about BDSM and consent! The DSM-5 Says Kink is OK! Why Support or Join NCSF? Representing on FetLife  Come Talk about BDSM and consent! NCSF's Consent Counts project is holding discussions around the country to gather your input on our Consent Statement so we can move forward to change laws and perceptions of BDSM. Kinky people still have significant legal, political and…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 03:49
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 1st Quarter 2013

    NCSF Newsletter 1st Quarter, 2013 In this issue NCSF's Coalition Partners Join Together for Consent Summit Meet the Board NCSF presents at Yale Law School's RebLaw NCSF Launches Fire Recovery Fund Testing the Waters Coalition Corner Representing on FetLife NCSF's Coalition Partners Join Together for Consent Summit The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition Partner meeting in Phoenix, Arizona from February 8-10, 2013. The Consent Summit took place…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 03:26
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 4th Quarter 2012

    NCSF Newsletter 4th Quarter, 2012 In this issue NCSF 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting in Phoenix Scholarships Available for Annual Meeting Support from a Leather Bar Meet Your Board: Candidates for Reelection Foundation Liaison to Present at Poly Living Coalition Corner Representing on FetLife  NCSF 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 8-10   Please mark this date in your calendars.   In order to make reservations at the Drury Inn & Suites…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 03:00
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 3rd Quarter 2012

    NCSF Newsletter 3rd Quarter, 2012 In this issue NCSF 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting in Phoenix Representing on FetLife International Swingers Day NCSF at FetFest Coalition Corner Meet Your Board!  NCSF 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 8-10   Please mark this date in your calendars!   In order to make reservations at the Drury Inn & Suites Phoenix Airport and get the group rate of $109, please reference group #2151272 when you…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 02:44
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
  • NCSF Newsletter: 2nd Quarter 2012

    NCSF Newsletter 2nd Quarter, 2012 In this issue NCSF Annual Meeting 2013 NCSF Steps Up for Detroit NCSF at AASECT NCSF's Coalition Partners Come Together in Sunny Minnesota Coalition Corner Meet Your Board! Come Find the NCSF at These Events  NCSF Annual Meeting 2013    NCSF is thrilled to announce - well ahead of schedule - its 2013 Coalition Partner Meeting! Come to Phoenix, Arizona, on Feburary 8-10, and make the NCSF…





    Written on Thursday, 18 December 2014 01:51
    Tags: Newsletter News newletters
Press Releases

Press Releases

  • NCSF’s 2014 Roundup

    NCSF’s 2014 Roundup    2014 has been a year of progress for NCSF and for people who are kinky and nonmonogamous. The national conversation about gay marriage, consent, and even Fifty Shades of Grey are transforming mainstream attitudes. The change in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 stating that BDSM is a healthy form of sexual expression has also had a significant impact on both the courts and public opinion about…





    Written on Sunday, 28 December 2014 15:51

  • National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: Are you ready for the Fifty Shades of Gray Movie?

    Does your media agency have resources for these special interest pieces?  Contact the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for interviews and information on kink and open relationships. NCSF is the national advocate for consensual adult sexual expression.    Why kink?   There has been a significant interest in BDSM sparked by the wildly successful Fifty Shades of Grey.  Similar topics appeared in recent TV Shows from CSI to House to Desperate Housewives, and even animated shows such as American Dad.      Furthermore many…





    Written on Friday, 19 December 2014 12:30

  • 50 Shades of NCSF Palm Cards

    Are You Ready for Fifty Shades? To coincide with the launch of the movie, get your Fifty Shades of Kink palm cards from NCSF to put out at your club or in local sex shops and bookstores so that people who are looking to find out more about kink know where to go. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to request your cards. NCSF’s Fifty Shades of Kink resource page is for people who…





    Written on Friday, 12 December 2014 15:16

  • GayLawNet Joins Forces with NCSF

    NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals joins forces with GayLawNet   NCSF has expanded the reach of its Kink Aware Professionals by collaborating with GayLawNet, which now offers a way for lawyers in their database to self-identify as Kink Aware Professionals:  gaylawnet.com/attorneys/ussolc.html   “Whenever someone can’t find a lawyer in NCSF’s KAP list, I always refer them to GayLawNet,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. “Many of their gay-friendly lawyers are eager…





    Written on Monday, 01 December 2014 15:10

  • Tides Awards NCSF $1,500 Grant

    NCSF Receives Grant Award NCSF is proud to announce the receipt of a $1,500 grant awarded by Tides Foundation. About Tides #TidesProject “Since 1976, Tides Foundation has worked with over 15,000 individuals and organizations in the mutual endeavor to make the world a better place. These include foundations, donors, corporations, social investors, nonprofit organizations, government institutions, community organizations, activists, social entrepreneurs, and more. We break down the walls between entrepreneurs…





    Written on Monday, 24 November 2014 15:01

  • NCSF Mental Health Survey

    NCSF Mental Health Survey Please take the NCSF Mental Health Survey! We would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FZ2XDMP NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University’s Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to two other sample populations – one college-aged and the other LGBT. NCSF will use these results to help with our advocacy, benefiting…





    Written on Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:57

  • Military Court Accepts NCSF's Amicus Brief

    Military Court Accepts NCSF’s Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy April 24, 2014 – Washington, DC – The Navy and Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals has accepted NCSF’s amicus (“friend of the court”) brief advising the court that prosecutors are avoiding the Supreme Court decision, made in Lawrence v. Texas, that moral judgment is not a basis for criminalizing consensual sexual conduct, and that consensual sex should only…





    Written on Sunday, 31 August 2014 14:51

  • Ombudsman Committee Established

    NCSF Appoints Members of the Ombuds Committee   June 3, 2014 - NCSF is proud to announce these appointments to the Ombuds Committee: Desmond Ravenstone, James Huesmann and Bjorn Paulee. The Ombuds Committee handles complaints and concerns regarding the conduct of NCSF officers and staff, and the operations of NCSF institutions. The NCSF Ombuds Committee shall be established as an Advisory Committee, as per NCSF bylaws, to review Coalition administration…





    Written on Tuesday, 03 June 2014 14:47

  • NCSF Files Amicus Brief in Military Court

      NCSF Files Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy March 26, 2014 – Washington D.C. – NCSF has filed an amicus brief in a military case involving a marine who engaged in a consensual threesome and because of that was convicted of adultery, attempted consensual sodomy and indecent conduct, a "crime" based solely on undefined sexual conduct inconsistent with "common propriety."   In its brief, NCSF points out that…





    Written on Thursday, 03 April 2014 14:42

  • Annual CP meeting 2014

      NCSF’s Coalition Partners Come Together in Nashville, TN   March 24, 2014 – The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition Partner meeting in Nashville, TN from March 14-16, 2014. The Coalition Partners voted in the new Board of Directors for NCSF, approved the 2014 budget, and brainstormed on NCSF’s projects and goals for the coming year.   “The annual meeting gives NCSF's Coalition Partners the opportunity…





    Written on Monday, 24 March 2014 14:34


Support this program!

Media Outreach: We're Making a Difference

  • NCSF has successfully changed the discussion in the media by debunking stereotypes about BDSM, swinging, and polyamory
  • NCFS has developed a strong media outreach and training program for its coalition, supporting, and other partners.
  • NCSF has successfully become through dedicated advocacy, the leading media authority on BDSM, swinging, and polyamory

 

About Media Outreach

The Media Outreach Program is designed to reach outward to educate media and respond to media stories about alternative sex. In addition it is designed to reach inward to our own constituents to teach and train them in how to respond and deal with media effectively.

Program Goals:
The goal of the goal of the Media Outreach Program is to change the public discussion about alternative sexuality and to educate and support our members when they have occasion to deal with the media.
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