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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

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BARBARA NITKE, THE NATIONAL
COALITION FOR SEXUAL FREEDOM, and
THE NATIONAL COALITION FOR
SEXUAL FREEDOM FOUNDATION,
Plaintiffs,

-against-

JOHN ASHCROFT,
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;
Defendants.

01 Civ. 11476 (RMB)
PLAINTIFFS' RESPONSES
AND OBJECTIONS
TO DEFENDANTS' FIRST
SET OF INTERROGATORIES
AND REQUEST FOR
DOCUMENTS

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Plaintiffs Barbara Nitke ("Nitke") and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom ("NCSF"), by their attorney, John F. Wirenius hereby respond and object to Defendants' First Set of Interrogatories and Request for Documents (collectively, the "Requests") as follows:

 

GENERAL OBJECTION AND RESERVATIONS

  1. Plaintiffs object to Defendants' Requests to the extent they purport to require the disclosure of documents and information beyond the scope of that mandated under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and other applicable law.
  2. Plaintiffs object to Defendants' Requests to the extent that they seek the production of documents and information that are exempt from discovery under the attorney-client or work product privileges, or that are otherwise privileged or protected from disclosure.
  3. Plaintiffs object to Defendants' Requests to the extent that they seek the production of documents and information that are not relevant to the subject matter of this litigation and are not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence, that cannot be produced without undue burden to Plaintiffs, and/or that require an unreasonable investigation on the part of Plaintiffs in order to be produced.
  4. Plaintiffs object to Defendants' Requests to the extent that they seek the production of documents and information already in the possession of, publicly available to, or readily obtainable to Defendants and their counsel, on the ground that with respect to such production, Defendants' Requests are thereby rendered unduly burdensome.
  5. Plaintiffs object to Defendants' Requests to the extent that they seek the production of documents and information in the possession, custody or control of entities other than Plaintiffs, on the ground that such demanded production is beyond the scope of Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and other applicable rules and law.
  6. Plaintiffs object to Defendants Requests to the extent that they seek the production of identic documents and information more than once, on the ground that such production is unduly burdensome. Where documents are responsive to more than one request, an effort has een made to avoid duplicative production.
  7. Plaintiffs object to Defendants' Requests to the extent that they seek the production of documents and information that implicates the privacy interests and rights of freedom of association of non-parties to this litigation, and of members of plaintiff NCSF, pursuant to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, other applicable statutory law (including but not limited to, the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. ยง552a), as applied in decisions including but not limited to NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449, 462-463 (1958); Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York v. Village of Stratton, 536 U.S. 150 (2003).
  8. Plaintiffs object to Defendants' interrogatories in toto as violative of Local Rule 33.3 of the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York.
  9. Plaintiffs expressly reserve the right to supplement, clarify, revise or correct any or all of the responses herein at any time. By making any response to Defendants' Requests. Plaintiffs do not waive, and hereby expressly reserve, the right to assert any and all objections as to the admissibility of such responses into evidence at the time of trial of this action, or in any other proceeding, on any and all grounds, including but not limited to, competency, relevance, materiality and privilege. Further, Plaintiffs provide the responses herein without in any manner express or implied admitting that the items in Defendants' Requests or in any response thereto is relevant or material to the subject matter of this action.

SPECIFIC INTERROGATORIES RESPONSES AND OBJECTIONS

Interrogatory No. 1 Identify all persons with knowledge and information relevant to the subject matter of this action, including but not limited to:

  1. All witnesses or other persons with knowledge or information regarding the alleged infringement of plaintiffs' First Amendment rights;

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as vague, ambiguous, overbroad, unduly burdensome, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs further object to this interrogatory on the ground that it calls for information outside of the possession, custody or control of the Plaintiffs, and publicly available, or in the possession, custody or control of the Defendants.

    Notwithstanding these objections, Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the Specific responses below.

  2. All members of plaintiff organization NCSF who
    1. Claim their potential Internet-based speech has been chilled by the threat of prosecution for obscenity;

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as vague, ambiguous, overbroad, unduly burdensome, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. This interrogatory is further objected to on the ground that it calls for the production of information protected by the constitutional right to freely associate for lawful purposes without fear of reprisal or public exposure at the hands of the Government. NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 (1958); Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York v. Village of Stratton, 536 U.S. 150 (2003); see also Conroy v. New York State Department of Correctional Services, 333 F.3d 88, 95 (2d Cir. 2003) (complainants need not expose themselves to injury to challenge injurious policy; ADA claim).

      Notwithstanding these objections, members of NCSF or its constituent organizations whose speech has been chilled by their concerns that they could be subject to prosecution were they to publish materials via the Internet which they desire to publish, and whom Plaintiffs anticipate calling as witnesses at trial include:

      • Barbara Nitke
      • Michele Serchuk
      • "Amity Harris"
      • Michele Buchanan
      • Jack McGeorge
      • The Eulenspiegel Society (by its webmaster, Dov Hechtman)
      • Tristan Taormino
      • Theresa Reed
      • Carol Queen
      • Females Investigating Sexual Terrain ("FIST")
    2. Has ever been arrested, indicted, charged or otherwise prosecuted for violating any obscenity law on account of the transmission of allegedly obscene material over the Internet, and, for each such member, identify the material alleged to have been obscene.

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to Response to Interrogatory 1.b.i, supra. This Interrogatory is further objected to on the ground that is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and not reasonably likely to lead to the production of admissible evidence. In addition, this interrogatory is further objected to on the ground that it seeks information and/or documents revealing information privileged under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and of the constitutional and statutory right to privacy.

    3. Has been notified that the member is or ever has been a target or subject of any criminal investigation for violating any obscenity law on account of the transmission of obscene material over the Internet, and, for each such member, identify the material alleged to have been obscene;

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to Response to Interrogatory 1.b.ii, supra.

    4. Has refrained from transmitting any material over the Internet because of any actual or perceived threat of prosecution for violating any obscenity law and, for each such member, identify the material that was not transmitted.

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to Response to Interrogatory 1.b.i, supra.

  3. Any person known to plaintiffs, other than persons identified in response to Interrogatory 1.b, who has ever refrained from transmitting any material over the Internet because of any actual or perceived threat of prosecution under any obscenity law, and for each such person, identify the material that was not transmitted.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to Response to Interrogatory 1.b.i, supra. In addition to the persons identified in response to interrogatory 1.b.i. supra, Plaintiffs at present anticipate calling as witnesses the following individuals responsive to this interrogatory:

    • Deborah Christian
    • Patrick Califia
    • Deborah Addington
    • Nina Hartley
    • Gloria Brame
    • Candida Royalle
  4. All witnesses or other persons who created or developed, assisted in the creation or development of, have knowledge or information regarding the creation or development of Internet sites on behalf of plaintiff Nitke; RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to Response to Interrogatory 1.b.i, supra. This interrogatory is further objected to on the ground that it is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and not reasonably likely to lead to the production of admissible evidence
  5. All witnesses or other persons who created or developed, assisted in the creation or development of, have knowledge or information regarding the creation or development of Internet sites on behalf of each member of plaintiff NCSF identified in plaintiffs' response to Interrogatory No. 1.b and set forth individually for each member so identified; RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to Response to Interrogatory 1.d, supra.
  6. Any witness plaintiffs intend to call at trial regarding:
    1. The total amount of speech implicated by the Communications Decency Act ("CDA");

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to create such a list, and as beyond the scope of permissible interrogatories pursuant to Local Civil Rule 33.3. Subject to, and not waiving these objections, Plaintiffs at present intend to call the following witnesses, in addition to those identified in response to interrogatory number 1.b.1 and 1.c, supra:

      • Jeffrey J. Douglas, Esq.
      • Linda Williams, Phd.
      • Arthur C. Danto
      • Dov Hechtman
      • Glenda Ryder
      • Susan Wright
      • Leigha Fleming
      • Robert Thomas
      • Carleen Thomas
    2. The total amount of material not protected by the "serious societal value" prong of the test for obscenity enunciated in Milller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973);

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to create such a list, and as beyond the scope of permissible interrogatories pursuant to Local Civil Rule 33.3. Subject to, and not waiving these objections, Plaintiffs at present intend to call the following witnesses, in addition to those identified in response to interrogatory number 1.b.1 and 1.c, supra:

      • Jeffrey J. Douglas, Esq.
      • Linda Williams, Phd.
      • Arthur C. Danto
      • A.D. Coleman
      • Dov Hechtman
      • Robert Thomas
      • Carleen Thomas
      • Charles Moser, M.D.
      • David Steinberg
      • Katherine Ramsland, Phd.
    3. Community standards in various localities regarding whether material appeals to the prurient interest;

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to create such a list, and as beyond the scope of permissible interrogatories pursuant to Local Civil Rule 33.3. Subject to, and not waiving these objections, Plaintiffs at present intend to call the following witnesses, in addition to those identified in response to interrogatory number 1.b.1 and 1.c, supra:

      • Jeffrey J. Douglas, Esq.
      • Arthur C. Danto
      • Susan Wright
      • Barbara Nitke
      • Howard Rheingold
      • Leigha Fleming
      • Robert Thomas
      • Carleen Thomas
    4. Community standards in various localities regarding whether material depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way;

      RESPONSE: See Response to Interrogatory No 1.f.iii

    5. The technological or practical possibility of limiting the geographic distribution of online materials;

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to create such a list, and as beyond the scope of permissible interrogatories pursuant to Local Civil Rule 33.3. Subject to, and not waiving these objections, Plaintiffs at present intend to call the following witnesses, responsive to this Interrogatory:

      • Barbara Nitke
      • Bennet Laurie
      • Seth Finkelstein
      • Howard Rheingold
      • Amity Harris
    6. The protection offered by the affirmative defenses enumerated by the CDA, i.e., good faith effective measures to restrict access by minors and credit-card verification;

      RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to create such a list, and as beyond the scope of permissible interrogatories pursuant to Local Civil Rule 33.3. Subject to, and not waiving these objections, Plaintiffs at present intend to call the following witnesses responsive to this Interrogatory:

      • Barbara Nitke
      • Bennet Laurie
      • Seth Finkelstein
      • Jeffrey J. Douglas
      • Amity Harris
    7. The technological or practical possibility of implementing the affirmative defenses enumerated by the CDA, i.e., good faith effective measures to restrict access by minors and credit-card verification;

      RESPONSE: See Response to Interrogatory No 1.f.vi

    8. The potential deterrent effect on Internet users of the affirmative defenses enumerated by the CDA, i.e., good faith effective measures to restrict access by minors and credit-card verification;

      RESPONSE: See Response to Interrogatory No 1.f.vi. In addition to the witnesses therein designated plaintiffs at present intend to call the following witnesses:

      • Charles Moser
      • Jack McGeorge
      • Susan Wright
      • Nina Hartley
      • Amity Harris
      • Theresa Reed
      • Leigha Fleming
      • Carol Queen
      • Eva Norvind
      • Betty Dodson
      • Gloria Brame
      • Michele Buchanan
  7. Any other individual likely to have discoverable information that plaintiffs may use to support their claims;

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as overly broad, unduly burdensome, and premature , especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to create such a list, and as beyond the scope of permissible interrogatories pursuant to Local Civil Rule 33.3. Subject to, and not waiving these objections, Plaintiffs at present intend to call the following witnesses with respect to the issue of social value of sexually explicit speech, especially as to speech concerning non-mainstream sexual practices:

    • Linda Williams
    • Arthur C. Danto
    • A.D. Coleman
    • Candida Royalle
    • Barbara Nitke
    • Amity Harris
    • Patrick Califia
    • Katherine Ramsland
    • Charles Moser, M.D.
    • Gloria Brame
    • Carol Queen
    • Nina Hartley
    • Betty Dodson
    • Deborah Addington
    • Eva Norvind
    • Tristan Taormino
    • Glenda Ryder
    • David Steinberg
    • Michael Rosen
    • Janet Hardy
    • Deborah Cristian
    • Michele Serchuk
    • Michele Buchanan
    • Theresa Reed

    Additionally, with respect to the issue of the importance of anonymity to those accessing or publishing materials online, and the potential social costs of becoming publicly known as member of a community interested in non-mainstream sexual practices/expression, Plaintiffs at present intend to call the following witnesses:

    • Charles Moser
    • Jack McGeorge
    • Amity Harris
    • Betty Dodson
    • Carol Queen
    • Katherine Ramsland
    • Eva Norvind
    • Gloria Brame
    • Nina Hartley
    • Susan Wright
    • Leigha Fleming
  8. Any other individual not listed above with knowledge or information concerning the subject matter of this action. RESPONSE: See Response to Interrogatory No. 1.g, supra.

2. Identify each and every expert witness that plaintiffs will call to testify at trial, and for each expert state:

  1. His or her field of speciality or expertise;
  2. Any sub-specialities of the witness within his or her field of expertise;
  3. The subject matter on which he or she is expected to testify;
  4. All opinions that he or she is expected to express and the basis and reasons for such opinions;
  5. The data or other information he or she considered in in forming his or her opinion(s);
  6. Any exhibits to be used as a summary of or support of his or her opinion(s);
  7. His or her qualifications, including a list of all publication he or she authored within 10 years preceding the date of this request;
  8. The compensation paid and to be paid to him or her for the study and the testimony; and
  9. All other cases in which he or she has testified as an expert at trial or by deposition within four years preceding the date of this request.

RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this interrogatory as overly broad, unduly burdensome, and premature , especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to create such a list, and as beyond the scope of permissible interrogatories pursuant to Local Civil Rule 33.3. Subject to, and not waiving these objections, Plaintiffs at present intend to call the following expert witnesses:

  • Arthur C. Danto
  • Linda Williams
  • A.D. Coleman
  • Katherine Ramsland
  • Bennet Laurie
  • Seth Finkelstein
  • Jeffrey J. Douglas
  • Gloria Brame
  • Charles Moser
  • Howard Rheingold
  • Candida Royalle
  • David Steinberg
  • Susan Wright
  • Michele Buchanan

By agreement between the parties, the affidavits of Arthur C. Danto, Howard Rheingold, and Candida Royalle submitted by Plaintiffs in opposition to the motion to dismiss have been accepted as expert reports. That of Susan Wright is supplemented herewith by a second report addressing the other issues as to which Plaintiffs will adduce her testimony.

The expert reports of the individuals above listed, submitted under separate cover, respond to the various subparts of the above interrogatory, to the extent said interrogatory is proper and/or seeks information discoverable at this time.

 

SPECIFIC REQUESTS FOR DOCUMENTS RESPONSES AND OBJECTIONS

  1. All documents, data compilations, and tangible things that plaintiffs may use to support their claims.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request as vague, ambiguous, overbroad, unduly burdensome, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs further object to this request to the extent that it calls for information outside of the possession, custody or control of the Plaintiffs, and publicly available, or in the possession, custody or control of the Defendants. Finally, Plaintiffs object to this request as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to craft an appropriate response.

    Notwithstanding these objections, Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the Specific responses below.

  2. All photographs, images, and other depictions or documents that plaintiff Nitke desires to publish on the Internet, but has refrained from publishing on the internet due to any actual or perceived threat of prosecution for obscenity.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, calls for legal conclusions, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

    Notwithstanding these objections, responsive documents accompany in "Folder 1."

  3. All photographs, images and other depiction or documents that each member of plaintiff NCSF identified in plaintiffs response to Interrogatory No. 1.b, and set forth individually for each such member so identified, desires to publish on the Internet, but has refrained from publishing on the Internet due to any actual or perceived threat of prosecution for obscenity.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the objection and response to Interrogatory No. 1.b for their objections and response to the instant request. Plaintiffs additionally object to the instant request on the ground that the request appears to be in effect a contention interrogatory requesting Plaintiffs to provide not documents but information beyond the scope permitted by Local Civil Rule 33.3, and is in any event overbroad, unduly burdensome, not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

    Notwithstanding these objections, Plaintiffs will provide under separate cover responsive documents to the extent that such exist and are not publicly available.

  4. All photographs, images, and other depictions authored or created by plaintiff Nitke that have been found by a court or jury to be obscene.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, calls for legal conclusions, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

    Notwithstanding these objections, Plaintiffs are unaware of the existence of any responsive documents to this request.

  5. All photographs, images or other depictions or documents of which plaintiffs are aware lack serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value in all communities and are considered obscene in some communities but not in others.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, calls for legal conclusions, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs additionally object to the instant request on the ground that the request appears to be in effect a contention interrogatory requesting Plaintiffs to provide not documents but information beyond the scope permitted by Local Civil Rule 33.3, and further object to this request as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to craft an appropriate response.

    Notwithstanding these objections, Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the accompanying expert report of Jeffrey J. Douglas, to the affidavits previously submitted of Robert and Carleen Thomas, and the underlying court documents and evidence referred to therein, which is in the possession, custody or control of Defendants, and to the affidavit previously submitted of Candida Royalle, and the publicly available documents referred to therein, which were authored by and published by Defendant the United States of America, and are therefore within its possession, custody and control.

  6. All contracts, agreements, or other documents describing the relationship between plaintiff Nitke and any Internet Service Providers through which Nitke publishes her Internet sites.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, calls for legal conclusions, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

  7. All contracts, agreements, or other documents describing the relationship between each member of plaintiff NCSF identified in plaintiffs response to Interrogatories No. 1.b, and set forth individually for each such member so identified, and any Internet Service Providers through which each such member publishes his/her Internet sites.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the response to interrogatory No. 1.b. Additionally, Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs additionally object to the instant request on the ground that the request appears to be in effect a contention interrogatory requesting Plaintiffs to provide not documents but information beyond the scope permitted by Local Civil Rule 33.3.

  8. All documents describing or otherwise demonstrating income received or sales of goods and services or otherwise from Internet sites operated or published by plaintiff Nitke.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

  9. All documents describing or otherwise demonstrating income received or sales of goods and services or otherwise from Internet sites operated or published by each member of plaintiff NCSF identified in plaintiffs response to Interrogatories No. 1.b, and set forth individually for each such member so identified, and any Internet Service Providers through which each such member publishes his/her Internet sites.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the response to interrogatory No. 1.b. Additionally, Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs additionally object to the instant request on the ground that the request appears to be in effect a contention interrogatory requesting Plaintiffs to provide not documents but information beyond the scope permitted by Local Civil Rule 33.3.

  10. All documents describing or otherwise demonstrating expenses incurred in publishing or maintaining an Internet site by plaintiff Nitke.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

  11. All documents describing or otherwise demonstrating expenses incurred in publishing or maintaining an Internet site by plaintiff Nitke.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the response to interrogatory No. 1.b. Additionally, Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs additionally object to the instant request on the ground that the request appears to be in effect a contention interrogatory requesting Plaintiffs to provide not documents but information beyond the scope permitted by Local Civil Rule 33.3.

  12. All documents reflecting any effort undertaken or expense incurred by plaintiff Nitke or any NCSF member identified in response to interrogatory No. 1.b to restrict, by geography or otherwise, the community that would receive transmissions over the Internet from Nitke or such member.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the response to interrogatory No. 1.b. Additionally, Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

    Notwithstanding these objections, no responsive such documents exist within the possession, custody or control of plaintiff Nitke.

  13. All documents concerning the creation or development of any Internet site published, created, or maintained by each member of plaintiff NCSF identified in plaintiffs' response to Interrogatories No. 1.b, and set forth individually for each such member so identified plaintiff Nitke.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

  14. All documents concerning the creation or development of any Internet site published, created, or maintained by each member of plaintiff NCSF identified in plaintiffs' response to Interrogatories No. 1.b, and set forth individually for each such member so identified.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the response to interrogatory No. 1.b. Additionally, Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs additionally object to the instant request on the ground that the request appears to be in effect a contention interrogatory requesting Plaintiffs to provide not documents but information beyond the scope permitted by Local Civil Rule 33.3.

  15. All prior or current versions of the Internet site or sites maintained by plaintiff Nitke, and all photographs, images, depictions or other documents published on such Internet sites since their inception.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

  16. All prior or current versions of the Internet site or sites maintained by each member of plaintiff NCSF identified in plaintiffs response to Interrogatories No. 1.b, and all photographs, images, depictions or other documents published on such Internet sites since their inception.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the response to interrogatory No. 1.b. Additionally, Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

  17. All correspondence or other documents from any law enforcement or prosecutorial official regarding the investigation, prosecution, or potential prosecution of plaintiff Nitke for any offense related to obscenity.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request as vague, ambiguous, overbroad, unduly burdensome, and not reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs further object to this request to the extent that it calls for information outside of the possession, custody or control of the Plaintiffs, and publicly available, or in the possession, custody or control of the Defendants.

    Notwithstanding these objections, no responsive documents are in the possession, custody or control of plaintiff Nitke.

  18. All correspondence or other documents from any law enforcement or prosecutorial official regarding the investigation, prosecution, or potential prosecution of each member of plaintiff NCSF identified in plaintiffs response to Interrogatories No. 1.b, and set forth individually for each such member so identified, for any offense related to obscenity.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the response to interrogatory No. 1.b. Additionally, Plaintiffs object to this request on the ground that it is overbroad, vague, unduly burdensome, and is not reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Plaintiffs additionally object to the instant request on the ground that the request appears to be in effect a contention interrogatory requesting Plaintiffs to provide not documents but information beyond the scope permitted by Local Civil Rule 33.3.

  19. All documents plaintiffs intend to introduce into evidence at trial regarding:

    1. The total amount of speech implicated by the Communications Decency Act;
    2. The total amount material not protected by the "serious societal value" prong of the test for obscenity enunciated in Miller v. California, 413 U.S. 15 (1973).
    3. Community standards in various localities regarding whether material appeals to the prurient interest;
    4. Community standards in various localities regarding whether material depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way;
    5. The technical or practical possibility of limiting the geographic distribution of online materials;
    6. The protection offered by the of the affirmative defenses enumerated by the CDA, i.e., good faith effective measures to restrict access by minors and credit-card verification;
    7. The technological or practical feasibility of implementing the affirmative defenses enumerated by the CDA, i.e., good faith effective measures to restrict access by minors and credit-card verification;
    8. The potential deterrent effect on Internet users of the affirmative defenses enumerated by the CDA, i.e., good faith effective measures to restrict access by minors and credit-card verification.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to craft an appropriate response. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have not yet been able to determine what documents they intend to introduce at trial.

  20. All documents concerning the matters set forth in your response to Interrogatory No. 2, including but not limited to:

    1. All reports prepared or written by persons identified therein;
    2. All documents reflecting the opinions that the persons are expected to express and the basis and reasons for such opinions;
    3. The data or other information the persons were given, considered, or relied upon in forming his or her opinion(s);
    4. Any exhibits to be used as a summary of or support for his or her opinion(s);
    5. A list of his or her qualifications, including a list of all publications that he or she has authored within the 10 years preceding the date of this request;
    6. A statement of the compensation paid and to be paid to him or her for the study and testimony;
    7. A list of all other cases in which he or she has testified as an expert at trial or by deposition within the four years preceding this request; and
    8. Each person's current curriculum vitae and resume.

    RESPONSE: Plaintiffs object to this request as premature, especially in view of the lack of production from the Government to date, which would facilitate the determinations needed to craft an appropriate response. Accordingly, Plaintiffs have not yet been able to authoritatively determine each experts they intend to call at trial, or to retain. Additionally, the request goes beyond the requisite disclosure for expert witnesses set forth in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and is, to that extent, unduly burdensome, overbroad and not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.

    Notwithstanding these objections, the expert reports of Plaintiffs' expert witnesses as identified in response to Interrogatory No. 2 constitute such responsive documents, and are either being produced herewith or will be produced within a reasonable time after retention of such experts.

  21. All materials identified in response to the foregoing interrogatories. Plaintiffs refer Defendants to the response to Request No. 1.

Dated: New York, New York
November 17, 2003

By: _____________________________

JOHN F. WIRENIUS (JFW-1788)
Attorney for Plaintiffs
Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
52 Broadway-9th Floor
New York, New York 10004
(212)533-6300

Published in Barbara Nitke Case

Nitke vs. John Ashcroft, Attorney General of The United States of America

CameraWHO:
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
(NCSF), a national organization committed to protecting freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults (Plaintiffs). Barbara Nitke, a New York City artist, has been exploring issues of sexual relationship and desire through photography since 1982. On the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York, Nitke is the owner and operator of http://www.barbaranitke.com/ , a Web site showcasing and retailing her artwork (Plaintiff). John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States of America, responsible for enforcing the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA), which regulates obscene speech on the Internet (Defendants).

WHAT:
On December 11, 2001, the NCSF filed its lawsuit in New York City's federal court. This historic lawsuit against The United States of America challenges the constitutionality of the CDA's obscenity statutes on the grounds that they violate the free speech of Internet content providers and inhibit the discussion of sexual issues on the Internet among consenting adults. The attorney for the case is John Wirenius, author of First Amendment, First Principles: Verbal Acts and Freedom of Speech (Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., 2000)

WHY:
In 1997, the Supreme Court struck down part of the CDA, which allowed for prosecution of Internet sites that were "unfit for children." However, the Court left in place the statutes deeming that sexually-oriented material that is "patently offensive under local community standards" is not protected by the First Amendment unless its author can prove its "redeeming social value."

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FREE SPEECH ON THE INTERNET:
Support free speech and civil liberties by helping NCSF with this landmark lawsuit. Sign on to the omnibus amicus brief, or liaise with our legal team on an independent brief. By signing our letter, you can also join our growing list of supporters.

You can donate to the NCSF's Free Speech Fund by writing to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call:
General number: (202) 955-0040
Media hotline number: (202) 955-0041

Published in Uncategorized
 
March 20, 2006 - Washington D.C. Today the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Federal District Court's decision in Barbara Nitke and NCSF v. Alberto Gonzales, the challenge to the Communications Decency Act, #01 CIV 11476 (RMB). The Supreme Court has affirmed the lower court's decision without hearing oral arguments, sending a clear signal that the court will not protect free speech rights when it comes to sexually explicit materials.
 
The NCSF and Nitke lawsuit was successful in weakening the Miller standard of judging obscenity: the District Court for the Southern District of NY made a factual finding that the SLAPS prong of Miller does not provide protection against prosecution as it was intended to do. The Miller decision (1973) stated that materials were constitutionally protected if the work, taken as a whole, has "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value." However the District court accepted evidence from NCSF and Nitke that prosecutors and juries in more restrictive communities are less likely to extend protection to artistic and literary materials that are outside the mainstream of traditional sexuality.
 
"We have proven that Miller does not work," says Susan Wright, Spokesperson for NCSF. "But the Supreme Court has declined to strike it down at this time. That means every website on the Internet can be judged by the most repressive local community standards in the U.S."
 
The Supreme Court decision shows the importance of supporting NCSF, one of the few organizations proactively fighting obscenity laws. The CDA makes it a crime to post obscenity on the Internet because those materials may be viewed by children. NCSF and Nitke believe that adults should have the right to post and view sexually explicit materials involving consenting adults on the Internet.
 
"We knew that the Bush administration was laying its plans to prosecute sexually explicit material on the Internet," says John Wirenius, attorney for the plaintiffs. "By filing our lawsuit in 2001, we may have slowed the Justice Department from prosecuting obscenity in 2002-3, but the number of obscenity prosecutions has steadily increased ever since. We believe in fighting this battle and we took our fight all the way to the Supreme Court."
 
"I think we've achieved a great victory in drawing attention to how politicized our judicial system has become," says co-plaintiff Barbara Nitke, a fine art photographer who explores sexual relationships in her work. "Our obscenity laws are outmoded, especially in conjunction with the Internet. We've made a huge dent in how obscenity will be judged in the future, and I hope others will now stand up and continue to fight against repressive laws like this."
 
NCSF and Barbara Nitke would like to thank everyone who contributed to fund this important lawsuit, as well as the many dedicated witnesses and lawyers who assisted in bringing this case to court. In particular, NCSF and Nitke thank John Wirenius for his outstanding efforts in this case and his dedication to First Amendment rights. NCSF intends to continue the fight against obscenity laws in the U.S.
Published in Barbara Nitke Case

March 3, 2006 - In documents filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Justice Department did not contest NCSF's assertion that NCSF's Communications Decency Act challenge is properly before the Supreme Court on direct appeal. That is a big step forward because that means both sides agree that the Supreme Court should rule on the merits of NCSF and Barbara Nitke's case, and not on any procedural grounds.

The government requested that the Supreme Court affirm the lower court decision against Nitke vs. Gonzales, arguing that the case should move forward with only a limited briefing without argument. NCSF filed a response this week contending that the Supreme Court should order a full briefing and oral argument to hear all the facts in this important First Amendment lawsuit.

Now is the time to support NCSF! NCSF needs funds to continue providing operating support for the CDA lawsuit, commenced in 2001 and now finally before the U.S. Supreme Court. Donations also fund our constituency services: NCSF's Incident Response program helps over 700 people a year, and the weekly Media Updates alert subscribers about news articles dealing with SM, polyamory and swinging.

Full text of the governments Motion to Affirm and NCSF's reply can be found under our CDA coverage area.

Please urge your group to hold a fundraiser for NCSF. You can also mail a personal donation or log onto the NCSF website to donate: Donations NCSF appreciates your support!


NCSF is dedicated to proactively challenging the rise in obscenity and pornography prosecutions, including filing an Amicus Briefs in support of Extreme Associates, and supporting the Free Speech Coalition's injunction filed against the expanded record-keeping provisions of 18 U.S.C. B' 2257.


A project of NCSF and the NCSF Foundation


The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is a national organization committed to creating a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that advances equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual expression. NCSF is primarily focused on the rights of consenting adults in the SM-leather-fetish, swing, and polyamory communities, who often face discrimination because of their sexual expression.


National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

822 Guilford Avenue, Box 127

Baltimore, MD 21202-3707

410-539-4824

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.ncsfreedom.org

Published in Barbara Nitke Case
October 20, 2005 - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has announced that his office will specifically target "bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior" in pursuing new obscenity prosecutions. The Department of Justice began recruiting in late July for a new anti-obscenity squad to pursue obscenity prosecutions, and the FBI announced in September that it was forming an anti-obscenity task force to crack down on pornography.

Any website that has content containing "bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior" should be forewarned that prosecution is possible. Additionally, Federal sentencing guidelines state that any obscenity- related punishment should be "enhanced for sadomasochistic material."

Forty people and businesses have been convicted of obscenity since 2001, and 20 additional indictments are pending according to Andrew Oosterbaan, chief of the Justice Department's child exploitation and obscenity section. There were only four obscenity prosecutions during the eight years of the Clinton administration.

Though adult content is, in theory, protected by the First Amendment, only a jury can determine if a work is obscene or not under the subjective set of standards that vary from one community to the next established in the 1973 Supreme Court ruling, Miller v. California.

Text is not inherently more protected than images when it comes to obscenity charges. The erotic fiction website Red Rose Stories is facing obscenity charges after federal agents raided the owner's home on October 3rd, taking computer equipment and diskettes that contained all of their files and site information.

The Department of Justice is clearly hoping that websites will self-censor or remove their content entirely. Midori, a fetish model and SM educator who teaches classes on bondage, has removed her website, BeautyBound.com, citing fear of obscenity prosecution. The owner of three SM websites, known as GrandPa DeSade, removed his websites from the Internet. SuicideGirls.com also announced they are self-censoring their materials over concerns about a possible obscenity crackdown.

Recent prosecutions of obscenity on websites include: A former police officer in Lakeland, Florida, was arrested on October 7th on over 300 obscenity-related charges for the sexual content posted on his website. The same day, webmaster Chris Wilson, owner of amateur website NowThatsFuckedUp.com, was raided on charges of obscenity by a local Sheriff's office.

"I think it's crucial for us to stand up for consensual sadomasochism and other alternative sexual practices," says Barbara Nitke, fetish photographer. "This is a battle worth fighting, and I hope everyone who can will just censor out the most provocative material from their websites, but keep them up. I also appeal to the lawyers in our community to help us find ways to keep people's websites up."

Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) have proactively challenged federal obscenity laws as applied to the Internet, arguing that obscenity laws based on "local community standards" are too vague and their existence burdens protected speech, resulting in self-censorship due to the fear of prosecution. A district court three-judge panel in New York ruled that while Nitke and the NCSF members were at risk, more proof was needed that obscenity laws cause otherwise protected speech to be restrained through acts of self-censorship. The case is currently on appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

"The effect of silencing alternative lifestyle speech was exactly why we brought the lawsuit," says attorney John Wirenius, lead counsel for NCSF. "The self- censorship we are seeing underscores the importance of supporting our ongoing obscenity challenge."

To contribute to the appeal of the CDA lawsuit, go to: www.ncsfreedom.org/donations.htm


Barbara Nitke - www.barbaranitke.com

August 22, 2005 - New York, NY - Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom have filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of the District Court's decision in the Communications Decency Act (CDA) challenge. Their appeal contends the District Court applied an incorrect legal standard for determining whether protected material was improperly banned under the CDA. The District Court also committed legal error in finding that many local communities do not have pre-determined standards of obscenity that can be verified--and then ruling the plaintiffs failed to prove what those standards are.

NCSF members and Barbara Nitke have been found by the Court to be genuinely at risk of prosecution under the CDA and their speech has been inhibited according to the decision handed down by the Federal District Court for the Southern District of NY, case #01 CIV 11476 (RMB). However, the three judge panel stated that the over 1,000 images and text by 150+ artists and website owners presented by the plaintiffs was "insufficient evidence" to prove that the variation in community standards is substantial enough that protected speech is inhibited by the CDA.

"As an artist, I can only do my work in a free society and that's what this challenge is about," says co-plaintiff Barbara Nitke, a fine art photographer who explores sexual relationships in her work. "We're fighting for the continued right of American artists to do their work and share it with others on the Internet."

"NCSF is concerned about this ruling because the court agrees that websites that deal with alternative sexuality are at risk of prosecution," says Susan Wright, NCSF Spokesperson. "Websites and chat groups that include discussions and images of SM, swinging and polyamory, and membership groups that maintain educational websites about adult sexuality are at risk."

The CDA contains provisions that ban speech and images from the Internet that any local community in the U.S. could deem obscene, even though that speech would be fully protected elsewhere. The CDA also contains a provision that states that it's illegal to put any obscene material on the web in such a way that minors can access it. However since the Internet can be accessed by anyone with a computer, anything on the web can be accessed by a minor as previously held by the Supreme Court in Reno v. ACLU. NCSF and Nitke maintain that adults have the right to post sexually explicit material on the Internet for other adults to view.

NCSF is dedicated to proactively challenging the rise in obscenity and pornography prosecutions, including filing an Amicus Briefs in support of Extreme Associates, and supporting the Free Speech Coalition's injunction filed against the expanded record-keeping provisions of 18 U.S.C. B' 2257.

To contribute to the expenses of the CDA lawsuit, go to: www.ncsfreedom.org/donations.htm Every dollar goes directly to ensuring free speech on the Internet.

Published in NCSF in the News!

July 26, 2005 - New York, NY - A three judge panel has made a decision in the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and acclaimed photographer Barbara Nitke's challenge against the Communications Decency Act (CDA) which criminalizes free speech on the Internet. According to the court, the plaintiffs presented "insufficient evidence" to support findings that the variation in community standards is substantial enough that protected speech is inhibited by the CDA.

According to the decision handed down by the Federal District Court for the Southern District of NY, in case #01 CIV 11476 (RMB): "The plaintiffs have offered evidence that there are at least 1.4 million Websites that mention "BDSM" (bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism)... The plaintiffs have submitted images and written works that represent material posted to a small number of Websites, that they contend may be considered obscene in some communities but not in others. These examples provide us with an insufficient basis upon which to make a finding as to the total amount of speech that is protected in some communities but that is prohibited by the CDA because it is obscene in other communities."

The court agreed that NCSF members and Barbara Nitke are genuinely at risk of prosecution under the CDA and that their speech has in fact been inhibited. According to the decision: "Nitke's fear that the CDA will be enforced against her is actual and well-founded. She has submitted objective evidence to substantiate the claim that she has been deterred from exercising her free-speech rights, and this fear is based on a reasonable interpretation of the CDA... NCSF has submitted objective evidence that one of its member organizations, TES, has been deterred from exercising its free-speech rights and that this deterrence is based on a well- founded fear that the CDA would be enforced against it."

John Wirenius, attorney for the plaintiffs, says, "We are disappointed that the court did not act on the uncontradicted evidence we presented that artists and citizens who are sexual minorities are disproportionately censored by the Government's ability to pick its own forum and standard for obscenity cases. The government brings obscenity cases where it knows it can get convictions."

"I am appalled by this decision," says co-plaintiff Barbara Nitke, a fine art photographer who explores sexual relationships in her work. "It is vitally important to keep the Internet free for education, the arts and open discussion on sexual topics. This law is a form of unfair censorship that must be stopped. I am absolutely going to appeal this."

NCSF challenged against the CDA law because personal websites and chat groups that include discussions and images of SM, swinging or polyamory are at risk of prosecution. Membership groups that maintain educational websites about adult sexuality are also at risk.

Under the Bush administration, nearly 40 prosecutors, as well as investigators and FBI agents are spending millions of dollars to bring anti-obscenity cases to courthouses across the country for the first time in 10 years. Obscenity is judged by "local community standards," which means that a religious political extremist in the Midwest can claim that a website from San Francisco is obscene and therefore illegal.

NCSF is dedicated to proactively challenging the rise in obscenity and pornography prosecutions, including filing an Amicus Briefs in support of Extreme Associates, and supporting the Free Speech Coalition's injunction filed against the expanded record-keeping provisions of 18 U.S.C. B' 2257.

To contribute to the expenses of the CDA lawsuit, go to: www.ncsfreedom.org/donations.htm Every dollar goes directly to ensuring free speech on the Internet.

Published in Barbara Nitke Case
September 7, 2004 New York City The Communications Decency Act (CDA) trial date has been set for October 27-29, 2004, at the United States District Court in New York City. Plaintiffs Barbara Nitke and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom are contesting the remaining CDA provisions allowing "local community standards" to be used to define obscenity on the Internet. These provisions were not the subject of the 1997 Supreme Court challenge, ACLU vs. Ashcroft.

"The CDA allows one community to limit what the entire nation is allowed to discuss, to read or to view on the Internet," says John Wirenius, the attorney for the lawsuit. "That is unconstitutional because the First Amendment does not allow any one locality to impose its morality on the nation." For more information about the CDA lawsuit, go to: www.ncsfreedom.org.

Expert witnesses who will be called and cross-examined include Arthur C. Danto, A.D. Coleman, Jeffrey Douglas, Ben Laurie, Seth Finkelstein, Candida Royalle, Tristan Taormino, Charles Moser, Dov Hechtman, Leigha Fleming, and Susan Wright. Their testimony will cover the technological impossibility of complying with the CDA; the artistic and social importance of sexually explicit speech concerning alternative sexual practices; and the chilling affect the CDA has had on artists and writers within the communities served by NCSF.

Plaintiff Barbara Nitke (www.barbaranitke.com) will be making appearances in San Francisco in September for an exhibition of her work, slide show talks, book signings and benefits to raise funds for the CDA lawsuit expenses. Mark I. Chester and Dr. Carol Queen's Center for Sex and Culture are sponsoring "Sex, Art & Politics," the series of events on radical sex photography and artistic freedom to coincide with the Folsom Street Fair. For more information on these events, see the calendar below.

Barbara Nitke is president of the prestigious Camera Club of New York, on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York, and author of a book of fine art photographs, Kiss of Fire (Kehrer Verlag 2003). National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is a national organization committed to protecting freedom of sexual expression among consenting adults.

For additional information, requests for interviews, and publishable press photos contact Susan Wright, Spokesperson for NCSF 917.848.6544, or Barbara Nitke at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Calendar of September Events in San Francisco with Barbara Nitke:

  • Sat. Sept. 18th - 8pm-midnight "Opening Party for Sex, Art & Politics" Radical sex photography including Barbara Nitke's loving SM photographs, book signing, and entertainment. Suggested donation $5- 10+. Mark I. Chester studio, 1229 Folsom St./SF
  • Sun Sept. 19th - 2-4pm - "A Romantic View of SM" Barbara Nitke's slide show talk and discussion of the CDA lawsuit. $15 for the general public. $5 for members of Janus and reciprocal leather organizations.
  • Sun Sept. 19th - 7-10pm - House party benefit for the CDA lawsuit sponsored by Mark I. Chester, Dr. Carol Queen and NCSF at a private location. 100% of proceeds will benefit the CDA lawsuit. Space is limited so please call 415-255-1155 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for an invite.
  • Tues, Sept. 21st - 8-10pm - Book signing by Barbara Nitke for her book of loving SM photographs, Kiss of Fire. Good Vibrations, 603 Valencia St., at 17th St./SF
  • Wed, Sept. 22nd - 7-10pm "Sex, Art & Politics Community Benefit" Co- sponsored by Mark I. Chester and the Center for Sex and Culture, with Charles Gatewood, Fakir Musafar, Phyllis Christopher, Michael Blue/Midori and Shilo McCabe. Suggested donation $10-$20+ with proceeds benefiting the CDA lawsuit. SF Citadel, 245 8th St/SF
  • Sat/Sun, Sept 25/26th-noon-6pm - Mark I. Chester will take a FREE digital portrait of anyone who visits his studio to see the radical sex photographs on display. Sun. 9/26, the show will be open during the Folsom St. Fair. Mark I Chester studio, 1229 Folsom St./SF
For further information regarding the above events, please check the Calendar of Special Events on: http://mchester.best.vwh.net  or call Mark at 415-621-6294. Center for Sex and Culture (www.sexandculture.org)


September 7, 2004
Contact: Susan Wright, Spokesperson
National Coalition for Sexual Freedom

917.848.6544 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Published in NCSF in the News!

Mark I. Chester (http://mchester.best.vwh.net) and Dr. Carol Queen's non-profit Center for Sex and Culture (http://www.sexandculture.org), announce a series of events in mid-September 2004 on radical sex photography and artistic freedom, featuring New York City photographer Barbara Nitke (http://www.barbaranitke.com). The events coincide with the upcoming Folsom St. Fair, Sun Sept. 26th, San Francisco's annual leather street fair, California's third largest public outdoor event.

Barbara Nitke visit to SF - pr and calendar of events for Sept 2004

Mark I. Chester (http://mchester.best.vwh.net) and Dr. Carol Queen's non-profit Center for Sex and Culture (http://www.sexandculture.org), announce a series of events in mid-September 2004 on radical sex photography and artistic freedom, featuring New York City photographer Barbara Nitke (http://www.barbaranitke.com). The events coincide with the upcoming Folsom St. Fair, Sun Sept. 26th, San Francisco's annual leather street fair, California's third largest public outdoor event.

Nitke will visit San Francisco for a whirlwind tour including an exhibition of her work, slide show talks at various local groups and organizations, book signings and benefits to raise funds for the NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom - www.ncsfreedom.org) lawsuit, challenging John Ashcroft and the CDA (Communications Decency Act), of which she is a co-plaintiff. While sections of the CDA were ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1997, the court left other provisions that allow local community standards to be used to define obscenity on the internet, thereby removing its First Amendment protections.

"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," says John Wirenius, the attorney for the lawsuit. "The First Amendment does not allow any one locality to impose its morality on the nation." Additional info on the lawsuit can be found at http://www.thewireniusreport.net.

Freedom of sexual and artistic expression is at the core of Barbara Nitke's work, which has explored issues of sexual relationship and desire through photography since 1982. Hailed by The Village Voice for her quest "to find humanity in marginal sex," Nitke has gained worldwide attention for her affecting and powerful photographs chronicling relationships between consenting adults engaged in sadomasochistic activities. Her new book of fine art photographs, Kiss of Fire (Kehrer Verlag 2003), celebrates a romantic view of sadomasochism.

"My goal has always been to capture not just the deep intimacy and trust between lovers, but also the intense energy and passion of SM practices," says Nitke. "Everyone I've photographed has taught me something new about the nature of sexual desire, humanity, and the fact that no matter how we're wired to express love, freedom is having the courage to be who we are."

President of the prestigious Camera Club of New York, Barbara Nitke is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York. Nitke's photographs have been shown in one-person and group shows around the world

For additional information, publishable press photos, books for review and requests for interviews contact Mark I. Chester, 415-621-6294. Or you can contact Barbara Nitke directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Calendar of September events with Barbara Nitke


Sat. Sept. 18th - 7pm-midnight - opening party for a joint exhibition of Barbara Nitke's b&w loving SM photographs (http://www.barbaranitke.com) and the color digital photographs of bondage ecstasy and sculpture by photographer Michael Blue and bondage rigger Midori (http://www.beautybound.com) at the Mark I. Chester studio, 1229 Folsom St. 415-621-6294 (http://mchester.best.vwh.net). The artists will attend and Barbara's new hard cover book, Kiss of Fire, a romantic view of sadomasochism, ($40) will be available. A bondage performance by Fetish Diva Midori and other entertainment. Suggested donation $5-10+. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Sun Sept. 19th - 2pm-4pm - Barbara Nitke will do a slide show talk for the Society of Janus, San Francisco's oldest pansexual educational and social SM group (http://www.soj.org) at the SF Citadel, 245 8th St. (http://www.sfcitadel.org) on her life in photography, her sexual and SM photographs and the NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) lawsuit challenging John Ashcroft and the CDA (Communications Decency Act) (www.ncsfreedom.org and www.thewireniusreport.net) Open to anyone 18 years and older with a sincere, positive interest in BDSM. Doors open at 1pm. $15 for the general public. $5 for Janus members and reciprocal organizations. The Nitke/Blue-Midori exhibition at the Mark I. Chester studio can be viewed by attendees from 4-5 pm at 1229 Folsom St, which is very close to the SF Citadel.

Sun Sept. 19th - 7pm-10pm - house party to benefit the NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) lawsuit challenging John Ashcroft and the CDA sponsored by Mark I. Chester & Dr. Carol Queen at the Mark I. Chester studio at 1229 Folsom St.. 100% of proceeds will benefit the NCSF lawsuit. Call 415-621-6294 for an invite. (https://ncsfreedom.org and http://www.thewireniusreport.net) Nitke and other special guests

Tues, Sept. 21st - 8pm-10pm - Barbara Nitke (http://www.barbaranitke.com) will do a slide show talk and book signing for her new book of loving SM photographs, Kiss of Fire, in addition to talking about the NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) CDA lawsuit for Good Vibrations (http://www.goodvibes.com), 603 Valencia St.,at 17th St. 522-5460. FREE

Wed, Sept. 22nd - 7-10pm - Celebrating Radical Sex Photography - in words and images - a community benefit co-sponsored by Mark I. Chester and Dr. Carol Queen's non-profit Center for Sex and Culture. 100% of the profits will benefit Nitke: the NCSF CDA lawsuit, her travel to SF and the exhibition of her work. A slide show panel discussion with keynote speaker Nitke, featured photographers Mark I. Chester, Michael Blue/Midori, Charles Gatewood, Fakir Musafar and Phyllis Christopher and other emerging photographers. At the SF Citadel, 245 8th St. Open to the adult public. Suggested donation $10-$20+. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Sat/Sun, Sept. 25th/26th - 11am-6pm - open viewing of the exhibition of Barbara Nitke's loving SM photographs and Michael Blue/Midori's photographs of bondage sculpture and ecstasy at the Mark I. Chester studio, 1229 Folsom St. 415-621-6294. Sun. 9/26, the show will be open during the Folsom St. Fair. Mark I. Chester will also be doing digital pix in his studio. (http://mchester.best.vwh.net/digital.html)

Published in NCSF in the News!

New York, December 18, 2003 - The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has submitted expert witness reports for their landmark Communications Decency Act lawsuit, Nitke v. Ashcroft (Case No. 01 Civ. 11476). John Wirenius, attorney for plaintiffs NCSF and photographer Barbara Nitke, provided 31 expert witness reports and witnesses who will testify before the three-judge panel for the Southern District of New York.

 

The expert witness reports support the plaintiffs' contention that "local community standards" cannot be accurately applied to the Internet and, therefore, cannot be used to determine what is obscene. If the most restrictive communities can control what is placed on the Internet, then everyone will be restricted to that standard. The Internet is a world-wide phenomenon, therefore websites should not be held to standards specific to geo-location because community standards vary significantly from region to region and community to community.

 

Expert witness reports were submitted that establish self-censoring by artists because of the vagueness of this law. The importance of anonymity because of the frequent persecution of sexual minorities was also established as well as the social importance of sexually explicit speech in both art and education.

 

"This phase of the trial is critical because the evidence is on the table," said John Wirenius, First Amendment attorney and author of First Amendment, First Principles: Verbal Acts and Freedom of Speech. "The plaintiffs are providing the scientific grounds for our contention that visitors to the Internet cannot be tracked, and therefore limiting content on the Internet will limit free speech. The government is obligated to show, if they can, why our experts are incorrect."

By law the government had 30 days from the date plaintiffs identified their expert witnesses to the court to file notice of the identities of rebuttal experts and written summaries of their anticipated testimony. To date the government has filed no such notice, and the deadline has passed.

 

The following Experts and Witnesses filed reports:

  1. Artists Who Have Self-Censored
    • Barbara Nitke - professional photographer and co-plaintiff in CDA lawsuit
    • Patrick Califia - prolific author of essays, fiction and poetry
    • Deborah Christian - science-fiction/fantasy author
    • Nina Hartley - adult film star
    • Theresa Reed - writer, editor, and reviewer of adult videos and books
    • Candida Royalle - adult film star and producer of erotic films
    • Michele Serchuk - fine art photographer
    • Tristan Taormino - columnist, adult film producer and performer
  2. Educational Organizations that have Self-Censored
    • Dov Hechtman for TES - TES is a New York-based pansexual, educational and social SM membership group
    • Glenda Rider for FIST - FIST is a Baltimore City educational and social SM membership group for women
  3. Social Importance of Sexually Explicit Speech
    • Arthur C. Danto - Ph.D., Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University, art critic for The Nation, and a contributing editor of Artforum
    • A.D. Coleman - Ph.D., critic of photography, art, mass media and new communication technologies
    • Betty Dodson - artist, author, sex educator and international authority on women's sexuality
    • Deborah Addington - author, teacher, creative writer, activist and freelance journalist
    • Gloria G. Brame - Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, author, sex and relationship expert
    • Michele Buchanan - anthropology professor
    • Charles Moser - Ph.D., MD., author of numerous peer-reviewed articles about SM
    • Carol Queen - Ph.D. in Sexology, author and editor
    • David Steinberg - photographer, columnist, editor and publisher
    • Linda Williams - author and professor of Film Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley
  4. Importance of Anonymity
    • Eva Norvind - M.A. in Human Sexuality and Health Education from New York University
    • Katherine Ramsland - Ph.D. in forensic psychology, clinical psychology, and philosophy
  5. Geo-Location and the Internet
    • Ben Laurie - technical director and consultant, expert witness for YAHOO! in the French courts
    • Seth Finkelstein - anti-censorship activist and programmer, recently hailed by the Library of Congress's Copyright Office
  6. Variations in Community Standards
    • Jeffrey J. Douglas, Esq. - Chairman of the Board of the Free Speech Coalition
    • Leigha Fleming - Director of Constituency Services for National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
    • Robert Thomas - convicted in Memphis, TN for speech deemed inoffensive that was posted in the Bay Area in 1996
    • Carleen Thomas - convicted in Memphis, TN for speech deemed inoffensive that was posted in the Bay Area in 1996
    • Howard Rheingold - author and editor about technology, society and creativity
    • Susan Wright - Spokesperson for National Coalition for Sexual Freedom
Published in Barbara Nitke Case