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Tuesday, 20 April 2010 14:47

EFA fights ACMA over 'take down' notice

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The Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Sydney is hearing an appeal against a take-down notice for a link Electronic Frontiers Australia provided to illustrate its case against Internet filtering.

EFA posted the article "Net censorship already having a chilling effect" https://www.efa.org.au/2009/03/13/net-censorship-already-having-a-chilling-effect/ on its web site last May.

At that time the hosting company for the Whirlpool broadband forum had already complied with an ACMA takedown notice regarding the same link which was to a US anti-abortion web site that showed graphic images of aborted foetuses. The initial complaint that caused the site to be blacklisted had been made by a Whirlpool user.

EFA also removed the link from its site but said: "The original title of the page was "AbortionTV Pictures #6", and can presumably be found using major search engines." (It can, very easily, and it's not nice but it's making a statement on an issue that is the subject of much public debate).

EFA said at the time: "This demonstrates not only that the blacklist targets a wider range of material than child abuse (where the minister's rhetoric has been focused) but also that the lines between art, obscenity and political speech are not as bright and clear as politicians would have us imagine."

The take down notice that resulted in EFA removing the link from its story was issued not to EFA but to its then site hosting company, Sublime IP.  EFA argues that "the notice should have been issued to EFA, not our hosts; and'¦the issuing of the notice infringes our constitutionally protected right to free political communication." 

It adds "This is particularly important as, under the legislation, only the person to whom the links removal notice was issued has standing to appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal."

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