Reno: The First Three Years

by Melia Deters and Skyler Noble

This video provides some of the immediate aftermath following the decision in Reno v. ACLU (1996). The cases highlighted were decided three years after the decision was made. Reno v. ACLU was used to show how vague definitions of indecency and unfair regulation of immoral speech are unjust and unconstitutional in an attempt to protect minors from various forms of indecent speech. The three cases this video discusses are U.S. v. Playboy Entertainment Inc. (2000), The City of Erie v. Pap’s A.M. (2000) and Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Reilly (2000). All of these cases show how vague definitions of indecency and disagreeable speech are evidenced by Reno v. ACLU and applicable to the context of the case. These cases had intentions of protecting minors similar to how the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 aimed to protect minors from the transmission of indecent speech on the internet. The decisions from each of these cases teaches the audience that immoral speech cannot be limited simply because the majority of the population disagrees with it, and that there can be a potential chilling effect when definitions of the term “indecency” are too vague.

Works cited:

Lexis Nexis:



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