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This Article discusses the implications for publishers, libraries, and the public regarding a ruling issued in June by a judge who ruled that a federal agency's attempt to regulate publishers of online newsletters and software was unconstitutional. That same month in Texas, Governor George W. Bush signed legislation that overturned a ban on self-help legal software in the state. In both cases, the forces in favor of deregulation and freedom of speech on the Internet prevailed against those in favor of government regulation and licensing. Federal regulators were told they could not force publishers and software producers--in this case, of newsletters about commodity futures trading--to register with the government simply because their opinions and content were available online. In Texas, legislators decided that publishers who provide legal information in the form of books, software, or web sites are protected by the First Amendment and their products are not a substitute for legal advice, as long as they clearly state they are not an alternative to legal counsel.

Recommended Citation

Pat Newcombe, Web Regulation Battles Heat Up, AM. LIBR., Nov. 1999, at 50.