Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

53 Federal Communications Law Journal 191 (2001)


Traditionally, whenever the government has sought to regulate speech, analysis of its action focused on conventional issues, such as the type of forum involved, whether the government acted in a regulatory or a proprietary role, and whether the regulation could be defined as a prior restraint. With the advent of the Internet and the opportunity for the widespread dissemination of viewpoints, however, new issues have arisen. This Article focuses on the complex questions public libraries face when filtering material, usually of a sexually explicit nature, from the public using filtering software. This Article contends that public libraries require a unique analysis because they represent the government by facilitating access to speech. With this in mind, this Article discusses several arguments for and against the use of filtering software, and concludes that public libraries should be able to employ such tools, but, at the same time, meet certain requirements in their implementation.