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Thread: Porn in Public

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    Default Porn in Public

    A Seattle library is making news after refusing to remove a man who was watching pornographic videos on a library computer.

    "We're a library, so we facilitate access to constitutionally protected information. We don't tell people what they can view and check out," Seattle Public Library spokeswoman Andra Addison told Seattle PI. "Filters compromise freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. We're not in the business of censoring information."

    Seattle PI reports that when library patron Julie Howe saw the man, she asked him to move to another computer. He refused. When Howe asked the librarian to intervene, she also refused.

    "She could see the screen from the information desk where we were standing and was sympathetic, but said that the library doesn't censor content," Howe wrote in an email published Tuesday on the neighborhood blog, Lake City Live.

    "And they can't be in the business of monitoring what their patrons are doing at any given computer."

    However, in 2010 the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision that libraries can do exactly that. The ruling came after the ACLU sued a rural library district that had attempted to filter porn from its computers.

    "A public library has traditionally and historically enjoyed broad discretion to select materials to add to its collection of printed materials for its patrons' use," the court wrote in its decision. "We conclude that the same discretion must be afforded a public library to choose what materials from millions of Internet sites it will add to its collection and make available to its patrons."



    Howe says she respects, understands and agrees with the freedom of speech laws that protect the man's right to view pornography, but nonetheless wishes there was a compromise for the library's other patrons.

    "I have had extensive conversations with the library about this incident, as well as with the police and local representatives," wrote Howe. "The man's right to access constitutionally protected information is fully protected (which I'm not in argument with), but our right not to be inadvertent viewers is not."

    Other library patrons have complained about similar incidents, including those involving young children who were exposed to pornographic images being viewed by other patrons.

    The dilemma was summed up by another library patron, Jessica Christensen, who told Seattle PI, "What I find ironic is that you can't talk too loudly at the Seattle Public Libraries or you'll be asked to keep it down so as not to distract the other patrons. You know, the patrons viewing pornography."
    Seattle library lets man watch porn on computers despite complaints | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News

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