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Leaked Documents Spur First-Amendment Debate

EFF IN THE NEWS
July 18, 2007

A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., is considering whether bloggers are entitled to the same free-speech protections given to reporters for newspapers and other media. The case involves leaked documents belonging to the pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly.

Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco will argue that the order to shut down the Web links violated the protections of the First Amendment.

"Courts in the United States, thanks to the First Amendment, are not allowed to issue what are called 'prior restraints,' Von Lohmann said. "After all, the Pentagon Papers were also allegedly improperly obtained. And the courts have said over and over again, 'It doesn't matter if the documents were improperly obtained. Courts do not issue stop-the-presses orders against people who happen to get the documents after they had been released.'"

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