#1 (of 56) SYSOP, on 10-MAR-87 21:10 (Size: 606 bytes) Subject: This Board This is a new b
#1 (of 56) SYSOP, on 10-MAR-87 21:10 (Size: 606 bytes)
Subject: This Board
This is a new board category. The reason that I am putting on the board is
due to a unique message that I received the other day.
In the message (follows this message), Mark Beesley objects to several files
that are located in the Graphics file category. These files were previously
labeled as X-Rated by the users that uploaded them. His contention is that
these files are Pornographic and that since they are located in a download
category that any users can access, they should be removed.
Below are the three messages that have been sent and received between Mr.
Beesley and myself.
#2 (of 56) SYSOP, on 10-MAR-87 21:10 (Size: 3126 bytes)
Subject: Mr. Beesleys First Message
Message #561 from MARK BEESLEY, on 09-MAR-87 18:14
Subject: "X-RATED" MATERIALS (Size: 3028 bytes)
I am fairly new to BBS system use and find that they offer a great
service. However, I am concerned about the distribution by use of the
telephone lines of pornographic materials. It may be that you are not able to
keep a close tab on what type of material is being uploaded and downloaded on
your service. But you do have a number of files which are available to anyone,
regardless of their age, which ardentified as being "x-rated."
I am in the process of indentifying an monitoring the BBS services
which have such materials available. I am requesting that you remove from your
download files any files which are then converted in pornographic material. I
have contacted a number of other BBS services in the San Diego area and have
had a very positive respone.
If I determine that some BBS services continue to allow the downloading
of this type of material, then further steps can be taken. Litigation is
currently pending Federal Court in Utah where a New York company is being
prosecuted criminally for offering "pornographic telephone call" services. The
telephone lines are regulated by the FCC of the federal government and I have
no doubt that the transmission of files such as some of those which you
currently have available fall within the purview of current anti-pornography
legislation. The only reason no prosecutions have taken place is that the
problem has not been brought to the attention of the U.S. Attorney General's
If necessary, further action may also be taken. If I find it is
necessary I will organize and have attempt to have legislation passed which
would to two things: First, it would make it an express felony to transmit or
provide for reception of computer generated electronic impusles which may be
translated to show a pornographic picture over the telephone lines (And in my
experience I do not doubt that such legislation would pass easily); and Second,
a much more radical proposal to require registration and licensing of all BBS
Services with strict regulations on what may and may not be offerred.
Like I said, I have had good response so far from some of the other BBs
Services. I hope that we can keep computer use educational, entertaining, AND
clean without resorting to some of the other, more painful steps.
Please let me hear from you. Incidently, following is list of graphics
programs on your service which should not be made available for downloading,
since you cannot prevent a 12 or 13 year old from accessing them:
I am not picking on BBS systems at random. I have toured a lot of
systems available in the San Diego area and want to work with those which I
feel can offer a good service. Yours is one such service.
Thanks. Mark Beesley
#3 (of 56) SYSOP, on 10-MAR-87 21:15 (Size: 5281 bytes)
Subject: My Reply
I am somewhat amused and angered by your message at the same time.
Just because a file is labeled as X-Rated, does not mean that the file
is pornographic. Those rating were placed in the description of the
files by the persons uploading the files. In reviewing the files you
mentioned, I would be very hard pressed to rate them X- or even R-
Rated. None of them are pornographic!
I am most curious as to what you consider to be pornographic. It
appears that you have a different interpretation of that term than I
In trying to look up the words "Pornography" and "Pornographic" I was
surprised to find that in the three dictionaries I had lying around,
NONE of them contained them. While I will admit that these
dictionaries are not the biggest ones around, they are quite
comprehensive and fairly current (Published in 1976, 1971 and in
1964). I get the impression that the words are very interpretive.
What is pornographic to one person is not to another.
All the files you mentioned along with the other files located in that
category are a form of computer art and this board is an open
communications channel that permits users to share information and
resources. That includes computer art.
I am very careful to review files that are uploaded into the system
before moving them into permanent download locations. And I remove
files all the time that fail the rules that I enforce on the board.
Those restrictions are few but are the same ones supported by
responsible sysop's throughout the country. Files are removed if they
o Files or messages that contain abusive or obscene language.
o Files or messages that promote Hacking activities.
o Files that are copyrighted and not intended to be distributed
in this type of forum.
Considering that most of the file you listed been circulating around
for many years, and the fact that you are the first person that I have
ever heard of complaining about them, I think you are running around a
I have seen paintings much more detailed in Churches and illustrated
bibles than the so-called pornographic computer art files you mention.
Further more, this board is accessed mainly by computer programmers,
TeleSys Sysop's and occasional computer novices. Being a support
board for the TeleSys system for other TeleSys system throughout the
U.S. we don't get many 12 and 13 year olds.
In addition, I am very strict with regards to the usage of real names,
and locations. Most of the younger users tend to stay away from this
board and stick to the Hacker and Adventure type boards that let them
I have no intention of changing this boards format to the point that
each user has to apply for access to the system before they can
download files. I believe that is totally unnecessary and I really
don't have the time to support such a very demanding, time consuming
Running a bulletin board is time consuming enough not to mention the
cost of maintaining the hardware, phone lines and other incidental
TeleSys (the software that controls this board) supports the
transmission of files from one user directly to another. I don't
suppose that you want me to restrict that type of transmission as
It would be much easier for people who wanted to send illicit and
illegal files, to do so by simple dialing up the other user direct and
transferring the information. Much less people would know about the
transfers and they would have much more control by not using bulletin
boards all together.
As far as the so-called X-Rated ratings on the files, I sense that
they are misrepresentative of the files that they are labeling. I
will have them removed. I do not however, intend to remove the files
themselves since I don't find them to pornographic.
If the parents of the 12 and 13 year olds are so concerned about what
their children do and see, then they should monitor their kids
activities themselves and not place their responsibility unfairly upon
I suppose that if there was a big out-cry from the regular users of
the system about this, I would consider removing the files or placing
them in a restricted area. The fact that you are the first person
every to even mention this however, makes me believe that the other
regular users of the board don't agree with you.
I am considering placing a questionnaire on the system requesting the
regular users opinion on this matter. But I will not be swayed by a
group of new callers demanding that they be removed just so that can
make their selfish point at the expense of the regular users. I do,
by the way, maintain a very accurate logs of all the users of the
system, including who uploads, downloads, how long they are on the
system and how often they call.
If you have any comments to make about this message please feel free
to give me a call. It is much easier to communicate sometime by voice
rather than by typing. I can be reached during the day at 232-5211
ext. 14 and at night and on the weekends at 276-7561 and would welcome
Kevin W. Reed - Sysop
Author of the TeleSys
#4 (of 56) SYSOP, on 10-MAR-87 21:16 (Size: 1549 bytes)
Subject: Mr. Beesley's Reply
Message #567 from MARK BEESLEY, on 10-MAR-87 17:41
Subject: Re: Reply (Size: 1455 bytes)
I do not intend to get into a debate with you as to whether or not the files
are pornographic. I suspect you are confusing the term pornographic with
obscene in any event.
You perhaps have not had any complaints up to this point from other users.
I have identified the problem and fully intend to pursue it. If you doubt my
resolve, you may be surprised.
There is little, if any, difference between the traditional "obscene phone
call" and the transmission of pornography over the phone lines. The language
used is "computerese" and is fully analgous to English, Spanish, or some other
I am requesting once again that you remove the offending files. If you
fail to do so, I will take the following steps:
1. Notify certain publications which list you and request that they
cease listing your service;
2. Notify the San Diego County District Attorneys office of your
dissemination of pornographic materials and request prosecution (one of my
fellow law students works in the D.A.'s office); and
3. Notify the F.C.C. and the U.S. Attorney General's office of your
use of the telephone lines for the transmission of pornographic materials.
I will check back within the week to see if you have responded
favorably. OTHER systems have so responded. THEY have recognized the
potential problems. Hopefully you will also!
#5 (of 56) SYSOP, on 10-MAR-87 21:17 (Size: 1677 bytes)
Subject: What's Your Opinion?
As you can see, there is a difference of opinion between Mr. Beesley and
myself. Unfortunately, Mr. Beesley neglected to leave me his phone number so
that I might talk to him in person rather than by the delay of a computer
bulletin board system.
I personally have not made any real decision in this matter. I must admit
however that I am very upset by the threats made by Mr. Beesley in that I
don't share his point of view.
I don't believe Mr. Beesley has the right to have some computer art removed
simply because he views it as Pornographic. Pornography, and Pornographic
appear to be words that are open to each persons own interpretation (I have
yet to see a dictionary that defines either word).
If he objects to these graphic files, what is to stop him from threatening to
have removed other messages or articles that he objects to.
I don't think he has that right.
As far as his threats are concerned, he has yet to point out a single law
that states that what is on this system (even if it were pornographic) is
illegal. The telephone law make no mention, neither is there any court
precedent for what he is threatening to have prosecuted.
And the "purview of current anti-pornography legislation" is just that,
legislation. It hasn't been enacted into law and thus doesn't exist.
Anyway, enough of my rambling.... What is your Opinion? Do you agree, or
disagree? Should the files be removed?
Kevin W. Reed - Sysop
PS. I can guarantee one thing will come of this. The files he mentioned are
most likely to be the hottest download item on this board!
#6 (of 56) MARK BEESLEY, on 10-MAR-87 22:29 (Size: 3023 bytes)
Hello fellow users, I am Mark Beesley, and am responsible for this hot
topic (no pun intended). As you consider the question placed before you, I
hope you will understand a few things.
I am a father with four children and a fifth due in June. I am
concerned about the prevalence of pornographic, obsecene, lewd, and suggestive
materials with which we are confronted on a daily basis. I enjoy using my
computer (sometimes to the point of irritating my wife), and I really just want
to see this medium remain a tool for good. I see no potential good coming from
offering "computer art" of naked women instead of sports cars, mountains, or
some other such subject.
Mr. Reed is correct that there is no court precedent covering precisely
the question we are facing. But there are cases, I am sure, which will provide
precedent for the relevant legal issues. I will take it upon myself to do the
necessary legal research and inform you. (I am currently a law student at
U.S.D., graduating in December and currently working for a local attorney.
Previous to my law studies, I was a paralegal in a D.A.'s office. I have some
familiarity with the state of the law.)
Also, consider what the potential results could be of this little
disagreement. Mr. Reed is correct, once again, that legislation is not the
law. But all law begins as legislation. Do you think legislators, on both the
State and Federal level, would have an interest in knowing about the
availability of pornographic, obscene, lewd, or suggestive materials through
the use of modems? Do you suppose any of them are fathers with children who
Mr. Reed suggests that if I begin censoring dirty pictures, I may move
on to censor other messages or things I don't like. That is a typical argument
opponent make on any issue: Imagine the worst case scenario and try to scare
Mr. Reed commented that I did not leave my phone number. He is
correct. Many of the bulletin boards require that a phone number is left at
the time a new user registers. If this bulletin board required that, I am
certain I did leave it at that time. I did not leave it in my previous message
because I had not noticed that Mr. Reed had made the suggestion that I contact
him by phone until later when I printed out his message. By that time Mr. Reed
had already located my phone number and called me.
We do have a disagreement. And I believe it is a serious one. If
anyone feels that they would like to phone me, feel free. But please be
considerate of my family. My children, ages 3 through 9, and my wife are my
primary concern. My phone number is:
Weekends would be best since I am generally in school or working late.
I look forward to a stimulating and educational dialogue.
#7 (of 56) JIMMY LIM, on 10-MAR-87 23:51 (Size: 2138 bytes)
I have seen some of the pictures referred to by Mark Beasley. I have to agree
with the SYSOP that while they are pictures of nude women, they are not
pornographic material. Obviously some other people, such as Mark Beasley, have
a different standard and feel that they are indeed pornographic. This points
to the main problem with censorship - whowill do the censoring and set the
standards. Because of the potential of censorship by the government, our
freedom to express our opinions is guaranteed as an individual right. I think
our society is on balance safer without censorship despite abusive expressions
by some members of society.
In certain situations, legislation has been passed disallowing activities
such as child pornography. These have been generally accepted because of the
obvious harm to some individuals such as minors. However there are relatively
few censorship-type legislation because people are generally wary of these
regulations and the misuse which they may lead to. Therefore like many people,
I think censorship is acceptable only in exceptional circumstances.
I think pictures of nude women in a BBS does not constitute an exceptional
circumstance. Further, few minors can easily purchase a computer system
without the approval of some adult. I think that adult whoever he may be bears
the responsibility to ensure that the computer system is used as he desires it
to be used. In conclusion, I think all this fuss is a tempest in a teapot.
Furthermore, while I sympathize with Mark Beasley's commendable objective of
protecting minors, hisdesire to use Big Brother to enforce his point of view is
heavy-handed and narrow-minded in this particular case.
One more point I should make is that if Mark Beasley can marshall enough
people who feel the same way he does, they may be able to effect legislation
along the line he envisions. There is nothing wrong with that process.
After all that's what democracy is all about. However if you disagree, it is
up to you to express your disagreement and counter censorship proposals.
#8 (of 56) DAVE WAGNER, on 12-MAR-87 00:36 (Size: 1842 bytes)
After reading all of the messages regarding to some female readmac files I feel
I should put my two cents in. 1. I have downloaded a lot of these files (some
30+) and out of those I feel that one (whose file name I'll past for now) is
questionable if it crosses over the line. Most pic to me is just that
"COMPUTER ART" therefore it would be wrong for me to see it any other way. But
if we have to censor some or all files that may offend someone (since we know
that there will be always someone to offend) I feel sorry for our society. For
then we will no longer have freedom of expression,ideas and soforth. True
recently I came across a file (not a pic) that I did approve only on the basic
of the description of this file before hand, since then I have told the sysop
of the different BBS about the descriptions and they have redefine the descp.
I feel that Mark is in general a person who says he will be getting his law
degree soon is trying to blow his new found whistle at a lost cause. If he
would put his engery elsewhere he might even make a living.
My only idea on the subject would be to have a secure area (if necessary in
the future) in which the person is will to donate for the un-necessary handling
or operating of this CENSORSHIP FILE (B-BIG BROTHERHOOD RISE AGAIN) will be
given access...but mark my word it will be one more step in removing our
I just notice in rereading what I typed that I left a very important word
out. In the first paragraph where I said I came across a file (that I did NOT
approve OF only on the basic...
Kevin I just want you to know I'm behind you and yes I am scared of what
this could lead too.
#9 (of 56) MICHAEL LODMAN, on 12-MAR-87 10:10 (Size: 645 bytes)
I am an electrical engineer at a large international firm. The type of
pictures in question have been around for about as long as electronic
computers and line printers. To call them ponographic is absurd as it
requires a pretty good imagination to see much of anything but vague
What is this turkey trying to protect children from? The image of the
female body? Is he afraid (oh my god!) that they might be titilated?
I really hope you don't cave in to this kind of legal blackmail. He
is obviously not one of the top legal students, or at least I hope
he is not.
Cheers and Good Luck,
#10 (of 56) RICH HERZOG, on 13-MAR-87 20:07 (Size: 2287 bytes)
Subject: Censorship Revisited
While no scholar on this particular subject, I believe there is considerable
precedent and weight given the "community standards" issue. Mr. Reed has,
by creation of this BBS section, committed himself to evaluating the
relevent "community standard," where the community is registered users of
this (and similar) on-line computer systems. I believe that if an outcry
of community resentment truly existed, Mr. Reed would be responsive to
this, and act accordingly. So far, it's Mr. Beesly v The Rest Of The World.
Mr. Beesly, if your children are so close to the edge that viewing any
of these images will tip them over, YOU are not doing YOUR JOB as a parent.
These images do not spring up uninvited upon your monitor. You must
willingly summon them forth by communicating with a computer, learning
the file system, finding the files, downloading the files, using an
archive program to extract the files, run a utility to display them on
your screen, and finally, keep them around. If you believe that material
that you and your progeny should not see exists "out there," why do you
permit your children to operate your computer without supervision. Why
do you permit them to use your telephone lines to dial into online
systems ? There are several multi-user on-line systems in the area
predominantly used by teen-types to engage in juvenile chatter, some of
which I find offensive. I don't call them any more. While you feel
the exhiliration of nearing the end of your law school education (talk
to me again after you've passed the Bar, Mr. Beesly -- my wife has managed
it) you're undoubtedly tempted to tilt at windmills and remake the world
in your image. This won't work any better with on-line systems than
with network TV, which DOES occasionally pour forth more-or-less uninvited
into the living rom. Somebody, Somewhere is truly offended by something
no one else is. My father, who once worked in broadcasting, would
tell these people, who were offended by The Edge of Night, or As The
World Turns, or The 6 O'Clock News, or a Tidy Bowl commercial, "So
don't watch it."
So count my vote too, in this poll of the community standard -- Let me
be the judge of what I do and don't want to summon into my home.
#11 (of 56) MARK BEESLEY, on 13-MAR-87 23:52 (Size: 214 bytes)
Subject: Same old thing.
It's nice to see you all taking an interest in the subject. Do any of you want
to address the legal issues in addition to the moral ones? By the way Kevin,
did you happen to contact the D.A.'s office?
#12 (of 56) PAUL A. COARTNEY, on 14-MAR-87 19:14 (Size: 818 bytes)
Subject: Re: Censorship?
What gives you the right to demandor even request that this or any
computer board cease providing a service to the users by censoring the material
which appears for up/down loading. What gives you the right to judge as
pornographic or obscene the materials which appear on this board.
I am a mathematician and as such I tend to believe that I think logocally;
my suggestion to you sir, is that if you find this board or the material
offered within objectionable: logoff and never come back.
I do not support the use of this or any board for illegal purposes.
However, it is my opinion that it is the responsibility of the parents of youth
to instill morals. If these parents are not aware of what their children are
doing, they should be.
#13 (of 56) ROLAND SYKES, on 15-MAR-87 10:19 (Size: 4662 bytes)
Subject: QUESTIONS OF LAW
Don't know if this helps but it appears that more than a few folks in
California agree with freedom of speach in telecommunications. I found
this on the "Disabled Intrest Group's Electronic Exchange" 619-454-8078
8,1 and No parity 300/1200. Don't know if it passed but thought it might
be interesting to know.
Date: Fri Feb 08, 1985 8:43 am PST
From: Robert Jacobson / MCI ID: 224-4013
TO: * Brock N. Meeks / MCI ID: 206-6185
TO: Tom Tcimpidis / MCI ID: 112-2385
CC: Steven Levy / MCI ID: 190-3302
CC: Jerry Pournelle
c/o Popular Computing
70 Main Street
Peterborough, NH 03458
Subject: Constitutional Amendment on Telecomputing
Please spread the word on the following Assembly
Constitutional Amendment introduced in the California
Legislature last week. We need ALL the support we can
muster! The opposition may try to paint this as a
"pro-hacker" bill, although our intention is actually
to encourage the growth and development of the electronic
commerce industry in California, a top priority.
Call me for details!
Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee
State Capitol, Room 2117
Sacramento, CA 95814 * (916) 445-8800
***XXX*** = new text [XXX] = deleted text
ASSEMBLY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 9
Introduced by Assembly Member Moore
January 30, 1985
ASSEMBLY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 9--A resolution
to propose to the people of the State of California an
amendment to the Constitution of the State, by amending
subdivision (a) of Section 2 and Section 13 of Article I
thereof, relating to electronic communications.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
ACA 9, as introduced. Moore. Electronic
communications: information systems and data bases.
The California Constitution guarantees the freedom
to speak, write, and publish on all subjects and prohibits
abridgment of the liberty of speech or press.
This measure would guarantee the right to electronically
communicate on all subjects, and would provide that a law
may not restrain or abridge liberty of electronic
The California Constitution also guarantees the right
of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects against unreasonable seizures and searches. A
warrant may not issue unless, among other things, it
particularly describes the place to be searched.
This measure would extend the search and seizure
guarantees to electronic information systems and data bases,
as defined, and provide in this regard that in order for a
warrant to be issued, the electronic information system and
data base be particularly described.
Vote: 2/3. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.
RESOLVED BY THE ASSEMBLY, THE SENATE CONCURRING, That
the Legislature of the State of California at its 1985-86
Regular Session commencing on the third day of December 1984,
two-thirds of the members elected to each of the two houses
of the Legislature voting therefor, hereby proposes to the
people of the State of California that the Constitution of
the State be amended as follows:
First--That subdivision (a) of Section 2 of Article I
thereof is amended to read:
SEC. 2 (a) Every person may freely speak, write [and],
publish, ***or electronically communicate*** his or her
sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse
of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty
of speech [or], press, ***or electronic communication.***
Second--That Section 13 of Article I thereof is amended
SEC. 13. The right of the people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers, [and] effects, ***and electronic
information systems and data bases*** against unreasonable
seizures and searches may not be violated; and a warrant
may not issue except on probable cause, supported by oath
or affirmation, particularly describing the place ***or
electronic information system and data base*** to be searched
and the persons and things to be seized.
***An electronic information system is any combination of
telecommunication and data-processing devices and procedures
used for the collection, manipulation, and distribution of
information. A data base is the information organized and
maintained within an electronic information system.***
(This bill must first be passed by 2/3's of both houses,
then receive an affirmative vote of voters in a general
#14 (of 56) CHARLES DAYTON, on 15-MAR-87 19:05 (Size: 1244 bytes)
(1) writings or pictures dealing with sexual matters in a manner
intended to incite lust, and therefore considered obscene: "Local
penalties against possesion and distribution of pornography are small
and not enforced effectively." (Newsweek). (2) a description or
portrayal of any activity regarded as obscene: "In recent years the
movies and television have developed a pornography of violence far more
demoralizing than pornography of sex" (Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.).
(1) offending modesty or decency; impure; filthy; vile.
(1) the act or system of censoring.
(1) a person who examines books, newspapers and new reports, plays,
motion pictures, and letters, and, if necessary, changes or prohibits
them to make them acceptable to the government or the organization that
employs him. (2) a person who tells others how they ought to behave; a
person who exercises supervision over the morals or behavior of others.
(3) a person who likes to find fault; adverse critic.
The World Book Dictionary
Published by Thorndike-Barnhart
Copyright 1986 by Doubleday & Company, Inc.
#15 (of 56) CHARLES DAYTON, on 15-MAR-87 19:06 (Size: 2666 bytes)
Subject: Another view...
I am divided on the issue of keeping/removing the picture files as
identified by Mark Beesley as being "pornographic". Although I am not
offended by the pictures (of the few I have seen), I do have doubts whether
such material should be available to anyone who calls.
I do NOT agree with Mark's approach to trying to remove the files, making
wild threats of criminal prosecution, but I do respect his point of view.
It isn't merely a case of offending him, but the much broader question of
whether such material should be available to minors.
I would tend to agree with Kevin that the majority of callers to this board
are adults, but there are bound to be some minors that call sometime. It is
not a question of how many children, but whether we should allow ANY
children to download such files?
I admit that the files currently on the board are not what I would consider
pornographic, but who will decide, as more pics are uploaded, whether they
are obscene or not?
There seems to be a real dislike for the word censorship today, but in
reality censorship is neither good or evil. Kevin admits in his own words
that he currently censors this board, "...And I remove files all the time
that fail the rules that I enforce on the board." If this isn't censorship,
what is? I for one am glad he does. I have no desire to read messages that
"...contain abusive or obscene language...promote Hacking...[or] are
But again, who decides what is "obscene language"? If one where to upload
certain sections of Lady Chatterly's Lover as a message, I am sure Kevin
would delete it (and I would support him in doing so). But you can find
that book in almost any Public Library and many consider it a literary
There are no easy answers, but I feel it might be better to fall on the side
of discretion and setup a restricted files section for these and future
"adult" pics. Users could simple send them to the sysop, instead of
uploading them directly to the files section.
As a side note to Mark Beesley:
Are you serious when you say "There is little, if any, difference
between the traditional 'obscene phone call' and the transmission of
pornography over the phone lines."?
Do you mean to tell me you can't see the difference between an
unwilling victim being harassed by a mental sick individual and the exchange
of words/pictures between two consenting parties (regardless of whether that
exchange is legal or illegal)?
I'm not in favor of either and haven't spent a single day in law
school, but I sure can see a BIG difference between the two.
#16 (of 56) MARK BEESLEY, on 15-MAR-87 22:43 (Size: 1533 bytes)
Subject: Same old thing
Thanks for the comment Chuck. The point is well taken . . . of course
there is a difference between what we view as the traditional "obscene phone
call" inflicted on an unwary and unwilling victim and the issue which I have
raised. But if one looks at the strict letter of the law, it would be possible
under current law to prosecute two totally willing youngsters talking over the
phone and using crude or abusive language. The law does not really address the
intents or motives of the instrumentalities on either end of the line, but
rather the subject matter of the transmission. That was what I meant when I
said there was little difference between the two. . .From my viewpoint, there
is little if any difference in the subject matter.
FROM WEBSTER'S NINTH NEW COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY:
Pornography: 1: the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or
writing) intended to cause sexual excitement; 2: material (as books or a
photograph) that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual
I downloaded a couple of the files last week just prior to beginning
this "crusade" and the poses of the women were definitely, to my mind, intended
to cause sexual excitement. And the outlines were not that vague, as one
respondent suggested . . . in fact, they were pretty clear on a high res EGA
Keep the comments coming.
(Simply a father who can't be supervising his children 24 hours a day.)
#17 (of 56) MICHAEL LODMAN, on 16-MAR-87 09:45 (Size: 941 bytes)
Subject: Re: Same old thing
I in fact saw the images on a high-res ega monitor. What I saw was pictures
of women with no tops. The exposed breasts were at best fuzzy. The women
were engaged in no sex acts. No genitals could be seen.
What did you see? You must really have a mind to equate female breasts
with obsenity. Is your chest obscene?
While I realize you can't supervise your children 24 hours a day, it is
a pretty small matter to keep them off of your computer when you aren't
around. It's your problem.
Also, mr would be lawyer, the data being transmitted over the phone lines
is in no way explicit. It is a stream of encoded modulated binary data
which must be heavily processed before even something recognizable
appears. You and I and Kevin all know that you have no case, so why
not just back off and shut up.
I really feel for your children. Will they grow up as repressed as you
#18 (of 56) SYSOP, on 16-MAR-87 23:21 (Size: 2065 bytes)
Subject: Mr. Beesley Posted Mail
Message #589 from MARK BEESLEY, on 15-MAR-87 22:19
Subject: Re: Censorship Forum (Size: 1961 bytes)
I sincerely believe that there are genuine legal questions. However,
believe it or not, my primary concern is that the dissemination of such
material is controlled. I do not claim a right to deprive people of reading or
viewing material which is offensive to me, if the exercise of their right does
not endanger others. BBS operators may not think there are many kids out there
using the boards. My experience suggests otherwise. One of my fellow law
students at USD has a 16 year old son who has a very sophisticated computer
setup and reportedly spends a lot of time touring the BBS services in town.
Another friend I have in San Diego has 2 teenage sons who use his computer
freely. He just installed a modem (I was over there for 3 hours tonight
showing him how to access the various systems) and when I told him of my
concerns, he also was concerned as to whether he was going to have to restrict
his sons' access on the computer. Do you understand what I am concerned about.
One respondent on the Forum suggested I was not adequately fulfilling my
responsibilities as a father if I had to worry about my children trying to gain
access to inappropriate material. The respondent obviously has no children.
We try to protect our children as much as possible, during which time we try to
instill within them strong moral values and convictions so that when they are
mature they will have the strong moral fiber necessary to discern between that
which builds up and that which is destructive of happiness. But teenagers are
not mature; they are easily impressionable and so we try to filter out what we
can. Contrary to popular belief, strength is not developed through adversity,
but rather through the consistent exercise of "righteous" values.
I appreciate your giving it some thought. (Incidentally, you may post this
on the Forum board if you wish.)
#19 (of 56) MARK BEESLEY, on 17-MAR-87 19:32 (Size: 7 bytes)
Subject: Re: Same old thing
#20 (of 56) JOE BALSAMO, on 22-MAR-87 21:31 (Size: 2558 bytes)
First of all, I am glad that this depate is going on! It is very interesting,
if not a bit silly, in my humble opinion. Censorship IS a dirty word! Let's
face it, one of the things that we Americans love so dearly and hate in
countries such as the USSR is that we can read and look at pretty much whatever
we wish to while those in the USSR cannot.
Mr. Beesley, I cannot believe first of all that you really consider the pictur
of a nude woman that offensive! It always makes me laugh when I realize how
uptight our society gets about a nude human body, yet we take violence such as
that portrayed in Rambo with such stride. I realize that YOU have the right to
watch or NOT watch whatever you want. Everyone does. People that have minor
children have the RESPONSIBILITY to make sure they don't read material that you
consider to be ofensive. Living in any big city, it is VERY difficult to keep
children away from seeing pictures of nudes. One can go into any large
bookstore and see one heck of a lot more nude women on the front of a 'girly'
magazine sitting on the shelves than one can see on a readmac file!
As far as Mr. Beesley's argument about not being able to monitor his children
24 hours a day, well this is fine. But, if Mr. Beasley's children are old
enough to be able to work a comm program to be able to go and download a
readmac file off of a BBS, I dare say that they are old enough to view a nude
female without everyone freaking out about it!
One of the reasons that we are having such problems in this country with
teenage pregnancies and AIDS is because Americans in general are so prudish
about sex! We are so afraid to discuss this natural behavior that we risk
massive outbreaks of a super deadly disease and the social tragedy of teenage
I would suggest to you, Mr. Beesley, that you take that new law degree of yours
and use it for something sane and useful like getting family planning clinics
into our nations schools rather than blowing a lot of hot air over some silly
nudey pictures being displayed on a 640X400 computer screen!
One more thing, we cannot 'protect' our children forever. I certainly think
that showing an 8 year old a porno film is wrong. But again, I think that
anyone old enough to be able to access a BBS via a personal computer and do all
of the necessary things to view a readmac file is not going to die if they
happen to see a lady with her top off!
#21 (of 56) CHUCK SCHAAF, on 26-MAR-87 01:50 (Size: 325 bytes)
Subject: Re: Mr. Beesleys First Message
/ THERE DOESN'T SEEM TO BE ANYTHING ILLEGAL ABOUT THE TRANSMISSION OF PORN OVER
/ PHONE LINES AND THIS IS VISIBLE DIRECTLY THRU AT&T BECAUSE THEY HAVE SET
/ ASIDE 976-XXXX SPECIFICALLY FOR CONSENTING ADULTS TO "GET OFF" ON AT&T..AND I
/ EMPHYSIZE THE WORDS CONSENTING ADULTS...CENSORSHIP SHOULD BEGIN AND END
#22 (of 56) DENNIS GILLUM, on 26-MAR-87 19:07 (Size: 509 bytes)
Subject: Re: What's Your Opinion?
I thourly agree with you and the statements you have made. I don't think any
"goody" should say what I may or may not read or look at because he finds every
thing objectionable. I have the mind God gave me and a right to use it. If I
find something objectionable I don't have to look at it.
Thanks for standing up for your beliefs and allowing others to deside what
they want to down-load and up-load as long as some respect is given to the
users of the boards.
#23 (of 56) PAUL A. COARTNEY, on 29-MAR-87 18:16 (Size: 779 bytes)
Subject: Re: Same old thing
Why can't you and other fathers that are concerned about such matters
instill in your children the proper sense, or your sense, of right and wrong.
I think that prior to subjecting us all to your rhetoric, you should start at
home, impreesing on your children what is good and what is bad.
It is like the parent who has to lock his liquor cabinet before going to
work because he fears that his children will steal drinks. If he had first
instilled upon them a sense of right and wrong, then the ritual of locking the
cabinet would be unnecessary.
I think that before parents start to blame the system for the corruption
of their young ones the should first look in the mirror at the real villian!
Paul A. Coartney
#24 (of 56) MARK BEESLEY, on 29-MAR-87 20:53 (Size: 2430 bytes)
Subject: Where are you guys coming from?
Mr. Coartney's message is somehow typical of an impression many of the
people who have posted to this board have given. It seems he feels that if I
am doing all I can as a parent, I shouldn't need to fight against this
pornographic trash. (And that is what it is.)
Well, if I were not fighting this corruptive evil, I would not be doing
all I could. I sit down with my children and do homework with them; I monitor
what they watch on television. We do not allow cable into our home, nor do we
allow liquor, or other things which are simply not good. And we are fighting
pornography in all its forms.
Somebody previously asked whether I was afraid that my children would
be titilated by viewing pictures of nude women (or something to that effect.)
I gave that a lot of thought, even though the query was somewhat asinine. And
the answer is, I am not so much worried about that, as I am about some pervert
out there who I don't know becoming titilated and not being able to control his
or her emotions, and my child becoming a victim.
Before coming to San Diego, I worked in a District Attorneys office in
Utah for a year. During that year, I saw, in painful and graphic detail, the
effects pornography can have on a child. If most of you were aware of what the
true dangers are, you might think before giving blind homage to smut peddlers.
I've seen enough. Now I'm fighting the root cause. I have done as I
promised. I have written letters to the various criminal prosecution agencies
in the State. The next letters to go out are to the PUC and the FCC. I am
also researching, with other like-minded attorneys, the possibility of private
legal action. As responses begin to come in, I will then determine whether or
not existing law is adequate or whether additional legislation is necessary.
There is nothing "cutsy" about the stuff available on this board. It
is trash, and I'm going to fight it. And those of you who think Kevin is a
hero for standing up to the big bad censor, (or the little misguided fanatic),
well, fortunately, our laws are generally reflective of people who have their
values a bit more in focus. They think with their heads, not their glands.
Goodbye. It's been interesting. But I've seen enough of this board.
The next you hear from me will be through legal channels.
#25 (of 56) MICHAEL LODMAN, on 30-MAR-87 09:31 (Size: 114 bytes)
Subject: legal action
Please let the board know if you hear anything regarding Beesley's last
#26 (of 56) SYSOP, on 09-APR-87 21:51 (Size: 1893 bytes)
Subject: Sysop Response
Well Mr. Beesley, you are definitely allowed your opinions. Fortunately, I
don't think your opinions are law and I glad they aren't. We obviously have
two very different view points on this subject.
It is interesting to note that of all the messages posted on this board
concerning this matter (25 the last time I looked), only 7 messages took your
point of view. I am happy to report however that all 7 of them were written by
About the letters you have sent to the various agencies, my attorney and I
would be most interested in receiving copies of them. If you would, please
send me a copy of each of the letters you mailed to the address below:
Kevin W. Reed
Post Office Box 171473
San Diego, CA 92117
If there is any cost involved in making the copies, please let me know so that
I can reimburse you.
The timing of the Crash of the El Cajon board was very bad. Many callers got
the impression that you had somehow succeeded in shutting down the board.
I received many phone calls from concerned users about the status of the
board. My apologies to all the users for anger that they were subjected to at
the thought that the system had been closed under pressure from this issue.
It is my intention to stand firm in my belief that:
a) the files on this system are NOT Pornographic,
b) the transmission of the files in question does not violate any Local,
State or Federal Laws.
c) and that users have the right to gain access to a public board,
express their opinions, and download public domain, FreeWare and
Shareware files without unnecessary pre-registration requirements.
That is the purpose of a Public Bulletin Board System and I am prepared to
fight to keep it that way.
Kevin W. Reed - Sysop
#27 (of 56) JOHN LEE, on 09-APR-87 22:22 (Size: 606 bytes)
Subject: Fight back!
Hooray, Kevin! Please keep us all posted as to how we may help in this. Tho
I'm new to BBS-ing and this system, I'm very concerned that one person could
cause distress to the important freedoms represented here. Mr. Beesley's views
seem to be based upon sincere concerns, which I believe have merit. However!
I strongly disagree with both his methods, and his apparently arbitrary
personal evaluation of an appropriate course of action. I'm very relieved to
see that, not only is this board alive and well - much more importantly to me,
Kevin is willing to fight. Hooray!
#28 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 10-APR-87 00:58 (Size: 4064 bytes)
Hi. John Lee told me about what was happening here on Telesys regarding Mr.
Beesley's complaints about some material that he finds offensive. I find it
rather amusing that he's complaining about the material particularly since he's
a law student. USD is a fine school. I know several attorneys who graduated
from that school. One of my best friends who I used to work as a paralegal
with is a 1st year law student over there now. I suspect Mr. Beesley either
(1) hasn't taken Constitutional Law yet, (2) did take Con Law and is applying
the FCC v. Pacifica Foundation case incorrectly, or (3) letting his parental
instincts take the better of him.
I'm a 2d year law student over at California Western School of Law. Some of
you may be familiar with my article on the Electronic Communications Privacy
Act that appeared in the Decemeber 7, 1986 issue of _The_Byte_Buyer_ magazine.
Or you may be familiar with my comments made on other systems such as Proline
[sol] regarding an explosive discussion over there regarding BBSing and
defamation. Hopefully, I'll be able to substantially contribute to the
discussion over here.
John Lee told me about the Beesley situation over here on the Cornucopia
system. We had a discusssion over there that I asked him about possibly
posting here. One particular message that I would like to post here that I
made on Cornucopia is the following regarding the United States Supreme Court's
working definition of obscenity/pornography:
#81 1 05 Apr 87 23:37:49
From: Ruel Hernandez
To: John Lee
REPLY TO #80
Subj: legal twits
I never really liked folks who tried to force their attitudes on others with
such drastic measures like may be happening with Telesys. I don't have enough
facts to give any concrete suggestions than the cautious ones I made. If it
wasn't for the fact that the threatening caller was a law student, I would
laugh at him and disregard him. Unfortunately, he proves much more than a
nusance. Being sued or prosecuted is a very expensive situation. I pretty
sure an attorney would give the client sysop that suggestion of simple
shutting down or taking the material off the system. I'm sure the sysop may
win, but I would caution against the expense. However, if the sysop is
willing to take the expense, the better for him. You have to look at the
practical and logistical aspects of the matter and then make a decision as to
what should be done. Such aspects include any "negative," but least costly
positions to take.
That state constitutional amendment never went anywhere.
There are tests handed down by the United States Supreme Court regarding 1st
Amendment free speech and obscenity/pornography. If something is defined as
obscene/pornographic, it has no 1st Amendment protection at all. To be
regulated as pornographic, the test is:
(a) an average person, applying contemporary
community standards, would find that the
work taken as a whole, appeals to prurient
(b) the work depicts or describes, in a patently
offensive way, sexual conduct specifically
defined by the applicable state law, and
(c) the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious
literary, artisitic, political, or scientific
That's the Miller obscentiy test from Miller v. California. What it means is
that there must be a state law that specifically defines what is
obscene/pornographic. Typically, that may be limited to "hard core" sex,
"patently offensive representations or descriptions of ultimate sex acts,"
excretory functions, lewd exhibition of genitals, and the like. I don't kwow
what the California state statutes say about obscenity and pornography, but
those are the basics. I'll take a look at the state law and tell you what I
There are other parts of the Cornucopia discussion, but this is the main one I
would like to emphasize.
#29 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 11-APR-87 00:07 (Size: 11573 bytes)
Subject: First Amendment
The following is a "memorandum" on the obscenity/pornography situation:
From: Ruel Hernandez
(GEnie Mail R.HERNANDEZ)
To: All BBS and modem users
Date: April 11, 1987
Re: Telesys BBS, Obscenity and Pornography
An offended computer/modem user who is new to telecommunications
complains about material found on the Telesys remote bulletin board system
(BBS) located in San Diego. A BBS is a computer system set up by its owner,
the system operator (sysop), to provide remote telephone access to computer
users who call in. A user with his own computer, modem and telephone can
call up the BBS to send and receive private electronic mail, participate in
electronic public conferences, and obtain software and other like materials.
Telesys may be accessed with a modem-equiped computer by calling its data
telephone line at 619/276-7561.
The offended user in this situation, a mere 2d year law student,
feels that in his opinion certain material, computerized depictions of women
posing in the nude, found on the Telesys BBS and other remote systems in
"readmac" files, to be offensive. Specifically, he feels the material to be
obscene or pornographic. He speculates that the material may cause harmful
detrimental effects to minor children. He seeks to have the material
removed from Telesys. If the material is not removed, he strongly indicated
he would try to influence one or more of the following: (1) commencement of
possible criminal or civil prosecution; (2) termination of the BBS's
telephone service; or (3) the withdrawal of BBS's telephone number from a
listing in a local computer magazine. Although the offended user indicated
that he was a paralegal with either the local state or federal district
attorney's office, it appears he was acting in his own private capacity in
this situation. The offended user has no connections with the local
telephone company or the local computer magazine. He indicated that he has
sent correspondence complaining about the material to the Federal
Communications Commission, the state Public Utilities Commission, local
federal and state district attorneys, and the local computer magazine. The
sysop of Telesys refused to remove the material.
The offended user failed to state sufficient facts from which a claim
could be made whereupon a legal remedy may be made. Therefore, government
should not be able to initiate any legal action against the Telesys system
operator. In order to come to this conclusion, three problem areas had to
(1) whether the right to provide the material in question on a remote
bulletin board system is protected by the federal Constitution;
(2) whether the material is not obscene matter as defined by California
Penal Code section 311; and
(3) whether the material is not harmful matter as defined by California
Penal Code section 313.
<< Note, the issues presented here should not be confused with (1)
child pornography where child molestors swap names, descriptions, addresses
and phone numbers regarding children they wish to take advantage of, or (2)
the state legislation proposing to amend the California State Constitution
to provide specific privacy, search and seizure protection to electronic
communications. This document will deal only with constitutional and state
statutory questions of free speech and obscenity. Child pornography is
completely different and separate from free speech issues. The proposed
state amendment deals with privacy-type problems and not free-speech-type
FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL LAW & OBSCENITY
The First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law ...
abridging the freedom of speech...." The federal Constitution is directly
applicable to the federal government. The right to free speech is made
applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment by the doctrine of
The United States Supreme Court limits or finds no freedom of speech
protection in various areas such as obscenity. In Miller v. California, 413
U.S. 15, the Court stated that there is obscenity and therefore no
constitutional free speech protection regarding material alleged to be
(a) an average person, applying contemporary community standards, would
find that the work taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests,
(b) the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual
conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and
(c) the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artisitic,
political, or scientific value.
Put differently, this three-part test states that certain material may be
considered obscene when there is a state law that specifically defines what
is obscene within the state, that the material is obscene as defined by the
state law, and the material as a whole lacks serious social value. The test
is culminative. If any part fails, the test fails and no obscenity can be
found. Accordingly, there would be no obstacle to constitutional protection
of the right to free speech. Therefore, the right to keep the material on a
BBS accessible by remotely initiated telephone calls is constitutionally
protected by the right to free speech.
STATE LAW & OBSCENITY
California Penal Code section 311 follows the guidelines for finding
obscenity laid out by Miller:
(a) "Obscene matter" means matter taken as a whole, the predominant
appeal of which to the average person, applying contemporary statewide
standards, is to prurient interest, meaning a shameful or morbid
interest in nudity, sex, or excretion; and
(b) is matter which taken as a whole goes substantially beyond
customary limits of candor in description or representation of such
(c) is matter which taken as a whole lacks significant literary,
artistic, political, educational, or scientific value.
Before the 1986, the old version of California Penal Code section 311
defined obscenity according to the old Roth definition where the work had to
be "utterly" without any redeeming value instead of the current lacking on
the whole serious social value (Roth v. U.S., Alberts v. California, 354
U.S. 476). The newly amended 1986 definition is more in accord with the
Miller test. Although part of the section 311 language changed, the
contemporary statewide standards remained the same. State judicial
decisions made under the prior section 311 gave further more narrow working
guidelines as to what constitutes contemporary statewide standards regarding
obscenity. More specifically, judicial guidelines included:
(a) "hardcore pornography" (Zeitlin v. Arnebergh, 59 Cal.2d 901),
(b) that nudity does not equate with obscenity and that "no matter how
ugly or repulsive the presentation, we are not to hold nudity, absent a
sexual activity, to be obscene" (People v. Noroff, 67 Cal.2d 791), and
(c) that to "constitute obscenity ... the material must contain a
graphic description of sexual activity" (People v. Cimber, 271 Cal.
App. 2d 867, 869).
There must be some sort of sexual activity involved and not only mere
nudity by itself. The sexual activity required would be on the scale of
"hardcore pornography." Such hardcore sex and other similar sexual activity
may include and be limited to patently offensive representations or
descriptions of ultimate sex acts, excretory functions, lewd exhibition of
genitals, and the like. Mere depictions of nude individuals, as in the
Telesys situation here, without any depictions of sexual activity at all,
would not qualify as being obscene.
STATE LAW & "HARMFUL MATTER"
The State of California takes a further step regarding offensive
material when children are involved. California takes section 311 and
applies it to minors in section 313:
(a) "Harmful matter" means matter taken as a whole, the predominant
appeal of which to the average person, applying contemporary statewide
standards, is to prurient interest, meaning a shameful or morbid
interest in nudity, sex, or excretion, and
(b) is patently offensive to the prevailing standards in the adult
community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for
(c) lacks significant literary, artistic, political, educational, or
scientific value for minors.
Section 313 is merely the Miller three-part test restated with regard
to minors. The test appears to be somewhat broader in application, but only
concerning the second and third parts of the test, i.e. the prevailing adult
community standards with respect to minors and lacking significant value for
minors parts respectively. With the second and third parts of the test,
California adopted a standard of obscenity which denies minors access to
materials that may not be denied to adults (American Booksellers Ass'n Inc.
v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 129 Cal. App. 3d 197).
However, the first part of the section 313 harmful matter test applying
contemporary statewide standards is substantially the same as in the section
311 obscenity test. The question then is does the applicable scope of
section 313 expand to include mere nudity. The answer would be in the
negative. The Legislative Counsel's Digest (Stats. 1986, c. 51, Legislative
Counsel's Digest) states that contemporary statewide standards with respect
to harmful matter are to conform to existing obscenity judicial decisions.
Mere nudity is not considered obscene matter according to contemporary
statewide standards as judicially applied under section 311 and subsequently
applied by the state legislature to section 313. Since all three parts of
the section 313 test must be met, and first part failed, the whole test
failed -- there is no need to go on to the second and third parts.
Therefore, material depicting mere nudity by itself does not constitute
There are no sufficient facts to state a claim on which a legal remedy
may be made. The offended user, in his attempts to prompt the state take
legal action against Telesys and its systems operator, may have stated a
moral complaint. However, with regard to First Amendment issues, he has
failed to state sufficient facts from which any legal action may be
initiated by state or federal government.
Mere depictions of nude women without any representations of sexual
activity constitute neither obscenity nor harmful matter. Without more, the
three-part Miller test restated in California Penal Code sections 311 and
313 cannot be met. There is neither obscenity nor harmful matter under
California state law. Therefore, the right to keep the material on a BBS
remotely accessible through user-initiated computer-modem telephone calls is
protected by the federal constitution's fundamental right to free speech and
cannot be infringed upon.
#30 (of 56) JOE BALSAMO, on 11-APR-87 01:45 (Size: 53 bytes)
Subject: Re: Sysop Response
Good for you, Kevin, keep up the good work!
#31 (of 56) JOHN LEE, on 12-APR-87 12:31 (Size: 912 bytes)
Subject: Bottom Line: $$
I'd like to thank you, Ruel for your excellent review of the legal
aspects of the MB vs Telesys situation. What is your opinion of the
financial ramifications for Kevin, the sysop? Many of us are more
than casually interested in defending this system and the larger
issues involved. I have two main questions:
1. If MB persists with his crusade, what will be the likely cost of
the defence. Not only in this case, but for other possible subsequent
cases. Since it may well be that MB is not alone in this, would other
sysops in CA or elsewhere face similar expenses?
2. Would it be useful to prepare and disseminate information on this
topic to other sysops? From his messages, it appears that MB was very
successful in coercing other sysops to remove similar files. Would
the ubiquity of defense information eliminate or reduce the financial
burden of resisting such coercion?
#32 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 12-APR-87 22:39 (Size: 1724 bytes)
Subject: Re: Bottom Line: $$
Hi, John. I really don't think I should give specifics as to the costs of a
lawsuit. There ARE costs involved that a person should consider when he seeks
legal advice. Fortunately, I think Kevin has his own counsel already. What I
could point out is that running a BBS is an expense by itself and when some
silly guy threatens the sysop because of something he doesn't like then that
may cause the sysop to seek expensive legal advice exceeding the cost of
running the BBS. Silly self-appointed censors can make BBSing more expen-
sive. As well as Beesley putting a sysop thru some anguish, he may have cause
the sysop to incur needless expenses because of his silly complaint. Beesley
should've merely have asked for removal of the material he didn't like and left
it at that. What he should've kept in mind was that he was a "guest" on
another person's computer. The sysop bestows a privilege to caller to use his
system for *free*. Beesley has no right to the system. He may help to direct
the discussions on the system, but he should not expect to run the system.
As to distributing information about this sort of problem, I think it would be
useful. I would like to know what other systems Beesley contacted. However,
somehow I can't help but feel that we may be rehashing old problems that may
have been discussed on other systems. I don't know - I could be wrong.
Nevertheless, distributing the information would be useful to a sysop in
knowing how to handle self-appointed censors.
Just one more grip about self-appointed censors. They ought to have some
minimal knowledge or do some minimal research before they sert something as
like Beesley has done.
#33 (of 56) JOHN LEE, on 12-APR-87 23:56 (Size: 538 bytes)
Subject: Re: Bottom Line: $$
ok. Well, what next then? As I recall, somebody over on Cornucopia wanted to
post some of this on pnet. As you probably know by now, I don't know how to do
it. Now that Kevin's back up, maybe people will call here and copy stuff to
Should we wait to see what Beesley's next move is? Anybody have ideas or
comments? Is there purpose or support yet for a defense fund? It seems quiet
at the moment, but it seems good to at least give some thought to
#34 (of 56) NILE GARDNER, on 13-APR-87 02:05 (Size: 1516 bytes)
Subject: Re: Censorship?
Perhaps, Mr. Beesley, you should consider putting a chain and padlock around
your child, for it would be almost impossible for you to keep a reasonably,
normally curious child from viewing material as non-explicit and trivial as you
would like banned. The graphics are little more explicit than the calendars I
often find in any gasoline station's work bays, and I dare say that no one has
ever suggested that those calendars ever resulted in any harm. Your suggestion
that your wife would be adversely affected by seeing a picture that is far less
explicit than what she would see in her bathroom mirror is especially
ludicrous--surely you married a person that is mature enough to view
Michealangelo's David, in all it's glory?
I have difficulty accepting proclamations of the dire consequences of minor
erotica, especially coming from someone who, by education, learns how to state
their case so as to have the maximum effect on others. I do not share your
perception of danger, and cannot imagine a world full of people as weak willed
and easily affected as you would have us believe. If someone had suggested
that I, as a young adult, had become "perverted" or "corrupted" by such
everydayI would be highly offended, as I would expect any normal person to be.
If you feel so strongly about your own children and wife, forbid them to use a
modem. Please do not speak for me or anyone else. You certainly don't share
Nile B. Gardner
#35 (of 56) NILE GARDNER, on 13-APR-87 02:34 (Size: 867 bytes)
Subject: Re: Porno?
Joe is absolutely correct. Any "child" that can un-arc a readmac picture and
viewing utility as well as use a modem and computer to telecommunicate is
certainly fairly sophisticated...probably much more sophisticated than any
parent that would foolishly believe such a child couldn't accept a low
resolution picture of a partially clothed woman for what it is. His whole
argument is absurd; I have never known any child who was "helped" by such
totalitarian repression as Mr. Beesley would see implemented. I am deeply
sorrowed that he would WASTE so much of his effort in making such a worthless
point. You should spend your time teaching your child, not trying to make up
for it after-the-fact by limiting the child's exposure to things that are
inevitable. Everyone needs to grow up sometime.
Nile B. Gardner
#36 (of 56) NILE GARDNER, on 13-APR-87 02:44 (Size: 1122 bytes)
Subject: Re: Where are you guys coming from?
Pure baloney, and probably a zeppelin's worth of hot air. Now Mr. Beezly's
real colors come through. He isn't just trying to "protect his children and
wife," he thinks that all of us are going to turn into drooling, craven,
sex-crazed maniacs by looking at a digitized pinup girl! Unbelievable! Even
the National Enquirer wouldn't print such garbage. I assume that anyone who
would look at the absurd effort this man is putting into this misguided
campaign will come to the conclusion that this man is "OUT THERE" and has some
invisible axes to grind. Give us all a break--I don't think you have a chance,
Mr. Beezly, even if you really are doing ANYTHING. The communist "witch hunts"
of Senator Joseph McCarthy were a similar attempt to "protect" us from a
non-existent threat, fueled by fear and cynically used for ulterior motives.
Once again, don't speak for me. I don't wish to have a person with opinions
such as yours even seem to reflect my views. You are an extremist, and not a
very nice one at that. Goodbye, and good riddance.
Nile B. Gardner
#37 (of 56) JIM DAILEY, on 15-APR-87 13:06 (Size: 960 bytes)
Subject: Mr Beezly
I am the SYSOP of DOOGERS PLACE. It may interest you to know that this self
righteous censor out to control the BBS community has now taken up with my
board. I have yet to have any legal threats made against me, however he called
me a "SMUT PEDDLER". My response to him was basically the same as the views
that have been presented here. In addition I told him that if he found my BBS
offensive then he sould never call back. This jerk, I believe, found out that
the BBS community is against him because he hasn't even called back to see if I
answered his message. I for one will will not tolerate Nazi type comments and
threats. I have saved his message so that if he wants court action I think I
have a pretty case for a slander suit. Personally, I think this guy discovered
what a modem was for and is trying to blow his new found whistle for the
cheapest advertising. Imagine how many people call BBS's every day and read
#38 (of 56) SYSOP, on 15-APR-87 18:45 (Size: 24 bytes)
Subject: Re: Mr Beezly
Interesting isn't it!
#39 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 16-APR-87 02:42 (Size: 579 bytes)
Subject: Re: Bottom Line: $$
Hi, John. I don't think we have to post the Cornucopia stuff over here now.
There's plenty of stuff here. I particularly like Beesley to read my
A suggestion (and this is to everyone): whichever BBS you call, check to see
if Beesley calls that system up and leave a message to him to call up Telesys.
He's probably going to be taking final exams at USD about this time if that
school is on the same schedule as mine - I'm going to be taking finals during
the next week and a half, so my modem is going to be on hiatus until exams are
#40 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 16-APR-87 02:49 (Size: 694 bytes)
Subject: Re: Mr Beezly
Hi, Jim. What's the number to your system? I would like to check out what
Beesley said on your system. It seems to me that he hasn't learned anything
from law school. I could be wrong, but that's the way it seems. He appears to
be letting his emotions get the better of him.
Unfortunately, he has taken things too damn personally in his so-called crusade
against the stuff he finds offensive. Playing with computers and BBSing does
tend to be that way. I don't think he has recognized that yet.
I hope you take up my suggestion in the last message and leave a note for
Beesley on your system telling him to call up Telesys. I would like to
correspond with this guy.
#41 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 24-APR-87 22:49 (Size: 1368 bytes)
Subject: State Amendment
Here's an update I was told about concerning the possible amendment to the
state constitution that would provide special state constitutional protections
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 87 15:23:15 PDT
From: brock (Brock Meeks)
Subject: Re: telesys
The bill ACA-9 now lives at ACA-36; the language is identical. The bill
*is* going to pass -- and *we* can help make it so. Here's how:
First, the bill is in the Utilities and Commerse committee, that's where it
will get it's first (and friendliest) hearings. Why? The bill's sponsor is
chair of the Committee! Last year the bill languished on the House side in
the constitutional committee. That committee is now defunct. The bill will
pass the House with relatively little fight. Then it's the Senate's turn, and
this is where we, San Diegan's, come in.
The bill will first go to the constitutional committee on the Senate side.
Who is chairman of that committee? Why our own Sen. Ellis!! Yes, we should
really light a fire under this kat's ass and get him to push the bill through.
I think it'll be an exciting time -- we can be one of the first telecomm
Second, there are *no* other states bringing up this type of bill, none. CA
will be setting the precident. Exciting, at least for me. And yes, I'll be
writing about this, you can be sure of that.
#42 (of 56) MARK BEESLEY, on 24-APR-87 23:15 (Size: 1608 bytes)
Subject: Onward and Upward
Just wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten about you all. And I
want to thank se anonymous person(s) out there who has begun distributing some
files to different BBsystems in the area that, if there was any doubt as to the
validity of my previous claims that certain files were pornographic and the
dissemination of such would be illegal, well, these new files make my job of
convicing the various agencies with whom I am currently in contact that smut
is indeed being transmitted. I went into one board under the pseudonym of
Donald Duck and downloaded one of the files. NO CONTROL. I could have been a
kid. And the file was graphic, it was animated, iportrayed sex acts in various
perverted forms, and was just what I needed to help convince some officials of
the seriousness of the matter. So, whoever you are out there distributing that
smut, thanks. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind away,
nonetheless. It may take months, even years. . .but eventually you will see
the effects of allowing even suggestive material be freely disseminated.
Because it never stops with the "soft porn" but always escalates. And as the
hard core stuff continues to proliferate, we'll be able to prosecute, license,
Sorry I haven't the time to go back and review what I am sure are many
intelligent comments on this board from people who I am just absolutely sure
are the type of people who I really need to be concerned about what their
opinions are, but I really haven't the time. Finals are upon us. Catch ya
#43 (of 56) SYSOP, on 24-APR-87 23:42 (Size: 1862 bytes)
Subject: Re: Onward and Upward
Those files, which I will not name since I don't want them proliferated myself,
have been uploaded directly to me from several users. I chose not to post them
as I saw they could easily fit the description that I have (My option of
course) of pornagraphic files. These files will not be posted on this system
for downloading purposes and will be removed if for some reason someone does
try to upload them.
A little background as to how this system is run:
There is only one file category that users can upload into, and that is
Category #7. All other file categories have their files placed in them by me
personaly. When a new file is uploaded into the system, I check it to assure
that it is a valid file. Valid meaning, that it is not Copyrighted Material,
Pirated Software, or in this case, material that I would consider pornagraphic
(again my option of what is pornagraphic which is very liberal as compared to
As to what other Sysops do, is really up to them. Personnally, I don't think
that those files should be on a system that cannot control it's users access to
them. I don't however beleive that even those files (I have seen them) are
pornagraphic enough to be concerered Obsene (sp?) and covered by any existing
laws that would prohibit them from being on a controlled system for downloading
Personnally, if I saw anyone of those files in a public (non-controlled) file
category on another system, I would notify the Sysop that I believed that they
should be put into a controlled area. But that is as far as I would go.
Threating people that you will take drastic action if they don't do something
you want them to do only incites the person threatened to fight back.
A nicely worded suggestion normally does the trick.
One Sysop's Opinion...
#44 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 26-APR-87 03:22 (Size: 5418 bytes)
Subject: Re: Onward and Upward
Hi, Mark. You finally show up. Thank you.
I would like to know exactly which type of files you object to. Are they
primarily the "smut" ones you just referred to that actually depict sexual
activity or do they include the run-of-the-mill images of women merely posing
in the nude? The "smut" ones with actual illustrations of sexual activity
may certainly be classified as pornographic or harmful matter. The others with
women merely posing nude may not be.
What you may notice in the news from Sacramento was a possible change to the
state law defining obscene material from not having _serious_ literary,
artistic, scientific value, etc. to not having _significant_ ... value. The
change is supposed to give more bite to the state definition. But it would
still have some sort of sexual activity to be classified as obscene or harmful
it would seem.
Another bit of news from the state capitol (I'm sure you must have read this in
the paper) is a proposed bill by Steve Peace, I think, about the dial-a-porn
phone numbers where the parents of children would be given the option of
requesting the telephone company to lock out particular telephone prefix
numbers (the 9xx prefixes I think) preventing their children from calling up
That last point brings to mind that it may be the parents' responsibility to
monitor their children's activities with regard to modem use. The situation
you are objecting to seems to be partly analogous to porno on cable television
and on cassette. For instance, when the old folks are away, the kids may turn
on the Playboy channel or play a triple-XXX cassette on the VCR. In those
situations, the parents could just put a lock on the cable box (they do sell
those) to prevent watching of particular channels that the household subscribes
to or the folks could just lock up the porno cassettes. The same thing could
theoretically be done with modem use. Except it would call for more of the
Have you ever logged into any of the *REAL* porno boards, Mark? I think you
are recently new to the modem community. If your objections to allegedly
pornographic materials on BBSs include mere depictions of nude women with no
sexual activity explicitly made out in those illustrations, I think you would
find that those types of files are old news. They've been around since the
first remote RCP/Ms and Apple boards were set up back in the 1970s. However,
if you're objecting only to the "smut" you just talked about with illustrations
of sexual activity, then I think you are justified in your claims. It seems to
me that you may have been mixing up the two. They shouldn't be mixed up or
else you will run into federal constitutional problems.
The real porno boards are thankfully for you not listed in The Byte Buyer.
However, there are the BBS listings floating around and the rare notices
posted in public conferences. The real porno boards are pretty much like the
letter exchanges, stories and articles you may find in Forum magazine and oftem
very distasteful. There is at least one in San Diego county (a multi-user
board) and maybe more. There's a notorious one up in San Francisco that is
listed in the official RCPMxxxx.LST. If you should object pornography on the
BBS circuit, you should go after those systems. The stuff you find on the
run-of-the-mill BBS is nothing.
Mark, I would like to continue this discussion with you on this board. But
before we do, I would like to know at what stage in law school are you. I know
something about your work experience. Your previous messages noted that you
are paralegal somewhere and that you used to work with a prosecutor's office in
Utah. Have you taken constitutional law yet? If you did I don't know how you
could be objecting to some material that show nude women unless there was sexual
activity depicted. There are the victims of pornography you mentioned in
previous messages. I think you were referring to either children in smut films
or the child molestors who exchange lists, descriptions of young children who
they have taken advantage of. Although somewhat in the same field, those are
completely different situations from where a programmer or ascii artist "draws"
a nude woman on a computer screen. Again, and of course, the smut pictures of
sexual activity would be included along with the objectional child molestor
As you may have noted from my messages, I'm a law student at California Western
School of Law (which just won the _National_ Moot Trial Court competition).
I'm also a political science graduate student at SDSU. I clerked with a couple
of law firms downtown. I used to work for a senator and a congressman. Like
you, I plan on graduating from law school in December, and from graduate school
at that time too. Also, like you, around this time, I just completed another
set of final exams. I hope you did well on yours.
There are some other people who I would like to bring in on this discussion,
one "software jd" in particular and some other people in the San Diego modem
community, but that may call for us to move this discussion to Proline [sol]
where they like to call. Hopefully, they will pop in here for a quick peek at
what's happening and drop a comment.
#45 (of 56) SYSOP, on 26-APR-87 19:45 (Size: 193 bytes)
Subject: Re: Onward and Upward
When Mr. Beesly posted the last above message, he did not read any messages
that had been posted before is previous call.
Just thought you would like to know...
Kevin W. Reed - Sysop
#46 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 27-APR-87 01:34 (Size: 231 bytes)
Subject: Re: Onward and Upward
Hi, Kevin. Sounds depressing that he didn't read the stuff yet. But he must
be thinking about finals and he didn't want to get riled up about anything
else. Oh well....
#47 (of 56) MICHAEL LODMAN, on 27-APR-87 12:45 (Size: 111 bytes)
Subject: Re: Onward and Upward
Uh, could some one tell me what bulletin board Beesley got the file
in question from? :-)
#48 (of 56) NILE GARDNER, on 28-APR-87 01:17 (Size: 183 bytes)
Subject: Guess who!
Mr. You-Know-Who sure spends a lot of time viewing low-grade erotica. Maybe we
ought to get him a subscription to some skin mags?
--== NILE ==--
#49 (of 56) JOHN LEE, on 28-APR-87 18:12 (Size: 112 bytes)
Subject: Re: Onward and Upward
I like your position on all this, and want to thank you again for a thoughtful
and well run system. **John
#50 (of 56) JOHN LEE, on 28-APR-87 18:16 (Size: 82 bytes)
Subject: Re: Guess who!
In reply to #48 above, I'd like to note that I laughed out loud. Thanx Nile.
#51 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 29-APR-87 01:40 (Size: 266 bytes)
Subject: Re: Guess who!
Yeah. If you're against the stuff, why are you hunting it down and downloading
it. Btw, I think Kevin mentioned that "Mr. You-Know-Who" did not download the
naked-picture files off of this system - or did he, given that he likes to
"check" the stuff out....
#52 (of 56) NILE GARDNER, on 29-APR-87 22:41 (Size: 92 bytes)
Subject: Re: Guess who!
Always happy to lend some humor to an absurd subject.
--== NILE ==--
#53 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 01-MAY-87 14:13 (Size: 5885 bytes)
Subject: Meese Commission article
SPEAKER SAYS OBSCENITY OK
by Andrew LePage, Daily Aztec staff writer
THE DAILY AZTEC, May 1, 1987
Are pornographic and obscene publications bad for your health?
Not so, according to Tom Homann, a volunteer attorney for the American Civil
Liberties Union and a San Diego attorney specializing in civil rights and
obscenity litigation. Homann spoke at Aztec Center's Casa Real Wednesday
[April 29, 1987] to a group of SDSU students.
SDSU's New Democrats invited Homann to speak, in order to make students
aware of "some of the other excesses" the Reagan administration ignored
during the Iran-contra affair.
The speech, entitled "Ed Meese's Assault on the Constitution: A Civil
Libertarian's Perspective," focused on the 1986 Attorney General Pornography
Commission's Report. The goal of the commission was to determine the
effects of pornographic materials on U.S. citizens.
An 11-member commission chosen by Meese prepared the report. The report has
been scrutinized by members of the ACLU and other national local groups
sthat support civil liberties and oppose censorship.
In 1972, Homann said then-President Richard Nixon formed his own pornography
commission. The commission's goal was to determine if there was a need to
regulate sexually oriented materials in the United States.
Nixon's pornography commission's report stated there is no harm in
consenting adults being exposed to sexually oriented material, Homann said.
Until Meese formed his own pornography commission in 1985, Nixon's
pornography commission's report served as an authoritative document, Homann
"This was one of the things Mr. Meese thought his office could take care of,
so he decided to appoint a new commission to investigate the harmful effects
of obscenity and pornography," he said. "He handpicked his commissioners,
and the deck was stacked from the beginning.
"The chairman of the commission was Henry Hudson, who built his career and
reputation running all of the pornographers out of Arlington County, West
Virginia. His life's career was to take care of the problems of pornography
in his county. He had become quite famous for it."
Homann said the remaining 10 members were of "like mind."
"There was little question about what the result was going to be before they
convened for the first time."
Nixon's pornography commission was funded for independent studies and
provided empirical evidence, Homann said. Meese's commission, however, was
not only stacked but lacked any funding to conduct meningful, scientific
studies on the effects of pornography, he said.
"The commissioners conducted several show-type hearings around the country,
where some anonymous person would testify to a horrible story of how their
life was ruined as a result of exposure to pornography," he said.
"A woman would say something like, 'I found these dirty magazines in my
husband's underwear drawer, and it was as a result of exposure to these that
he went out and raped the 11-year-old girl next door.'
"It was this type of evidence that they were hearing. It was not empirical
or scientific evidence at all. It was just people telling little
Strangely enough, he said, no one came forth and testified to the contrary.
"When the results came out, they decided that exposure to sexually oriented
books and films was horribly damaging. I don't think the empirical studies
(conducted by the commission) support the suppression of pornography. There
are at least as convincing -- if not more convincing -- studies that show
exposure to sexually orientated material can be quite helpful and healthy
for society in general.
Viewing many pornographic films involving beastiality, child molestation and
urination, Homann said, the commission virtually drowned itself in the most
disgusting material available.
"They did not deal in the vast majority of sexually oriented books and films
that are available, which involve fairly healthy, nice-looking pepole
engaged in normal, healthy sex with each other."
Regarding suggestions made by the commissioners in the report to the
attorney general, Homann said the most obnoxious ones involved the formation
of citizen groups that would take action in their communities against
"One of the aspects of this was the resulting of 7-Eleven stores taking the
Playboy and Penthouse magazines off their shelves," he said.
"Meese, on the one hand, said, 'Our object is not to prohibit Playboy and
Penthouse. We want to go after the real hardcore stuff.' However, Meese's
commission wrote letters to the 7-Eleven corporation and others urging them
to take that kind of (material off their shelves)."
Despite the commissioner's contention that there is a need to form citizen
groups to protest pornography distributers, U.S. citizens are becoming much
more interested in and tolerant of pornography, he said.
If pornography is going to be judged by contemporary community standards,
the video revolution has made all the difference in the world.
"Video has suddenly made the most explicity of sexually oriented material
available in every American home," he said. "These are not the days when
you have dirty old mean in rain coats going out to movie theaters where your
feet stick to the floor.
"These are Mr. and Mrs. America sitting in their home watching their rented
videos. The customary remnants of candor in their community are much less
today then what they once were."
Homann said there is hope still for those who detest Meese's views and
"The more Meese gets exposed, the more ludicrous he becomes. He is his own
greatest testimony to what a jackass he is."
#54 (of 56) JOHN LEE, on 01-MAY-87 22:26 (Size: 344 bytes)
Subject: Re: Meese Commission article
For all the hoopla about obscenity, it's interesting how much the
administration has resisted efforts control VIOLENCE in the media. There is
ample scientific evidence as to the direct and indirect effects it has,
especially on the young. Seems to verify that censorship, and not the good of
society, is the real issue. **John
#55 (of 56) TIMOTHY BURLESON, on 04-MAY-87 21:07 (Size: 1508 bytes)
Hello. I specifically came to this system to view this debate, which I heard
about on People Net. (444-7006). I am terrified of what this could lead to.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Timothy Burleson and I run a BBS in
the San Diego area called "Plain Brown Wrapper". My system is intended for
adults only. The message base is divided into two areas. The first is kept
"clean" and is available to all regular members. The second is available only
to those users who specifically request access to it. These "adult" boards
contain all kinds of messages, some sexually explicit. A new user on my board
cannot read ANY of these messages, download any file or send mail until
verified. I make every effort to determine the age of the user and no one is
given access without voice contact. I believe it is the right of consenting
adults to freely exchange messages containing sexually explicit text or
programs of "pornographic" nature. Naturally, I make every effort possible to
keep this material out of the hands of minors. Like everything else in life,
I'm sure they can find a way around it if they want.
I would just like to state that I strongly support the SYSOP of this board and
others who resist these types of threats, and that I will do anything in my
power to help.
SYSOP of Plain Brown Wrapper
P.S. With your permission, I would like to capture the contents of this board
on my next call to post on my BBS.
#56 (of 56) RUEL HERNANDEZ, on 04-MAY-87 23:30 (Size: 485 bytes)
Subject: Re: Support
Hi, Timothy. You might want to check out the brief discussion on this topic
over on Proline [sol] 281-7222. There is one message with some good factual
arguments regarding the readmac files by a police officer who called the board
and has since moved.
Proline [sol] has a good arsenal of commentators, including some
telecommunications journalists and a couple legal eagles (including myself).
Best of luck to you. Hope the censors don't come knocking on your BBS!
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank