Definition Edit

Community standards are local norms bounding acceptable conduct. Sometimes these standards can be itemized in a list that states the community's values and sets guidelines for participation in the community. Alternatively, informal standards may be imprecisely described as "I'll know it when I see it."

Often, such standards are invoked in legal situations to resolve disputes, especially relating to obscenity.

On the Internet Edit

In Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union,[1] the U.S. Supreme Court noted, in dicta, that

the "community standards" criterion as applied to the Internet means that any communication available to a nationwide audience will be judged by the standards of the community most likely to be offended by the message.

This suggested that, at least with respect to material on the Internet, the Court might replace the community standards criterion, except perhaps in the case of Internet services where the defendant makes a communication available only to subscribers and can thereby restrict the communities in which he makes a posting accessible. Subsequently, however, the Court held that the use of community standards does not by itself render a statute banning “harmful to minors” material on the Internet unconstitutional.[2]

References Edit

  1. 521 U.S. 844 (1997) (full-text).
  2. Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union, 535 U.S. 564 (2002) (full-text).

See also Edit

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