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Abstract

In six sections, the author explores regulation of the then-emerging field of tele-communications, including electronic publishing, e-mail, electronic bulletin boards, teletype, and digital banking. Focusing on how the First Amendment applies to claims of defamation and obscenity made in an electronic format, the author proposes a unified regulatory scheme based on existing communications regulation law that will unify telecommunications policy countrywide. The first two sections are devoted to explanation of the then-novel forms of electronic communication and giving the history of the FCC and communications and data regulation in the US. The author describes the distinction between press regulation, broadcast regulation and common carrier regulation under the First Amendment and the FCC, including how the regulatory scheme deals with obscenity and defamation. Finally, the author discusses current regulations in place to deal with teletext and cable, and suggests a regulatory scheme to deal with new media, which does not fall squarely into the existing areas of broadcast or common carrier regulation.

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