Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books
have played an important role in the progress of mankind.
Great works of literature have frequently been produced by
authors writing under assumed names. Despite readers'
curiosity and the public's interest in identifying the
creator of a work of art, an author generally is free to
decide whether or not to disclose her true identity. The
decision in favor of anonymity may be motivated by fear of
economic or official retaliation, by concern about social
ostracism, or merely by a desire to preserve as much of
one's privacy as possible. Whatever the motivation may be,
at least in the field of literary endeavor, the interest in
having anonymous works enter the marketplace of ideas
unquestionably outweighs any public interest in requiring
disclosure as a condition of entry. Accordingly, an author's
decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions
concerning omissions or additions to the content of a
publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected
by the First Amendment.
U.S. Supreme Court,
v. Ohio (1995).
- US Cases
- Electronic Frontiers Canada pages on Canadian
goverment shutting down of Green political site that
did not idenify the sponsor.
- Norway Department of Justice,
Nr 33 (1994-95) states that anonymous use should
be possible (Section 7.3.2)
Documents and Analyses
- Parliamentary Human Rights Foundation,
Internet Policy Principles, March 1997.
Anonymous Messages in Cyberspace, Gia B. Lee,
Harvard Law School .
- A. Michael Froomkin,
and Its Enmities, 1995 J. ONLINE L. art. 4.
McIntyre in Cyberspace: Some thoughts on
anonymity, The Ethical Spectacle, May 1997.
crisis on the Internet, New Scientist, 11