Photo by Jean-Baptiste Labrune (Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0)

Updated April 25, 2011

On the Potential Prosecution of Wikileaks/Assange:

A Free Irresponsible Press: Wikileaks and the Battle Over the Soul of the Networked Fourth Estate: This draft law review article by Yale law professor Yochai Benkler (forthcoming in Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review) does a good job in layman’s language of first presenting the facts behind the Wikileaks controversy (separating fact from fiction) and then demonstrating how prosecution of Wikileaks or Assange will almost certainly fail under present first amendment doctrine. Professor Benkler also suggests legal avenues for journalists and news organizations encountering termination of services by private parties (e.g., credit card companies, web hosts, etc.) as a result of controversial publication. The paper concludes with a discussion of where Wikileaks fits within current trends in the news industry. Recommended.

Also by Professor Benkler: downloadable pdf of his 2006 book “The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom”

See also: “WikiLeaks, the First Amendment and the Press” by Jonathan Peters in the Harvard Law and Policy Review (April 18, 2011).

L. Gordon Crovitz argues in the Wall Street Journal (“Wikileaks and the Espionage Act: Why Julian Assange is Different from the New York Times”) for prosecution of Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917. Crovitz categorizes Assange’s motives as political, with intent to harm the United States, in comparison to the motives of the New York Times, which Crovitz deems lacking harmful intent.