Junger v. Daley, 209 F.3d 481 (6th Cir. 2000)

This case involved a faculty member's right to post his own encryption programs on the Internet. Professor Junger is a law professor at Case Western Reserve University who teaches a course called "Computers and the Law." Asserting his First Amendment rights, he sued the U.S. Department of Commerce, challenging regulations that prohibit him from posting to his website various encryption programs that he has written to show his students how computers work. AAUP and The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression at the University of Virginia filed an amicus brief with the Sixth Circuit in March 1999. The brief contended that the cryptographic source code is expression that is protected under the First Amendment, and that such code is most clearly protected in the context of scholarly and research communication. (The federal government has recently eased some of its restrictions on encryption, but the academic freedom concerns remain.)

Status: In April 2000 the Sixth Circuit issued a unanimous 5-page decision, ruling that the First Amendment protects computer source code. The decision is available at http://danfingerman.com/law/cases/Junger_6Cir.html.