When Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes posed the question about falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater, he was illustrating that freedom of speech does have limitations.
In 1995, the first criminal threat case on the Internet would again test the limits of free speech. In 1994, Jake Baker (Jacob Alkhabaz) was a University of Michigan student, who was described as quiet and nice.
He wrote stories with innocent titles like “Going for a Walk”. But he harbored some demons. The stories were graphic depictions of kidnapping, raping, torturing and killing of young women – so called snuff stories. Jake posted these stories on the Internet at a site called alt.sex stories (ass). The Internet was in its infancy. His case raised issues we had not faced before.
Interestingly, 14 years later, we’re still faced with the perplexing question: Where does Freedom of Speech End? And when does it become a crime?