An anonymous reader writes "Lawyers acting for Barrett Brown, the activist-journalist facing more than 100 years in prison for having posted a hyperlink to hacked material, have called for his case to be dismissed on grounds that it violates his First Amendment rights to free speech and would chill the internet. The main allegation against him – spanning 12 counts — is that he posted a hyperlink on an internet chat room to a website containing material hacked from the private intelligence firm Stratfor. The hack included email addresses of 860,000 Stratfor subscribers as well as 60,000 credit card details.
In a legal motion lodged with a federal court in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday, Brown’s lawyers argued that the charges against him should be dropped ahead of trial because they were too vague and were in breach of his constitutional right to free speech. By hyperlinking to the hacked material, Brown did not “transfer” the stolen information as he arguably would have done had he embedded the link on his web page, but merely created a path to files that had already been published elsewhere that were in the public domain. Brown’s case is being closely watched by First Amendment lawyers, publishers and activists who fear that a conviction could set a precedent that would criminalise the very act of linking on the internet."Link to Original Source