Today, Electronic Frontier Foundation commemorates (in a piece by Cindy Cohn) the Web’s First Blackout (long before Aaron Swartz) in opposing the 1996 Communications Decency Act, signed by Bill Clinton. The “censorship” part was struck down by the Supreme Court in June 1997, and I actually went to the oral arguments on March 19, 1997 (in a late season snow). But another portion of the act provided downstream liability protection to providers through Section 230, which is critical to the Internet as we know it today.
The successor to the CDA, or “son of CDA”, would be COPA, the Child Online Protection Act of 1998, well documented on this specific blog, which was very active during the trail in Philadelphia in the fall of 2006. Knowing history is important.