Rep. Couch Feeling Heat from Ban on Anonymous Web Postings

    March 12, 2008

WebProNews previously reported how Kentucky State Representative, Tim Couch, proposed a bill that would not allow Kentuckians to comment anonymously on the Internet.

Kentucky State Representative, Tim Couch
Kentucky State Representative, Tim Couch

In summary, House Bill 775 would require anyone who wants to leave a comment on a Web site to register their real name, address, and e-mail address with the Web site. They would be expected to use their real name whenever they commented. Web site operators who would not abide by the law would be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for any additional violation.

Considering how powerful the issue is, the WebProNews video department tried repeatedly to contact Representative Tim Couch for a video interview. When Mr. Couch returned our calls, he declined the interview saying he was overwhelmed with the feedback this bill has brought.

Mr.Couch says his name has been slashed all over the blogosphere for this bill. I tried to persuade him the interview would give him the opportunity to explain to the blogosphere his original intentions, but he still declined saying:

“I only wanted to make a statement, and I did.”

Mr. Couch told me over the phone that he is being attacked on the Internet. He has received countless e-mails and phone calls not only at his office, but also at his home. His daughter received a call that contained severe “foul language.”

He said, “I am not a Communist,” like he thinks the blogosphere is making him out to be.

On the Lexington Herald-Leader blog, Pol Watchers, John Cheves gives the explanation that Mr. Couch was trying to protect the children in his district.

"Some nasty things have been said about high school kids in my district, usually by other kids. The adults get in on it, too."

Drew Curtis of the famous, which is based in Kentucky, wrote, “Kentucky lawmaker wants to r-u-n-n-o-f-t largest website in the state. Drew looking forward to moving Fark to the Cayman Islands.”

Mr. Couch also told WebProNews that he does not think the bill will go anywhere especially after the strong response he’s received. He said he would like the negativity to stop, and he’s very busy at the moment working on the state budget.