Jake Baker (born in 1974 as Abraham Jacob Alkhabaz) was a student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, when, on 3 Oct 1994 at 05:56:26 GMT, he posted a completely fictitious story to the USENET newsgroup alt.sex.stories about a rape fantasy, a first-person narrative entitled Gone Fishin'. Baker posted four other similarly-themed stories between the beginning of October 1994 and the beginning of January 1995, and also traded stories via email with Arthur Gonda, who lived across the Detroit River in Ontario, Canada.

Eventually a 16-year-old girl in Moscow, Russia, read one of the stories and then told her father about it. Her father ended up contacting an acquaintance that had graduated from the University of Michigan, and that acquaintance contacted the university administration.

Much hubbub was made about this story, and due to its extremely violent and maniacal content, Baker was investigated by the FBI. After a few weeks, agent Greg Stejskal filed an affidavit against him for violating United States obscenity laws (18 U.S.C. s 875(c) specifically), and placed him under arrest. Baker was suspended from school and brought before a grand jury. He was denied bail by Judge Thomas A. Carlson, who figured he was "a ticking bomb" due to the nature of his fiction. At his arraignment, he pleaded "not guilty" on grounds of exercising his constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech. The case went back and forth in the courts for about six months, until, in the summer of 1995, Judge Avern Cohn of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, dismissed the case against Baker, citing a lack of evidence that Baker had any intent to act out the fantasies he committed to electrons by posting them on Usenet and emailing them to friends.

However, the United States Department of Justice appealed the dismissal ruling. A year later, in mid-1996, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals heard the government's appeal, and took until early 1997 to rule that the dismissal was upheld, that emails Baker sent were not credible threats.

This case was one of the first cases brought to trial due to a free speech issue on the internet by the United States government; the first of many such cases. Their argument was that freedom of speech is guaranteed to every American citizen... except when applied to the internet. The USDOJ has since attempted to silence many other individuals and organisations, even people in other countries where their jurisdiction does not exist.

Sources:
http://www.mit.edu:8001/activities/safe/safe/cases/umich-baker-story/Baker/Jake_Baker.html
http://www.links.net/law/net9495/law.fishin.html

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