'Girls Gone Wild' video sets up free speech battle

By: AP
By: AP

ATLANTA -- A civil lawsuit four underage girls filed against producers of "Girls Gone Wild" videos has set up an unusual free speech battle over whether the plaintiffs' names should be kept under wraps.

Attorneys for the four girls, who were between the ages of 13 and 17 when the video was shot, asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday to allow the girls' names to be cloaked in anonymity in trial.

Attorney Rachael Pontikes warned that bringing the legal challenge under their real names would forever brand them on "a public stage as porn stars."

But Florida Freedom Newspapers Inc. and the Southern Newspapers Publishers Association intervened. They argue that while reporters may not necessarily publish the names of the girls, they deserve the right to exercise the journalistic discretion to do so.

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