Unabomber's Writings Should Be Sold Online, Court Rules

Judge says proceeds must go to survivors who've requested restitution.
A federal appeals court in California has ruled that Unabomber Ted Kaczynski's original writings should be sold online.

Kaczynski is serving a life sentence for killing three people and injuring 23 others with mail bombs. His lengthy manifesto on the environment helped police identify Kaczynski as the suspect after a crime spree that spanned more than 15 years.

A federal judge demanded in 2006 that the government sell Kaczynski's writings online and give the proceeds to several survivors who have requested restitution. That plan was upheld by a three-judge panel with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday.

Kaczynski has been ordered to pay $15 million in restitution.

Kaczynski and several other victims opposed the plan to sell his writings. Kaczynski said that it would violate his free-speech rights. The American Civil Liberties Union sided with Kaczynski and backed him in the court case.

The panel ruled that Kaczynski had failed to prove that the sale of the original material would violate his free-speech rights or his rights to self-expression. The government has agreed to give Kaczynski copies.

Several victims whose identities have not been disclosed opposed the plan, as well. Attorneys argued on their behalf that publication and sale of the materials would give publicity to Kaczynski. In fact, Kaczynski also argued that the sale would infringe on the victims' privacy rights.

The writings include journals, manuscripts, books, and letters. Kaczynski wanted to donate some of the materials to a University of Michigan collection that features displays from political and social movements.