TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Judge to Rule on Landmark Internet Porn Law

Re: Judge to Rule on Landmark Internet Porn Law

Herb Stein (
Wed, 22 Nov 2006 03:53:48 GMT


If you post this, feel free to snip out the stuff that isn't pertinent.

John Hurdle <> wrote in message

> By Jon Hurdle

> A U.S. law designed to prevent children from viewing pornography
> online would undermine the free speech of millions of adult Internet
> users, opponents of the measure said on Monday.

> The law is so imprecisely written it would restrict most adult
> Internet users to material that is only suitable for children, lawyers
> for the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs said in
> closing arguments of a four-week trial.

> The ACLU and others sued the U.S. government, claiming the Child
> Online Protection Act of 1998 violates the Constitution, and they
> argued on Monday that filtering was a more effective tool that does
> not curtail free speech.

> But attornies for the U.S. government called the law necessary to
> protect young people from sexually explicit material and said Internet
> filtering technology was not good enough to block offending Web sites
> from personal computers.

> "Evidence shows that many parents do not actively use the filters,"
> said Joel McElvain, an attorney for the U.S. Justice Department.

Not a problem for Federal law. Simply a case of incompetent parents.

It's a very important free speech issue. We can't reduce all of society to
the lowest common denominator.

> Among those suing are, an online magazine about sexual
> literature, art and politics that claims 1 million readers a month,
> and Urban Dictionary, an online dictionary of contemporary slang with
> 40 million readers.

> The law, known as COPA, could force them to stop publishing, ACLU
> attorney Chris Hansen said.

> "That's an awful lot of speech that would be chilled by COPA going into
> effect," Hansen said.

> The law has never been implemented because it was challenged in court
> immediately after its signing by former President Bill Clinton.

> It was held to be unconstitutional by federal district and appeals
> courts. The U.S. Supreme Court allowed an injunction against
> enforcement to stand, and referred the case back to the Pennsylvania
> court for a full trial.

> The law would impose a maximum fine of $50,000 a day and up to six
> months in prison for anyone who uses the Internet to "make any
> communication for commercial purposes that is available to any minor
> and that includes any material that is harmful to minors."

> Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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