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Court strikes down law intended to keep kids from online porn


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angelize56's Avatar
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07-Mar-2003, 10:45 PM #1
Court strikes down law intended to keep kids from online porn
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A federal appeals court has ruled that a law meant to safeguard children against Internet pornography is riddled with problems that make it "constitutionally infirm."

A three-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the Child Online Protection Act restricted free speech by barring Web page operators from posting information inappropriate for minors unless they limited the site to adults. The ruling upheld an injunction blocking the government from enforcing the law.

The court said that in practice, the law made it too difficult for adults to view material protected by the First Amendment, including many non-pornographic sites.

The law, signed by President Clinton and endorsed by President Bush, has never been enforced. It is one of several relating to Internet decency that courts have struck down.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which initiated the legal challenge, praised Thursday's ruling.

"It's clear that the law would make it a crime to communicate a whole range of information to adults," said ACLU associate legal director Ann Beeson.

Calls to the Justice Department, which had argued in favor of the law, were not immediately returned. The government may ask the 3rd Circuit to rehear the case or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Previously, the 3rd Circuit had ruled the law unconstitutional on grounds that it allowed the legality of Internet content to be judged by "contemporary community standards."

On appeal, the Supreme Court said that evaluation standard alone did not make the law unconstitutional, and sent the case back for further evaluation.

In Thursday's opinion, the court said that in seeking to define material harmful to minors, the law made no distinction between things inappropriate for a 5-year-old and things harmful to someone in their early teens.

The judges said that while the law sought to get around free-speech arguments by making the restrictions apply only to Web operators who posted material for "commercial purposes," it didn't address what level of profitability was required.

The court also said screening methods suggested by the government, including requiring Web-page viewers to give a credit card number, would unfairly require adults to identify themselves before viewing constitutionally protected material such as medical sites offering sex advice.
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08-Mar-2003, 12:16 AM #2
Just have to wonder about those REPUBLICAN JUDGES!
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08-Mar-2003, 03:02 AM #3
Quote:
The law, signed by President Clinton and endorsed by President Bush, has never been enforced. It is one of several relating to Internet decency that courts have struck down.
That's a couple of surprises:

1) That Clinton would sign it
2) That Bush would would endorse anything Clinton did.

Personally feel the responsibility lies with the parents and not the law.
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08-Mar-2003, 03:26 AM #4
That's why Republicans hate Clinton so much, he was basically a republican!

Try to figure out why Republicans love Nixon, when he was the most "Democratic" president in terms of bills ever!
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