Thursday, March 22, 2007

ZDNet | Judge rules COPA unconstitutional

ZDNet | Judge rules COPA unconstitutional
A federal judge has ruled that the Child Online Protection Act, which would have criminalized much of the sexual content on the Internet, violates First and Fifth Amendment rights.

The 1998 U.S. law included both civil and criminal penalties for those who make sexually explicit materials freely available on the Web.

U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr., who presided over the trial involving several online publications and the American Civil Liberties Union, ruled that COPA is "impermissibly vague and overbroad" to be constitutional, and that there are other less-restrictive means available for protecting children from content deemed inappropriate.

In addition, Reed said, the law would "undoubtably chill a substantial amount of constitutionally protected speech for adults."

"As a result, I will issue a permanent injunction against the enforcement of COPA," said Reed in his ruling (PDF: Final adjudication on COPA)...

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