COPA: Sound the funeral Procession…

A federal judge on Thursday dealt another blow to government efforts to control Internet pornography, striking down a 1998 U.S. law that makes it a crime for commercial Web site operators to let children access “harmful” material.In the ruling, the judge said parents can protect their children through software filters and other less restrictive means that do not limit the rights of others to free speech.

“Perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection,” wrote Senior U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr., who presided over a four-week trial last fall.

The law would have criminalized Web sites that allow children to access material deemed “harmful to minors” by “contemporary community standards.” The sites would have been expected to require a credit card number or other proof of age. Penalties included a $50,000 fine and up to six months in
prison.

Sexual health sites, the online magazine Salon.com and other Web sites backed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law. They argued that the Child Online Protection Act was unconstitutionally vague and would have had a chilling effect on speech.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a temporary injunction in 2004 on grounds the law was likely to be struck down and was perhaps outdated.

Critics of the law argued that filters work best because they let parents set limits based on their own values and their child’s age.

The law addressed material accessed by children under 17, but applied only to content hosted in the United States.

U.S. Judge Blocks 1998 Online Porn Law – International Business Times –

…as a million tiny little violins play in the background…

Well, it was a valiant attempt in the late ’90s. Sadly, no one was really enforcing it, not to mention– it only applied to us stateside.

Now if only the entire world could work together and form some sort of worldly-understanding of this “world wide web”…

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