Internet Censorship Essay The Aclu And The Child Online Protection Act

626 words - 3 pages

The ACLU and the Child Online Protection ActThe Child Online Protection Act (COPA) was approved by Congress on August 16, 1998. It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate how the ACLU destroyed this family-oriented act.Immediately after COPA was signed by the President, the American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of groups representing publishers, Internet Service Providers, journalists, and the technology industry challenged the law in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.Federal District Court Judge Lowell A. Reed, Jr. issued a temporary restraining order blocking the government from enforcing COPA. On January 11, 1999 both sides filed briefs to argue the constitutionality of the law.(ACLU)Congress's intention in enacting COPA was to protect minor children from access to free erotic "teaser" pictures available at commercial pornography ...view middle of the document...

The government argued that COPA is carefully limited in scope to deal only with the problem of "teaser" images that exist on the World Wide Web (meaning the law excludes other Internet, Usenet, e-mail, BBS, chat and online services) and further the government maintained that the law is directed solely at commercial sellers of pornography which is deemed to be "obscene to minors" or "harmful to minors"(meaning all non-commercial, non-profit, educational, governmental and private communications are excluded). Further, the government asserted that the law uses the existing and constitutionally valid definition of "harmful to minors" which is limited solely to regulating the manner of displaying for sale the adult pornography determined to be harmful to minors without first making a good faith effort to exclude minors from seeing such materials. The government analogized that COPA is no different from the universally valid laws of the States which require vendors of "adult" pornography to keep such legally "harmful to minors" materials away from the reach or viewing of minors in commercial and public places.On February 1, 1999 Judge Reed issued a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law, holding, "Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm, and the balance of interests, including the interest of the public, weighs in favor of enjoining the enforcement of this statute pending a trial on the merits."WORKS CITED:ACLU v. Reno, No. 98-CV-5591.

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