Web censorship injunction up for review

In 1998, the U.S. Congress enacted a sweeping Web censorship law that nearly everyone promptly forgot about.Why? The explanation is simple: The American Civil Liberties Union immediately filed a lawsuit to block the U.S. Justice Department, and a federal judge granted an injunction barring prosecutors from enforcing the law. That injunction has been in place ever since. But now that could change. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Lowell A. Reed, Jr. in Philadelphia will hear closing arguments in the Child Online Protection Act case, and a ruling is expected by early 2007…COPA makes it a federal crime to knowingly post Web pages that have sexually explicit material that’s “harmful to minors.” Violators could be fined up to $50,000 and imprisoned for up to six months.

That affects far more than just porn producers–even news organizations publishing articles and videos that could be deemed “harmful to minors” might be in trouble.

More from C|Net’s Politics blog. Previously from WNM: When child (Internet) safety measures go beyond child safety

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Filed under Censorship, The Politics of New Media

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