23 July, 2008

COPA Child-Protection Act Is Struck Down

PC Magazine:
"The decade-long battle over the Children Online Protection Act (COPA) took another turn this week when an appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that found COPA to be unconstitutional.

'COPA cannot withstand a strict scrutiny, vagueness, or over breadth analysis and thus is unconstitutional,' according to a Tuesday ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

COPA provides for up to six months in jail, in addition to civil penalties, for those found guilty of posting information online for commercial purposes that's considered harmful to minors. As defined by the bill, material that's harmful to minors includes obscene communication, the depiction of sexual material that could be considered offensive, or material that lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

The law was scheduled to go into effect on October 21, 1998 but it immediately faced challenges in court and its enforcement was delayed."

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