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Supreme Court Strikes Down Web Porn Law

Overturns Child Online Protection Act on 1st Amendment grounds
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2009 1:45 PM CST
Supreme Court Strikes Down Web Porn Law
The Court hears an argument.   (AP Photos)

(Newser) – The US Supreme Court closed the door today on legislation designed to protect children from Internet pornography, the New York Times reports. The legislation, which was signed into law in 1998 but never took effect, was repeatedly struck down on First Amendment grounds. It set strict fines and jail time for providers who made explicit material available to minors.

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Free-speech advocates argued that providers of legitimate material, like sexual education, could be prosecuted under the law, and that private filters were more effective. Judges reluctantly agreed. “Perhaps we do the minors of this country harm,” one wrote, “if the First Amendment protections are chipped away in the name of their protection.” The Court refused to hear a final appeal by the Bush administration. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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