Child Online Protection Act Struck Down Again

The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) was a law passed in 1998 for the purpose of protecting children from accessing sexual and objectionable content on the internet. Though the law itself was passed, the law never went into affect because the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down the law, deeming it unconstitutional. The court claimed it violates the 1st amendment – the protection of free speech.

On January 21, 2009, the government recently lost its final attempt to revive the law. The United States Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals effectively killing the bill. The Bush administration had urged the justices to take on the case. However the justices rejected the appeal. Five of the justices who voted against this bill remains on the court.

The Child Online Protection Act was a response to an earlier more broader Communications Decency Act that was also struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. COPA hoped to narrow down the focus in the hopes to passing at least parts of the Communications Decency Act. It required commercial distributors who showed material harmful to minors to restrict their sites to be accessed by minors. “Harmful Material” was defined as that by “contemporary community standards” showed sexual acts or nudity.

Thoughts: The same question from a previous post (Should Government Legislate Morality – Adultery?) arises again.

  • How involved should the government be in moral issues?
  • Does the government have the right to curb some rights to protect others?

For example we are not “Free” to take off with someone’s car. That freedom is curbed in order to protect another person’s possession. Should the same occur for a situation like this where everyone knows showing children porn or harmful images is only going to hurt them and hurt society in the long run?

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Just want let the masses know of what kind of battles are occurring in our justice system without our knowledge.

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