Is adult internet chat protected speech

08-Feb-2020 09:06 by 7 Comments

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A year later, pressured by vocal opponents of Internet pornography -- such as "Enough is Enough" and the National Law Center for Children and Families -- Congress tried again.The 1998 Child Online Protection Act (COPA) obliged commercial Web operators to restrict access to material considered "harmful to minors" -- which was, in turn, defined as any communication, picture, image, graphic image file, article, recording, writing or other matter of any kind that is obscene or that meets three requirements: (1) "The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find, taking the material as a whole and with respect to minors, is designed to appeal to, or is designed to pander to, the prurient interest." (2) The material "depicts, describes, or represents, in a manner patently offensive with respect to minors, an actual or simulated sexual act or sexual conduct, an actual or simulated normal or perverted sexual act or a lewd exhibition of the genitals or post-pubescent female breast." (3) The material, "taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors." Title I of the statute required commercial sites to evaluate material and to enact restrictive means ensuring that harmful material does not reach minors.

This phenomenon has provoked various efforts to limit the kind of speech in which one may engage on the Internet -- or to develop systems to "filter out" the more offensive material.

The first of these efforts was the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (commonly known as the "CDA"), which (a) criminalized the "knowing" transmission over the Internet of "obscene or indecent" messages to any recipient under 18 years of age and (b) prohibited the "knowin[g]" sending or displaying to a person under 18 of any message "that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs." Persons and organizations who take "good faith, . Unlike TV, the Court reasoned, the Internet has not historically been subject to extensive regulation, is not characterized by a limited spectrum of available frequencies, and is not "invasive." Consequently, the Internet enjoys full First-Amendment protection.

Second, the Court encouraged the development of technologies that would enable parents to block their children's access to Internet sites offering kinds of material the parents deemed offensive.

And the arguments deployed in the course of American First-Amendment fights often inform or infect the handling of free-expression controversies in other countries. .." But the case law that, over the course of the twentieth century, has been built upon this foundation is complex.

The upshot: First-Amendment jurisprudence is worth studying. An extremely abbreviated outline of the principal doctrines would go as follows: If you are familiar with all of these precepts -- including the various terms of art and ambiguities they contain -- you're in good shape.

Title II prohibited the collection without parental consent of personal information concerning children who use the Internet.

Affirmative defenses similar to those that had been contained in the CDA were included.

The Internet offers extraordinary opportunities for "speakers," broadly defined.

Political candidates, cultural critics, corporate gadflies -- anyone who wants to express an opinion about anything -- can make their thoughts available to a world-wide audience far more easily than has ever been possible before.

If you are interested in digging further into these issues, we recommend the following books: To test some of these competing accounts of the character and potential of discourse on the Internet, we suggest you visit - or, better yet, participate in - some of the sites at which Internet discourse occurs. In 1997, the United States Supreme Court struck down the statute, holding that it violated the First Amendment in several ways: Two aspects of the Court's ruling are likely to have considerable impact on future constitutional decisions in this area.

Here's a sampler: Three times in the past five years, critics of pornography on the Internet have sought, through federal legislation, to prevent children from gaining access to it. First, the Court rejected the Government's effort to analogize the Internet to traditional broadcast media (especially television), which the Court had previously held could be regulated more strictly than other media.

The first and more obvious is the Free-Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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