Goodbye, COPA!

doublecompile's picture

One issue that has been in my constant attention since I was a kid is laws regulating Internet content. Unconstitutionality doesn't ever keep a law from being passed, however, and so in 1998, the Child Online Protection Act was created. COPA made it a crime for commercial Web site operators to let children access "harmful" material.

Sexual health sites, the online magazine and other Web sites backed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law. They argued that COPA was unconstitutionally vague and would have had a chilling effect on speech.

Today, after letting such a law persist for 9 years, a federal judge struck down the law.

Lowell Reed Jr. wrote in his decision: Perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection.

This is great news. Parents should be the ones to decide exactly what their children are exposed to (on television, movies, and on the Internet). And by that, I mean their own children. Suzy Homemaker may have different values than Bob Congressman when it comes to what her kids can see and do. Let them buy web filters and let them monitor computer usage, but these thinkofthechildren laws need to be out of the picture; they hurt more than they help.

Afterthought: Now let's see if they can get rid of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act... I'm not going to hold my breath.

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