: CNET gives you a decent backgrounder on the coming Supreme Court ruling on the Child Online Protection Act, expected this week.
The court is expected to decide early next week whether the Child Online Protection Act violates Americans’ right to free expression on the Internet. The 1998 law, which restricts sexually explicit material deemed “harmful to minors” that appears on commercial Web sites, includes civil fines and prison terms in its provisions. COPA has been on hold during the court proceedings.
“If it’s upheld, there will be a shock wave,” said Ann Beeson, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union who argued the case before the high court. “We’ve been assuming on the Internet that there aren’t laws like this.”
Nobody would argue that children should not be exposed to pornography (I say we should start with the horrid spam being sent to everyone in the world, including children). But, as with the FCC’s and Congress’ indecent indecency jihads, as always, the problem will be: Where’s the line and who’s drawing it? For example, is the Washington Post over the line because it reported what the Vice President of the United States said this week?