Supreme Court has seen enough porn

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Supreme Court has seen enough porn

Thu Jan 22, 2009 @ 11:02PM PST

By Eriq Gardner


Insights_cover_eyes Free speech activists got a victory today when the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously and without comment declined to review a lower court's decision that the Child Online Protection Act of 1998 was unconstitutional and couldn't be enforced. 

The law went onto the books during the Clinton Administration in an attempt to punish websites that published sexually explicit material without verifying that minors wouldn't be seeing it. Since then, the law has been road-blocked by the courts, including the Supreme Court. The justices previously affirmed a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit enjoining COPA's enforcement and issued two rulings in 2002 and 2004 also preventing COPA from being used.

The Department of Justice has relentlessly pushed to change the judicial branch's mind on COPA, but as the case of Max Hardcore showed, the government has other criminal tools to pursue alleged smut peddlers. Paul Little, aka Max Hardcore, was charged with using a computer server to sell obscene matter, and was sentenced to four years in prison

With the transfer of power in the executive branch, and the Supreme Court's refusal to reconsider COPA, prosecutors will probably back off being too aggressive on the war against hardcore porn online.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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