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Date: 1999-11-05

Zensurgesetz COPA & die Moral der Mormonen

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"Werden wir alle auf die moralischen Standards der
Bewohner von Utah oder der Amish zurückgeschraubt?" fragt
sich einer der Richter, die im Revisionsverfahren das US-
Jugendschutzgesetz COPA zu beurteilen haben. Das
Verfahren wird jetzt gerade spannend.

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The new U.S. law would make it a federal crime for
commercial Web site operators to expose children under 17
to material deemed harmful. Government officials have been
barred from enforcing it, however, because of a preliminary
injunction imposed in February by a U.S. district judge who
said he believed the law might violate the constitutional right
to free speech under the First Amendment.

Justice Department attorneys who appealed the lower court's
ruling to the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in
Philadelphia quickly ran into trouble when a three-judge
appellate panel opened an hour-long hearing to review oral
arguments in the case.

U.S. Circuit Judge Leonard Garth criticised the law for leaving
the definition of "harmful" material to contemporary
community standards.

Garth commented, "It seems to me that in terms of the
World Wide Web, what the statute contemplates is that we
would be remitted to the most severe standards, perhaps
those of Iran or Iraq," where he said that even showing a
woman's face was considered objectionable.

going to be remitted to the standards of the residents of Utah
or the Amish community? Isn't it for the most conservative
community to be the ceiling for the rest of us?" he asked.
"This one particular aspect gives me great, great trouble, and
I don't think it's resolved."

The Child Online Protection Act, which represents the latest
attempt by the Republican-controlled Congress to control
Internet smut, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton a
little over a year ago. But the law quickly ran into a court
challenge from a coalition of Internet-based businesses led
by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Privacy
Information Centre and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Two years ago, a similar coalition persuaded the U.S.
Supreme Court to strike down the law's forerunner, the 1996
Communications Decency Act.

Despite assurances that material would be exempt if it had
redeeming social, artistic or political value, opponents say
the law could be used by conservative groups to close down
Web sites devoted to hot-button issues, including gay or
reproductive rights.
Full Story
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published on: 1999-11-05
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