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July 23, 2008

At the COPA, No Constitutional Hope-A

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the District Court's determination that the Child Online Protection Act, COPA, is impermissibly overbroad in attempting to limit a child's access to commercial pornography.  This is the third time the Appellate Court has reached this conclusion.  Following the mandate from the U.S. Supreme Court, the District Court examined later developments in technology and concluded that filters are a lesser restrictive alternative to COPA.  Moreover, COPA does not apply to foreign web sites, where filters can block that as well as domestic content.  Filters are effective given that a parent can take a flexible approach to what their child can and cannot view, while the law is static (and, did we mention, overly broad?). 

From the Court's opinion:

Unlike COPA, filters permit adults to determine if and when they want to use them and do not subject speakers to criminal or civil penalties.

Indeed.  Other conclusions from the prior litigation, such as COPA is overbroad and vague in some of its definitions and applications have not changed based on the new fact finding.

The full 57 page opinion is here.  Legal documents in the case courtesy of EPIC are here. [MG]

July 23, 2008 | Permalink


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