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First Amendment Was Not Intended to Provide a License to Sell Smut Without Any Legal Obligation to Restrict Children's Access

Response to Latest COPA Decision from Morality In Media President Robert Peters


Contact: Robert Peters, President, Morality in Media, 212-870-3210


NEW YORK, Mar. 26 /Standard Newswire/ -- Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, issued the following statement in response to a decision last Thursday by a federal district court judge in Philadelphia that invalidated the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) on the grounds that parental use of screening technology is a "less restrictive means."


"Thanks to the federal courts in Philadelphia and the Supreme Court, more than a decade has now passed since Congress first acted to protect children from Internet pornography, and there are still no enforceable laws that require persons who commercially distribute pornography on the Internet to take reasonable steps to restrict children's access to the material.


"Today, if a child were to walk into an 'adult bookstore,' he or she would be told to leave, because it is against the law to sell pornography to children in real space. But if that same child were to 'click' to most commercial websites that distribute pornography, he or she could view pornography free of charge and without restriction, because when it comes to 'cyberspace,' the federal courts think it is up to parents to keep children away from Internet pornography.


"While this may come as a surprise to some federal court judges, many parents are overburdened and exhausted; many are naïve or all too trusting; many don't want to be overly strict; many are 'technologically challenged;' many don't speak English; many are unable to afford technology; many have physical or mental disabilities; and many neglect and abuse their own children.


"But even assuming that every parent with one or more computers in the home used filters at all times on each computer and even assuming that filters blocked all pornography and could not be circumvented by tech-savvy children, there would still be a big problem – namely, as children get older they increasingly have access to the Internet outside the home.


"Our nation's founding fathers (and, once upon a time, even the Supreme Court itself) viewed the First Amendment within a framework of ordered liberty, not as a license to sell smut without any legal obligation to adopt sensible measures to restrict children's access. This is utter nonsense."


MORALITY IN MEDIA works through constitutional means to curb traffic in obscenity and to uphold standards if decency in the media. MIM operates the website, where citizens can report possible violations of Internet obscenity laws.