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Court leaves online porn question unanswered - Broadcasting & Cable

Court leaves online porn question unanswered

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The Supreme Court Monday issued a vague decision on online pornography
that effectively sends the matter back to a lower court for reconsideration and
leaves the law in limbo.

The court ruled 8-1 that it is not necessarily unconstitutional to use
"community standards" to determine what minors should and should not see on the
Internet.

But it didn't determine what standard should be used, and it essentially sent
the entire decision back to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia
for re-examination.

"Prudence dictates allowing the Third Circuit to first examine these
difficult issues," the court wrote.

The Child Online Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1998, would hold
Internet-content providers criminally responsible for allowing children to view
content designated for adults.

The law has been enjoined almost since it was passed, and it remains so under
Monday's decision.

In 1997, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the Communications
Decency Act -- legislation that also would have made Internet-service providers
responsible for any actionable content transmitted over their networks.

That law was ruled too broad.

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