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Judge Strikes Down COPA, 1998 Online Porn Law 348

Posted by kdawson
from the one-for-free-speech dept.
Begopa sends in word that a federal judge has struck down the Child Online Protection Act. The judge said that parents can protect their children through software filters and other less restrictive means that do not limit others' rights to free speech. This was the case for which the US Department of Justice subpoenaed several search companies for search records; only Google fought the order. The case has already been to the Supreme Court. Senior U.S. District Judge Lowell Reed Jr. wrote in his decision: "Perhaps we do the minors of this country harm if First Amendment protections, which they will with age inherit fully, are chipped away in the name of their protection."
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Judge Strikes Down COPA, 1998 Online Porn Law

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  • by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:00AM (#18443381) Homepage Journal
    I am very happy about this.

    I wrote the first available internet filter for windows 3.1 The Internet Filter [internetfilter.com] specifically because it is the parent's responsibility to decide what their children should and should not see, not the government's responsibility.

    --jeffk++

  • Re:finally (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Intron (870560) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:34AM (#18443965)
    ...and my favorite, "Free Speech Areas" at political conventions.
  • by Etherwalk (681268) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:37AM (#18444015)
    Well, thank the founding fathers, at any rate. Yes, the world has changed and the powers of the federal government have grown beyond the dreams of Jefferson and Madison and those folk. And Yes, maybe they're a bunch of dead rich white slave-owners. But they weren't nincompoops!

    The legal system in this country is pretty messed up, riddled with inefficies and outright injustices. But it still does some things right. =)
  • by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @11:39AM (#18444047) Homepage Journal
    Sure. Lots. Every time you hear about restrictions on who can get an abortion, or when, or mandatory counseling prior to surgery. And it often happens at the state level, where it's not as easy to get it ruled unconstitutional. (Yay! We're an independant state, and we can sometimes legislate our rights away!)
  • Nicccce (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Goblez (928516) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:06PM (#18444429)
    parents can protect their children

    Isn't this a concept. That those charged in the protection and upbringing of children should take care of these things, and leave our personal freedoms alone. Who is this judge, and someone give him a promotion and a raise for using common sense and some foresight.

    I liked this as well: which they will with age inherit fully

    Gives some real insight into the Protect the Children mentality. How about we protect what they will value as adults?

  • by Spaceman40 (565797) <blinks AT acm DOT org> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:13PM (#18444551) Homepage Journal

    While I don't (yet) have a position on the disenfranchisement of felons in the United States, I'm not sure if your argument really sways me either way.

    America's prison population passed the two million mark back in 1992. By 2001, one in 37 adult Americans had been in prison for some period of time (including those who were still there.) For over a decade, sixty percent of the prison population is made up of minorities. While less than one percent of the population is in prison, nearly five percent of the black population of the US is incarcerated.

    Summary: lots of people are convicted felons.

    It's long past time to recognize the disenfranchisement of felons for what it is; a denial of democracy.

    I think that's kind of the idea -- disenfranchisement is basically the removal of citizenship.

    If you take the vote away from an entire class of people, their needs and problems need not be addressed; they are effectively denied a voice in government.

    The former half of this is part of a point, but again, I think that's kind of the idea.

    This becomes far easier when they are people who have been dehumanized by society.

    By here, you begin to expand on your main idea, but then your argument ends.

    "Disenfranchisement" -- kicking people out -- as punishment has been around forever. The English sent people to Australia (and even America, IIRC). Pirates maroon. We remove their rights as citizens. This doesn't make it good, just tested. I assume that you understand the reasons behind the policy in general.

    Your argument seems to be that there are so many felons at this point, we might as well just let them back into citizenship. This is a non sequitur; why should it matter how many felons there are, or how many are minorities, etc.? The reason that a felon is disenfranchised is to remove them from society -- I'm sure the framers would have sent people to some uninhabited area if they could (the wild west, for instance). A few more felons wouldn't have made much difference.

    Perhaps it's the permanent disenfranchisement that bothers you. You know, that bothers me a bit, too.

    tl;dr: Re-word your argument.

  • by couchslug (175151) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:19PM (#18444633)
    For a lot of them the income is necessary, but there are a great number who do not practice efficiency and thrift. This is because most of MY generation failed to pass on the lessons of our Depression Era parents.

    For example, when my parents didn't have money, they didn't go in debt to buy nonessentials. (If you were POOR, you lived cheap and weren't ashamed of it.)

    They taught us by example and explanation that if it was not food/clothing/shelter/EDUCATION you didn't need it. They also taught us that if you learned to manage effectively you would eventually have lots of the nice things in life. It worked for them and it worked for me.

    They rarely bought anything that was not built to last, even if they waited to buy it. Quality is cheap in the end.

    They learned to use their resources. Home Economics and Do It Yourself books were written at a high level, because if you couldn't do it on your own your were screwed.

    If where you lived limited your opportunities, you got the fsck out and didn't look back.

    People tend to forget that, while being poor in the US sucks, it used to be far shittier. Somehow many of those poor folks rose to the challenge, probably because that was expected of them so they expected it of themselves.

    "Throw a couple of kids into the mix, and anyone at or below the "lower-middle-class" income bracket is struggling, big-time."

    As they always struggled. The problem now is that many of them don't know how to struggle effectively.
  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @12:50PM (#18445209) Homepage
    At school there was a Windows 3.1 box with Cyber Patrol or some crapware like that, and locked down to disable running fileman.exe, command.com or indeed any program that wasn't in the Program Manager menus. IIRC you could specify in win.ini to forbid File->Run or altering the program groups. In the end I loaded up Winword and loaded in help.exe or some other worthless program as though it were a Word document, then after Word had thoroughly mangled all the bytes in the file I saved it back again and ran it just to see what would happen. As luck would have it, running the new executable crashed all of Windows and dumped you back at a command prompt.

    Looking at porn on a 16-colour VGA display in the middle of a dusty computer lab is not my idea of fun, but as with all filtering programs this one had a lot of false positives and tended to block university websites or ports of Minix shell tools to RISC OS or whatever the hell I was trying to download in those days.
  • by PyroPenguin (827234) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @01:24PM (#18445837)

    I think the whole law is primarily aimed at small children who could possibly have problems with emotional and mental development because of exposure to pornography. Obviously every teenage boy goes looking for it, but I don't want an easy way for my 3 year old to be exposed to it.... What's really sad is that COPA doesn't completely ban Porn. It requires an Age verfication system that would prevent younger children from accessing the material, getting addicted to it and becoming their next generation of customers. They prey on kids like Big Tabacco has the past few decades.
    Are you telling us that your 3 year old has enough unsupervised internet time that he/she can develop an addiction to porn? Perhaps there is a larger problem in your household? There are many ways that you can limit the viewable content in your house without imposing your views on everyone else.

    You and I don't know each other, so why should you feel that you can speak for me or tell me what is appropriate for me or others to view, say or do? I am not sure that comparing porn to cigarettes is a far comparison. Please site even 1 valid example of porn being specifically targeted to children? Is there a "Joe Camel" for Hustler?

    It seems that people seem to forget that our Rights should be defended even if we disagree with the case. Remember the quote that is associated with Alan Isaacman (attorney for Larry Flynt): "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you have heard a lot today, and I'm not gonna go back over it, but you have to go into that room and make some decisions. But before you do, there's something you need to know. I am not trying to suggest that you should like what Larry Flynt does. I don't like what Larry Flynt does, but what I do like is the fact that I live in a country where you and I can make that decision for ourselves. I like the fact that I live in a country where I can pick up Hustler magazine and read it, or throw it in the garbage can if that's where I think it belongs."

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