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Promoting Online Safety: The Home-School Partnership

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Supreme Court Sends COPA Case Back to Appeals Court

The Supreme Court May 13 blocked enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) until certain questions about its impact on free speech could be resolved. The court said that reliance on "community standards" to define what is "harmful to minors" on the Internet does not necessarily violate the 1st Amendment's protections for free speech. But it said other elements of the law may violate the Constitution, and ordered the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit to reconsider those issues. The law, which applies to commercial Web sites, would make it a criminal act to knowingly disseminate sexually explicit material to minors. Web sites could avoid prosecution by showing that they had made a good-faith effort to bar children's access, such as requiring a credit card to gain access to their site. The decision in Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union can be reviewed here.

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