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The Third Circuit upheld the injunction, ruling that COPA's reliance on community standards improperly allows the most conservative communities to dictate what should be considered indecent.The ACLU represented a number of plaintiffs who publish materials online, including an art gallery, magazine, Powell's Bookstore, and the producer of a web site providing information on sexuality to disabled people.
The case does not directly address the issue of how the community standards requirement applies to determining whether online material is obscene (speech that does not receive First Amendment protection) rather than merely indecent (harmful for minors but protected for adults). The Free Speech Coalition, a group of adult-oriented businesses and artists, filed suit in federal district court in California, alleging that the law was vague and overbroad in violation of the First Amendment.
They protect real children from real abuse." Clement also argued that it would be impossible to prosecute any child pornography if pornographers could claim as a defense that an image was computer-generated.
Clement said that computer generated images today can be so lifelike that it would be impossible to prove that real children had been used.
In what will likely be the most significant of the three, Ashcroft v.
Supreme Court has decided several cases involving pornography.
Writing for the court, Justice Kennedy noted: The mere tendency of speech to encourage unlawful acts is not a sufficient reason for banning it. The Government has shown no more than a remote connection between speech that might encourage thoughts or actions and any resulting child abuse.
Without a significantly stronger, more direct connection, the Government may not prohibit speech on the ground that it might encourage pedophiles to engage in illegal conduct., 00-799, didn't involve the kind of adult material can be regulated by the government, but rather the extent to which cities can ban "one-stop shopping" sex-related businesses.
Nor does it change because the publisher may wish to speak only to those in a community where avant garde culture is the norm, but nonetheless utilizes a medium that transmits its speech from coast to coast. In, 00-795, the Supreme Court struck down the Child Pornography Protection Act of 1996 (CPPA).
If a publisher wishes for its material to be judged only by the standards of particular communities, then it need only take the simple step of utilizing a medium that enables it to target the release of its material into those communities. The production or possession of actual child pornography was illegal prior to 1996; the CPPA broadened the definition of child pornography to include images that merely appear to be children engaged in sexually explicit conduct -- for example, images of adults digitally altered to look like children -- or that convey the impression that the individuals involved are minors.
"What it's effectively going to do is drive a certain category of speech protected for adults from the marketplace of ideas that is the Web," Beeson said.
Beeson and others opposing the law claim that using community standards to assess material on the Internet will necessarily result in the standard of the most restrictive community being applied everywhere.
The Court found that the law was so broadly written that it risked suppressing legitimate forms of artistic or political expression. , 00-799 Los Angeles attempted to stem the growth of red-light districts by prohibiting "one-stop-shopping" sex emporiums that offered more than one adult-related business under the same roof. 00-1293, dealt with a challenge to the Child Online Protection Act (COPA).