This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Industry Standard's Media Grok email newsletter. It is archived here for informational purposes only because The Standard's site is no more. This material is Copyright 1999-2001 by Standard Media.

Supremes Will Play COPA

May 22 2001 08:43 AM PDT

The high court agrees to hear a case to decide whether the Child Online Protection Act is constitutional.

Is this a rerun or a sequel? The plot: Congress passes a law intended to shield kids from nasty stuff online, the ACLU and others sue, lower courts back the First Amendment, and eventually the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case.

Last time around, the law in question was the Communications Decency Act, part of the massive 1996 telecom-restructuring package. This time it's the Child Online Protection Act, passed and signed in 1998 after the Supremes unanimously struck down the CDA. Enforcement of the newer law was quickly enjoined by a federal court, and COPA has never gone into effect.

The coverage was fairly uniform. Outlets that didn't run copy straight off the wires ended up with similar no-hook stories (though MSNBC provided a handy table linking all of the Supreme Court's cases in its current term). NewsBytes turned up one oddity of COPA's long soujourn in limbo. The law called for the formation of a commission to advise Congress on the legal environment surrounding online pornography. NewsBytes reported that the commission formed, met, submitted its report and dissolved itself last year. Congress hasn't taken any action on the report, though. Maybe it's waiting to see how the sequel ends.

Supreme Court to consider online porn law

Supreme Court to review child porn law

High Court to Hear Internet Porn Case
Los Angeles Times

Supreme Court to review child porn law (Reuters)

Supreme Court Agrees to Examine Law Protecting Kids From Web Porn (AP)
Wall Street Journal
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U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear COPA Case