A ban on the enforcement of COPA, the Child Online Protection Act, was upheld in the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals July 22 after the appeals court agreed with a lower court’s findings that the law was vague, overly broad, and unconstitutional, DailyTech reports. The law, originally passed in 1998, was intended to protect children from objectionable content on the internet–namely, pornography–by forcing web site owners to implement verifiable age checks. Critics feared that the law would result in the censorship of a wide variety of material on the internet, including sexual health information or any site considered "obscene" by the courts’ principle of "contemporary community standards." "The First Amendment provides that ‘Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press," reads a passage from the decision. "COPA criminalizes a category of speech–‘harmful to minors’ material–that is constitutionally protected for adults. Because COPA is a content-based restriction on protected speech, it is presumptively invalid, and the government bears the burden of showing its constitutionality." Part of the court’s logic found that implementing filters on an individual basis was far more effective than criminalizing offenders. "Unlike COPA, filters permit adults to determine if and when they want to use them and do not subject speakers to criminal or civil penalties," it wrote…

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