19      The First Amendment and Online Obscenity

The new communication technologies and their applications have raised constitutional questions, including the First Amendment implications of regulating online obscenity. Relevant legislation and case law concerning various aspects of this issue are discussed in this chapter.

For online obscenity, the main focus is the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). Background information is presented first, followed by an examination of relevant case law.


In early 1995, U. S. Senators James Exon (D-Nebraska) and Slade Gorton (R-Washington) sponsored the CDA to regulate online sexual content. According to Senator Exon, this legislation, ...

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