Skip to content

Judge strikes down Internet porn law

Post categories

  1. Prior Restraint

    NMU         VIRGINIA         Prior Restraints         Aug 18, 2000    

Judge strikes down Internet porn law

  • A federal court found that a law designed to prevent distribution of explicit materials to minors violated the First Amendment rights of others online.

A federal district court judge in Charlottesville in early August struck down a Virginia law criminalizing any attempt to distribute sexually explicit material on the internet to minors.

U.S. District Judge James H. Michael Jr. held that the law violated the First Amendment because it would limit communication by people not distributing sexually explicit materials to minors.

“The plaintiffs may well be left with a Hobson’s choice of self-censorship such that all content on their websites is suitable for children, or subjecting themselves to criminal liability on the state of Virginia,” the opinion stated.

No one had been charged with crimes under the law, which was passed in 1999 by the Virginia legislature over the objections of Republican Gov. James Gilmore, according to The Washington Post.

The lawsuit was brought by a coalition of 17 nonprofit groups and Internet businesses.

(Psinet Inc. v. Chapman; Media Counsel: Garrett M. Smith and John Joshua Wheeler, Charlottesville) GK


© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Return to: RCFP Home; News Page