Monday, April 21, 2008

COPA: Was it really a "married adult online protection act"?

While we wait a report on the progress of the DOJ appeal of COPA before the Third Circuit, I think we can contemplate another “practical” feature of attempts behind laws like CDA and COPA. Particularly, I wonder if COPA was as much a MMOPA (“Married Men Online Protection Act”) or even an “Adult Online Protection Act” as one for children, despite all the pretense of adult-id’s and proposed verification schemes that the trial court determined could not work reliably (and better than filters).

Indeed, there have been some pretty tragic and disturbing cases of families hurt by the behavior of other adults online in the news recently, as on my Internet Safety Blog -- but that is the point, Internet safety is an ongoing effort.

More to the point, is that the availability of online materials for “fantasy” may be perceived as threatening to marriages as couples grow older and need to maintain emotional loyalty and interest – particularly if there are still minor children at home.

The new Newseum in Washington DC has a large First Amendment and free speech exhibit. I didn’t see any specific mention of COPA there yet, but there is a lot of material on student free speech. Perhaps that is coming soon.

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