COPA Targets ‘Harmful Material,’ Not Pornography

Joe, you raise some excellent points, but you made a common error (“Why Has the Press Focused on Privacy With Google Subpoena” (letter to the editor, Joe Martinico, DM News, April 17). Contrary to popular belief, the government is not trying to stop “child porn” with the Child Online Protection Act. COPA is a misguided attempt to prevent minors from seeing “harmful material” on the Internet. Do you know what Congress believes is “harmful material?” Google “COPA.”

Otherwise, I believe you’re right on point about at least one thing. Though I encourage you not to confuse “harmful material” with “pornography” – they are different. Pornography is, in fact, a multibillion-dollar industry. However, a vast amount of pornography comes from overseas. COPA, a piece of U.S. legislation, would not reach this pornography. It would, however, penalize legitimate U.S. businesses from producing health-related services and chill speech that is protected by the First Amendment. Hence the injunction.

Given this situation, parenting and education is the only effective answer. How about putting your computer in your living room? That would put a damper on any “harmful content” your child might view. In the meantime, stemming the free speech my ancestors fought and died for is not a valid state interest.

Heather C. Keith

[email protected]

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