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The Internet - Obscenity Issues

court speech telephone media

Several cases serve as guides for regulating Internet content. A federal statute passed in 1993 prohibits persons from making indecent comments, requests, and suggestions by telephone. The Supreme Court had struck down an earlier version which aimed to protect minors from dial-a-porn messages. The Court concluded that a blanket ban on indecency in telephone communications exceeded what was needed, and that restrictions on the content of protected speech in media other than broadcast media must advance a compelling state interest and be accomplished by the least restrictive means. Regulations for the Internet will need to comply similarly. In Bolger v. Youngs Drug Prod. Corp. and Federal Communications Commission v. Pacifica Foundation, the Supreme Court demonstrated a commitment to free speech concerning ads and commercial speech, and that any restriction must be narrowly tailored.

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