The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a ban on the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which threatened to criminalize not only pornographic but also sex education and advice websites. This ruling is the second time the Court has blocked COPA for its undue restrictions on freedom of speech, according to the ACLU. Opponents of COPA argue that there are other methods of protecting children online that do not criminalize protected speech.
Though the stated intent of COPA is to protect children from online pornography, the ACLU reports that sites containing explicit sex education information, sexual advice, STI prevention information, and gynecological information could also face criminal penalties were the law to take effect. These penalties include fines of up to $50,000 per day and up to six months imprisonment for violators. By again blocking COPA, “[t]he Court has made it safe for artists, sex educators, and web publishers to communicate with adults about sexuality without risking jail time,” said ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson.