We Should NOT Censor Internet Pornography

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Pornography is an age-old phenomenon that has been under much modern-day scrutiny. With the recent proliferation of online pornography, possible social ramifications of sexually explicit material on uncontrolled mediums have become the subjects of intense debate. Proponents of a liberal approach toward pornography argue that access to online smut is a constitutionally protected freedom and "a harmless diversion that serves to satisfy curiosity and relieve sexual tensions.5" Opponents of this view are particularly concerned with the social effects of online pornography and its effect on the values and morals of minors who can access pornographic images. I will argue for the liberal side and argue that porn in both print form and electronic form should be constitutionally protected.

The major piece of legislation that would infringe on the rights of Internet users was the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996. The CDA labeled the transmission of "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, indecent, or patently offensive" pornography over the Internet a crime. It was attached to the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996, which was then passed by Congress on February 1, 1996. The bill was created to outlaw obscene material on the web and impose fines of up to $100,000 and prison terms of up to two years on anyone who knowingly makes "indecent" material available to children under eighteen5. The Act used sweeping generalizations, which banned all forms of nudity in written and graphic form on the Internet. The clauses of the Act were so broad that posting pictures of famous works of art on the Internet, such as Michaelangelo's David, would be grounds for a heavy fine. Sexually related articles and photos, which are constitutionally prote...

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1. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (

2. Stop the CDA Homepage (Error! Bookmark not defined.)

I. Analysis of the Revised Communications Decency Act

II. Analysis of the Original Proposal

III. A Constitutional Analysis and People For The American Way

IV. Relevant Policy Posts on The CDA

3. American Present Situation of Pornography Online, by Masataka Sugimoto

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4. Civil Liberties Union: Reno v. ACLU: The Appeal

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"Statement of Jonathan Tasini, President, National Writers Union"

"Statement of Candace Perkins Bowen, President, Journalism Education Association"

Philip Elmer-Dewitt, Time Magazine, "On a Screen Near You: Cyberporn";

July 3, 1995 Volume 146, No. 1, cover story
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