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Federal judge blocks some new online-porn rules

By The Associated Press
12.31.05

DENVER — A federal judge has let stand new rules requiring pornographers to maintain records of their performers, but granted a preliminary injunction blocking the rules from governing Internet chat rooms and some Web sites.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Walker D. Miller dismissed the industry's claims that the rules enacted in June violate pornographers' First Amendment rights. But Miller found in Free Speech Coalition v. Gonzales that the rules were overly broad in their application to chat rooms and Web sites beyond producers' control.

The Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Free Speech Coalition, which represents about 750 actors, producers and others involved in the pornography industry, filed a lawsuit this summer in U.S. District Court in Denver to temporarily block the new rules meant to crackdown on child-porn.

The regulations, which were approved by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in May, require producers to keep detailed information that verifies the identity and age of their performers, including their date of birth, legal name and copy of a picture identification card. The rules were approved in an effort to stop child pornography and ensure the performers are not minors.

"We're pleased about the ruling, but it's a complicated ruling and we need to take more time to go through it," said Tom Hymes, a spokesman for the coalition.

Miller ruled that the regulations advanced the government's compelling interest to prevent child pornography.


Related

Attorney general vows to prosecute obscenity cases

In his first lengthy address since taking office, Alberto Gonzales says people who distribute obscene materials do not enjoy constitutional guarantees of free speech. 03.02.05

Bush administration continues obscenity crackdown
Critics say government's stepped-up effort is assault on free speech, expression — however distasteful. 05.05.05

Obscenity charges against porn sellers reinstated
3rd Circuit ruling represents step forward for Bush administration, which has ramped up federal obscenity prosecutions. 12.09.05

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