Skip to main content

Pennsylvania Court Rules Website-Blocking Law Violates First Amendment

PRESS RELEASE
September 10, 2004

Law "Blacked Out" More than a Million Legitimate Websites

The Federal District Court in Philadelphia ruled today that a state law requiring Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that allegedly host child pornography violates the First Amendment. In order to comply with the law, ISPs had been forced to over-block websites that shared domain names or IP numbers with those identified by the state Attorney General as containing child porn.

"Although no one disputes that child pornography is and should be illegal to distribute, the Pennsylvania law threatened to cut off access to more than a million perfectly legitimate websites, in an ineffectual attempt to block alleged child pornography sites," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "The judge's decision correctly recognizes that the First Amendment does not tolerate such a burden on protected expression."

Contact:
Kurt Opsahl
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
kurt@eff.org

JavaScript license information