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55 Federal Communications Law Journal 85 (2002)


Both the Child Pornography Prevention Act ("CPPA") and the Child Online Protection Act ("COPA") were intended by Congress to protect minors. The CPPA was intended to protect minors from the harmful effects of virtual child pornography. The COPA was intended to protect minors from pornography currently available commercially on the World Wide Web. However, in 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the constitutionality of both statutes: The Court struck down sections of the CPPA as overbroad and unconstitutional in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition. In Ashcroft v. ACLU, the Court upheld some sections of COPA as not unconstitutionally overbroad, but expressed no view as to whether other provisions were overbroad, whether the statute is vague, or whether COPA survives strict scrutiny. Currently, neither statute is being enforced, despite the statutes' laudable motives to protect children. This Article predicts the future of COPA and recommends further congressional action to protect minors from the harmful effects of both virtual and real child pornography, and from accessing pornography on the Web.