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United States v. American Library Association, Inc.

Law Dictionary
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Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 539 U.S 194 (2003)

Brief Fact Summary. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) bars a public library from being eligible for federal Internet assistance unless the library has software in place to screen out obscenity, child pornography or other material which could be dangerous for minor children. The American Library Association, Inc., sued against this law as violating the freedom of speech under the First Amendment.


Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which prevents a public library from receiving federal Internet assistance without the installation of software which prevents material harmful to minors like obscenity or child pornography from being accessed, is not violative of the First Amendment.


Facts. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) has a provision that prevents a public library from receiving federal funds to set up an Internet link unless it can show the presence of blocking software for harmful material like child pornography or obscenity. The American Library Association, Inc.(P) with others filed a suit in federal district court against the enforcement of the provision on blocking software under First Amendment grounds. The court gave judgment for them, and the Government (D) appealed.


Issue. Is CIPA, which bars a public library from receiving federal help with respect to Internet access unless the library has software to block obscenity, child pornography and other material which is harmful to children, a violation of the guarantee of freedom of speech under the First Amendment?


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