Booksellers, video game dealers, newspaper publishers and other critics of an online child protection law encountered skepticism from state Supreme Court justices Tuesday for their free-speech arguments.
A coalition led by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression has challenged laws throughout the country aimed at protecting children from online pornography and predators that they claim jeopardize protected speech among adults that might be linked to private chat rooms, listservs or e-mail.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Cincinnati has asked justices to resolve two key legal questions before moving forward on the Ohio lawsuit. The questions involve what is meant by the technical terms contained in the law: "mass distribution" and "personally directed devices."
Ohio Solicitor General Ben Mizer said the state law on distributing material harmful to minors was revised in 2004 to apply only to one-on-one communications by adults knowingly targeting kids. At issue Tuesday before the court was that rewrite.