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US judge blocks Web kiddie porn law

Banning circulation of porn to kids is an infringement of civil liberties, it seems

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A law designed to stop the distribution of pornography to children over the Net has been put on hold, for the time being at least, because a US District Court Judge ruled the legislation was unconstitutional. The preliminary injunction was delivered by Judge Arthur Tarnow who ruled that the Michigan Law was too broad and would have been in breach of the US Constitution's first amendment right to free speech. Anyone who violated the new Net law, which was due to have come into force on 1 August, would have been liable to two years in gaol and a $10,000 fine, reported Reuters. Civil Liberties groups are reported to be up in arms at the decision. Elsewhere, Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, is leading a crusade against porn merchants who publish digitally altered images of celebrities on their Web sites. Earlier this month she filed a lawsuit against NYGateway.com after it published salacious images of her. Although Kerrigan managed to get the site shut down after she contacted the Web hosting company, she has had little joy in seeking legal redress. It seems the law simply can't cope with the fly-by-night operators of porn sites. "These pornographers can pop up, you slap one down, and [then] four others pop up under different names," Kerrigan's lawyer Victor H Polk Jr told the New York Times. "They are really judgement-proof, and the legal system can't deal with them well," he said. ®

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