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Communications Decency Act

<legal> (CDA) An amendment to the U.S. 1996 Telecommunications Bill that went into effect on 08 February 1996, outraging thousands of Internet users who turned their web pages black in protest. The law, originally proposed by Senator James Exon to protect children from obscenity on the Internet, ended up making it punishable by fines of up to $250,000 to post indecent language on the Internet anywhere that a minor could read it.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation created public domain blue ribbon icons that many web authors downloaded and displayed on their web pages.

On 12 June 1996, a three-judge panel in Philadelphia ruled the CDA unconstitutional and issued an injunction against the United States Justice Department forbidding them to enforce the "indecency" provisions of the law. Internet users celebrated by displaying an animated "Free Speech" fireworks icon to their web pages, courtesy of the Voters Telecommunications Watch. The Justice Department has appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(1996-11-03)


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