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Pornography and Predators: Basic Facts/Legal Issues

pp_li_arrow1_blank What is Pornography
pp_li_arrow2_blank Where does Pornography come from?
pp_li_arrow3_blank Sexual Predators
ppnav_sub_arrow4 pp_li_li_1dots Pornography and the First Amendment
pp_li_li_2dots Internet Laws


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Created by Congress in 1914, the Federal Trade Commission enforces a variety of federal antitrust and consumer-protection laws and is responsible for taking action against practices that are unfair or deceptive. The FTC’s authority extends to the Internet, which, like other media, can be used to deliver fraudulent content.

In April 2003, the FTC, for the first time, asked a judge to block a spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail) operation that allegedly used deceptive subject lines to draw customers to an adult Web site.

In an unprecedented effort to review false claims appearing in spam, the FTC also analyzed 1,000 randomly selected e-mails received during six months of 2002. According to its report “False Claims in Spam,” 57 percent of adult-oriented messages contained false information and 41 percent of adult-oriented spam contained false “from” or “subject” lines that made it more likely that recipients would open the messages.

The FTC also enforces the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), passed by Congress in October 1998. COPPA gives parents control of what information is collected from their children online. It applies to those operators of commercial Web sites and online services directed to children under age 13, who collect personal information from children. COPPA also applies to operators of general sites who know that they are collecting information from children under age 13.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Established by the Communications Act of 1934, the Federal Communications Commission is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in the U.S.

Although the FCC doesn’t regulate the Internet or Internet service providers, it’s responsible for enforcing the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), passed in 1998. Intially, the agency was forced to suspend its enforcement of the CIPA provisions that applied libraries after a U.S. district court supported a First Amendment lawsuit filed by the American Library Association. On June 23, 2003, however, the Supreme Court overturned that ruling. The FCC can now resume enforcement of CIPA as it applies to libraries that receive federal technology funds.

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