Groups Argue That Massachusetts’ Obscenity Law Violates Free-Speech Rights


Groups argue that Massachusetts' obscenity law violates free-speech rightsInternet content providers and free-speech advocates are arguing that a new Massachusetts law violates the First Amendment.

The Associated Press reports that several organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts, filed a Federal lawsuit in July claiming that a law passed by legislators bans Internet material that adults have the right to view.

The law, which prohibits individuals from sending sexually explicit messages to minors through text messages, email and other electronic communications, was passed after the state's highest court overruled the conviction of a man who was accused of sending erotic messages to someone he believed was a 13 year old girl.

The plaintiff's attorney, Michael Bamberger, claimed that language in the law will prevent adults from speaking freely in chat rooms out of fear that minors will see it as well.

"You have a statute here that restricts protected speech," Bamberger said, as quoted by the news provider.

According to The National Journal, the ACLU released a report earlier this week that argued for network neutrality rules in order to protect First Amendment rights. The organization called for Federal Communication Commission (FCC) regulations that would bar broadband providers from discriminating against Internet content.

In order to do so, the FCC would have to reclassify broadband from an information service to a telecommunication service. 

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