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Communications Decency Act

The Communications Decency Act (CDA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996 in response to concerns about minors' access to pornography via the Internet. The CDA was Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, but in two separate cases, Reno v. Shea of 1997 and Nitke v. Gonzalez of 2005, federal judges found that the indecency provisions were found to abridge “the freedom of speech” protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Both decisions were affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court without comment.

The CDA has become a powerful example of federal regulation in place of an industry's self-regulatory activities. The CDA was enacted on February 1, 1996, as representatives and senators prepared for reelection campaigns the following fall. The CDA was ...

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