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COPA

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Term Definition
COPA
The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) of 1998 was an effort by the U.S. Congress to modify the CDA in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Reno v. ACLU. The law sought to make it a crime for commercial websites to make pornographic material that is “harmful to minors” available to juveniles. The purpose of COPA was to protect children from instant access to pornographic “teaser images” on porn syndicate web pages, by requiring pornographers to take credit card numbers, adult verification numbers, or access codes to restrict children’s access to pornographic material and to allow access to this material for consenting adults only. Despite the critical need for measures to protect children from accessing harmful materials, the law was immediately challenged and blocked by lower courts, and has become the subject of an epic legal battle, still raging today. The permanent injunction against the enforcement of COPA remains in effect today. The government has not announced whether it will appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court for a third time.