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Free Speech Coalition Files Motion for
Preliminary Injunction in Utah CPR Lawsuit
May 4, 2006 – The Free Speech Coalition filed a motion today in United States District Court in Utah seeking a preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of Utah’s Child Protection Registry (CPR). The case is Free Speech Coalition v. Shurtleff, No. 2:05-cv-00949.
The CPR allows parents and others to register email addresses to which minors have "access," and then prohibits emails from being sent from anywhere in the world to those addresses that advertise "harmful matter" or products or services minors cannot purchase. E-mailers can pay a private company to "scrub" their lists at a cost of 1/2 cent for every name on their list.
The 35-page motion argues that CPR is preempted by the federal CAN-SPAM Act and that it violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the First Amendment of the Constitution, and Article, Section 15, of the Utah Constitution.
FSC’s Utah litigation team identified eight separate First Amendment flaws in the Utah law, specifically that:
FSC attorneys are asking the Court to grant a Preliminary Injunction enjoining the defendants from enforcing any of the provisions contained in the Utah CPR Act.
- CPR constitutes an impermissible prior restraint.
- CPR violates the expressive privacy of plaintiff and its members.
- CPR imposes an unconstitutional burden on protected expression.
- CPR is an impermissible content-based statute that violates the First Amendment.
- CPR suffers from impermissible vagueness fatal in the First Amendment context.
- Minors enjoy First Amendment rights, particularly when it comes to matters of public interest, including controversial political issues.
- Utah may not constitutionally regulate or punish advertising accessible to minors on the grounds that it may induce minors to purchase products or services that minors cannot lawfully purchase.
- The fact that a lawful product or service may not be lawfully purchased by minors does not mean that the advertising of such products or services to minors may be banned.
The litigation is being supervised by FSC Board Chair Jeffrey Douglas, who said, “The effort to enjoin Utah’s CPR is an important part of FSC’s litigation strategy to challenge oppressive statutes which not only burden lawful expression and commerce, but in this case actually expose minors to unwanted intrusion by creating a convenient registry which the Federal Trade Commission believes can be easily hacked.”
The Free Speech Coalition would like to express its deep appreciation to the Utah litigation team – Stephen Rohde, Jerome Mooney, Gregory Piccionelli, Ira Rothken and Bradley Shafer – for their excellent work in this case, and also to FSC Board member and attorney Reed Lee for his astute guidance.
The FSC Motion is supported by the American Advertising Federation, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Association of National Advertisers, Inc., the Email Service Provider Coalition, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Center for Democracy and Technology, all of which were granted permission by the Court to participate in this matter in support of FSC.
FSC would also like to thank its members and others in the adult entertainment industry for their support in our fight against the Utah CPR. We share the industry’s disdain for those who use the protection of children as a pretense to push legislation that does not protect children, and in fact makes them more vulnerable to potential exploitation, and we ask the industry to continue support us in these important battles against abusive laws.
Free Speech Coalition is the trade organization of the adult entertainment industry. Its mission is to safeguard the industry from oppressive governmental regulation and to promote good business practices within the industry.