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CDA II and Tax Issues

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Date:         Thu, 22 Oct 1998 18:39:13 -0700
Reply-To: Law & Policy of Computer Communications
              <[email protected]>
Sender: Law & Policy of Computer Communications
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From: John Muller <[email protected]>
Subject:      CDA II and Tax Issues
To: [email protected]

Some questions for the eminent Constitutional litigators on this list:  As
noted in the Freedom Forum article posted by David Burt, the newly-adopted
Internet Tax Freedom Act contains a provision which makes
harmful-to-minor-ographers ineligible for the moratorium on Internet taxes.
Specifically, any person or entity that knowingly makes a communication for
commercial purposes by means of the Web which includes material harmful to
minors does not get the benefits of the moratorium, unless the person or
entity has restricted access to the material in specified ways.  (BTW, the
Web is defined to include FTP and "other similar protocols").  See
http://cox.house.gov/nettax/itfafinal.pdf (1 MB+ download).

Is it possible to challenge the Constitutionality of this provision even
before any state has rushed to tax on-line peddlers of harmful-to-minor
materials?  If so, why aren't the ACLU/EFF/EPIC challenging this bill?  Is
the Constitutional challenge significantly harder to maintain than CDA II?
After all, it's singling out a particular type of speech, and as they say
the power to tax is the power to destroy, even if uncertainty about being
taxed is not likely to chill speech as much as uncertainty about going to

John Muller
[email protected]
"Things are not as they seem, neither are they otherwise"

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Robert A. Hettinga <mailto: [email protected]>
Philodox Financial Technology Evangelism <http://www.philodox.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'