Constitutionality of Requiring Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet to be Under a Separate Domain Name Page: 2 of 11
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Constitutionality of Requiring Sexually Explicit Material
on the Internet to be Under a Separate Domain Name
It has been proposed that there be a domain on the Internet exclusively for
websites that contain sexually explicit material; it might be labeled ".xxx" to
complement the current ".com," ".org," and others. Some propose making use of a
".xxx" domain voluntary, but others propose that Congress make it mandatory. The
latter proposal raises the question whether a mandatory separate domain would
violate the First Amendment, and this report focuses on that question.
It is unclear whether making a ".xxx" domain mandatory would violate the First
Amendment. Whether it would be constitutional might depend upon whether a court
viewed it as a content-based restriction on speech or as analogous to the zoning of
adult theaters, or even as a mere disclosure requirement that did not raise a significant
First Amendment issue. If a court viewed it as a content-based restriction on speech,
then it would be constitutional only if the court found that it served a compelling
governmental interest by the least restrictive means. Other factors that could affect
its constitutionality might be whether it imposed criminal penalties and whether it
were limited to websites that are predominantly pornographic.
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Cohen, Henry. Constitutionality of Requiring Sexually Explicit Material on the Internet to be Under a Separate Domain Name, report, January 18, 2006; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc821667/m1/2/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.