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Published: Tuesday, 10/20/2009

Ohio Supreme Court hears online communications case


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Booksellers, video game dealers, newspaper publishers and other critics of an Ohio online child protection law have encountered skepticism from the state Supreme Court.

An attorney for a group led by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression argued Tuesday that the law, meant to shield children from online pornography and predators, violates free speech. But the justices appeared to openly doubt hypothetical scenarios involving Web site and chat room postings that the law's opponents claimed could lead to criminal prosecution under the statute.

Arguing on behalf of the law, Ohio Solicitor General Ben Mizer said it was revised in 2004 so it would avoid the fate of laws in six other states that were declared unconstitutional.

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