TITLE XIV--CHILD ONLINE PROTECTION
SEC. 1401. SHORT TITLE.
This title may be cited as the ``Child Online Protection Act''.
SEC. 1402. CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS.
The Congress finds that--
(1) while custody, care, and nurture of the child resides first
with the parent, the widespread availability of the Internet presents
opportunities for minors to access materials through the World
Wide Web in a manner that can frustrate parental supervision or
(2) the protection of the physical and psychological well-being
of minors by shielding them from materials that are harmful to
them is a compelling governmental interest;
(3) to date, while the industry has developed innovative ways
to help parents and educators restrict material that is harmful
to minors through parental control protections and self-regulation,
such efforts have not provided a national solution to the problem
of minors accessing harmful material on the World Wide Web;
(4) a prohibition on the distribution of material harmful to minors,
combined with legitimate defenses, is currently the most effective
and least restrictive means by which to satisfy the compelling
government interest; and
(5) notwithstanding the existence of protections that limit the
distribution over the World Wide Web of material that is harmful
to minors, parents, educators, and industry must continue efforts
to find ways to protect children from being exposed to harmful
material found on the Internet.
SEC. 1403. REQUIREMENT TO RESTRICT
ACCESS BY MINORS TO MATERIALS COMMERCIALLY DISTRIBUTED BY MEANS
OF THE WORLD WIDE WEB THAT ARE HARMFUL TO MINORS.
Part I of title II of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C.
201 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new
``SEC. 231. RESTRICTION OF
ACCESS BY MINORS TO MATERIALS COMMERCIALLY DISTRIBUTED BY MEANS
OF WORLD WIDE WEB THAT ARE HARMFUL TO MINORS.
``(a) Requirement To Restrict Access.--
``(1) Prohibited conduct.--Whoever knowingly and with knowledge
of the character of the material, in interstate or foreign commerce
by means of the World Wide Web, makes any communication for commercial
purposes that is available to any minor and that includes any
material that is harmful to minors shall be fined not more than
$50,000, imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.
``(2) Intentional violations.--In addition to the penalties under
paragraph (1), whoever intentionally violates such paragraph shall
be subject to a fine of not more than $50,000 for each violation.
For purposes of this paragraph, each day of violation shall constitute
a separate violation.
``(3) Civil penalty.--In addition to the penalties under paragraphs
(1) and (2), whoever violates paragraph (1) shall be subject to
a civil penalty of not more than $50,000 for each violation. For
purposes of this paragraph, each day of violation shall constitute
a separate violation.
``(b) Inapplicability of Carriers and Other Service Providers.--For
purposes of subsection (a), a person shall not be considered to
make any communication for commercial purposes to the extent that
such person is--
``(1) a telecommunications carrier engaged in the provision of
a telecommunications service;
``(2) a person engaged in the business of providing an Internet
``(3) a person engaged in the business of providing an Internet
information location tool; or
``(4) similarly engaged in the transmission, storage, retrieval,
hosting, formatting, or translation (or any combination thereof)
of a communication made by another person, without selection or
alteration of the content of the communication, except that such
person's deletion of a particular communication or material made
by another person in a manner consistent with subsection (c) or
section 230 shall not constitute such selection or alteration
of the content of the communication.
``(c) Affirmative Defense.--
``(1) Defense.--It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under
this section that the defendant, in good faith, has restricted
access by minors to material that is harmful to minors--
``(A) by requiring use of a credit card, debit account, adult
access code, or adult personal identification number;
``(B) by accepting a digital certificate that verifies age;
``(C) by any other reasonable measures that are feasible under
``(2) Protection for use of defenses.--No cause of action may
be brought in any court or administrative agency against any person
on account of any activity that is not in violation of any law
punishable by criminal or civil penalty, and that the person has
taken in good faith to implement a defense authorized under this
subsection or otherwise to restrict or prevent the transmission
of, or access to, a communication specified in this section.
``(d) Privacy Protection Requirements.--
``(1) Disclosure of information limited.--A person making a communication
described in subsection (a)--
``(A) shall not disclose any information collected for the purposes
of restricting access to such communications to individuals 17
years of age or older without the prior written or electronic
``(i) the individual concerned, if the individual is an adult;
``(ii) the individual's parent or guardian, if the individual
is under 17 years of age; and
``(B) shall take such actions as are necessary to prevent unauthorized
access to such information by a person other than the person making
such communication and the recipient of such communication.
``(2) Exceptions.--A person making a communication described in
subsection (a) may disclose such information if the disclosure
``(A) necessary to make the communication or conduct a legitimate
business activity related to making the
``(B) made pursuant to a court order authorizing such disclosure.
``(e) Definitions.--For purposes of this subsection, the following
definitions shall apply:
``(1) By means of the world wide web.--The term `by means of the
World Wide Web' means by placement of material in a computer server-based
file archive so that it is publicly accessible, over the Internet,
using hypertext transfer protocol or any successor protocol.
``(2) Commercial purposes; engaged in the business.--
``(A) Commercial purposes.--A person shall be considered to make
a communication for commercial purposes only if such person is
engaged in the business of making such communications.
``(B) Engaged in the business.--The term `engaged in the business'
means that the person who makes a communication, or offers to
make a communication, by means of the World Wide Web, that includes
any material that is harmful to minors, devotes time, attention,
or labor to such activities, as a regular course of such person's
trade or business, with the objective of earning a profit as a
result of such activities (although it is not necessary that the
person make a profit or that the making or offering to make such
communications be the person's sole or principal business or source
of income). A person may be considered to be engaged in the business
of making, by means of the World Wide Web, communications for
commercial purposes that include material that is harmful to minors,
only if the person knowingly causes the material that is harmful
to minors to be posted on the World Wide Web or knowingly solicits
such material to be posted on the World Wide Web.
``(3) Internet.--The term `Internet' means the combination of
computer facilities and electromagnetic transmission media, and
related equipment and software, comprising the interconnected
worldwide network of computer networks that employ the Transmission
Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or any successor protocol to
``(4) Internet access service.--The term `Internet access service'
means a service that enables users to access content, information,
electronic mail, or other services offered over the Internet,
and may also include access to proprietary content, information,
and other services as part of a package of services offered to
consumers. Such term does not include telecommunications services.
``(5) Internet information location tool.--The term `Internet
information location tool' means a service that refers or links
users to an online location on the World Wide Web. Such term includes
directories, indices, references, pointers, and hypertext links.
``(6) Material that is harmful to minors.--The term `material
that is harmful to minors' means any communication, picture, image,
graphic image file, article, recording, writing, or other matter
of any kind that is obscene or that--
``(A) the average person, applying contemporary community standards,
would find, taking the material as a whole and with respect to
minors, is designed to appeal to, or is designed to pander to,
the prurient interest;
``(B) depicts, describes, or represents, in a manner patently
offensive with respect to minors, an actual or simulated sexual
act or sexual contact, an actual or simulated normal or perverted
sexual act, or a lewd exhibition of the genitals or post-pubescent
``(C) taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political,
or scientific value for minors.
``(7) Minor.--The term `minor' means any person under 17 years
SEC. 1404. NOTICE REQUIREMENT.
(a) Notice.--Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47
U.S.C. 230) is amended--
(1) in subsection (d)(1), by inserting ``or 231'' after ``section
(2) by redesignating subsections (d) and (e) as subsections (e)
and (f), respectively; and
(3) by inserting after subsection (c) the following new subsection:
``(d) Obligations of Interactive Computer Service.--A provider
of interactive computer service shall, at the time of entering
an agreement with a customer for the provision of interactive
computer service and in a manner deemed appropriate by the provider,
notify such customer that parental control protections (such as
computer hardware, software, or filtering services) are commercially
available that may assist the customer in limiting access to material
that is harmful to minors. Such notice shall identify, or provide
the customer with access to information identifying, current providers
of such protections.''.
(b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 223(h)(2) of the Communications
Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 223(h)(2)) is amended by striking ``230(e)(2)''
and inserting ``230(f)(2)''.
SEC. 1405. STUDY BY COMMISSION
ON ONLINE CHILD PROTECTION.
(a) Establishment.--There is hereby established a temporary Commission
to be known as the Commission on Online Child Protection (in this
section referred to as the ``Commission'') for the purpose of
conducting a study under this section regarding methods to help
reduce access by minors to material that is harmful to minors
on the Internet.
(b) Membership.--The Commission shall be composed of 19 members,
(1) Industry members.--The Commission shall include--
(A) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing Internet
filtering or blocking services or software;
(B) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing Internet
(C) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing labeling
or ratings services;
(D) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing Internet
portal or search services;
(E) 2 members who are engaged in the business of providing domain
name registration services;
(F) 2 members who are academic experts in the field of technology;
(G) 4 members who are engaged in the business of making content
available over the Internet.
Of the members of the Commission by reason of each subparagraph
of this paragraph, an equal number shall be appointed by the Speaker
of the House of Representatives and by the Majority Leader of
(2) Ex officio members.--The Commission shall include the following
(A) The Assistant Secretary (or the Assistant Secretary's designee).
(B) The Attorney General (or the Attorney General's designee).
(C) The Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (or the Chairman's
(1) In general.--The Commission shall conduct a study to identify
technological or other methods that--
(A) will help reduce access by minors to material that is harmful
to minors on the Internet; and
(B) may meet the requirements for use as affirmative defenses
for purposes of section 231(c) of the Communications Act of 1934
(as added by this title).
Any methods so identified shall be used as the basis for making
legislative recommendations to the Congress under subsection (d)(3).
(2) Specific methods.--In carrying out the study, the Commission
shall identify and analyze various technological tools and methods
for protecting minors from material that is harmful to minors,
which shall include (without limitation)--
(A) a common resource for parents to use to help protect minors
(such as a ``one-click-away'' resource);
(B) filtering or blocking software or services;
(C) labeling or rating systems;
(D) age verification systems;
(E) the establishment of a domain name for posting of any material
that is harmful to minors; and
(F) any other existing or proposed technologies or methods for
reducing access by minors to such material.
(3) Analysis.--In analyzing technologies and other methods identified
pursuant to paragraph (2), the Commission shall examine--
(A) the cost of such technologies and methods;
(B) the effects of such technologies and methods on law enforcement
(C) the effects of such technologies and methods on privacy;
(D) the extent to which material that is harmful to minors is
globally distributed and the effect of such technologies and methods
on such distribution;
(E) the accessibility of such technologies and methods to parents;
(F) such other factors and issues as the Commission considers
relevant and appropriate.
(d) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the enactment of this
Act, the Commission shall submit a report to the Congress containing
the results of the study under this section, which shall include--
(1) a description of the technologies and methods identified by
the study and the results of the analysis of
each such technology and method;
(2) the conclusions and recommendations of the Commission regarding
each such technology or method;
(3) recommendations for legislative or administrative actions
to implement the conclusions of the committee; and
(4) a description of the technologies or methods identified by
the study that may meet the requirements for use as
affirmative defenses for purposes of section 231(c) of the Communications
Act of 1934 (as added by this title).
(e) Staff and Resources.--The Assistant Secretary for Communication
and Information of the Department of Commerce shall provide to
the Commission such staff and resources as the Assistant Secretary
determines necessary for the Commission to perform its duty efficiently
and in accordance with this section.
(f) Termination.--The Commission shall terminate 30 days after
the submission of the report under subsection (d).
(g) Inapplicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act.--The Federal
Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the
SEC. 1406. EFFECTIVE DATE.
This title and the amendments made by this title shall take effect
30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
Enacted October 21, 1998.