Does the ability of courts and the FCC to more restrictively regulate broadcasters extend to the Internet?

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

No. Web sites are not licensed or monitored by the FCC, and the U.S. Supreme Court in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997) explicitly rejected the government’s argument that the rationales for regulating broadcast stations supported regulation of the Internet. In rejecting this argument, the Court recognized that the spectrum-scarcity rationale did not apply to the Internet and said the Internet is not as invasive as radio and television, particularly because Internet users seldom encounter sexually explicit content by accident.