New Jersey Assembly Bill 3757 would bar the transmission of “sexually-offensive communication” via a “social networking site” to or about a person who is reasonably believed to be either under 13 or between 13-16 but four years younger than the speaker. The bill would also require social networking sites to revoke access to speakers who make sexually offensive statements and/or set up an elaborate process to block access to specific users. The definition of “sexually-offensive communication” in made in accordance with the state’s existing laws banning sexually-explicit speech for minors.
Media Coalition stipulates in the memo in opposition that the bill is overbroad. The bill’s definition of “social networking website”includes elements that easily apply to millions of web logs or “blogs,” discussion forums and Internet retailers of books, movies, music and video games who allow customers to critique their content. The Supreme Court has decided in several occasions that materials such as books, movies, magazines, and sound recordings are not illegal for merely containing sexual content. While exceptions to the First Amendment have been made for defamation, incitement, child pornography and Miller Ginsberg test-defined obscenity, unless speech on a social networking site falls into one of these categories, there is no basis for the government to bar access beyond the site’s own rules and regulations.
February 9, 2009: New Jersey Assembly Bill 3757 filed for introduction
February 24, 2009 Media Coalition files memo in opposition
March 16, 2009: New Jersey Assembly Bill 3757 passed by Assembly