Press Release: Media Coalition Announces Appeal to Ninth Circuit in Challenge to Oregon Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For further information, contact:
David Horowitz, Media Coalition (212) 587-4025 x.11 or 917-701-5552

New York, NY, February 5, 2009 —  Media Coalition announces the filing of an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of a decision by U.S. District Court Judge Mosman upholding an Oregon law that bars the sale or rental of certain books, magazines, and other content to minors or children. Judge Mosman in his ruling acknowledged that the law does not include the specific test for First Amendment protection as established by the Supreme Court but found the law constitutional, as interpreted, because he found it to be functionally equivalent to the protections afforded by the First Amendment.

“We still believe this law is unconstitutional both on its face and as interpreted by Judge Mosman,” said David Horowitz, Executive Director of Media Coalition. “Retailers and producers of content need greater guidance from the law than a results based conclusion from the trial judge that he does not believe they would be prosecuted under the law. It is akin to telling drivers a new highway without guardrails is as safe as the old road with guardrails because the judge does not think they will be in an accident on the new road.

The law makes it a crime punishable by up to one year in jail to allow a minor under 13 to view or purchase a work with certain visual sexual content. It also makes it a crime to provide anyone under 18 with a visual representation or verbal description of sexual conduct for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desire of the person or the minor.

The Media Coalition members who are plaintiffs are the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Local plaintiffs are Powell’s Books, Dark Horse Entertainment, Annie Bloom’s Books, St. John’s Booksellers, Collette’s, Good Food + Hungry Minds, Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc., Cascade AIDS Project, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon and Candace Morgan.

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Media Coalition is a trade association that defends the First Amendment rights of publishers, booksellers, and librarians, recording, motion picture and video games producers, and recording, video, and video game retailers and their customers and patrons in the United States.  Media Coalition was founded in 1973.