JULY 27, 2005 - Posted at 1:56 p.m. CDT
WASHINGTON - Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas introduced a bill today that would regulate access to Internet sex sites and tax money generated through online pornography. Lincoln said the bill is based on a report by the centrist Senate think-tank Third Way. The report says the $12 billion Internet pornography industry preys on children to increase revenue.
Lincoln's Internet Safety and Child Protection Act seeks a 25 percent excise tax on membership or advertising sales at sex-related sites. Revenues from the tax would fund family-friendly Internet education programs and support enforcement of laws targeting Internet-based crimes against children.
Lincoln and Third Way acknowledge that the bill probably can't regulate access to free nudity or foreign-run sites.
The Free Speech Coalition, a lobbying group, says Lincoln is wrong to link the industry to child predators. The coalition promises to fight what it calls "abusive laws and regulations" against "constitutionally protected material."