Lincoln Offers Anti-Pornography Law in Bid to Reach Moral Middle

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."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)