SEATTLE (CN) – The Internet Archive has signed on to fight a new Washington law that requires publishers to verify the age of models in sexual advertising.
A federal judge has temporarily stopped enforcement of the law, meant to stop child sex trafficking, until a June 19 hearing.
Attempting to intervene in the complaint filed by Village Voice Media’s Backpage.com, the nonprofit digital library Internet Archive says that the law would force online service providers to censor user content, creating “an intolerable burden on free speech.”
The law makes it a felony to advertise minors for commercial sex acts, and says it is not a defense to claim the publisher “did not know that the image was of a minor,” according to the original complaint.
Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle spoke out against the law.
“We strongly support law enforcement efforts to combat child sex trafficking, but this new law could endanger libraries and other entities that bring access to websites and user-generated content,” Kahle said in a statement.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is representing the Internet Archive.