Mom Can't Sue AOL For Kid Porn: Court | Adweek Mom Can't Sue AOL For Kid Porn: Court | Adweek
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Mom Can't Sue AOL For Kid Porn: Court

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The state Supreme Court said Thursday that federal law shields America Online Inc. from illegal transactions -- in particular, the sale of child pornography -- taking place on its service.

In a 4-3 decision, Florida's high court said the Communications Decency Act gives the Internet service provider immunity from a lawsuit filed by a Florida woman, whose 11-year-old son appeared in a lewd videotape sold by one AOL user to another. The mother alleged that AOL violated Florida criminal law prohibiting the distribution of pornography and was negligent by not knowing that one of its subscribers was a seller of child pornography and for not stopping him once complaints had been made.

Richard Lee Russell, a school teacher from a West Palm Beach suburb, admitted that he used AOL to meet other pedophiles and that he sold a lewd videotape of the boy to an Arizona man he met on AOL. The boy's mother sued AOL and Russell, who pleaded guilty to federal charges in 1995 and is now serving a 14-year prison sentence.

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