Bookstores, Publisher, ACLU Challenging New State Law
A contingent of Louisiana booksellers and publishers filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging a new Louisiana law that requires them to age-verify Internet users before accessing their sites.
The lawsuit was filed by Media Coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two independent bookstores, Garden District Book Shop and Octavia Books, Future Crawfish Paper LLC, publisher of Anti-Gravity magazine, American Booksellers Association and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
The ACLU reported, to comply with the law, booksellers and magazine publishers would have to place an age confirmation button at the front of their entire Web site or attempt to review all books or magazines available at their website and place an age confirmation button in front of each individual page that might be inappropriate for any minor.
“Since we cannot possibly review the one million plus titles on our website, the law would force us to ask every customer visiting our website whether he or she is an adult,” said Britton Trice, owner of Garden District Book Shop in New Orleans. “That would have a strong and chilling effect on our business because it would make us appear to be an adult bookstore."
The lawsuit also claims that the age-verification law is unconstitutionally vague, violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Plaintiffs are represented by the national ACLU, the ACLU of Louisiana, and the law firm Dentons US LLP, general counsel to Media Coalition, Inc.