A coalition of booksellers and Internet content providers has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Massachusetts law outlawing the sending of sexually graphic instant messages to minors.
The new law closes a loophole that prompted the state’s highest court to overturn the conviction of a man accused of sending explicit instant messages to a 13-year-old girl.
The court found that instant messages couldn’t be included in any of the existing categories of the state’s obscenity law. The new law adds instant and text messages, e-mail and other electronic communications to the existing law.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say the law amounts to censorship of constitutionally protected speech on the Internet for topics including contraception and pregnancy, sexual health, literature and art.