Judge Grants Injunction vs New Massachusetts Obscenity Law

By Denise Lavoie | October 27, 2010 | 12:46 PM EDT

Boston (AP) - A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction sought by free-speech advocates who argued that a new Massachusetts law aimed at protecting children from online sexual predators effectively bans from the Internet anything that may be considered "harmful to minors," including material adults have the right to view.

The new law closed a loophole that led the state's highest court to overturn a man's conviction for sending sexually explicit instant messages to someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

But Internet content providers sought to bar enforcement as it applies to broad-based Internet communications.

U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel ruled Tuesday that the law, as it is now written, violates the First Amendment.

A spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley did not immediately return a call seeking comment.