Bill Would Tax Internet Pornography

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A Democratic lawmaker is planning to propose a new 25 percent federal tax on Internet pornography and new requirements for adult Web sites to help prevent children from looking at them.

The bill, expected to be introduced next week by Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., would impose the excise tax on transactions with for-profit adult Web sites, which typically sell monthly subscriptions to Internet users to look at pornographic photographs or videos.

Money collected from the tax would be used for law enforcement and for protecting children from Internet-related crimes.

Lincoln's spokesman, Drew Goesl, declined Friday to discuss the provisions. "We prefer to wait until the bill is introduced to discuss it," Goesl said.

A draft of the legislation circulated this week among pornography and free-speech groups. Companion legislation was also expected to be introduced in the House.

Called the Internet Safety and Child Protection Act of 2005, the bill also proposes new rules for Web sites to verify they do business only with adults. It would compel sites to use specialized software to verify a customer's age, subject to enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission.

An FTC spokeswoman said the commission was not aware of the proposed bills.

Associated Press