2016 Georgia Code
Title 20 - Education
Chapter 5 - Libraries
Article 1 - State Public Library Activities
§ 20-5-5. Internet safety policies in public libraries

GA Code § 20-5-5 (2016) What's This?

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) "Acceptable-use policy" means a policy for Internet usage adopted by the governing board of a public library that meets the requirements of this Code section.

(2) "Child pornography" means any computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in sexually explicit conduct or in the simulation of such conduct.

(3) "Harmful to minors" has the meaning given to such term in Code Section 16-12-100.1.

(4) "Internet" means a global network that connects computers via telephone lines, fiber networks, or both to electronic information.

(5) "Obscene" has the meaning given to such term in Code Section 16-12-80.

(6) "Sexually explicit conduct" has the meaning given to such term in Code Section 16-12-100.

(b) No later than January 1, 2007, the governing body of each public library shall adopt an acceptable-use policy for its public library system. At a minimum, an acceptable-use policy shall contain provisions which are reasonably designed to:

(1) Prevent library patrons, including those patrons under 18 years of age, and library employees from using any computer equipment and communication services owned or leased by the public library for sending, receiving, viewing, or downloading visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, or material that is harmful to minors; and

(2) Establish appropriate measures to be taken against library patrons and employees who willfully violate the acceptable-use policy.

(c) A public library shall take such steps as it deems appropriate to implement and enforce the acceptable-use policy, which shall include, but not be limited to:

(1) Use of software programs reasonably designed to block access to visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and material that is harmful to minors; or

(2) Selection of online servers that block access to visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and material that is harmful to minors.

(d) A public library shall not be subject to civil liability for damages to any person as a result of the failure of any approved software program or approved online server to block access to visual depictions of obscenity, child pornography, and material that is harmful to minors. Nothing in this Code section shall be deemed to abrogate or lessen any immunity or other protection against liability accorded to public libraries under an existing law or court decision.

(e) The Attorney General and the board of regents shall consult with and assist any public library in the development and implementation of an acceptable-use policy pursuant to this Code section.

(f) (1) No later than January 31, 2007, each public library shall submit a copy of the acceptable-use policy adopted pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section to the board of regents. Such submission shall also include the identification of any software program or online server that is being utilized to block access to material in accordance with subsection (c) of this Code section.

(2) The board of regents shall review each acceptable-use policy and any subsequent revisions submitted pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection. If the board of regents determines after review that a policy or revision is not reasonably designed to achieve the requirements of this Code section, the board of regents shall provide written notice to the public library explaining the nature of such noncompliance and the public library shall have 30 days from the receipt of written notice to correct such noncompliance. The board of regents may provide an extension to the 30 day period on a showing of good cause.

(3) No revision of an acceptable-use policy which has been approved by the board of regents pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection shall be implemented until such revision is approved by the board of regents. If the board of regents fails to disapprove the revision within 60 days after the submission is received, the public library may proceed with the implementation of the revision.

(4) The board of regents shall be authorized to withhold a portion of state funding to a public library if the public library:

(A) Fails to timely submit an acceptable-use policy in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection;

(B) Submits an acceptable-use policy that is not reasonably designed to achieve the requirements of this Code section; or

(C) Is not enforcing or is substantially disregarding its acceptable-use policy.

(5) If the board of regents disapproves an acceptable-use policy of a public library or any revision thereof or notifies the public library that it is subject to the withholding of funding pursuant to paragraph (4) of this subsection, the public library may appeal the decision to the superior court of the county where the public library is situated.

(g) (1) The board of regents shall be responsible for conducting investigations and making written determinations as to whether a public library has violated the requirements of this Code section.

(2) If the board of regents determines that a public library is in violation of the requirements of this Code section, it shall direct the public library to acknowledge and correct the violation within 30 days and to develop a corrective plan for preventing future recurrences.

(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code section to the contrary, an administrator or supervisor of a public library, or designee thereof, may disable the software program or online server that is being utilized to block access to material for an adult or for a minor who provides written consent from his or her parent or guardian to enable access to the Internet for bona fide research or other lawful purpose.

(2) Nothing in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be construed to permit any person to have access to material the character of which is illegal under federal or state law.

(i) A public library which is fulfilling the requirements of the federal Children's Internet Protection Act, P.L. 106-554, is not required to comply with this Code section.

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