COPPA stands for the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. The Federal Trade Commission composed the final rule for enforcing COPPA which became effective on April 21, 2000. The purpose of the rule is to require all websites that collect, use, and/or disclose personal information from children under the age of 13 to obtain "verifiable parental consent" prior to collecting that information. "This final step achieves one of the Commission's top goals - protecting children's privacy online," said FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky. "The rule meets the mandates of the statute. It puts parents in control over the information collected from their children online, and is flexible enough to accommodate the many business practices and technological changes occurring on the Internet."
For a complete copy of COPPA, see http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm