Utah passes law requiring porn to have warning labels.

Utah’s legislative bodies recently passed House Bill #243, which the authors describe as creating “a cause of action that may be brought against a person who distributes pornography without a visible warning.” The bill was passed into law without signature by Governor Gary Herbert.

Utah, known for its robust Mormon population, is the home of many religiously-affiliated anti-porn organizations. As such, Utah is often a leader in passing porn-related legislation. In 2016, Utah became the first state to pass a resolution declaring pornography a “public health crisis” – in the years afterward, 15 other state legislative bodies have passed similar resolutions thus far.

The law requires for-profit porn publishers to predominately display the following warning:

STATE OF UTAH WARNING
Exposing minors to obscene material may damage or negatively impact minors.

While we are not lawyers, it appears that this warning must be affixed to the cover of any physical porn (printed publications, the outside of DVDs, etc) in “clear, readable type.” For videos, including online videos, the law requires that the warning display for at least five seconds prior to the display of any explicit material. It appears that this warning is required to display for every single video on porn websites, unless if the website takes other protective measures, including making “a good faith effort to verify the age of a person accessing the pornographic material.”

Violating this new law could result in a $2,500 civil penalty per occurrence, plus filing and attorney fees. This doesn’t include punitive damages, which may be awarded if the Court finds that the violator intentionally targeted minors. Litigation may be initiated by the Utah Attorney General’s office, or private parties representing minors.

To be clear, we’re a recovery site that does not advocate for legislation – we’re just reporting the news. It will be interesting to see how major pornography companies adapt to these law changes. Will they display warnings on their websites to Utah-based visitors, or will they just start outright blocking Utah IP addresses from loading their content? Time will tell.

While some people may question the motivations of the legislators and completely discount this law as being morally- or religious-motivated, the warning label’s text’s assertion that “porn may negatively impact minors” appears to be overwhelmingly supported by credible research. Numerous studies have found that childhood porn use is linked to an array of negative side effects.

Here is the bill in its entirety.

HB0243

3 thoughts on “Utah passes law requiring porn to have warning labels.”

  1. This is definitely a step in the right direction but the label is misleading. One may think that porn negativity affects minors but the adults are fine to watch it. That’s not true. Porn consumption is harmful for people of all ages. Porn can give you ED, depression, low self-esteem and anxiety disorders regardless if you’re 14 or 40.

    1. I thought the exact same thing! Pornography consumption will negatively affect your life no matter your age. I applaud Utah legislation for good and noble intentions, yet the execution was just a little off.

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