Utah Bill Would Require Warning Labels on Porn

February 5, 2020 Politics


Utah Legislature Moves to Mandate Warning Label on Porn

Four years ago Utah state legislature passed a resolution officially declaring porn, “a public health hazard”, this week a new bill introduced in Utah and if passed making it mandatory to put warning label on porn sites. Republican Brady Brammer would require every porn site to have a warning label on every video or image containing sexually explicit content or nudity. The label would required to be on screen for at least 15 seconds before the viewer can see the content. The requirement would apply to print publications, under the bill the publication must display “the health hazard” label boldly on their front covers. Porn sites that fail to post the warning labels will be subject to fines of $2,500 for EACH offense. Example if 1,000 Utah users watch a video with no warning label the site would be charged $2.5 million dollars in fines. The warnings the bill require are supported by “studies” that are largely debunked and iffy promoted by anti-porn organizations made to show and display the alleged “hazardous effects” of viewing sexually content.



Utah’s War on Porn

This is not the first state to consider porn a “public health crisis” with little to no evidence of negative health effects of the general population. A report done back in 2019 on the porn “public health crisis” epidemic Rolling Stone found “nearly 15 other states” have taken on some form of non-biding legislation that officially recognizes porn as a “public health threat”. Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia all have passed public health resolution. The resolutions generally have no legal teeth. Free Speech Coalition spokesperson Mike Stabile, quoted in the Rolling Stone report, the resolutions appear designed “to score political points and rally the evangelical base.”


Full Language Of Utah HB0243:

Here’s the full language of HB0243. You can also download the PDF version of HB0243 here.




4     Chief Sponsor: Brady Brammer

5     Senate Sponsor: ____________


8     General Description:
9          This bill creates a cause of action that may be brought against a person who distributes
10     pornography without a visible warning.
11     Highlighted Provisions:
12          This bill:
13          ▸     allows the attorney general or a member of the public to bring an action against a
14     person who distributes pornography without a visible warning;
15          ▸     requires an individual person to first notify the attorney general before bringing an
16     action;
17          ▸     allows for a civil penalty of up to $2,500 for each violation;
18          ▸     requires that a portion of any recovery be provided to the Crime Victims
19     Reparations Fund;
20          ▸     provides a process for curing the violation and paying a reduced penalty; and
21          ▸     requires the Judicial Council to adjust the penalty every five years.
22     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
23          None
24     Other Special Clauses:
25          None
26     Utah Code Sections Affected:
27     AMENDS:

28          78B-6-2104, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2017, Chapter 464
29     ENACTS:
30          78B-6-2105, Utah Code Annotated 1953

32     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
33          Section 1. Section 78B-6-2104 is amended to read:
34          78B-6-2104. Damages — Class action.
35          (1) If a court finds that a person [violates] is violating Section 78B-6-2103, the court
36     may award the plaintiff:
37          (a) actual damages; and
38          (b) punitive damages, if it is proven that the person targeted minors.
39          (2) A class action may be brought under this part in accordance with Utah Rules of
40     Civil Procedure, Rule 23.
41          Section 2. Section 78B-6-2105 is enacted to read:
42          78B-6-2105. Civil action for enforcement — Penalties.
43          (1) A person may not distribute material the state considers harmful to minors as
44     defined in Section 76-10-1201 without first giving a clear and reasonable warning of the
45     harmful impact of exposing minors to the material. The warning of the harm shall be
46     prominently displayed in the following form:

48     Exposing minors to pornography is known to the state of Utah to cause negative impacts to

49     brain development, emotional development, and the ability to maintain intimate relationships.

50     Such exposure may lead to harmful and addictive sexual behavior, low self-esteem, and the

51     improper objectification of and sexual violence towards others, among numerous other harms.

52          (2) (a) For print publications, the warning in Subsection (1) shall be placed in clear,
53     readable type on the cover of each publication which includes material as defined in Section
54     76-10-1201.
55          (b) For digital publications, the warning in Subsection (1) shall be displayed for at least
56     15 seconds prior to the display of any video or each image which includes material as defined
57     in Section 76-10-1201.
58          (3) A person who violates Section 78B-6-2103 shall be liable for a civil penalty not to

59     exceed $2,500 per violation, plus filing fees and attorney fees, in addition to any other penalty
60     established by law, and enjoined from further violations. The civil penalty may be assessed and
61     recovered in a civil action brought in any court of competent jurisdiction. Each violation shall
62     be the sale or display of potentially harmful content without the warning required in Subsection
63     (1), in accordance with Subsection (2). The court, in ordering payment, shall specify each
64     amount for the civil penalty, filing fees, and attorney fees.
65          (4) In assessing the amount of a civil penalty for a violation of this chapter, the court
66     shall consider all of the following:
67          (a) the nature and extent of the violation;
68          (b) the number and severity of the violations;
69          (c) the economic effect of the penalty on the violator;
70          (d) whether the violator took good faith measures to comply with this chapter and
71     when those measures were taken;
72          (e) the willfulness of the violator’s misconduct;
73          (f) the deterrent effect that the imposition of the penalty would have on both the
74     violator and the regulated community as a whole; and
75          (g) any other factor that the court determines justice requires.
76          (5) Actions pursuant to this section may be brought by the attorney general’s office in
77     the name of the people of the state or by a private person in accordance with Subsection (6).
78          (6) A private person may bring an action in the public interest pursuant to this section
79     if:
80          (a) the person has served notice of an alleged violation of Section 78B-6-2103 on the
81     alleged violator and the attorney general’s office;
82          (b) the attorney general’s office has not provided a letter to the noticing party within 60
83     days of receipt of the notice of an alleged violation indicating that:
84          (i) an action is currently being pursued or will be pursued by the attorney general’s
85     office regarding the violation; or
86          (ii) the attorney general believes that there is no merit to the action; and
87          (c) the alleged violator has not responded to the notice of alleged violation or returned
88     the proof of compliance form provided in Subsection (12).
89          (7) If a lawsuit is commenced, the plaintiff may include additional violations in the

90     claim that are discovered through the discovery process.
91          (8) Notice of the alleged violation shall be executed by the attorney for the noticing
92     party, or by the noticing party, if the noticing party is not represented by an attorney, and
93     include a notice of alleged violation. The notice of alleged violation shall:
94          (a) state that the person executing the notice believes that there is a violation; and
95          (b) provide factual information sufficient to establish the basis for the alleged violation.
96          (9) A person who serves a notice of alleged violation identified in Subsection (8) shall
97     complete and provide to the alleged violator at the time the notice of alleged violation is
98     served, a notice of special compliance procedure and proof of compliance form pursuant to
99     Subsection (12). The person may file an action against the alleged violator, or recover from the
100     alleged violator if:
101          (a) the notice of alleged violation alleges that the alleged violator failed to provide a
102     clear and reasonable warning as required under Subsection (1); and
103          (b) within 14 days after receipt of the notice of alleged violation, the alleged violator
104     has not:
105          (i) corrected the alleged violation and all similar violations known to the alleged
106     violator;
107          (ii) agreed to pay a penalty for the alleged violation in the amount of $500 per
108     violation; and
109          (iii) notified, in writing, the noticing party that the violation has been corrected.
110          (10) The written notice required in Subsection (9)(b)(iii) shall be the notice of special
111     compliance procedure and proof of compliance form specified in Subsection (12). The alleged
112     violator shall deliver the civil penalty to the noticing party within 30 days of receipt of the
113     notice of alleged violation.
114          (11) The attorney general shall review the notice of alleged violation and may confer
115     with the noticing party. If the attorney general believes there is no merit to the action, the
116     attorney general shall, within 45 days of receipt of the notice of alleged violation, provide a
117     letter to the noticing party and the alleged violator stating that the attorney general believes
118     there is no merit to the action.
119          (12) The notice required to be provided to an alleged violator pursuant to Subsection
120     (9) shall be presented as follows:

121     Date:
122     Name of Noticing Party or attorney for Noticing Party:
123     Address:
124     Phone number:
127     You are receiving this form because the Noticing Party listed above has alleged that you are in
128     violation of Utah Code Section 78B-6-2103.
129     The Noticing Party may bring legal proceedings against you for the alleged violation checked
130     below if:
131     (1) you have not actually taken the corrective steps that you have certified in this form;
132     (2) the Noticing Party has not received this form at the address shown above, accurately
133     completed by you, postmarked within 14 days of your receiving this notice; and
134     (3) the Noticing Party does not receive the required $500 penalty payment for each violation
135     alleged from you at the address shown above postmarked within 30 days of your receiving this
136     notice.
139     This notice of alleged violation is for failure to warn against an exposure to minors of materials
140     considered harmful to minors. (provide complete description of violation, including when and
141     where observed)
142     Date:
143     Name of Noticing Party or attorney for Noticing Party:
144     Address:
145     Phone number:
148     Certification of Compliance
149     Accurate completion of this form will demonstrate that you are now in compliance with Utah
150     Code Section 78B-6-2103, for the alleged violation listed above. You must complete and
151     submit the form below to the Noticing Party at the address shown above, postmarked within 14

152     days of you receiving this notice.
153     I hereby agree to pay, within 30 days of receipt of this notice, a penalty of $500 for each
154     violation alleged to the Noticing Party only and certify that I have complied with by (check
155     only one of the following):
156     [ ] Posting a warning or warnings, and attaching a copy of that warning and a photograph
157     accurately showing its placement on the print or digital publication.
158     [ ] Eliminating the alleged exposure, and attaching a statement accurately describing how the
159     alleged exposure has been eliminated.
161     My statements on this form, and on any attachments to it, are true, complete, and correct to the
162     best of my knowledge and belief and are made in good faith. I have carefully read the
163     instructions to complete this form. I understand that if I make a false statement on this form, I
164     may be subject to additional penalties under Utah Code Section 76-10-1206.
165     Signature of alleged violator or authorized representative:
166     Date:
167     Name and title of signatory:
168          (13) An alleged violator may satisfy the conditions set forth in Subsection (12) only
169     one time for a specific violation.
170          (14) Notwithstanding Subsection (12), the attorney general may file an action pursuant
171     to Subsection (5) against an alleged violator. In any action, the amount of any civil penalty for
172     a violation shall be reduced to reflect any payment made by the alleged violator to a private
173     person in accordance with Subsection (12) for the same alleged violation.
174          (15) Payments shall be made in accordance with this section.
175          (a) A civil penalty ordered by the court shall be paid to the plaintiff as directed by the
176     court.
177          (b) A penalty paid in accordance with the special compliance procedure in Subsection
178     (12) shall be made directly to the noticing party.
179          (16) The Utah Office for Victims of Crime shall receive 50% of any penalty paid in
180     accordance with this section. Funds received shall be deposited in the Crime Victim
181     Reparations Fund created in Section 51-9-404. The penalty amount upon which the 50% is
182     calculated may not include attorney fees or costs awarded by the court.

183          (a) If the penalty is paid to a noticing party in accordance with Subsection (12), the
184     noticing party shall remit the required amount along with a copy of the Special Compliance
185     Procedure document.
186          (b) If a civil penalty is ordered by the court, the plaintiff shall remit the required
187     amount along with a copy of the court order.
188          (17) The attorney general’s office shall provide to the Utah Office for Victims of Crime
189     a copy of all notices of alleged violations to which the attorney general’s office did not respond
190     with a letter of no merit in accordance with Subsection (11).
191          (18) The court shall provide to the Utah Office for Victims of Crime a copy of the
192     court’s order for payment.
193          (19) The Utah Office for Victims of Crime shall:
194          (a) maintain a record of documents and payments submitted pursuant to Subsections
195     (16), (17), and (18);
196          (b) create and provide to the Legislature in odd-numbered years beginning November
197     2021, a report containing the following for the previous two years:
198          (i) the number of notices of alleged violations received from the attorney general’s
199     office;
200          (ii) the number of court orders received; and
201          (iii) the total amount received and deposited into the Crime Victim Reparations Fund.
202          (20) Beginning May 1, 2025, and at each five-year interval, the dollar amount of the
203     civil penalty provided in Subsection (3) shall be adjusted by the Judicial Council based on the
204     change in the annual Consumer Price Index for the most recent five-year period ending on
205     December 31 of the previous year, and rounded to the nearest five dollars. The attorney general
206     shall publish the dollar amount of the civil penalty together with the date of the next scheduled
207     adjustment.

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