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Adult entertainment industry sues again over law requiring pornographic sites to verify users’ ages

In World
June 11, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana law that requires pornographic websites to verify users’ ages — one of numerous such statutes in effect across the country — is being challenged by an association of the adult entertainment industry.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request by the same group, the Free Speech Coalition, to block a similar law in Texas.

According to the Indiana law signed by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in March, the state’s attorney general and individuals can bring legal action against a website’s operator if material “harmful to minors” is accessible to users under the age of 18.

In addition to Indiana and Texas, similar laws have been enacted in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia. Backers of such laws say they protect children from widespread pornography online, while opponents say the laws are vague and raise privacy concerns.

In the complaint filed Monday, the association says the Indiana law is unenforceable and unconstitutional. The group is asking a federal judge in Indianapolis to issue a preliminary injunction against the law before it takes effect on July 1 and to block the law permanently.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita — listed as a defendant in the lawsuit — said in a post on X that he looks forward to defending the law in court.

“Children shouldn’t be able to easily access explicit material that can cause them harm,” the post said. “It’s commonsense.”

The Texas law remains in effect as the Supreme Court weighs the Free Speech Coalition’s full appeal. The Utah law was upheld by a federal judge in August, and a federal judge dismissed a challenge against Louisiana’s law in October.

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