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HomeGeneralTexas AG Sues Pornhub Parent Company for Failing to Verify Users’ Ages

Texas AG Sues Pornhub Parent Company for Failing to Verify Users’ Ages

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A picture of Ken Paxton
Source: dustinemills24/X

The Texas attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the parent company of the adult website PornHub. The lawsuit alleges that the pornography platform has failed to comply with the state’s new regulations.

“Instead of abiding by Texas law requiring purveyors of obscene sexual material to institute age verification systems, the company immediately presents minors who access their websites with pornographic content,” Paxton alleged in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

He added, “I look forward to holding any company accountable that violates our age verification laws intended to prevent minors from being exposed to harmful, obscene material on the internet.”

House Bill 1181 was enacted into law in Texas in June of last year. The law mandates that adult websites implement “reasonable age verification measures” to ensure that individuals viewing their pornography are 18 years of age or older.

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The success of the legislation propelled Texas to become the seventh state to enact age verification laws on pornography outlets. Companies that violate the state law may face penalties of up to $10,000 per day for failing to verify age.

Additionally, they may incur an additional $10,000 per day if the websites retain user information. Furthermore, if a child is exposed to pornographic material due to failures in verification, companies could face an additional penalty of $250,000.

Paxton’s office alleges in the lawsuit that “AYLO GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT, INC. and AYLO USA, INCORPORATED’s publication or distribution of sexual material harmful to minors on the internet without implementing the reasonable age verification methods required by Chapter 129B harms, and continues to harm, Texas children and adolescents.”

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Paxton alleges that Aylo is liable for up to $1,600,000, plus an additional $10,000 per day from September of last year until the date of the lawsuit. The attorney general is also seeking for Aylo to cover attorney’s fees and all other costs incurred by the state in filing the lawsuit against the company.

Aylo declined to comment on the lawsuit. The lawsuit comes amidst a broader push in Texas and other Republican-controlled states to restrict content deemed obscene by lawmakers. 

Last year, Texas also passed restrictions on drag shows and books it considers “sexually explicit.” However, a coalition of porn-industry insiders, including a free-speech group focused on pornography, won an injunction blocking the law. 

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Their original suit, filed in federal court in Austin, described HB 1181 as part of a “long tradition of unconstitutional — and ultimately failed — governmental attempts to regulate and censor free speech on the internet.” 

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The suit argued that Texas could disseminate its ideological, anti-pornography message through public service announcements rather than imposing new content restrictions.

U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra, a Reagan appointee, ultimately found those arguments persuasive. Among other factors, he determined that rules requiring health warnings in 14-point font were overly burdensome and ambiguous, as “text size on webpages is typically measured by pixels, not points.”

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