Utah Fines First Adult Site Spammer $2,500

Kat Khan
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A Canadian adult company is being fined $2,500 under Utah's seven-month-old Child Protection Registry law, marking the first time the Utah Division of Consumer Protection has issued a fine under the new law.

HoneyIFuckedTheBabysitter.com has been cited for allegedly sending a sexually explicit message on Dec. 4 to an email address listed in the registry as accessible to a minor, according to division spokesman Thad LeVar.

LeVar said the site was chosen for the first citation because the identity of the sender was clear in this case.

Under Utah law, adult-oriented websites and emailers are required to screen out registered addresses from their distribution lists. The registry statute provides for a maximum $2,500 fine per violation.

The Free Speech Coaltion filed a complaint against the law in November, contending the law violates the right to free expression under the 1st Amendment and is unfairly burdensome, due to the time and cost involved.

The FSC’s Salt Lake City attorney, Jerome Mooney, told XBiz that he and two other attorneys, who are fighting the statute on behalf of the FSC, will not aid in fighting the citation, if any, against the site’s owners.

However, Mooney explained the citation is significant due to Utah’s attempt to enforce its law outside of the U.S. He added that the site may have connections in the state of Washington.

“What’s significant is [the citation] clearly demonstrates Utah’s intention of extra-territorial enforcement,” Mooney told XBiz. “We never knew how far out [of the state] Utah intended to reach. I don’t know how they’re going to enforce it.”

The website in question notes that the owners and operators are members of the FSC. The organization’s Communications Director Tom Hymes told XBiz he could not confirm the claim, as he still is in the process of obtaining information about the situation.

Under the statute, the site’s owners, who have not been identified and list only a post office box in Gibsons, B.C., have 10 days to contest the citation. After that time period has passed, a cease-and-desist order can be filed.

The site offers an initial screen titled "Warning: Adult Material Ahead" and a statement that content "is not intended to be viewed by minors" can be cleared with the click of a mouse.

The site also includes an old logo for Adult Sites Advocating Child Protection. However, ASACP Director Joan Irvine told XBiz the site’s owners have not applied for membership with the organization, though she said the site appears to comply with the ASACP’s Best Practices, which only requires that sites label all email marketing material as “sexually explicit.” Irvine told XBiz she is unsure of whether the site complies with the policy.

“If they applied for a membership, they would most likely be approved,” Irvine said.

Utah's Child Protection Registry took effect July 15. In addition to adult content, it is meant to protect registered minors from content promoting alcohol, tobacco, gambling, firearms and drugs. Michigan recently passed its own child protection registry law and Georgia also introduced similar legislation earlier this week.