Proposed Online Adult Bill May Be Introduced Next Week

Rhett Pardon
WASHINGTON — Proposed federal legislation that would tax adult websites and place new requirements for age verification on websites and billing companies may be introduced as early as next week, an aide for Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark, told XBiz.

The aide said that language of The Internet Safety and Child Protection Act of 2005 had been leaked earlier this week and is not ready to be unveiled.

“We are still determining the actual language of the bill,” the aide said. “Some information that was disseminated is inaccurate.”

The leaked draft of the bill, however, claims “to protect children from Internet pornography and support law enforcement and other efforts to combat Internet and pornography-related crimes against children.”

The proposal calls for a 25 percent tax on sales of adult sites. Funds collected from the federal tax would then be used to fund various law enforcement initiatives.

Portions of the draft point to age-verification requirements on “regulated pornographic” websites. The requirements include using Federal Trade Commission-approved age-verification software packages that check the age of visitors before they are shown adult content.

The bill, in its existing draft form, requires that the age verification process takes place prior to any “pornographic material” being shown.

Companies that process payments for adult sites “shall only process age-verified” transactions, according to the draft. The restrictions would apply to any “bank, credit card company, third-party merchant, Internet payment service provider or business that performs financial transactions for a regulated pornographic website …. ”