A lawsuit intended to prohibit an online registry that blocks adult-themed messages from e-mails and cell phones was dismissed Monday, making Utah now one of two states allowing that service.
The Utah Child Protection Registry debuted in July 2005 with the main goal of protecting children by offering a service that would list their e-mail addresses, cell-phone numbers and instant-message IDs on a sort of "do not call" list. Any businesses that advertised with adult-themed conduct were required to compare the registered contact information with the information they had and remove any matching numbers.
Within a year, the registry was challenged by a lawsuit from the Free Speech Coalition, a group representing those in the adult entertainment industry, said Utah Attorney General's Office spokesman Paul Murphy. The attorney general was eventually joined by many groups, including the Utah PTA and a number of Utah legislators, in defending the list, which includes the information of 340,000 Utahns.
In September, the coalition filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit after Murphy said the two groups had been able to reach an agreement. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups then dismissed the case.
Despite the ongoing legislation, the list has been operational since its launch in 2005 after another judge denied a 2007 motion to stop the site's use and the court denied an earlier motion to dismiss. Murphy said this latest development was a result of those in the pornography industry "realizing it was a losing battle" and deciding "it wasn't worth fighting anymore."
In the interim, Murphy said, many states have expressed interest in creating a similar registry, but they wanted to see how the court would rule. Currently, only Utah and Michigan have registries of this kind, but Murphy said Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has always wanted this to be a nationwide initiative, and the court's decision to dismiss will make that goal more attainable.
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