Pornhub Blocks Texas as ECP Hits 1 Year Since Purchasing Aylo

MONTREAL—Aylo, the parent company of Pornhub, has geo-blocked the state of Texas in response to its age verification laws. 

"Unfortunately, the Texas law for age verification is ineffective, haphazard, and dangerous," reads a message that now greats visitors to Pornhub and other Aylo sites from IP addresses in the Lone Star State.

"Not only will it not actually protect children, but it will also inevitably reduce content creators’ ability to post and distribute legal adult content and directly impact their ability to share the artistic messages they want to convey with it. "

This action coincides with private equity firm Ethical Capital Partners celebrating exactly one year since it purchased Aylo.

"Together with ECP, we are committed in our resolve to set industry standards by establishing trusted environments that facilitate a safe online user experience, and to empower our communities by celebrating diversity, inclusion, and expression," said Alex Kekesi, Aylo's head of brand and community, in a press statement highlighting the anniversary.

Formerly MindGeek, the parent firm of Pornhub and its network of studios has undergone a host of trust and safety reforms. These reforms were presented to journalists in two recent media days hosted by executives of Ethical Capital Partners and Aylo.

One of the major actions taken by Aylo is engaging in litigation in Texas to block the local age verification law.

Texas adopted House Bill 1181 last year to require adult websites, like Pornhub, to verify the age of users from local IP addresses.

HB 1181 also required platforms to publish health labels discussing pseudoscientific risks of watching pornography.

The Free Speech Coalition, Aylo and the parent companies of Xvideos and Xnxx sued the attorney general of Texas. 

Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra of the Western District of Texas sided with the FSC and the porn companies. He issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law's enforcement. Texas appealed to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Fifth Circuit is notoriously conservative. A split panel of three judges on the appeals court found the age verification requirements in House Bill 1181 to be constitutional while declaring the health labels unconstitutional.

Litigation is ongoing, with the Fifth Circuit ruling applying only to Judge Ezra's preliminary injunction. Alison Boden, the executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, declined to comment on Aylo geo-blocking Texas, citing ongoing litigation in this case.

Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, recently sued Pornhub in a local circuit court, alleging violations of House Bill 1181.

Texas has a population of over 29.5 million people. It is the most populous state to date to be geo-blocked by Aylo.