April 15, 2024

What happened to e621 in North Carolina?

Are you a North Carolina furry with a penchant for adult content? You may no longer be able to access one of your favorite websites. Before the clock struck 12 on New Year’s Eve, the Internet’s most popular furry website pulled access to its North Carolina users due to a new state law.

That’s right: the e621 does not work in the state.

“Due to the current legal situation in North Carolina and the uncertainty surrounding it, we will block access to e621.net from North Carolina until we can consult with our legal counsel regarding this matter,” the site said in an official announcement posted on December 31. “We did not make this decision lightly and will do what we can, however we can, to rectify and remedy the situation so that we can restore access to those users affected by this matter.”

Starting January 2, e621 is scheduled to meet to receive further legal guidance on the matter. “We will try to have an update soon for all of you,” the site tweeted.

What is e621?

Owned by Bad Dragon CEO Varka, e621 is a huge furry pics website. With over 3.9 million posts hosted on e621, the site remains the most popular furry website on the Internet, surpassing furry art website FurAffinity in terms of users and overall global site ranking, according to Similarweb and Semrush.

While e621 is an imageboard, it shares no similarities with 4chan, 7chan, or 8kun. Instead, the site functions similarly to Danbooru, a gallery-based website that features an extensive tagging system for NSFW anime artwork. Like the anime website booru, e621 offers fans of furry art an extensive and carefully labeled collection of illustrated and CG furry porn. And while yiff content isn’t the only thing on e621, it’s the main reason users log into the site; hence e621’s decision to block the image board in North Carolina.

Why did e621 withdraw from North Carolina?

The e621 home page, starting January 2, 2023

In September 2023, the Age Verification Pornography Enforcement Act became state law after passing North Carolina’s Republican-majority Senate and House of Representatives. The PAVE Act went into effect on January 1, 2024.

According to PAVE, North Carolina now requires that “any commercial entity that knowingly and intentionally posts or distributes material harmful to minors on the Internet from a website containing a substantial portion of such material” must “verify the age of persons.” who are trying to access the material.” .” If a pornographic website allows an underage user to access material considered “harmful to minors,” a lawsuit can be filed against the offending company.

Age verification policies are generally considered expensive, demanding, and legally risky for an adult website, forcing platforms to stop hosting their services in affected jurisdictions. PornHub pulled access in North Carolina shortly before the new year began, and its parent company, Aylo (formerly known as MindGeek), suggested that PAVE’s implementation would be “inefficient, messy, and dangerous.”

“Any regulation that requires hundreds of thousands of adult sites to collect significant amounts of highly sensitive personal information is putting user security at risk. Furthermore, as experience has shown, unless properly enforced, users will simply access non-compliant sites or find other methods to evade these laws,” Aylo said, according to carolina fox. “The only solution that makes the Internet safer, preserves user privacy, and prevents children from accessing adult content is to perform age verification at the source: on the device.”

Under North Carolina law, content considered “harmful to minors” is defined as “that quality of any material or performance depicting nudity or sexually explicit sexual activity” with certain features that violate the law. More specifically, “the average adult applying contemporary community standards” must believe that the content in question “appeals to a minor’s prurient interest in sex,” is “patently offensive to prevailing adult community standards regarding what that is appropriate for minors.” and the content in question should be considered lacking artistic or educational merit.

Furries are already overtaking North Carolina

An example of e621, with official safety artwork for Cult of the Lamb work
An example image on e621, featuring official security artwork for work Lamb Worship.

While the PAVE Act doesn’t explicitly target furries, it’s no secret that conservatives hate the furry fandom. Right-wingers have long spread fear about the furry community, claiming (falsely) that schools are causing a furry social contagion by allowing young children to identify themselves as pets and urinate in sandboxes. So any blow to the adult furry community in North Carolina probably won’t come as a big loss to the state’s most conspiratorial Republicans.

But furries are a clever bunch, and North Carolina furries probably won’t be prevented from using the website for long. On the r/NorthCarolina subreddit, a post with over 140 votes encouraged users to connect to a VPN to continue using e621, and even offered to help new users with the process.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, one user promised to conduct an “e621 smuggling operation,” acting as if North Carolina had ushered in a neo-prohibition era on yiff. “I’m taking orders and emailing zips. Damn porn ban, welcome to the nasty furry speakeasy,” he tweeted, receiving more than 200 likes.

So even if e621 is down in North Carolina, furries will inevitably find their way to all the Sonic Porn and laying Yoshi eggs quench their hearts’ desire. Even if they shouldn’t have to.

(featured image: Chris/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Deed)

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