What's the legal force of this warning?

I was surprised to read the following notice on a website I just visited (I’ll remove the name but it’s one of those that feature the more grisly side of life).

“I hereby affirm, under the penalties of perjury pursuant to 28 U.S.C 1746, that I am at least 18 years old AND agree to the terms and conditions contained in the clickwrap notice above and want to enter --------- at my own risk.”

Under the penalties of perjury?

Firstly, let me make it clear that my 18th birthday is so far past as to qualify as ancient history, but what’s the force of this threat? Would I really be open to perjury charges if I were 17 and clicked yes to the affirmation? What about if you’re not subject to US law (as indeed I am not?)

It’s just CYA for the website. If some parent sues because the website allowed their child to view explicit images, they can pull up the session input from the child’s computer stating, “But they affirmed (under penalties of perjury) that they were old enough. If you take us to court, we’ll have the DA charge your darling child with perjury.”

It’s also a quick-n-dirty way to get visitor to stay. If they used Net Nanny or one of the other minor-protection software packages, they’d more than likely scare away more legitimate traffic that they’d get.

I’m not one of those fancy big-city lawyers, but I do know that perjury generally means “lying while under oath in a court of law”. I also know that the “legal notices” on an alarming number of websites are complete and utter bullshit, sometimes made up entirely by marketing people who have only the vaguest idea of what the law really says.

Do something along the lines of what I do - send them a mail and ask them flat out under what law they can charge you with “perjury”, and how exactly that works. Some of the shirk-fests I get from major corporations over my challenges to their interpretation of 2-D art copyright law are highly entertaining to read.

Read the statute:

So while it’s likely that the “legal warning” in question probably has little or no legal force, the language is based on actual law.

IANAL but I would imagine the websites “legal warning” has no legal force as unlike a signed statement, there is no way to verify who clicked the button.

You’re right. Just found this on a legal site:

" … no court has recognized the legal validity of a simple click-through screen where the user asserts that he or she is an adult. This author has personally experienced the jeers from prosecutors and dismissive grins from presiding judges in response to arguments in support of the validity of an “I’m over 18” click through button."

I agree that the clickthrough would be a tough row to hoe, but I’m not convinced it’s a complete loser. (Especially if the website owner figured out a way to include the date on there.) Anyway, the surmise Una makes is incorrect – you can be convicted of perjury for things other than lying on the stand; lying in a declaration properly made under Sec. 1746 is one of them.