For decades, Gloucester resident Betty Davis had wondered what to do with her wedding dress. She has two adult daughters and wanted to somehow pass the dress on to both of them. Then it finally hit her. She bought some fancy throw pillows and found a local seamstress who would upholster them with the fabric from her dress.

"And they were beautiful," said Davis. "And [then] I turned them over and there was that 6-by-4 inch tag, you know, that you could see through the satin fabric of my wedding dress."

Not just any tag. Perhaps history’s most infamous tag. Ubiquitous on pillows and mattresses and maligned for generations: "Under Penalty of Law, Do Not Remove." And per the instructions, the seamstress refused to remove the label.

So Davis reached out to the Curiosity Desk to ask whether it is actually illegal to remove one of these tags, and why items like pillows have such threatening labels in the first place.

For answers, I turned to Maggie Terry, president of Legal Label, an organization that helps manufacturers get those "Do Not Remove" labels correct. As she explained, it all goes back to the mattress-making industry’s “wild-wild west” phase.

WATCH: Is It Really Illegal To Remove That Tag On Your Mattress?

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