In a recent article from USA Today, revenge porn is defined as the act of posting someone’s sexually explicit images online without their consent. Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that outlaws this very act with a punishment of up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000 in fines. Lawmakers in New York state are now looking to follow suit with their own proposed anti-revenge-porn bills.
What makes the proposed laws in New York unique is that it not only targets those who personally took pics of someone else, as the current law in California does, but also looks to include sexually explicit self-portraits posted by others. State Senator Phil Boyle told 1010 WINS, via Gawker:
“If a young woman takes a picture of herself, sends it to the boyfriend, a couple of years later he’s posting it, that would be included under our legislation and that’s a very significant improvement in the law.”
Boyle’s law would make the offense punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. Two other legislators, assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein and upstate Republican senator Joseph A. Griffo, have drafted their own anti-revenge-porn law as well that could increase the fine to $30,000. Griffo stated:
“This so-called phenomena of ‘cyber-revenge,’ is a tawdry form of exploitation. From what we know, the majority of its victims are women who don’t know that their images and likenesses has been bartered and sold over the internet. Currently, these victims have limited options when their pictures taken with their consent, were posted online. They would have to enlist a lawyer and threaten to sue the person responsible for sharing the photo or the website hosting them, for invasion of privacy. New Jersey and California have laws addressing this problem, we’re advocating that New York should be the third.”
Charlotte Laws, an activist on behalf of victims of cyber-revenge, said of the California law, “The future plan is to make an amendment so that self-shots are covered. But I do feel like California has wiped away some tears and pain with the passage of this law.” Laws’ daughter allegedly had nude images of her hacked and taken from her computer.
Hunter Moore, who ran a site featuring this kind of stuff and made headlines when he lost a lawsuit to Storage Wars star Brandi Passante, posted a YouTube response in which he basically took the victim blaming route, explaining that anyone who takes these types of photos are dumb and thus open themselves up to this possibility.
In addition to Moore, there are many that also worry about the possible violation of First Amendment rights that could surface with these types of laws. The ACLU opposed the California bill and a similar bill in Florida was rejected because of free speech rights concerns.
What do you think about California’s law and the ones being proposed in New York?
Photo: Holly Troups / ABC News