California Bans Revenge Porn

Wednesday, October 02, 2013 - 10:30 AM

Last night, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that makes revenge porn illegal. Typically, attempts by well-meaning lawmakers to legislate the internet don't end well. These laws often end up restricting free speech without actually stopping the activity they're meant to. But if you're going to pass a law like this, California's looks pretty good. 

The law does a nice job of very specifically prescribing what constitutes revenge porn. To be punished, you have to post naked pictures of another person without their consent. You have to intend to cause emotional distress, and you have to actually cause it: 

This bill would provide that any person who photographs or records
by any means the image of the intimate body part or parts of another
identifiable person, under circumstances where the parties agree or
understand that the image shall remain private, and the person
subsequently distributes the image taken, with the intent to cause
serious emotional distress, and the depicted person suffers serious
emotional distress, is guilty of disorderly conduct and subject to
that same punishment.

That's a nicely narrow definition of revenge porn. 

Also, the other perennial flaw to internet legislation is that the net is global, therefore laws in a particular place don't matter much. But the California law, if it holds up, could be a model for revenge porn laws in other states. And, if any state leads the nation in the unwanted release of sex tapes, it's probably the Golden State.

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Comments [3]

Tori Black from Seattle

Hello everyone, my name is Tori Black and I will be acting live at http://porn2.me/, come and have a look, take a private webcam chat with me! Checkout also our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/porn2.me

Oct. 29 2013 07:09 PM
Matt from Iowa

Jason already said kind of what I was thinking.
If this goes up the court ladder it'll likely be slapped down due to the federal (and several state) government having stated its position as (more or less) "Why do you need privacy?"
I like the idea of it, but attitudes will need to change for this to stand.

Oct. 06 2013 01:13 AM
Jason Walker from Montesano, WA

Good luck to California prosecutors in proving that "the parties agree or understand that the image shall remain private..."

Any good defense lawyer is going to say to the victim, "What, you texted a picture of your boobies to the defendant, knowing that the NSA is monitoring this, and you thought it was going to keep be private?"

Oct. 03 2013 01:50 AM

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