Wednesday, 25 September 2013

California Bill Makes Publication of Explicit Photographs a Misdemeanor

Disgruntled exes, who post pictures of their former spouses or partners on websites in revenge, could soon be penalized under a new piece of legislation that has recently been approved in California. The bill is still pending Governor, Jerry Brown's signature.
Under the bill, persons who post sexually explicit photographs of other people on websites, with the intent to cause distress, could be penalized. The bill makes some forms of revenge posting a misdemeanor. Violators will be punished with jail time or fines. However, the bill only applies to photos that are taken by others. The photographs must also have been posted online with the intent to cause distress to the person.
The law comes in response to a number of cases being reported from around the country, in which persons, especially women, have had their nude and seminude photographs posted on such revenge porn websites. These photographs were taken when these women were in relationships, and ended up making their way to the websites when the relationship headed south.
Typically, women have very little recourse to criminal action against the posting of such photographs. Most women file civil lawsuits claiming copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, or child pornography. However, they have little legal recourse to holding the person responsible for posting these photographs liable in a criminal court of law.
The California law aims to change that. However, the law is a watered–down version of the original piece of legislation that activists have been pushing for. These activists include women who had their photographs posted on revenge porn websites and their family members sites. These activists say that what is really required is federal legislation that makes such activities a criminal offense.