California lawmakers aim to crack down on 'revenge porn'

By on August 28, 2013, 7:15 AM
california, porn, revenge porn, misdemeanor

A proposal to crack down on revenge porn was recently debated in the California State Assembly. Senate Bill 255, which passed in the Senate earlier this year by a vote of 37 to 1, would make posting nude or graphic content of a person online without their consent a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and one year in prison.

As the law currently reads, it is illegal to film or photograph someone fully or partially undressed in a private place without their content. The proposed revision would add to that by making it illegal to distribute photos or videos with the intent to cause distress even if the person had originally given consent or supplied the offending matter to begin with.

In a statement on the subject, Senator Anthony Canella said law enforcement currently has no tools to combat revenge porn or cyber-revenge. It’s a growing trend that is destroying the lives of many victims, he added.

One such example is Audrie Pott, a California teen that committed suicide earlier this year. She was allegedly sexually assaulted after drinking too much and passing out at a party. Nude images of the 15-year-old were taken and circulated around school in the days leading up to her death.

Those against the bill believe it will carry unforeseen consequences against free speech if applied to consensual nudes or public protests.

How do you feel on the subject? Do you believe there should be strict laws against revenge porn or perhaps the subject of the explicit content should take responsibility and assume that any content deemed inappropriate could ultimately end up on the web?




User Comments: 23

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wastedkill said:

Lol so let me get this straight posting pics of someone you know online without them knowing nude is good logic towards 1yr in prison.... thats extemely drastic!

Guest said:

If you don't want your naked butt online don't get filmed of photographed in the first place. And other people shouldn't be punished for your stupidity, to a certain extent of course. I do agree tho that the law should apply to people spying and posting those online.

Anything related to minors is just plain illegal already so no debate there.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Well, if we're talking about teens and bullying, we don't need a new law. Distributing nude pictures of a teen is already illegal. Look at the case of Rehtaeh Parsons in Canada (gets my nomination for one of the saddest stories of the year), they had to nail her accusers on child porn laws, because bullying her into suicide isn't illegal. So I'm not against some new penalties for these sorts of things. Nude pics on the internet could follow you around for your whole life.

Lol so let me get this straight posting pics of someone you know online without them knowing nude is good logic towards 1yr in prison.... thats extemely drastic!

Notice the key words 'up to' 1 yr in prison. So if there's no real damaging outcome the offender would probably just get a ticket and a slap on the wrist. Putting people in prison costs money and they're overcrowded in CA. They won't be putting people in prison unless there's a reason, and that means someone was significantly hurt.

1 person liked this | captainawesome captainawesome said:

I think its too lenient. It can be so damaging. Anyway, has anyone even considered the case of you having pics of your (ex) girlfriend and after she refuses to give your coffee machine back after the breakup you post those pics you took of her 2 years back. That girl I believe should be protected as well as the dude who wants his coffee machine back but there is already a tort for him. She needs recourse too!

wastedkill said:

Tbh I dont think it can be convicted at all if you sent nude pictures around without them knowing as if they didn't know then what harm is there? Even if someone did see them the chances of it being a friend or relative is extremely small unless you send them to them.

If the person you sent pics around of were seen by relatives and friends then that later made that person commit suicide then I think manslaughter charges are what that person should be charged with as its a crime that fits with manslaughter is it not?

wastedkill said:

I think its too lenient. It can be so damaging. Anyway, has anyone even considered the case of you having pics of your (ex) girlfriend and after she refuses to give your coffee machine back after the breakup you post those pics you took of her 2 years back. That girl I believe should be protected as well as the dude who wants his coffee machine back but there is already a tort for him. She needs recourse too!

Giving someone you "think" is gonna be a lifetime partner pics of you naked isn't exactly smart now is it? So lets just say its your own fault as it is I mean if your married then I can see it being logical that you will be long term and if your married then its unlikely you will get divorced if you both are committed and actually love each other...

Guest said:

They've obviously been watching The Newsroom, poor Sloan.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Those against the bill believe it will carry unforeseen consequences against free speech if applied to consensual nudes or public protests.
Pedaling private photographs have nothing to do with free speech.

Besides unless I am mistaken, these pictures are the property of the ones in the picture. And unless there is written documentation signing your rights to them away, you still have control over how and when they are shared. This is no different than a movie being distributed illegally. The movie is legally protected by copyright laws.

misor misor said:

I thought 'revenge porn' means that porn models who are victims of copyright infringement wouldn't show anything unless you pay 2 years in advance.

howzz1854 said:

This has more to do with distribution of underage minor than revenge porn. how about addressing all the underage contents and make the law more severe in that regard instead. I think that is the priority and more important than aforementioned issue. not to mention outlawing revenge porn will also kill the sex tape phenomenon. then how are rich spoil women suppose to get famous without being famous.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

then how are rich spoil women suppose to get famous without being famous.
There are a few that have been creative, and ended up on the front pages of some newspaper, before being sent to prison. There is always potential in everyone.

IAMTHESTIG said:

We don't need more laws. The parents of the 15 yo girl who committed suicide can sue the pants off of the person who took pics of her. That is child porn right there and big time for Mr. Photographer.

As for revenge porn.... too bad, you know that is a possibility that when you allow yourself to be photographed or video recorded. As long as the one being recorded isn't a minor, there is nothing illegal. Now if this was done without the subjects knowledge, then there is legal recourse.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

As for revenge porn.... too bad, you know that is a possibility that when you allow yourself to be photographed or video recorded.
I guess we can tell movie producers the same thing. Ahh, too bad, you knew there would be potential for pirating.

IAMTHESTIG said:

As for revenge porn.... too bad, you know that is a possibility that when you allow yourself to be photographed or video recorded.
I guess we can tell movie producers the same thing. Ahh, too bad, you knew there would be potential for pirating.

Completely different subject, but yes. If people are pirating your stuff, obviously your marketing strategy isn't working. People pirate for two reasons, 1) price, I.e. free, and 2) convenience. If production companies start licensing their content for online distribution at excellent prices and it is very easy to obtain, I'm betting pirating would drop considerably if not almost stop completely.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Completely different subject, but yes.
It may be a different subject, but the morality is the same.

Jamlad said:

Giving someone you "think" is gonna be a lifetime partner pics of you naked isn't exactly smart now is it? So lets just say its your own fault as it is I mean if your married then I can see it being logical that you will be long term and if your married then its unlikely you will get divorced if you both are committed and actually love each other...

Eh, the divorce rate is about 53% in America. Chances are you will get divorced. [http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/divorce.htm]

But how do they define "consent"? Does this mean you have to ask for a legal written contract every time your gf wants to send you pictures in her new bra? Or does it just come down to a he said/she said?

Why not extend this to any potentially embarrassing scenarios? Or, essentially, secrets?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The way some of you think is horrendous.

  • When you purchase a movie, the movie is for you not everyone you want to share with.
  • When you take a private picture of your partner or your partner sends you a private picture, the picture is for you not everyone you want to share with.
  • If the movie creator or your partner wanted their publication shared with the world, they would do so themselves.
Guest said:

Excuse me while I disable my antivirus and enter credit card info into my computer. That makes about as much sense as sending nude photos to someone that actually WANTS to see them while trusting them to NEVER get out to the public in any way possible. This law is nothing more than damage control for a lack of common sense. I'm not saying I agree with revenge porn but revenge porn only exists for this reason.

Guest said:

As for treating these pictures like copyright material: The photo is already shared (unless it was of course on private property without the person's consent). You don't buy it. It's simply given for the most part in this case. There's no money involved, no business, no patents. Not even a copyright... There's nothing the person receiving the photos has to sign or something in order to obtain, again, it's already "gifted." Excuse me while I simply give someone food and expect them not to give it to anyone else. I don't know... maybe if there was some type of official way to send nude photos I could see this as being less of a lack of common sense but as far as I know, or most people for that matter, there is nothing official so GOOD LUCK.

Guest said:

"Do so at own risk" applies more to sending nude photos. Piracy does not apply so much if at all.

jetkami said:

So a person buys a camera, takes nude pics they never wanted to be published and you say they are stupid? Shouldnt they be able to do what they want with their camera and control where there image gets published? How about punishing the sumbag who published the photos.

If you don't want your naked butt online don't get filmed of photographed in the first place. And other people shouldn't be punished for your stupidity, to a certain extent of course. I do agree tho that the law should apply to people spying and posting those online.

Anything related to minors is just plain illegal already so no debate there.

Guest said:

Concerning the 15 year old, maybe her ass shouldn't be getting so drunk that she passes out. Sounds harsh, of course, but your ass knows what's right and wrong at 15. That applies to the boys too. Don't be taking pictures and passing them all around school. Now that girls death is on their hands.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Giving someone private photos or video shouldn't imply that you are giving that person the right to publish them, That is why photographers have to get a signed release before they can use photos of anyone. Revenge porn is nothing short of bullying and harassment and those who feel the need to engage in such loathsome behavior, especially when it involves a minor, deserves to be punished.

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