Originally posted 2015-02-09 11:02:31.

revenge pornBrandon McCoy | www.amdlawgroup.com

Imagine meeting the man or woman of your dreams. You are in bliss as the two of you undertake the journey to build a loving, and comfortable relationship. The relationship is a safe haven, a place of solace. It is so sacred that the two of you become romantically involved. You trust one another so much that harmless photos or videos are shared, and saved on each other’s mobile or media devices for future viewing. Then the unthinkable happens…a nasty break-up, someone hacks a cloud storage network, or a third party obtains the media and sells it for profit. You hear about your photo being posted on a revenge porn mogul website such as, Texxxan.com or Is Anybody Up.com. What remedies do you have? Will the legal system step in? Is the “injured party” entitled to relief?

The aforementioned is a brief overview of one of the fastest growing areas of conflict both domestically and internationally, called “Revenge Porn”.  The legislatures are working frantically to engineer laws that address this issue. California and New Jersey are the only states that currently have laws on the books regarding the matter. Canada, along with several other US states, are also in the process of finalizing legislation to help combat revenge porn.

Revenge porn creates civil, criminal and cyber law issues. As well as potentially destroying the brand of the individuals involved. Typically, persons are not allowed to publically display sexually explicit material. However, the law governing what is public and private is subject to local jurisdiction. Ebony.com Magazine draws the parallel that in some states the social media site Twitter is not considered a public forum. Many criminal remedies, such as harassment, may not be available to the aggrieved party, due to lack of the requirement of contact. Civil remedies may be available. Technically, with some limitations, any given person owns copyright rights in their own original works, including photos. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the “DMCA”), provides further protection, by informing the website harboring the sensitive photos that it is infringing on copyrights of the original owner. The owner can then ask by way of letter to get the photos removed.

It is important to note that a new form of Revenge Porn is emerging. In this form tech savvy individuals are hacking into cloud networks such as ICloud, Dropbox, and cellular providers to access the “sensitive” media of celebrities. World renowned actresses Jennifer Lawrence, Meagan Good, Gabrielle Union, and Vanessa Hudgens were victims of this. Further, entertainers Rhianna, and US Women’s soccer player, Hope Solo also fell victim to hackers accessing their private media. This is done often times for a profit, and shared through websites, such as Is Anybody Up.com, with an international presence.

Revenge Porn is on the rise. People young and old are falling prey to this phenomena, without much hope for a lawful remedy. More importantly, this severely damages the brand of the person in question, and subsequently their company, record label, or other entity. Though in many cases individuals do consent to having pictures or videos taken. They do not consent to having said media used against them in a negative connotation. The brands of these individuals must be protected so that their livelihood is not sacrificed. Also, there needs to be a better “policing” of the cyber community so that others may not post, or profit of the posting, of another’s intimate material.

 

Image credit: http://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/2014/09/revenge-porn/

Resources:

http://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/2014/09/revenge-porn/

http://www.ebony.com/news-views/ask-a-lawyer-the-legal-ramifications-of-revenge-porn-405#.VMpwutE5DX4

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/05/college-students-revenge-porn/2927337/

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/why-is-revenge-porn-legal/

http://observer.com/2013/04/craig-brittain-revenge-porn-is-anybody-down-obama-nudes/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/revenge-porn-holly-toupis-texxan_n_2576290.html

 

 

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