Archive for: October, 2013

Cardin Proposes Criminalization of Revenge Porn – Daily Record


Cardin-Jon_webSpurned lovers in Maryland beware: Posting sexually explicit photos and videos of your ex – revenge porn – could land you in jail if one state lawmaker has his way.Del. Jon Cardin, D-Baltimore County, is expected to announce on Wednesday that he is sponsoring a bill to make the non-consensual release of sexually explicit photographs and videos a felony in Maryland. Cardin, running for Maryland attorney general, said the proposed law would be the first of its kind in the state.Laws regarding revenge porn are not new, but are gaining wide attention.

Similar legislation was proposed this month in New York by a state senator and state assemblyman, according to the Madison County Courier.

New Jersey passed a law in 2004 that prohibits the dissemination of sexually explicit photos and video without the consent of both partners, according to the New York Times.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, this month signed a law that makes the practice of distributing sexually explicit images of ex-significant-others punishable by six months of jail time and a $1,000 fine, according to CNN.

Critics say California’s law doesn’t go far enough because it exempts self-portraits, also called “selfies,” and prosecutors must prove an intent to cause “serious emotional distress” by the person who distributed the material, according to Forbes.

Cardin Proposes Criminalization of Revenge Porn – Daily Record
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

It’s Still Easy to Get Away With Revenge Porn

“Nice tits, honey. Haven’t I seen you online?” The man says it casually, with a suggestive grin, as he walks past Hollie Toups down the [his] aisle. She’s bothered by the remark, of course, but it’s not the first time she’s heard it; for the better part of the past year, this treatment has become routine. She’s mainly just embarrassed her mother is standing next to her and had to hear the bawdy comment.Toups, a 33-year-old teacher’s aid and criminal justice student, discovered last summer that topless photos of her had been leaked online across dozens of websites. Some pictures included her email information and social media links — some even shared her [his].In her hometown of Nederland, Texas — a small community of 17,000, about 90 miles east of Houston — the chances of being recognized are high. Case in point: this afternoon.But she’s far from the only one. Over the past few years, hundreds of women and men across the world have fallen victim to this new form of cyber bullying, spawning harassment and costing jobs and relationships in the process.

“Revenge porn,” it’s called, is the act of online publishing intimate photos, videos and contact information of a person without his or her consent. Usually, it’s the work of a disgruntled ex-partner or random hacker (the latter in Toups’ case).

Two weeks ago, California become the second state in the U.S. behind New Jersey to [his]. Now, New York is considering similar action.

And while it may seem like a black-and-white issue, revenge porn has opened up debates about the First Amendment and the ethics of criminalization.

Toups is one of a handful of victims fighting to make it a criminal offense. But, like most things sex-related, it’s a highly sensitive subject — and still largely a work in progress.

Hunter Moore is often referred to as the “Internet’s most-hated” person; he helped launch the revenge porn empire.

In 2010, the 27-year-old set up the now-defunct site, IsAnyoneUp?. The rules were simple: Anyone could submit naked photos of another person (almost always an ex-lover) to the site’s database. As the site’s popularity grew, so too did the trendiness of posting nude photos as a form of vengeance. It didn’t take long for copycat sites to appear. Traffic was booming, which meant prime real estate for advertisers. Moore eventually shut the site down in 2012, after he claimed receiving an abundance of underage submissions, but by that point hundreds of sites like it had already launched.

Toups was at work just a few months later when she found out her photos had been posted on a site called

“I got a phone call from a friend who had overheard this group of girls talking about this website,” she tells me. “She said there were tons of nude photos of different girls, including me. Of course, I didn’t believe it.”

Toups hung up the phone and tried to get back to work, but the thought burned in her mind.

Since she couldn’t look at the pictures at work, Toups drove home and opened from her personal laptop. The site’s homepage showed a map of Texas, where visitors could click on various regions to view that area’s victims. Toups clicked on the southeast portion, where Nederland is located, and saw a picture of her next to 12 other girls from the area. When she expanded the image, her full name, a map with her home address pinpointed, a link to her [revenge porn] page and a long list of photos appeared.

Hunter Moore in a 2011 interview with Anderson Cooper. Moore voluntarily shut down IsAnyoneUp? in April 2012.

“The first picture I saw was this one I had posted to Facebook — it was me at a pool party wearing a bikini. So that wasn’t a big deal,” she says.

“But then I scrolled down. There were these topless photos I had sent to a boyfriend back when I was 24 — and I was 32 at the time I was reading this.”

It must be him, she thought — he’s the only one who had access to the pictures. And then she saw something that threw her off: The very bottom picture was a selfie she had snapped just a year or so prior. She had been working out and taking self portraits every week to track the progress. One morning, when she was stepping out of the shower, she took a photo of herself on her [his]. She didn’t send it to anyone; it was just a picture, taken in the moment, which she intended to keep for herself. So how did it get on this website?

“I knew it couldn’t have been him then — he didn’t have access to that last photo. It was eight years after we broke up, and I didn’t send it to anyone.”

Toups emailed the website and explained that she wanted the photos down. After a few days, the site sent her a message back with a link asking for her credit card information for payment — extortion for removing the photos. She considered giving in for a second, if only out of desperation, but realized it wasn’t a guarantee the pictures wouldn’t just reappear a few days later. A site that posts naked photos without permission and asks for personal banking information, after all, doesn’t exactly scream “trustworthy.”

The next week, the harassment began.

“It wasn’t bad at first. Just people — a lot of random people — sending me messages on Facebook or tweeting at me, saying they wanted to meet up and ‘have a good time,'” she says. “Then there were people who would approach me in public” — like the man in the [his] — “and laugh about seeing my pictures up online. It was so humiliating.”

Then it turned aggressive.

“One of the tweets at me said something like, ‘I get the feeling you like to sleep around, don’t be surprised if you get raped one day.’ It pissed me off more than it terrified me, but I still couldn’t help feeling unsafe.”

Toups decided to hire an investigator.

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CJEU ruling in Pinckney v Mediatech – jurisdiction in online copyright infringement

Following the opinion of Advocate General Niilo Jääskinen of 13 June 2013 (see our newsflash here), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled on the question of online cross border copyright infringement.The questions referred to, and reformulated by the CJEU, asked whether a court of a Member State in which CDs containing reproductions of copyright music works were made available online, had jurisdiction to rule on copyright infringement proceedings brought in relation to such CDs, even if the act of reproduction had not occurred in the Member State of the court seized.The CJEU considered that the courts of the Member States in which the copyright works were protected and in which the “harmful event” had or may occur, were competent to determine liability and damage caused in that territory.On the facts, the CJEU ruled that there was a likelihood of the harmful event arising in a territory where it was possible to obtain infringing copies of works from websites accessible in that territory.

In contrast to Advocate General Jääskinen’s opinion, the CJEU considered that the relevant criterion was not whether the activity of the website was “directed to” the Member State of the court seized, but rather whether copies were accessible online in the Member State of the court seized.

Business impact

  • The CJEU ruling is good news for copyright owners wanting to take action against infringement of their works in the courts of the Member States in which the infringing contents are made available.
  • It will not be necessary for copyright owners to show that a website’s activity is targeted at internet users of the Member States of the courts which they seize.
  • Copyright owners may however still need to bring multiple actions in multiple jurisdictions to obtain redress in all the territories in which the infringing articles may have been accessible online.
  • The decision may favour “forum shopping” with authors taking action in jurisdictions in which they consider they have the most chance of success and it may pre-empt multiple cross-border actions.
  • The decision is a surprising departure from previous settled case law on infringement of other intellectual property rights online pursuant to which liability only attaches to a website, if it is targeted at consumers of the Member State in which protection is sought.
  • The decision suggests that harm occurs in all Member States in which the website content is made accessible, regardless of the intention of the website to target consumers in all Member States.


As set out in our newsflash of 28 June 2013 (see here), Mr Pinckney, a French resident, claimed to be the author of twelve songs, which were made into a vinyl disk in the 1970s. Mr Pinckney brought a claim against Austrian domiciled company KDG Mediatech AG (“Mediatech”), which he claimed had copied his songs onto a CD, copies of which were sold by UK companies via websites accessible from France.

While the French First Instance Court considered that it had jurisdiction to rule on the matter, this was overturned by the French Court of Appeal on the grounds that the country of residence of the Defendant was Austria and the damage had occurred outside France. Mr Pinckney appealed the decision and the French Supreme Court referred two questions to the CJEU in relation to the application of Article 5(3) of the Brussels I Regulation which provides that in matters of tort, delict or quasi-delict, a person domiciled in a Member State may be sued in the courts of another Member State where the harmful event occurred or may occur.

The French Supreme Court asked whether Article 5(3) of the Regulation meant that courts of Member States in which infringing content was made accessible had jurisdiction or whether the infringing content would need to be targeted at that Member State. Secondly, the French Court asked whether the answer would be different if the infringement resulted from the online sale of a “carrier medium” as opposed to the placing of copyright content online.

Key findings

Admissibility of the questions referred

The Austrian government argued that the questions referred by the French Court were inadmissible and that in particular the first question concerned the online offer of digital content whereas Mediatech had been involved in the reproduction of CDs. In his Opinion of June 2013, Advocate General Jääskinen had also deemed the questions inadmissible as he considered that the only right which may have been breached by Mediatech was the reproduction right, to which the questions referred did not relate.

The CJEU acknowledged that it was settled case-law that it could decline to rule on requests for preliminary rulings where it was obvious that the interpretation of EU law bore no relation to the facts of the main action. In this instance however, the CJEU considered that the outcome of the dispute depended on the CJEU’s answers and that the questions were admissible as a result.

The CJEU nevertheless rephrased the question and asked whether Article 5(3) of the Regulation meant that a court of a Member State in which a work is protected by copyright, has jurisdiction to rule on the liability of a company which is established in, and has reproduced in a second Member State the copyright work on a CD, when that CD is subsequently marketed in a third Member State through an internet site accessible in the Member State of the court seized.

Derogation to the general Defendant’s domicile rule

The CJEU noted that the general rule relating to questions of jurisdiction could be found in Article 2(1) of the Regulation under which jurisdiction is attributed to the courts of the defendant’s domicile.

The CJEU noted that by derogation to this rule, Article 5(3) granted special jurisdiction to courts of Member States in which a harmful even occurred or may occur. The CJEU specified that since this rule constituted a rule of special jurisdiction it should be interpreted restrictively, although the “place where the harmful event occurred or may occur” was still to be understood as covering, both (i) the place where the damage occurred and; (ii) the place of the event giving rise to it.

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Israeli Top Model Bar Refaeli Wins Copyright Infringement Case Against Ilan Ben-Dov

Bar Refaeli has won her lawsuit against Ilan Ben-Dov. The Tel Aviv District Court today partly ruled in her favor against Samsung importer Suny Electronics Ltd. (TASE: SUNY), which Ben-Dov controls, over live online broadcasts of her for a 2006 ad campaign for Samsung, which were aired without her knowledge. Judge Avi Zamir ordered Suny to pay Bar Refaeli NIS 400,000 ($11o,000)  in compensation for breach of her rights in the filming of her without her knowledge, and NIS 150,000 ($41,000)  in court costs. He dismissed Suny’s counterclaim for libel against Bar Refaeli for writing to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (KSX: 5930; LSE: SMSN) in Korea. However, he also dismissed Refaeli’s personal claim against marketing consultant Avi Zeitan.“The image of models, their voices, bodies, and names are their personal assets, and no one has the right to use them for commercial purposes without their consent and without compensation,” wrote Judge Zamir in his ruling. “These assets have the right to be protected. Every model, male or female, even if they chose to reveal themselves in an advertisement, even the broadest and most exposing, in any media, has the right not to have made use of these private assets beyond what was agreed, and without their explicit consent.”Judge Zamir added, “Even deviations from existing agreements over the extent of the permitted use of these assets, damage them, damage that justifies financial compensation.” 

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Israeli Top Model Bar Refaeli Wins Copyright Infringement Case Against … – Jewish Business News
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

3 computer retailers nabbed for software piracy

MANILA — Three computer retailers in Quezon City and Muntinlupa were nabbed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for committing software piracy.

The computer retailers, namely the Microstation Computer Center Inc., Starapple Computer Corporation and PC Chain Superstores, were caught selling branded computers loaded with pirated software.

By virtue of a search warrant, the NBI and the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) raided the three computer retailers and caught the employees hardloading unlicensed software in the computers.

The raid yielded P375,000 worth of pirated software.

“Retail stores must refrain from loading the computers they sell with pirated software. Hardloading of pirated software can expose its consumers to serious malware and virus attacks which can lead to data theft and losses,” said Atty. Dante Jacinto, chief of NBI’s Intellectual Property Rights Division.

Jacinto said consumers should also ensure that the computers they are buying are loaded with original software.

“Just because the computers being bought are well-known brands is no assurance that they are loaded with original software,” he said.

Business operators of the three computer retailers will be facing criminal charges. A hold departure order may also be issued against them.

Aside from the possibility of having their business permits cancelled, they may also face tax investigation.

Sales personnel as well as technicians will also be subjected to criminal charges if found guilty of hardloading pirated software.

According to a study conducted by the Microsoft Forensics team, units of multinational brands Acer, Lenovo, and HP were found to be the most susceptible to being loaded with pirated software.

Reproduction or copying of copyrighted computer software without authorization constitutes an act of piracy which subject companies and senior management to penalties including imprisonment and fine.

“Continued use and selling of pirated software does not only expose your consumers to harm but, it also subjects you, your employees, your businesses and your consumers to numerous risks including loss of property and criminal prosecution,” Jacinto said.

The NBI is a member of the PAPT. Together with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, Optical Media Board and Philippine National Police, PAPT aims to strengthen the protection of intellectual property in the country.

3 computer retailers nabbed for software piracy – ABS CBN News
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Kim Dotcom’s Mega ‘not being used for wide-scale copyright infringement’

Kim Dotcom may be seen as a villainous pirate-king by the creative industries, but his Mega cloud storage service is attracting white-collar professionals, according to its chief executive Vikram Kumar.

“The segment that seems to be most interested in Mega, and in paying for space, security and privacy tends to be professionals,” Kumar told the Copyright and Technology conference in London this morning, beaming in for his keynote interview via Skype.

“Accountants, lawyers, financial advisers, architects… These are people that want to use the internet, are concerned that their confidential client information may get compromised, and who are willing to pay for security and privacy online.”

Dotcom launched Mega in January 2013, a year after his previous company MegaUpload was taken down after a police raid. He recruited telecoms exec Kumar in February as CEO of the new company, leaving Dotcom to continue fighting US charges of criminal copyright infringement, while working on a digital music service called Baboom.

Kumar was keen to stress Mega’s credentials as a law-abiding service. “The simplest explanation of Mega, particularly for those people who’ve used Dropbox is that its a secure and faster Dropbox,” he said. “It’s essentially a cloud storage company, but in the future it wants to become more of a cloud collaboration and communication company.”

He also stressed that the service, which has 5m customers so far, is currently attracting a very small number of copyright takedown notices from rightsholders. “Mega has on average about 2-3m files uploaded each day, and we get around 100 takedown notices for alleged copyright infringement every day,” he said.

“That’s a very very small number for any online service provider. In comparison, YouTube gets 15m takedown requests every month, so the numbers tell us that Mega is not being used for wide-scale copyright infringement.”

One of Mega’s main selling points is its end-to-end encryption technology, with the company promising users that since their files are encrypted on their devices before being uploaded, Mega never sees the decrypted versions – and nobody does unless the uploader gives them the decryption key.

The obvious question is whether this is the real reason Mega gets so few takedown requests: copyright owners can’t see infringing files being shared on the service if they don’t have the keys, unlike the technologies and partners they use to detect infringement on other online services?

Kumar suggested that if rightsholders’ main concern is their music, films or TV shows being shared, they’ll still be able to spot this infringement, since it requires decryption keys to be shared publicly. However, he added that Mega intends to crack down on external search engines claiming to index files stored on the service.

“Let’s be quite clear: Mega doesn’t want that happening. We don’t think search indexes or anything that encourages copyright infringement or illegal use of the service should exist,” he said.

“We don’t want those websites out there, and to the extend that we can do anything about it, if they’re using ‘Mega’ in a way that conveys the impression to people that it’s linked to the company, we are able to take action either for trademark violation, passing off or fraud.”

Mega Vikram Kumar
Mega CEO Vikram Kumar Skyped in for his Copyright and Technology interview

Mega isn’t planning to add features that could be seen either as facilitating copyright infringement, or which would require licensing deals with copyright owners: for example, the ability for people to stream music or films directly from their Mega storage, even if they own them.

“We are quite clear that we don’t want to have files that are uploaded stored and that can be streamed as an audio or video from Mega, because that’s not Mega’s purpose,” he said.

Kumar criticised rightsholders for their approach to copyright takedowns with other companies, suggesting that the automated nature of both sending takedown notices (for rightsholders) and acting on them (for services like YouTube) leaves the process open to false positives.

“There are a large number of copyright notices being sent that would truly not stand up to scrutiny in a court of law,” he said. “Most service providers are so afraid, they act on every copyright notice. So I think there is a fair amount of files being taken down which, if they were examined individually, would not stand up to scrutiny as meeting the bar for takedown.”

Kumar hinted at big plans ahead for Mega to provide storage for other web services, apps and even consumer electronics devices, citing the example of an unnamed manufacturer that’s using Mega as the cloud storage provider for its connected TVs.

“It has no storage, it has no place to keep any files. So what they do: the apps connect with Mega in the back-end, for storage,” he said.

“If you have a digital video recorder, which time-shifts recordings, the TV can’t store the time-shifted recordings anywhere, so it stores them on Mega’s cloud storage, and pulls them down whenever it needs it.”

Kumar smiled at a follow-up question on how pay-TV providers might respond to this kind of feature, if it starts to disintermediate their own services and hardware.

“I think there’s a lot of industries that have got disintermediated by the internet and cloud systems,” he said. “There hasn’t been that much shakeup in the TV industry. I see that coming in the next 2-3 years. Am I concerned? Probably not. As a customer, I would enjoy that.”

Kim Dotcom’s Mega ‘not being used for wide-scale copyright infringement‘ – The Guardian
copyright infringement news – Google News… Read the rest

Victims of revenge porn deserve real protection – The Guardian

A lot of people know my story. Nobody has to ask me how I got where I am, because my business is posted all over the internet.

My ex-boyfriend was the first one to put me out there, exposing me in my most intimate moments. He did it for control. He did it for revenge. He did it for whatever reasons perpetrators normally have for stalking, harassing, and violating others.

At no point was I allowed to escape and move on. The internet made it possible for my ex and strangers to reach into my life, no matter where I was, and destroy everything I was trying to build. And nobody was willing to stop him.

I was the second person to put myself out there. When I couldn’t stand hiding anymore, having changed my name and lived in fear for years, I took back control of my life. I took it back by saying:

Yes that’s me in those pictures, in that video, and I am not ashamed. I have a right to live my life and not be afraid.

That was the birth of End Revenge Porn, which turned into the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI). Every step in building CCRI has been a learning experience, both in the logistics of starting an organization and in how a movement takes on a life of its own.

We have barely begun, but we find ourselves buoyed by overwhelming support, even as we receive a stream of hateful messages from strangers. This is a culture war, but it is one I have faith we will win, perhaps more quickly than our opposition expects.

California’s SB255 “revenge porn law”, signed into effect by Governor Jerry Brown late last week, was a bittersweet victory for us. Finally, lawmakers and the public acknowledged revenge porn as a problem to be solved.

But that acknowledgement was tainted by the attitude that no matter how reprehensible the actions of perpetrators, the victims somehow deserved what they got. To be told that victims like me were too “stupid” to be provided the protection of the law, and to have that attitude written into the law was crushing. People who have taken pictures of themselves in their most private moments, and shared them as part of an intimate relationship with one person, will find no protection in California. For the moment.

CCRI has been successful so far because I don’t just see the gaping holes in our legal system; I experience them firsthand. On Thursday, I received word that the criminal case against my ex is being dismissed. The police told me that they were able to link the IP address from his house to the postings. However, without a warrant to prove he was the one sitting behind the computer committing the crime, which could only be obtained if his crime was a felony, they have nothing.

Not only do we need strong, comprehensive laws on the books, we need them to be felonies so that law enforcement will be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the perpetrator is the one behind the postings. Other states will pass laws, and California will strengthen its law because this issue will only grow.

As victims continue to suffer the physical and psychological fallout of this violation, the public will demand action. The purpose of CCRI and the End Revenge Porn campaign, beyond supporting victims, is to speed the public to that conclusion by making people acknowledge the suffering of those victims.

Victims of revenge porn deserve real protection – The Guardian
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

California’s New Law Shows It’s Not Easy To Regulate Revenge Porn – Forbes

California enacted a new law against “revenge” porn, sometimes called “involuntary” porn. The law says it is “disorderly conduct” for a defendant to take intimate and confidential recordings, such as photos or videos, and then distribute them to intentionally cause serious emotional distress to the victim.

The swiss cheese of revenge porn

The Swiss cheese of revenge porn laws (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The final version of the law is significantly less ambitious than earlier drafts, and there’s fairly widespread agreement the law as passed doesn’t do much. It’s easy to see the law’s limited scope by enumerating what it doesn’t cover:

* “selfies.” If the victim makes the recording him/herself, the law doesn’t apply.
* redistributors. The law only applies to the person who makes the recording. Everyone else who might redistribute the recording, including operators of websites that encourage users to post revenge porn, are not covered by the law.
* hackers. If a malicious third party obtains a recording by hacking into the victim’s computer or cellphone and then distributes the recording, the law doesn’t apply.
* confidentiality disputes. The law applies to “circumstances where the parties agree or understand that the image shall remain private.” This might be obvious if the victim never consented to being recorded at all. In other cases, the defendant and victim may disagree about their expectations for the recording, which would make conviction difficult or impossible.
* insufficient intent to cause emotional distress. The law only applies when the defendant intends to cause the victim severe emotional distress. It may be hard for prosecutors to prove the defendant’s intent without an admission from the defendant or a piece of “smoking gun” evidence.

In sum, California’s new revenge porn law only covers one category of involuntary porn. As a result, I would be surprised if we see many prosecutions under the statute.

Nevertheless, other laws already apply to other involuntary porn categories. For example, hacking into someone’s computer or cellphone is already illegal; if the victim made the recording him/herself, copyright law protects it; and if the parties had confidentiality expectations, privacy doctrines may apply. Anti-stalking and anti-harassment laws also can apply to involuntary porn, especially where a defendant distributes recordings to hurt the victim. Indeed, we have so many laws and crimes already on the books, it’s challenging to find any examples of incivil or anti-social behavior that isn’t already illegal under multiple overlapping laws.

This helps explain why it’s hard to develop new laws to combat involuntary porn. California’s new law wasn’t very ambitious, but an ambitious law seeking to criminalize behavior that isn’t already illegal will run into at least two major limits on legislative power.

First, California’s new law probably sidesteps First Amendment problems by requiring an intent to cause serious emotional distress. Without such a restriction, involuntary porn laws can face significant First Amendment limits. Intimate depictions are often part of other people’s life history–a story that person may want to tell in full. Further, by design, privacy laws suppress the flow of truthful information. For example, consider Anthony Weiner’s sexting photos. California’s new law wouldn’t apply to them (they were selfies), but any law restricting a recipient’s redistribution of those images may substantially hinder important social discourses. The recipient could publicly claim that she received sexting photos from a famous politician, but she may need to provide photographic proof to substantiate her claims–especially in the face of the politician’s inevitable denials. Weiner’s sexting photos provide crucial evidence of his dubious decision-making and recidivism, so any law that interfered with their disclosure may violate the First Amendment.

Second, involuntary porn laws would help victims more if they applied to website operators who republish user submissions. However, state legislatures cannot impose such liability due to 47 USC 230, the 1996 federal law that says websites aren’t liable for third party content.

So where will the policy debates over involuntary porn go? Surely California’s small incremental step isn’t the final word on the matter. However, the legal limits that curbed California’s ambition provide helpful insight to other legislators who hope to strike more boldly against involuntary porn.

Citation: SB 255, codified as California Penal Code 647(j)(4)

California’s New Law Shows It’s Not Easy To Regulate Revenge Porn – Forbes
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

Millennials deal with consequences of revenge porn

As Millennials become increasingly tech-reliant in all facets of life — including relationships — some are facing unfortunate consequences.

Three out of four college students will be in a long-distance relationship at some point before graduation, according to a study in the Journal of Communication. Sending nude photos to a partner may be one way to maintain the passion.

In fact, a 2011 University of Rhode Island study found that 56% percent of students had received “sexually suggestive images.”

But what happens when a relationship dissolves and a heartbroken ex has a library of nude photos of their former partner?

For some, the answer is “revenge porn,” or posting someone’s sexually explicit image online without their consent.

The action is legal in 48 states — excluding New Jersey and recently, California — and protected under one’s First Amendment rights.

Holly Jacobs, a revenge-porn victim and founder of, says that this issue uniquely affects Gen Y.

“I would venture to say that most victims that contact me are of the college age,” says Jacobs, who found herself on a revenge porn site as a grad student at Florida International University in 2009. “It’s the Millennials who have grown up with technology and have integrated it into their lives.”

On Tuesday, the governor of California approved the criminalization of revenge porn. “Distributing private images with the intent to harass or annoy” may be punished by up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine on a first offense.

However, the statute does not protect victims who took the photos themselves, a group that makes up 80% of revenge porn victims according to a survey by the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. The law applies only to images that were captured by someone without knowledge or consent of the victim.

Former revenge porn mogul Hunter Moore told tech publication The Register that he doesn’t think the government can stand in the way of websites like the one he started in 2010 — the now-defunct

“This doesn’t stop anything. If you read the bill it is just for peeping toms, not for selfies, which is all revenge porn really is,” he told the Register. “These stupid old white people are even more stupid to think they can stop it … It will just make revenge porn bigger by driving traffic, because people are talking about it.”

Moore added that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is still in place, a law that protects owners of interactive websites from responsibility for content their users post.

As a victim, Jacobs points out that the California law also specifies a motive — emotional distress of the victim — that can be difficult to prove in court.

“Sometimes people post [revenge porn] to gain acceptance or notoriety on the internet, or even just to make money,” she says, explaining that a victim who initially consented to being photographed would have to prove she was emotionally distressed to win her case.

Gene Policinski, senior vice president of the First Amendment Center, says that civil lawsuits are one option for victims, although they can cause embarrassment and financial burdens.

He added that while California’s recent legislation indicates that the law is catching up with technological advances, lawmakers should be careful not to trample on First Amendment rights.

“Citizens have a right to be concerned anytime a government moves to restrain or punish speech, even if it’s repugnant,” he says. “What may be repugnant to one may not be to another.”

Meeghan Falls, a former Lamar University student, would not have been protected under a law like California’s.

Within a two-year relationship, Falls says she sent countless sexually explicit photos to her boyfriend at the time, a fellow Lamar student.

“After a year and half, you think, ‘I’m going to be with this guy forever,'” says Falls, now 21. “I didn’t have any problems sending these kinds of photos to him.”

The couple eventually split, and about two months later, Falls says she received a Facebook message from a stranger informing her that her photos and other identifying information were on a revenge porn site.

“My stomach dropped. I started shaking. I started crying immediately,” she says. “I felt like the whole world had seen me naked.”

Falls says she is currently in a civil lawsuit against her ex that includes three other women whose images he distributed on revenge porn sites.

Jacobs says that in a world where technology and sexuality overlap so heavily, she rejects the notion that preventing revenge porn means abstaining from taking sexual images.

“When people say that, it’s absolutely another version of blaming the victim. It’s the same thing as someone telling someone who’s been physically raped that they shouldn’t have been wearing that skirt,” she says, adding that she hopes to see further state and federal legislation.

Falls says telling her story is difficult, but she hopes it can prevent her experience from happening to someone else.

“I trusted this man … foolishly, but I trusted this man to keep [the photos] private, confidential,” she says. “As long as we can stop other girls from doing this and having this done to them, as long as something positive can come out of this, it would be just wonderful.”

Falls, who is now engaged to be married, says the betrayal she experienced hasn’t made her cynical.

“I don’t want people to think that they shouldn’t trust anyone, but just be careful who you do trust,” she says. “Make sure they’re worthy of it.”

Millennials deal with consequences of ‘revenge porn’ – USA TODAY
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest

‘Revenge porn’ websites face New York state ban – The Guardian

“Revenge porn” websites will be banned in the state of New York, if the proposals of three legislators in the state are adopted.

The proposals are aimed at a growing subset of sites which appeal to ex-partners to submit images as revenge for perceived wrongs.

Some such sites claim to be offering services to potential lovers; one slogan reads “get the dirt before you get hurt”. Others have an element of extortion, offering removal of pictures in exchange for payment.

“Revenge porn can ruin a woman’s life, family and career,” said Senator Phil Boyle, the state representative of Suffolk County.

“As the social media phenomenon grows, more and more women are being violated and exploited by their ex-boyfriends and husbands. These private images go viral to the world and women have little or no legal recourse. I will introduce a bill to give law enforcement the tools to protect victims of revenge porn.”

Explicit images cause lasting damage

Democratic assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Republican state senator Joseph Griffo also announced their plans to take action in a joint statement.

“Disseminating sexual explicit images that were shared with an expectation of privacy can cause lasting damage to victims and should be a crime,” said Braunstein.

Revenge porn website
‘Revenge porn sites are happy to help out, posting these photos alongside the subject’s full names, address, and even phone number.’ Photograph: Martyn Vickery/Alamy

“Currently, these victims have limited options when their pictures taken with their consent, were posted online,” said Griffo. “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 York would be following California, where Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill outlawing the publication of such material in early October.

The Californian bill, Senate Bill 255 defines revenge porn as publishing “nude images” of another person “with the intent to cause substantial emotional distress or humiliation”. It also requires that the publication be accompanied by “personal identifying information” of the other person.

Proposed bill doesn’t include selfies

Boyle describes the case of a Florida woman who, a year after breaking up with her boyfriend of three years, discovered naked pictures of herself on a revenge porn site.

Along with her email and work addresses, those photos spread to more than 200 similar sites, forcing her to change her name to stop the harassment.

But the California bill has been subject to criticism for not going far enough. Crucially, it does not cover publication of nude “selfies”, images taken by the subject themselves.

A survey by the Florida-based Cyber Civil Rights Initiative found that 80% of revenge porn victims had taken the photos or videos themselves, and so would not be covered by the bill at all.

Holly Jacobs, the CCRI’s founder, has expressed concern that the lacuna is due to victim-blaming on the part of legislators, with one bill drafter telling her that people who took such photos are “stupid”.

Boyle is clear that his preferred version of the law would cover such occurrences. “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,” he told local radio station 1010 WINS.

• If governments really wanted to stop online pornography they could ask ISPs to ban YouTube, Blogger and Tumblr

‘Revenge porn’ websites face New York state ban – The Guardian
revenge porn – Google News… Read the rest