michigan law specifically outlaws revenge porn

New Michigan Law Against ‘Revenge Porn’

Although issues related to sending sexually explicit photos via a mobile phone or other device is something many people associate more often with teens, the practice can lead to trouble for adults, too.

In recent years many cases have appeared in which a person has shared images with a significant other and then when the relationship ends the private image is shared with others as a means of hurting the other person.

Cases like this have come to be known as “revenge porn” or “cyber revenge,” and until recently, Michigan prosecutor’s have had a difficult time prosecuting the cases because there hasn’t been a law directly dealing with such cases.

Last year one such case popped up in Michigan’s Charlevoix County. The defendant in the case was ultimately charged with one count of unlawful posting of a message, a two-year charge.

However a new Michigan state law that Gov. Rick Snyder signed recently now specifically criminalizes the distribution of sexually-explicit materials intended to threaten, coerce, or intimidate.

In a news release issued last week Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof noted that revenge porn cases often occur after a break-up, when one partner distributes intimate material sent during the couple’s relationship.

Under the new law, a person who distributes sexually explicit materials with the intent to threaten, coerce, or intimidate another person faces a $500 fine and up to 93 days in jail. A second offense can result in a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

“Our office is pleased to see the bipartisan support these bills have received,” said Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gregory Justis. “It’s another tool in our toolbox to respond to the tremendous rise in the use of social media to engage in domestic abuse and cyber harassment.”

State legislators have tried since 2014 to pass a law targeting revenge porn or non-consensual pornography. With the new law, Michigan joins 27 other states with statutes specifically designed to prevent and respond to revenge porn.

The bills were sponsored by Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, and Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

“The new law balances our cherished freedoms of speech with the need to address behavior intended solely to harm another person, often seriously and irreversibly,” said Justis, who primarily handles cases involving domestic violence and criminal sexual conduct. “Revenge porn is about control and abuse, and the law targets only those who intend to engage in control and abuse.”

“It will also help shift the focus away from innocent victims, who are often blamed for their own victimization, to those who commit a serious crime,” he said.

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Revenge porn not ‘free expression’

Revenge porn not free expression

Last week, the country was outraged by a loophole in Oklahoma law that allowed a rapist to walk because the incident involved oral sex upon an intoxicated girl. A few days later, the Legislature pushed through another sexually-charged measure that probably already should have been on the books, but wasn’t.

By the time you read this, Gov. Mary Fallin may have signed into law Senate Bill 1257, which will make the dissemination of so-called “revenge pornography” a misdemeanor. The bill doesn’t ban publication of explicit images per se, though many of the staunchly religious at the statehouse would do so if that pesky First Amendment didn’t prevent them. SB 1257 prohibits the use of such material with the intent of harassing or humiliating its subject – which most of the time is a woman.

There have been many cases where an individual has allowed her partner to take racy photos either of her as an individual or as part of a couple or group. Then later, the couple has divorced or separated, and the bitter man gets back at his former lover by broadcasting the private images all over the Internet. Sometimes men are the victims.

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what could happen. A prospective employer Googles the woman’s name, and up pop the private pictures. That might not be an issue for some employers, but for the more traditional among them, the phrase “moral turpitude” comes to mind. An otherwise highly qualified woman could be denied a job for which she is ideally suited just because of a “mistake” she made years ago, even if that mistake didn’t involve breaking the law.

SB 1257 makes it a crime to disseminate an “identifiable” image of someone who is nude or engaged in sexual conduct, if the image was gleaned in a way that a “reasonable person” would understand it was private; and if the image was made public with the intent to “harass, intimidate, or coerce” the subject, who clearly didn’t intend the photo for public consumption. Upon conviction, the perpetrator could be jailed by the county for up to a year, and fined up to $1,000. A judge can also order the photo’s eradication, if possible.

The law won’t stop everyone from taking revenge in this way, but it might slow down many people who would act on the spur of the moment, then later regret it.

The most ardent free speech advocates may cry foul over SB 1257, but the constitutional right to “free expression” is not absolute. In other words, you should not have the right to express yourself in a way that will destroy someone else’s life. Even the media must take into account the questions of libel, defamation of character, and invasion of privacy.

With the latter two standards, even if the material is accurate or true – in other words, not libelous – that doesn’t necessarily make it fair game. Lawsuits can erupt when publication of material is deemed to cross those lines. If the professional media must adhere to these standards, then in these days of widespread Internet access and social media interactions, the general public should adhere to them, too.

Revenge never ends well, and it should be eschewed, both in public and in private.

Please note: Parts of this story were removed because we felt the comments were victim blaming.

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Sex education key to preventing revenge porn as 30% of cases involve under 19

For that first time, police numbers have exposed that around 30% of documented incidents of revenge porn concerned young adults under the age of 19.  In the months since April 2015, when it was criminalized, a Freedom of Information request by the BBC has revealed that over 1,000 incidents were reported to the police.

Revenge porn is the act of releasing private videos or pictures of sexual nature without the spouse or ex-partner’s permission.

17 -year-old Daniel Perry killed himself after he was blackmailed over erotic pictures he’d published online.  Additional victims have talked within the aftermath of the crime of the suicidal thoughts. In three cases, children as young as 11 were the victims.

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teens problems - revenge porn victims

Other victims have spoken of their suicidal feelings in the aftermath of the crime.

While the three youngest ­victims were only 11, the oldest were in their 60s.

Helplines say that members of law enforcement, teachers and social workers in their 20s and 30s are just as likely to fall prey as naive teenagers.

Experts say it can also be part of the “coercive control” exerted by manipulative and violent partners over their victims.

“This is a large and growing problem, and is causing huge amounts of harm to victims,” says former Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert, who campaigned for the legislation which made revenge porn an offense.

“Too many perpetrators managed to persuade themselves that they were doing nothing wrong because it wasn’t illegal, and that has now changed.

“However, legislation can only ever be part of the solution – what we need is much better consent-based sex and relationships education, so that people are clear that this kind of humiliating behavior in unacceptable. Social change is the best way to protect people.”

Social media has made bullying among teenagers even more invasive for victims

An NSPCC spokesman said: “It is shocking that children as young as 11 are becoming ­victims of revenge porn – and underlines the urgent need for action by social media sites to improve safety.

“Young people also need to be aware of the serious risks of sending explicit material or ­photos of themselves. Once an image is sent there is no control over where it will end up or who will see it.”

Sarah Green, director of the campaign group End Violence Against Women, said that women’s charities have been aware for some time that revenge porn “often forms part of a pattern of domestic and sexual violence”.

“The threat of it can be used to coercively control victims, just as the threat of withdrawing access to children can be used to manipulate and harass,” she said.

“We were delighted when the Government brought in this law but we think the protection of anonymity, as there is for victims in other sex crimes, would make people more likely to come forward.

“We also think that compulsory sex education, challenging the culture in schools which regards sexually active girls as ‘slags’ and ‘whores’ is essential. The concept of consent extends to spreading sexual images too.

revenge porn victims deserve anonymity

“The comparison we would draw is with drink-driving, when a change in the law changed ­attitudes over time. It’s not the case that our internet culture somehow makes revenge porn inevitable.”

Carolyn Bunting, general manager of internet safety body Internet Matters, said: “The fact more than three out of 10 ­incidents of so-called revenge appears to involve under 19 year olds brings to the fore how important it is for children to be protected online so they’re able to explore the digital world ­without fear.

“There will no doubt be many more who are victims and have not reported it to the police and are suffering in silence.

“Our main focus is to help parents stop their children falling into this trap in the first place, through communication and education.

“It’s always a tricky conversation to have, but we’d encourage parents to talk to their children about the danger of sending explicit images.”


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YouTube Sensation Opens Up About Her Revenge Porn Legal Battle


(NEW YORK) — Chrissy Chambers is one half of the YouTube sensation “BriaAndChrissy,” a singing duo whose message of LGBT empowerment has earned them hundreds of thousands of followers.

But it was a different kind of attention that suddenly spun Chambers’ world out of control. One day, she started getting disturbing comments like these from followers calling her a “slut,” a “hypocrite” and “disgusting.”

Chambers said she had no idea what was happening, but eventually she discovered that a sex tape of her with her ex-boyfriend had been posted online.

“It was single handedly probably one of the hardest moments of my life,” Chambers said. “I found out after Googling myself it was just — it was such a horrific pain like to be hit with a baseball bat. … I literally just collapsed on the floor.”

It wasn’t just the shock that a sex tape had been made public. It was also that it existed at all because Chambers said she has no memory of making the video.

Chambers said her ex-boyfriend secretly taped himself having sex with her while she was passed out drunk then allegedly released the video online three years ago. She calls it an online attack.

“I had been assaulted because I was unconscious when the videos were filmed,” she said. “Someone was posting on our channel links to the videos to our fans and we couldn’t even keep up … that this person you cared about so much could betray you in such an intense way. It was horrific.”

Chambers said the trauma surrounding her alleged cyber assault impacts every aspect of her life.

“The biggest thing I feel I lost in my life was the feeling of control … control over my own body, my image, it was just so damaging in so many ways but that invasion of privacy is such a sharp sword,” she said.

And with a public career built around sharing her life with fans though posting videos online, it was those viewer comments she said that cut deep.

“It was really hard because after the videos came out we heard from some of our subscribers, you know, ‘I’ve been watching for a while but I can’t respect somebody who would do this, or is a slut and a whore, I can’t look up to you,’ and it broke our hearts every time we read something like that,” Chambers said.

Chambers said she is one of many victims of revenge porn, which is a form of non-consensual porn or the distribution of sexually graphic images without consent.

Carrie Goldberg, a New York-based attorney who handles Internet privacy and sexual consent cases, said revenge porn “could be a rape video that’s gone viral or pictures that were originally created and distributed with the context of an intimate relationship.”

There are an estimated 2,000 websites dedicated to revenge pornography worldwide — websites where often jilted exes post intimate photos or video at a former lover’s expense. It’s a cyber-threat that’s difficult to track and even harder to prosecute.

“The biggest frustration that I hear from clients is, I mean, everyone wants their images taken down, and they want to sue the website,” Goldberg said. “There are actually federal laws that immunize online service providers for content that other people post.

“It’s still oftentimes really, really hard to get law enforcers to take complaints seriously and to get investigators and detectives to use their limited resources to investigate these cases, and to get prosecutors and judges to also see these cases through the end,” she added.

Goldberg said 80 percent of her cases are related to revenge porn.

“When clients contact me, they are in the middle of a tornado. It’s a crisis moment,” she said. “They’re often hysterical, crying. They can’t see beyond this and so they think for the rest of their life they’re always going to be exposed on the Internet.”

For Chrissy Chambers, the road to justice has already been long and hard, complicated in part because Chambers said her alleged offender posted the footage in England, forcing her to file suit overseas. ABC News’ efforts to reach the ex-boyfriend were not successful.

“They didn’t have a revenge porn law yet and just felt like we were getting shunned and pushed away. We felt so helpless,” Chambers said. “They would say, ‘I’m so sorry this happened to you, but we can’t help because we don’t have a revenge porn law,’ or ‘since he was in another country that was just too much. It’s out of our hands.’ And while it was in enraging it was just more devastating.”

England and Wales have a revenge porn law on the books now, but the law doesn’t apply to Chambers’ case because her alleged assault happened before their law was in place.

Attorney Ann Olivarius and her team plan to bring a civil suit against Chambers’ alleged offender. While a civil suit is often an option in the United States, it would be the first of its kind in England.

The fight against revenge porn has come a long way in recent years, spurred on by other advocates, with 27 states and the District of Columbia passing specific criminal laws to protect against it. Activist groups like the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative are working for victims to provide online resources, legal support and even a crisis helpline. Tech companies like Twitter, Google and Microsoft now offer tools for users who wish to de-link or remove images they claim to be revenge porn.

Chambers and her girlfriend Bria Kam have been chronicling their journey on their YouTube channel, and there are also notes of hope. Some viewers have commented that they sympathize with Chambers’ situation.

“It’s just incredible how, like we have seen the darkest side of the Internet. But we’ve also seen the most beautiful side of the Internet,” Kam said.

Chambers has also used their YouTube channel as a platform to encourage reform and her quest for change has also led her to petition for a federal law to criminalize revenge porn.

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Man charged with posting “revenge porn” says ex-girlfriend is lying

RICHMOND, Va. — A Richmond man has been charged under the revenge porn statute but he claims his ex-girlfriend is actually the one seeking revenge on him.

Twenty-three-year-old Corey Alexander said he got quite a surprise last week to find out from his probation officer that he was being hit with another charge: unlawful dissemination of an image, also known as revenge porn.

“It hurt me real bad, man,” said Alexander Monday. “I want to cry, but I can’t.”

Alexander said his ex is drumming up charges that are more than a year old, and CBS 6 legal experts said he may have a good defense.

Corey Alexander

“She sent the videos to me and we agreed,” Alexander said. “I’ve got proof. I’m innocent.”

“The revenge porn statute is designed to prohibit people from posting online to intimidate or harass,” said CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone.

Alexander said he did neither. He points out the videos were not posted to social media, but to an X-rated porn site where you can upload amateur videos.

Alexander showed CBS 6 where his ex-girlfriend sent the videos to him via email. He said he believes the charge has surfaced now, more than a year later, for one reason:

“She’s jealous because I’ve moved on,” he said.

Stone said if what Alexander is saying is the truth, then he has a solid defense.

“It looks like she waited and took a warrant out and if she really doesn’t have an explanation for that, then that’s something a judge will take into consideration.”

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Man ordered to attend counseling after revenge porn confession

Man ordered to seek counseling after posting revenge porn

Revenge porn landed a New Jersey man in mental-health counseling.

Christopher Morcos, 23, of Passaic, was sentenced to five years’ probation and must talk with a counselor after pleading guilty to posting nude shots of his ex, along with her personal information, on a porn site.

Morcos and the woman dated for two years before they split in November 2014. Three months later, she got a strange text, she said.

“I had received a text message from a random number saying that they had seen me on my page on Pornhub.com,” said the 20-year-old woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

She  later found the porn page, which included her full name, phone number and address, she said Morcos pleaded guilty and was sentenced last week.


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Authorities must be swifter in the crack down of ‘revenge porn’

The case in point involved the murder of a female high-school student in Mitaka, Tokyo, in 2013. After the case was referred back from a higher court and retried under the lay-judge system, the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court recently sentenced a 23-year-old man to 22 years in prison.

Out of his lingering attachment to the girl and resentment towards her, the man not only killed the girl but had repeatedly posted images of her on the internet. Besides murder charges, he was accused of other offenses, including violating the law banning child prostitution and pornography.

With the images exposed to an indefinitely large number of people, it was difficult to remove them. It was reasonable for the ruling to condemn the man’s conduct as “an extremely vicious crime that impaired the dignity of the victim”.

Prosecutors initially decided not to indict the man in connection with the posting of the images because the victim’s parents were concerned that their daughter’s dignity could be harmed if the man’s actions were treated as a criminal case.

The latest retrial was preceded by a different lay-judge trial regarding the murder case. The ruling handed down in the original trial sentenced the man to 22 years jail, referring to the vicious nature of his action in posting the images. But the Tokyo High Court overruled that, saying, “Posting of the images was not subject to indictment but may have been taken into account when assessing the culpability [of the accused].”

Prosecutors later brought a supplementary indictment against the man after receiving a criminal complaint from the girl’s family for suspected violation of the anti-child prostitution and pornography law. As it turned out, the decision handed down in the latest trial was the same as the one at the original trial regarding assessment of the man’s culpability. The girl’s family may find it difficult to accept the latest judgement.

The sequence of unusual developments in the case illustrates the difficulties involved in trying cases involving sex crimes.

As a result of the Mitaka murder case, the Revenge Porn Prevention Law in Tokyo was enforced in November 2014. It allows imprisonment of up to three years and other punishment for anyone who has exposed sexually explicit images to public view without permission of people involved.

Last year, the police authorities received 1,143 requests for consultation in connection with revenge porn. Many such requests concerned cases involving persons being threatened to “have their images disclosed”. In 188 cases, the police were told that images had actually been disclosed.

Last year, the police took action in connection with 276 cases involving such offenses as intimidation and violation of the revenge porn prevention law. To prevent damage from such crimes, we need to increasingly crack down on these offenses.

Once an image is posted on the Internet, it is highly probable it will be repeatedly duplicated. To stem the spread of images, it is indispensable to take quick action, such as submitting a request for website administrators to delete them.

It is also important to make widely known the dangers involved in having such pictures taken without much thought and sending them to others.

In the Mitaka case, the high-school girl and others had sought advice from the local police authorities about the man’s stalking behavior. However, the police failed to prevent her tragic death due to such factors as a lack of coordination among the police stations in their jurisdiction. The murder case has left an important lesson about how to deal with stalkers.

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Australian Court: Google Liable as Secondary Publisher in Internet Defamation Case

 Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP Internet Defamation Attorneys
Australian Court: Google Liable as Secondary Publisher in Internet Defamation Case
Then, some of the psychics retaliated with the allegedly false defamatory remarks about Duffy. As many people and businesses are aware of today, Ripoff Report postings (which the website will not remove) tend to rank highly in Google search results.

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Bill Cosby’s former attorney seeks to remove judge in Janice Dickinson defamation suit

Janice Dickinson says the lawyer defamed her when he defended Bill Cosby against allegations of rapeBill Cosby‘s former attorney wants to bar a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge from hearing a case in which model Janice Dickinson says the lawyer defamed her when he defended Cosby against allegations of rape.

On Monday, attorney Martin Singer filed court papers seeking to remove Judge Debra Katz Weintraub from the civil suit, which accuses both Singer and Cosby of defamation.

The filing comes roughly a month after the judge ruled both Cosby and his former attorney could be deposed by Dickinson’s lawyer, Lisa Bloom.

Singer did not state a reason in court papers as to why the judge should be removed. As a named defendant in the lawsuit, he can exercise the right to disqualify the jurist. If the petition is granted, the presiding judge will assign someone else to the case.

Cosby and Singer had been scheduled to answer questions about the case in November, but the Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeal ordered those depositions delayed after Cosby challenged the ruling.

Dickinson sued Cosby in May after Singer issued a statement calling her allegations “a lie.” Cosby also said that he did not rape Dickinson while in Lake Tahoe in 1982, as she has alleged.

Last month, attorney Gloria Allred, who is Bloom’s mother, deposed Cosby, 78, in a lawsuit filed by Judy Huth, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by the comedian in the 1970s at the Playboy Mansion when she was 15 years old.

After that deposition, Cosby replaced Singer with attorney Christopher Tayback.

In recent years, more than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault or abuse.

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