Revenge Porn in New York: What is it and What to Do if You’re a Victim

Revenge Porn in New York: What is it and What to Do if You’re a Victim

Revenge Porn in New York: What is it and What to Do if You’re a Victim

Revenge

In recent years, many people have been the victims of revenge porn. Revenge porn is not only intrusive, but it can destroy relationships, careers and lives.  Due to the destructive and harmful nature of revenge porn, most states (all but two) have enacted laws to provide victims with remedies and protection.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn is the act of disclosing, disseminating, publishing or otherwise sharing an “intimate” image or video of another individual without his or her consent.  This definition encompasses images or videos obtained without the consent of the individual depicted (such as hidden recordings) as well as images or videos originally obtained with the consent of the individual depicted (such as images obtained within the context of a consensual private relationship).

Are there laws that protect victims of revenge porn in New York?

Both New York City and New York have enacted laws to protect victims of revenge porn.

In New York State, posting or disseminating an intimate image is both a criminal and a civil offense (See NY Penal § 245.15; New York Civil Rights Law 52-b).  To be civilly liable under the New York State revenge porn statute, the person posting or sharing the intimate image must intend to cause harm to the victim and the photo or video must be published or disseminated without the depicted person’s consent.  Additionally, the person sharing or publishing the intimate images or video may be liable if the person depicted reasonably expected the image or video to remain private.  If a perpetrator is found liable under New York Civil Rights Law 52-b, a judge or jury can award a victim injunctive relief, exemplary damages, compensatory damages, reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees.

New York City’s revenge porn statute is similar in many ways to the New York State revenge porn statute (See (NYC Administrative Code § 10-180).  Both laws require (1) the dissemination or disclosure of (2) photos or videos that depict the unclothed, exposed, or sexual activities of the victim (3) with the intent to cause some form of harm to the victim and (4) a lack of consent from the depicted individual depicted in the photos or videos.  Notably, New York City’s law provides that it is a criminal and civil offense to merely threaten to disclose intimate images or video without the consent of the subject of the video or images.  A violation of either New York City’s revenge porn law or New York state’s revenge porn law could result in criminal prosecution and a Class A misdemeanor.

Having been enacted in 2019, the New York City and New York state revenge porn laws are relatively new.  Subsections of each statute require the subject of the intimate content to be identifiable.  This does not necessarily mean that the victim’s face must be shown or that the subject is identifiable to a wide audience.  Rather, it is sufficient if the victim’s features depicted in the pictures or videos (such as tattoos or hair color) make him or her identifiable to another individual. 

What can I do if I am a victim of revenge porn in New York?

If you are the victim of revenge porn, the first step is to document what is happening in real time through additional photographs, screen shots, or other recordings of the publication or dissemination of your image.  If the images are posted or published to a website or social media platform, request that the content is removed from by using the relevant reporting functions on the social media platform or other website.  Additionally, you should seek help from an experienced attorney.  An attorney will be able to help you file a claim under the applicable New York statutes.

Are there any other options?

While New York revenge porn laws can give victims relief, the law provides several alternative avenues for victims of revenge porn.  For instance, if you are a victim of revenge porn you may also be able to bring the following tort claims against a perpetrator:

  • intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • public disclosure of private facts
  • intrusion upon seclusion
  • other New York privacy or harassment torts

Additionally, if a victim of revenge porn took the photograph or video or is the copyright holder for the photograph or video, then he or she can utilize the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by sending takedown requests to internet service providers that may be hosting the intimate images or videos.  Internet service providers and social media platforms typically have a link where you can quickly and easily submit a takedown request.  Victims of revenge porn may also want to consider informing the police or the relevant prosecuting authorities of the nonconsensual pornography. 

Conclusion

If you have been the victim of revenge porn, the experienced attorneys at Romano Law are here to help.

Photo by  Sigmund on Unsplash

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Notice

This Blog is made available by Romano Law PLLC for general informational and educational purposes only, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this Blog you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Romano Law PLLC or any individual contributor. You should consult a licensed professional attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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