Victims of "Revenge Porn" in New York

The attorneys in our Defamation Practice help victims of “revenge porn” who have had their personal images or videos made public by ex-lovers, spouses, or friends.


By publishing your sexually explicit photographs or videos without your consent these individuals are engaging in a potentially illegal act.


NYPL § 245.15 - Definition of “Revenge Porn” in New York


NYPL § 245.15 defines “revenge porn” as the “unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image” when done with the “intent to cause harm to the emotional, financial, or physical welfare of another person.”


Classification

NYPL § 245.15 is a Class A Misdemeanor.


Penalties

Penalties for violating NYPL § 245.15 include 1 year in prison, $1,000 fine, or both.


Court-Ordered Injunctions

NYPL § 245.15 is the first law in the nation to allow judges to order websites, social media platforms, or the original poster, to take down the photos or videos.


“Private Right of Action”

NYPL § 245.15 amends New York State’s Civil Rights Law to allow victims of revenge porn to seek civil recourse for the damages.  According to the bill, this allows a victim a “choice whether to pursue a criminal or civil case, or both.”

New York Passes Law on "Revenge Porn"

Bill Passed by New York State Legislature on February 28, 2019.  Signed into law by Governor Cuomo on July 23, 2019.


1st Law in the U.S. to Allow Judges to Order a Take Down


NYPL § 245.15 is the first law in the nation to allow judges to order websites, social media platforms, or the original poster, to take down the photos or videos.


42nd State to Make Revenge Porn Illegal


New York was the 42nd state to pass a law making the distribution of revenge porn illegal.  According to the bill, victims of revenge porn “are routinely threatened with sexual assault, stalked, harassed, or fired from jobs.”

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NYPL § 130.00 - Definition of “Sexual Conduct”


According to NYPL § 130.00, “sexual conduct” is defined as:


  1. “Sexual Intercourse” - “Any penetration, however slight.”
  2. “Oral Sexual Conduct” - “Contact between the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the anus, or the mouth and the vulva or vagina.”
  3. “Anal Sexual Conduct” - “Contact between the penis and anus.”
  4. “Aggravated Sexual Contact” - “Inserting, other than for a valid medical purpose, a foreign object in the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum, or anus of a child, thereby causing physical injury to such child.”
  5. “Sexual Contact” - “Any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party.”


NYPL § 245.15 - “Reasonable Expectation of Privacy”


According to NYPL § 245.15, a person is guilty of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image when the picture or video:


“was taken under circumstances when the person depicted had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private”


AND


“the actor knew or reasonably should have known the person depicted intended for the still or video image to remain private, regardless of whether the actor was present when the still or video image was taken.”


NYPL § 250.40 - “Disseminate” and “Publish” 


In order to be found guilty of violating NYPL § 250.40, a prosecutor must prove that a person did either (1) unlawfully “disseminate” or (2) unlawfully “publish” an “intimate image.”


According to NYPL § 250.40, “DISSEMINATE” means to:


“give, provide, lend, deliver, mail, send, forward, transfer, or transmit, electronically or otherwise to another person.”


According to NYPL § 250.40, “PUBLISH” means to:


  1. “Disseminate” -as defined above- “with the intent that such image or images be disseminated to ten or more persons;” or
  2. “Disseminate” -as defined above- “with the intent that such images be sold by another person;” or
  3. “Post, present, display, exhibit, circulate, advertise, or allow access, electronically or otherwise, so as to make an image or images available to the public;” or
  4. “Disseminate” -as defined above- “with the intent that an image or images be posted, presented, displayed, exhibited, circulated, advertised or made accessible, electronically or otherwise and to make such image or images available to the public.”


Civil Damages for Violating NYPL § 245.15 - “Revenge Porn”


Damages may include seeking recourse against any website “that hosts or transmits a still or video image taken under circumstances where the person depicted had a reasonable expectation of privacy, which depicts an unclothed or exposed intimate part, or a resident of New York engaging in sexual conduct.”


Statute of Limitations


For civil actions, a victim can file a claim no later than:

  • three years after the dissemination of publication of an image; or
  • one year from the date a person discovers the image had been distributed or posted online.


When Does NYPL § 245.15 NOT Apply?


According to NYPL § 245.15, this section does not apply to:


  1. “The reporting of unlawful conduct;”
  2. “The dissemination or publication of an intimate image made during lawful and common practices of law enforcement, legal proceedings or medical treatment;”
  3. “Images involving voluntary exposure in a public or commercial setting;” or
  4. “Dissemination or publication of an intimate image made for a legitimate public purpose.”


Claims from Critics


Critics claim NYPL 245.15 falls short because “laws against sharing nonconsensual pornography should be about consent of the person in the image, not intent of the person distributing the image.”

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"Revenge Porn" Attorneys

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