The ABA Journal has an article that provides a fairly balanced analysis of some of the challenges that arise with respect to addressing and stopping “revenge porn” also known as involuntary pornography. According to the author of the article, there’s no clear legal avenue to penalize posters for revenge porn. This seems to be in direct contrast to the Op-ed referenced earlier this week which stated that revenge porn laws are unnecessary. The author also mentions that, at present, only two states (CA and NJ) have laws directly addressing revenge porn. However, several states are considering creating their own revenge porn laws in the future.
Wired magazine has an op-ed piece in which the author, a Third-Year law student at Harvard Law School, criticizes recent efforts to criminalize revenge porn. The term”revenge porn” refers to situations where an individual with the intent to cause emotional distress or humiliation places nude or lascivious photos of their former significant other online. Among other things, the author, highlights the unintended consequences of such laws. The author also notes the challenges of enforcing revenge porn laws online. The author then discusses alternatives to enacting new laws on revenge porn.
A victim can go after the initial vengeful discloser under a tort theory of public disclosure of private information and even the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A victim who personally took the photographs holds copyright in them and can have them removed from a website through the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Porn websites – whether hosting voluntary or involuntary porn — are subject to more laws than just CDA 230; conceivably, the FBI could go after some revenge porn sites under 18 U.S.C. 2257 for not keeping records on the subjects of their photos.
Finally, websites that offer to take down photos in return for payment are clearly in the business of extortion, which, once again, is already illegal.
The author, who is female, closes with the following line
Refusing to criminalize revenge porn would not make us misogynists. It would instead make us prudent.
Although unrelated to the law, I think readers will nonetheless find this post interesting. According to a new study out of Indiana University available here, Cincinnati was the #2 location (Los Angeles is #1) for setting Twitter trends. This means that a hash tag was likely to start trending in Cincinnati before it caught on and became popular nationally. While most accept and understand LA’s #1 position, others aren’t sure why Cincinnati would place #2 and be such a national trend setter. Some have speculated that it is due to the large number of advertising, public relations and marketing research firms in the city.
To read the Cincinnati Enquirer’s take on this finding go here.
This article highlights the various ways criminals use social media to not only boast about criminal activity, but also to plan, organize and conduct future crimes. The article pays particular attention to Twitter and how it has become increasingly popular with criminals. To read earlier posts about cyber banging go here.
NewsFactorNetwork: Criminals Taking it to the Tweets
Two developing stories in Louisiana about social media and online impersonation. In the first story, a man hacked into his ex-girlfriend’s computer and deleted her class schedule and created a fake Match.com account for her. He has been charged with computer tampering and online impersonation. To read more about the incident go here.
The second story involves a clash between speech and online impersonation. Patricia James is accused of creating a bogus Facebook identity under the name of “Kimmie Braud.”
The real Kim Braud, who works for Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez, filed a criminal complaint about the Facebook site created by James. In October of 2012, James was charged with online impersonation. James had previously worked for Martinez up until May 2012.
Last month the defense attorney for James, in a motion to dismiss, argued that the online impersonation statute is an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech when applied to public figures because the law does not require proving actual malice. The statute has only been in place since Aug 1, 2012. In response to the defense, the prosecution asserted that the law here does not impede free speech. Instead, it prevents people from impersonating others and damaging their name on social media.
The judge deferred ruling on the defendant’s motion to dismiss until November when the trial is scheduled to start. To read more about this incident go here.
Professor Ursula Furi-Perry of the Massachusetts School of Law has a new book entitled Social Media Law: A Handbook of Case and Use. According to the book publisher (ABA), the book examines social and new media issues through the lens of law and policy. Some of the topics covered by the book include:
- privacy, anonymity, and accountability in the context of social networking
- sources and privacy issues faced by journalists
- the future of journalism and publishing in the context of new media
- the intersection of social media and the First Amendment
- social media issues in employment law
- social media and education law
- copyright and fair use in the context of new media
- peer-to-peer file sharing
- the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the proposed PROTECT IP Act
- new media and its impact on mass communications laws
- social media and litigationfrom tweeting jurors (and jurors who tweet) to messaging witnesses to friending judges
- bloggers, user-created content, citizen journalism, and the like
- social media-related cybercrime and its prosecution
- the intersection of social medial law and new business models, and implications on business law and contract law
- virtual law practice and the role of social and new media in representing clients, specifically in the business of law practice and in issues of professionalism