In various states there has been an emerging trend of websites targeting revenge on past relationships, by allowing users to post nude and sexually explicit photographs online for the world to see. Women in both Texas and Florida have come forward with complaints of having found photographs of themselves posted on these websites. The photos alone are not all they are finding on these sites though.
Websites designed to promote “revenge porn” as it has been termed, allow people to not only view these photos but also leave comments, which are often sexually explicit and insulting. Women depicted on websites of this type report being harassed on social media like facebook and twitter by individuals who have seen these photos. Involuntary porn is generally posted listing the person’s real name, city and state, and even links to social media profiles. The threat of the victim’s safety is not the only concern for those victimized by this trend but also the threat of current or potential employers finding these photos. There have been reports of certain posting prompting viewers to contact the supervisor of the victim. Attorney John S. Morgan of Beaumont, who represents a victim of revenge porn and others in a class action lawsuit, says several of his clients have lost jobs.
Despite this growing trend to humiliate victims, there’s no clear way to legally penalize those who post revenge porn. Only two states, California and New Jersey, have created laws against posting a sexual photo online without the depicted individual’s consent. Legal experts suggest revenge porn may violate other state statutes; however it’s common for police to say no law was broken unless the picture is classified as child porn (a photo of someone under the age of 18). As a result many victims have turned to filing privacy lawsuits or relied on copyright law. If a victim alleges the photo is a self-portrait, the copyright is owned automatically and they can notify the site that it’s violating the copyright and liable for a lawsuit. Victims report that often website operators respond to these notices.
“Copyright is a powerful tort,” says Eric Goldman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law and director of its High Tech Law Institute. “Some sites are overseas or consider themselves judgment-proof, but anyone who has assets and cares about them tends to be pretty responsive to copyright claims.”
Unfortunately, due to the advancement of technology simply having the photographs taken off these websites are not the end of victim’s problems as digital photos are easy to reproduce. It’s easy for the original poster of the photos to resubmit them to another site or for viewers to have already saved the images.
Revenge porn is an invasion of privacy and the potential harm faced by its victims endless. If you or a loved one has been harmed by involuntary sexually explicit photography please call us today!
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys