'Revenge Porn': Why the Legal System Fails to Stop It
Activists say laws must be written very carefully
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2013 4:40 PM CDT
Revenge porn is proliferating, and activists say they know why.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Just why is "revenge porn" proliferating across the Internet? Not only because scumbag ex-boyfriends are so easy to come by, Salon reports. Activists say people get away with posting photos of women in various states of undress because the legal system hasn't caught up. In civil law, website operators can't be charged for content submitted by others, and even if those submitters are found, "they're just basement dwellers," says activist Erica Johnstone. "So, you might end up with a six-figure judgment that the plaintiff can never collect."

Criminal laws give people more recourse, but police may not always know about them. "Cops don't understand, they aren't trained," says a law professor. "They just want women to turn off their computers." Even when laws are passed, they can contain glaring loopholes, like allowing for photos taken in a public place. A New Jersey statute used in the Tyler Clementi case may provide the best blueprint, because it covers photos containing intimate parts or sexual contact without a person's consent. But it's a difficult balancing act: "There’s a very fine line between invasion of privacy and free speech," says Johnstone.

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Showing 3 of 42 comments
Brian1001
Apr 8, 2013 3:53 PM CDT
When it comes to porn, "girlfriend revenge" is just the tip of the iceberg for what's out there...and sex is not speech. Read this Memo on Porn... http://somethoughtsonstuff.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/memo-on-porn-from-brian-black/
WiccanFerret
Apr 8, 2013 1:27 PM CDT
I know a particular young lady, who was well renowned by the gaming community, whose boyfriend did something like this to her. She wasn't ugly, and was in fact slightly better than average with no clothes, I would say...but she was no model, so she caught an absurd amount of hell for her little body, which was really sad. She hid from the net for YEARS, and a lot of us missed her. I would love nothing more than to see her scumbag boyfriend go to jail, and it shouldn't be too hard to track IPs on cases like this, almost no one knows how to truly hide theirs. It would have to be done on an individual basis, though. The sweeping "copyright protection" laws that they keep trying to pass are as ludicrous as they are ineffective.
BCS
Apr 8, 2013 10:43 AM CDT
"they can contain glaring loopholes, like allowing for photos taken in a public place." That glaring loophole is called the First Amendment. Documentation of a public event/occurrence At this stage of the internet, there are so many naked pictures of men and women in circulation, that looking for a specific person is like searching for a needle in a very large haystack. As a society and individuals, we need to get over the significance of nudity. Big f**king deal