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New York State Law Now Protects Victims of “Revenge Porn”

October 08, 2019

On September 21, 2019, New York’s “revenge porn” laws took effect.  Revenge porn which is also called “image-based sexual abuse” and sometimes “sexploitation,” is the non-consented dissemination or publication of an intimate image.  Revenge porn scandals have recently engulfed the United States Marine Corps, the Los Angeles Police Department, and United Airlines.

While revenge porn existed before the Information Age, and continues to exist in print mediums, the accessibility and anonymity of the internet has allowed revenge porn perpetrators to inflict serious and long-lasting damage on their victims without fear of punishment.

Before the passage of the new law, New York remained one of only five states in the country without protections for victims of revenge porn.  The legislature’s multi-year delay in passing these laws has allowed many perpetrators to go unpunished.  More importantly, the state legislature’s failure to provide New Yorkers with an effective law against revenge porn left victims with few options.  Until now.

New York’s new laws make it a class A misdemeanor to disseminate or publish an intimate image with intent to cause harm to the victim.  Under the new laws, victims in New York may also seek an injunction requiring websites to remove their intimate images posted without their consent.  This is an important step that will allow a Court to order a third-party website to remove revenge porn content, which is a task that many victims struggle to undertake on their own.

The law also revised the New York State Civil Rights Law to create a private right of action for victims to recover damages against those who have unlawfully disseminated or published their intimate images, or have made threats to do so.  The civil aspect of the bill is incredibly important as many victims of revenge porn have suffered extensive emotional and physical damages in addition to the financial cost of this unlawful act.  In addition to damages to compensate the victim for the harm they have suffered, the new law also allows for victims to recover court costs and attorney’s fees as well as punitive damages which serve to punish the offender.

If you or a loved one have been a victim of revenge porn and want to speak with an attorney about your legal rights, call 212-983-6804 or fill out our contact form to receive a free legal consultation.

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