Request My Consultation

How Can We Help?

Quick Contact Form

Send My Info

Revenge Porn: The State of the Law in New York

Posted By Steven Brill || 5-May-2014

At the moment there is no specific statute criminalizing what is commonly known as "revenge porn" in New York. As it is generally understood, revenge porn refers to the unauthorized publication or dissemination of nude or otherwise sexually compromising photographs or video. There are existing statutes that would possibly address some types of behavior—specifically, where the images were taken without the subject's knowledge or permission (Dissemination of an unlawful surveillance image, NY PL 250.60) or when the images, which must meet a nebulous definition of offensive, are displayed in public, which has a restricted pre-internet definition (Public display of Offensive Sexual Material NY PL 245.11). Neither of these statutes, however, would criminalize an ex-partner sending a consensual, non-obscene image to an employer, family member or posting that image on twitter.A New York criminal court considered precisely such a case recently in People v. Barber, 2013 NY Slip Op 50193(U), (Feb. 18, 2014) and dismissed those exact charges (along with an aggravated harassment charge) as being facially insufficient. In response, New York has joined a growing number of states looking to enact explicit statutes criminalizing revenge porn (currently only New Jersey hand California have laws on the books). The law in question, BILL NO A08214A, is currently under consideration in the state legislature. It's passage, however, if far from assured as it faces stiff opposition from those who feel it will infringe upon First Amendment rights.As of this moment, unless the action and image fall into the definitions of the statutes mentioned above, the only remedy for a victim of revenge porn is a civil suit. The problem with this, of course, apart from the cost and time required to prosecute a civil case, is that once the image has been disseminated, the image is already done, and a financial settlement may be too little too late.