Revenge Porn Laws by State

Intentional distribution of non-consensual porn. Have you heard of it? Perhaps not by its full description, but you are likely familiar with the term "revenge porn," a type of online harassment that occurs when an ex-partner or even a hacker posts sexually explicit images of a person online without their permission.

It has been in the news in relation to several celebrities, including Mischa Barton, Taylor Swift, and, of course, the Kardashians. Whether we are talking about nude pictures on social media or so-called "celebrity sex tapes," the act of posting sexually explicit material online can be criminal.

But what exactly is revenge porn? Does it mean that someone wants revenge on another person and posts pornographic material containing them? Not quite. In fact, in many jurisdictions a perpetrator doesn’t even need to be exacting revenge on anyone. The distributor of the material need only intend to distribute the sexually explicit video or photograph with the intent to annoy or harass the victim without their consent.

To be clear, revenge porn is a form of cyber sexual harassment or, in some cases, cyberbullying, and should be taken very seriously, particularly if minors (those under the age of 18 years old) are the subject of the revenge porn. Penalties can be steep and civil lawsuits may also arise from posting these nonconsensual, pornographic materials including:

  • Injunctions;
  • Infringement notices;
  • Formal warnings; and
  • Take-down notices.

How Many States Have Revenge Porn Laws?

As of 2017, 38 states and the District of Columbia have specific laws outlawing distribution of revenge porn. However, revenge porn laws are still relatively new and the laws are continuing to develop. In order to be guilty of this crime in most states, the distributor must be sending out pictures or a video that are considered sexual in nature, such as showing the victim’s intimate body parts or engaging in a sexual act. Simply posting an unflattering picture of your ex in a bathing suit is not pornographic, absent any other circumstances, such as the victim’s genitalia being visible.

Prohibited Actions

While each state has different laws, most generally define the crime of revenge porn as any person, with the intent to harass or annoy another who:

  • Publishes or distributes electronic or printed photographs, pictures, or films that
  • Show the genitals, anus, or female breast of the other person, or
  • Depicts that person engaged in a sexual act.

Revenge Porn Laws by State

Below, you will find a list of states with revenge porn laws, including the District of Columbia. A person who is charged under a revenge porn statute may also be charged with other related crimes including cyber crimes, computer crimes, distribution of child pornography, and more. Also, it's important to note that in some states it is at the judge’s discretion to require the defendant to register as a sex offender if convicted.

State

Statute

Actions Prohibited

Possible Penalties

Alabama

SB301 signed into law May 27th, 2017

Distribution of an intimate, private image, where depicted person has not consented to the transmission and the sender intends to harass or intimidate the depicted person.

Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. Subsequent offenses are Class C felonies, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Alaska

Alaska Stat. § 11.61.120

Publishing or distributing electronic or printed photographs, pictures, or films that show the genitals of the other person, or depict that person engaged in a sexual act.

Class B misdemeanor, up to 90 days jail, a fine of $2,000.

Arizona

A.R.S. § 13-1425

Intentionally disclosing the image of an identifiable person in a state of nudity or engaged in sexual activity, when the person has an expectation of privacy, with the intent to harm, harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the depicted person.

Class 4 felony, punishable by 1.5 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000, possible registration as a sexual offender.

Arkansas

Arkansas Code 5-26-314

Distribution to a third party, a picture, video, image, or audio recording of another person in order to harass, frighten, intimidate, threaten, or abuse that person if the image or recording:

  • Is of a sexual nature or depicts the other person in a state of nudity, and
  • The person depicted or recorded is a family or household member of the perpetrator or another person with whom the perpetrator is in a current or former dating relationship.

Class A misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.

California

Penal Code § 647(j)(4)

  • Taking pictures or videos of another person’s intimate body parts, with the mutual understanding that such images will be kept confidential;
  • Distributing the images, where the victim is identifiable;
  • With the intent to cause serious emotional distress to the victim; and
  • The victim actually suffered such distress.

Misdemeanor, up to six months in jail, fine up to $1,000.

Colorado

Colorado Revised Statute§§ 18-7-107, 108

Posting or distributing through the use of social media or any web site any photograph, video, or other image displaying the private intimate parts of an identifiable person eighteen years of age or older with the intent to harass the depicted person and inflict serious emotional distress upon the depicted person.

Class 1 misdemeanor, six-18 months in jail, mandatory fine of $10,000.

Connecticut

Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-189c

Unlawful dissemination of an intimate image with intent to cause harm and without the victim’s consent.

Class A misdemeanor

Delaware

Delaware Code 1335, Title 11, (violation of privacy law)

Posting a nude or sexually explicit photo or video of someone on the internet without their consent.

Class G Felony if aggravating factors present.

District of Columbia

DC Code 22-2051 et. seq.

Knowingly disclosing one or more sexual images of another identifiable person when:
  1. The person depicted did not consent to the disclosure of the sexual image;
  2. There was an agreement or understanding between the person depicted and the person disclosing that the sexual image would not be disclosed; and
  3. The person disclosed the sexual image with the intent to harm the person depicted or to receive financial gain.

Misdemeanor, maximum fine of $1,000 and/or 180 days in jail, or a felony, with a maximum fine of $12,500 and/or three years in prison.

Florida

Florida Statute 784.049(3)

Publishing a sexually explicit image of another person along with personal identifying information of the depicted person to a website without the depicted person’s consent, for no legitimate purpose, and with the intent of causing the depicted person substantial emotional distress.

First degree misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, up to $1,000 in criminal fines.

Georgia

Georgia Code 16-11-90

Knowing the content of a transmission or post, knowingly and without the consent of the depicted person:
  1. Electronically transmits or posts, in one or more transmissions or posts, a photograph or video which depicts nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult when the transmission or post is harassment or causes financial loss to the depicted person and serves no legitimate purpose to the depicted person; or
  2. Causes the electronic transmission or posting, in one or more transmissions or posts, of a photograph or video which depicts nudity or sexually explicit conduct of an adult when the transmission or post is harassment or causes financial loss to the depicted person and serves no legitimate purpose to the depicted person.

Aggravated misdemeanor, but subsequent charges can be a felony punishable by one-five years prison, up to $100,000 fine.

Hawaii

Hawaii Revised Statutes 711-1110.9

Transmit nude photos of a person on the internet without their consent.

Class C felony, up to five years in prison, fine.

Idaho

Video voyeurism Idaho Code 18-6609(2)(b)

Intentionally or with reckless disregard disseminating, publishing or selling (or conspiring) any image or images of the intimate areas of another person or persons without the consent of such other person or persons and he knows or reasonably should have known that one or both parties agreed or understood that the images should remain private.

Felony

Illinois

Illinois Criminal Code § 11-23.5

Intentionally publishing an image of another person:

  • Who is at least 18 years old;
  • Whose identity is discernible from the image itself or from information displayed in connection with the image; and
  • Who is engaged in a sexual act or whose intimate parts are exposed, in whole or in part.

Felony, one to three years in prison, and up $25,000 fine.

Iowa

House File Bill 526 currently pending

Pending

Pending

Kansas

Kan. Stat. § 21-6101(a)(8) (Breach of Privacy)

Upload sexual photos or videos of another person without their permission.

 

First offense, presumptive probation, second offense, felony blackmail with up to six years in prison.

 

Louisiana

14:283.2

Sharing (posting, distributing, or publishing on a computer device, computer network, website, or other electronic device or medium of communication) nude or partially-nude cell phone picture or video to without victim’s permission.

Up to two years in jail and fine up to $10,000.

Maine

Sec. 1. 17-A MRSA 511-A

Transmitting sexually explicit photos of a person on the internet without their consent.

Class D misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Maryland

MD Criminal Law Code § 3-809

Intentionally placing on the internet, a photograph, film, videotape, recording, or any other reproduction of the image of the other person engaged in sexual contact:
  1. Knowing that the other person did not consent to the placement of image on the internet; and
  2. Under circumstances in which the other person had a reasonable expectation that the image would be kept private.

Misdemeanor, up to two years in jail, fine of $500.

Michigan

MCL 750.145e

Posting images or video recordings of a sexual nature online, without someone’s consent.

Up to 93 days, fine of up to $1,000. Subsequent conviction would result in jail time of up to one year.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 617.261

Intentionally disseminates a private sexual image of another

Gross misdemeanor up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, felony if causes financial loss, intent to profit, intent to harass, posted to porn site, other factors.

Nevada

NRS, Chapter 200, §2-6

A person intentionally and electronically disseminates or sells an intimate image which depicts the other person and the other person:

  • Did not give prior consent to the electronic dissemination or the sale of the intimate image;
  • Had a reasonable expectation that the intimate image would be kept private and would not be made visible to the public; and
  • Was at least 18 years of age when the intimate image was created.

One to four years in Nevada State Prison, fine of up to $5,000.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. § 644:9-a

Nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images with the intent to harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the depicted person.

Felony

New Jersey

New Jersey Code § 2C:14-9

Making a nonconsensual recording that reveals another person’s "intimate parts" or shows the person engaged in a sexual act without consent.

Felony, three to five years in prison, a fine not to exceed $15,000.

New Mexico

HB 142

Unauthorized electronic distribution of sensitive images with the intent to:
  • harass, humiliate or intimidate that person;
  • incite another to harass, humiliate or intimidate that person;
  • cause that person to reasonably fear for that person's own or family members' safety;
  • cause that person to suffer unwanted physical contact or injury; or
  • cause that person to suffer substantial emotional distress;and where the conduct is such that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.

Misdemeanor, second offense is a felony.

North Carolina

General Statutes Section 14-190.5A

Knowingly disclosing a sexual image of another person with the intent to

  • Coerce, harass, intimidate, demean, humiliate, or cause financial loss to the depicted person, or
  • Cause others to coerce, harass, intimidate, demean, humiliate, or cause financial loss to the depicted person, and\
  • The depicted person is identifiable from the disclosed image or from information offered in connection with it.

Class H felony

North Dakota

Section 12.1-17-07.2

Disclosing nude or sexual images of a person without the person's consent and with the intent to identify the person and cause harm.

Class A misdemeanor

Oklahoma

Section 1040.13b of Title 21

Disseminating private sexual images of a person without that person’s consent.

Misdemeanor, up to one year in jail, up to $1000 fine.

Oregon

ORS 161.005

A person, with the intent to harass, humiliate or injure another person, knowingly causes to be disclosed through an internet website an identifiable image of the other person whose intimate parts are visible or who is engaged in sexual conduct; the person knows or reasonably should have known that the other person does not consent to the disclosure; the other person is harassed, humiliated or injured by the disclosure; and a reasonable person would be harassed, humiliated or injured by the disclosure.

Class A Misdemeanor, Class C Felony if repeat offender.

Pennsylvania

Title 18 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 3131

Any sexually explicit image posted with the intent of causing the subject distress and without the consent of the victim.

$5,000 fine and up to one year in prison.

South Dakota

Section 4 of Chapter 22-21

No person may use or disseminate in any form any visual recording or photographic device to photograph or visually record any other person without clothing or under or through the clothing, or with another person depicted in a sexual manner, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or knowledge of that other person, with the intent to self-gratify, to harass, or embarrass and invade the privacy of that other person, under circumstances in which the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Class 1 misdemeanor, unless victim is 17 years old or younger, then Class 6 felony.

Tennessee

Tenn. Pub. Act ch. 872

With the intent to cause emotional distress, a person distributes an image of the intimate part or parts of another identifiable person if:
  1. The image was photographed or recorded under circumstances where the parties agreed or understood that the image would remain private; and
  2. The person depicted in the image suffers emotional distress.

Class A misdemeanor

Texas

Texas Penal Code 21.16

Without the effective consent of the depicted person, the person intentionally discloses visual material depicting another person with the person’s intimate parts exposed or engaged in sexual conduct.

Class A misdemeanor

Utah

§ 76-5b-203

Knowingly or intentionally distributing sexual images to any third party of another person without that person’s consent.

Class A misdemeanor

Vermont

Sec. 2. 13 V.S.A. § 2606

Nonconsensual dissemination of someone's nude or sexually explicit photograph or videotape.

Up to two years prison and up to $2000 fine.

Virginia

Code of Virginia § 18.2-386.2

Disseminating sexual photos without the victim’s consent and with the malicious intent to coerce harass, or intimate that person.

Class 1 misdemeanor, up to two years in prison, fine.

Washington

Title 9A RCW

Intentionally and maliciously disclosing an intimate image of another person without their consent.

See statute

West Virginia

Code of West Virginia §61-8-28a

Intentionally display publicly, distribute or threaten to disclose sexually explicit or intimate images of someone else without their consent.

Misdemeanor, fine up to $1,000 to $5,000 and up to a year in jail.

Wisconsin

Code of Wisconsin § 942.09

Distributing (without consent) an image of a "nude or partially nude person or of a person engaging in sexually explicit conduct."

Misdemeanor, fine and possible jail.

Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the enactment of new legislation but also through court decisions and other means. Contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state laws you are researching.

Charged with a Cyber Crime? Get a Free Case Review

You don’t have to be a Kardashian to be prosecuted under a revenge porn law. If you or someone you know has been charged under these laws, be sure you have legal representation. There are a number of excellent attorneys out there who can assist you with a defense. Start the process today with a free case review from a local criminal defense attorney to learn more.

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