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Florida May Make Revenge Porn a Felony

Since it entered Urban Dictionary in 2007, revenge porn — the act of publishing intimate photos and videos post-breakup and against your ex's will — has trickled down from The Hills drama and Is Anyone Up's cartoon-villain founder Hunter Moore to a rash of knock-off sites and the profitless antics of crueler-than-you-remember high school students. But to date, this extreme form of cyberbullying — romantic terrorism? — has been difficult to prosecute.

Whether taken or received, intimate photos and videos are usually the property of the vengeful ex, and they’re not high-priority obscenity unless the victim is underage. Meanwhile, the sites that publish and profit off of revenge porn claim a loophole in the Communications Decency Act says publishers aren’t responsible for user-submitted content, allowing bitter exes to attach identifying information like LinkedIn profiles and home addresses to their grainy cell-phone photos. Such posts are certainly an invasion of privacy, but so is the ensuing legal battle, and few are as brave as the 23 women who filed a class action lawsuit against a Texas revenge porn site earlier this year.

The criminal justice system might be catching up with online creeps in Florida, where the House subcommittee has given the green light to a bill that would make posting nude photos of another person online — without their consent and with identifying information — a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. (Not what we’d come to expect from the zombie-harboring Sprang Break paradise recently declared America's Drunk Uncle.) According to Salon writer Tracy Clark-Flory’s analysis, one of the proposed bill’s victories is its recognition of “contextual consent” — i.e., consenting to let your boyfriend take a picture of you does not make you an exhibitionist floozy who wants her picture and home address all over the Internet forever. However, the bill makes exceptions for videos and pictures taken in public, meaning paparazzi-staple upskirt shots might be the last bastion of, as Anne Hathaway put it, a “culture that commodifies the sexuality of unwilling participants.”

Photo: iStockphoto

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Cut® are registered trademarks of New York Media LLC.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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