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Coming across complicated laws to fight revenge porn

14:06 Sep 20 2013 Denver, CO, USA

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A Distasteful History

Some say that the revenge porn industry began with Hunter Moore and his now-defunct website "Is Anyone Up?" Here, ex-boyfriends with an axe to grind could post photographs of their former sweeties, and the technology allowed these boys to link those photos with a partner's social media profile.

The field exploded, and suddenly, there were hundreds of sites that allowed boyfriends and girlfriends to take their revenge. And the technology was sophisticated. A snap on a revenge porn site became just part of the overall media image of the person, and victims claimed that Google searches for their names brought back photographs of body parts that should never appear online.

Removing those photos was remarkably difficult, too, as many revenge porn site administrators seemed to have absolutely no pity for the victims of the crime. Moore, for example, told the New York Village Voice that people should just refrain from taking nude photos. That's the best way to stay safe, in his opinion, and those who didn't follow his rules seemed to merit only his disgust.

Complicated Laws

Since the administrators wouldn't remove the photos, some victims took to the courtroom, hiring lawyers in the hopes of finding relief. Unfortunately, they weren't able to make progress on this front. Many of the photographs in question were taken by the people who posted the snaps, meaning they're the private property of the poster, not the private property of the model. Removing them with the law is, therefore, a little sketchy.

Even snaps taken by a model that are posted by the recipient might not be covered by the laws, as these photos were taken by consenting adults doing things they wanted to do, so it isn't a form of blackmail.

The California law hopes to change that, but critics suggest that it won't help. It does damper free speech, which makes it the enemy of many lawmakers and the Supreme Court, and it also prosecutes porn shots taken only by the poster. Selfies get no protection here.
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