Revenge Porn Is Officially Punishable By Law In New York City

In November, the New York City Council unanimously voted to criminalise revenge porn. The criminal component of the law went into effect yesterday, making it a misdemeanour offence in the city to share someone's intimate photos or videos online without their consent. Perpetrators can face up to one year in gaol and a $US1000 ($1255) fine.

Council Member Lancman holds press conference to call for criminalizing revenge porn. Photo: Rory Lancman/Flickr

"So now revenge porn is officially a crime in NYC," Josh Levitt, communications director for Councilman Rory Lancman, told Gizmodo in an email. Lancman, along with Council Member Dan Garodnick, introduced the legislation last year.

If a perpetrator is in New York City, but the victim isn't, then the courts have jurisdiction, according to Levitt. However, if the victim is in New York City but the perpetrator is not, Levitt said that it is "a jurisdictional issue that the courts will have to work out". And the law is not retroactive.

"I think it's a very positive sign that NYC is attempting to address this issue, given the gravity of the harm and the fact that the state legislation on this subject has stalled so far," Mary Anne Franks, a professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law and a director at the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, told Gizmodo following the passage of the law.

While legislation is just one piece of the puzzle in grappling with revenge porn - tech companies are also responsible for aiding in the fight against this issue that largely exists on their social networking platforms - it's an important step forward in staving off potential perpetrators with tangible consequences. That being said, the US still really needs a national revenge porn law.

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