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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Oct 2, 2013

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill that will outlaw an internet trend known as ‘revenge porn’ in which scorned exes and former lovers post scandalous photos of their relations online.

The law criminalizes “revenge porn”, in which a person electronically distributes or posts on the internet nude pictures of an ex-romantic partner after their breakup to shame the person in public. Under the bill, penned by Sen. Anthony Canella, those convicted can face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

“Until now, there was no tool for law enforcement to protect victims,” Cannella said. “Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted.” SB 255 takes effect immediately.

While this seems to be a step ahead for California, opponents of the law fear it violates free speech provisions and could even open scorned lovers to post their own photos from an ex’s computer or mobile device to as “revenge” via jail sentence.

Despite the law being passed in California it appears Arizona residents have little to no recourse if they have been posted online.

The sites hosting these images are most often protected by federal law. Posting humiliating photos without consent is not necessarily illegal.

“There is no privacy,” said John Iannarelli, who heads up the FBI squad that fights crimes committed over the internet. It is illegal however when sites demand hundreds of dollars to remove photos, which is considered extortion.

Often times it is simply too expensive to pursue an invasion of privacy lawsuit. It can cost thousands of dollars to hire an attorney based on copyright issues or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Victims of “revenge porn” are hoping that since California has a new law on the books with fines and jail time, other states will follow their example.