Calif. 'Revenge Porn' Legislation Headed to Governor's Desk

Sep 11, 2013 3:00 PM PST

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California's “revenge porn” bill appears to be on its way to the governor's desk.

After the Senate approved the measure last month, SB 255 cleared the Assembly on a unanimous 16-0 vote shortly thereafter.

The bill returns to the Senate to reconcile changes before going to Gov. Jerry Brown, who hasn’t indicated whether he’ll sign it into law. Friday is the last day of the state Legislature's session.

SB 255, introduced by state Sen. Anthony Cannella, would amend a section of the Penal Code and make it a crime to "cause serious emotional distress" to others by distributing over the Internet nude or semi-nude images of them.

Images in violation, as defined by the bill, would include portions of genitals and, in the case of a female, portions of breasts below the top of the areola, that is either "uncovered or visible through less than fully opaque clothing."

If passed, SB 255 would punish convicted operators with six-month jail sentences and imposing fines of $1,000 — even if the pictures were originally taken with consent.  Subsequent fines would amount to penalties not exceeding $2,000, along with one-year jail sentences.

The bill would prohibit only images taken by the person posting them, meaning that self-photos aren’t protected.

Revenge porn is a recent phenomenon and online category where website operators post nude or erotic images of women or men without their consent. Some revenge porn sites include actual email addresses, cellphone numbers, links to Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn profiles, and residential addresses displayed for all to see.

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