Virginia Joins Legislative Push Against Revenge Porn

Dec 4, 2013 4:00 PM PST

RICHMOND — A bill headed for the Virginia House of Delegates would outlaw "revenge porn," joining a growing list of state governments seeking to curtail the relatively new form of cyberbullying.

House Bill 49, pre-filed yesterday, would make it a misdemeanor for anyone in Virginia to share or sell nude or sexually explicit photos or videos of another person with the intent to cause "substantial emotional distress."

Conviction would carry a penalty of up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

"It's probably enough to get somebody who is feeling hurt or vindictive to think twice about it," State Delegate-elect Marcus Simon, who filed the bill, told a local news source. “It’s a problem here in Virginia.”

The bill would specifically prohibit someone from disseminating or selling "any videotape, photograph, film or other videographic or still image created by any means, or any reproduction of such videotape, photograph, film or image that depicts another person who is totally nude, in a state of undress so as to expose the genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast, or engaged in sexual conduct…"

New Jersey acted as trailblazer for the campaign against revenge porn, making it a felony in 2004. California recently followed suit when Gov. Jerry Brown approved a bill that designated it as misdemeanor offense. Now similar legislation is being drafted in New York, a Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, Maryland and abroad.

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