California May See 'Revenge Porn' Bill Sequel in 2014

Dec 17, 2013 11:00 AM PST

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After spearheading the successful “revenge porn” bill passed by the Legislature in October, Sen. Anthony Cannella has announced his intention to introduce new legislation and expand on the existing law.

The revenge porn sequel — or, as Cannella’s office is calling it, “Revenge Porn 2.0 Act” — will redact the original law to include pictures taken by the victim as protected material. Currently the law only addresses photos taken by the individual posting them.

Cannella also plans to clarify the bill’s language to expedite prosecution.

“Omitting ‘selfies’ from the original legislation was an obvious oversight that I, along with other commentators, mentioned before the bill was passed. So it makes sense to fix that portion of the law,” Adult industry attorney Lawrence Walters told XBIZ.  

He continued, “However, I have continuing concerns over the criminalization of speech that does not fall within the historical exemptions to First Amendment protection (i.e., obscenity, child porn, defamation, etc.) Civil penalties make more sense in this realm.”  

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has voiced similar concerns about preserving First Amendment rights in the wake of revenge porn legislation, in California and across the country. Both Walters and the ACLU call for laws to be drawn with “narrow precision.”  

Under existing California law, those who commit revenge porn face a misdemeanor charge and one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Prosecutors must prove that the perpetrators electronically distributed the victims’ explicit photos “with the intent to cause serious emotional distress.”

Cannella plans to introduce Revenge Porn 2.0 when the Legislature returns in January.  He will be making a public announcement about the forthcoming bill at the Old Courthouse in Madera this morning. 

A high-profile arrest has already been made under the umbrella of California’s freshly minted revenge porn law. Last week saw the arrest of site operator, Kevin Bollaert, who was charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion.   

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