Many couples share intimate photos or videos with their significant other. These images are a sign of happy times when a relationship ran smoothly. When that same relationship has run its course and a couple chooses to divorce, however, these images can be wielded as a weapon. Sadly, instances of estranged spouses using revenge porn to secure a divorce settlement in their favor are increasing. Fortunately, the law provides protection against this form of sexual abuse.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently filed a complaint against a Colorado man accused of operating a website which allowed disgruntled spouses to post nude photographs of their former partners online. To have the photographs removed, the person depicted was required to pay several hundred dollars. According to the FTC, this practice caused substantial injury to consumers. Therefore, constituted an unfair business practice. The Colorado man settled the case by entering into a consent order.
Moreover, selfies are considered the work product of the person who is depicted. When an intimate photograph or video includes a face and not merely their body, the person who took the photograph may be entitled to copyright protection. Statutory damages in a copyright case range from $750 to $150,000 per infringed work.
Options for Victims of Revenge Porn
Should a victim of revenge porn choose to pursue criminal charges against their former spouse they will likely face an uphill battle in court. Charges of stalking or harassment are often possible in some states even if the images were sent willingly. For example, in New Jersey, the non-consensual sharing of intimate photographs and videos falls under the auspices of domestic violence law and is punishable by three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000. By contrast, in Maryland, the relevant statute is considerably narrower and requires a victim to prove that their former spouse acted with intentional malice.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones and Miles, LLC Fight for the Rights of Revenge Porn Victims
Intimate photographs and videos should never be disseminated without the express permission of the person depicted. When these images are shared in an effort to threaten, intimidate, or coerce a favorable divorce settlement, it is important that victims take action. Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones and Miles can help. We proudly serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County, as well as residents of Towson, Bel Air, Columbia, Elliott City, Westminster, and Essex at our offices conveniently located in Hunt Valley, Towson, and Pikesville, Maryland. Call 443-589-0150 or contact us online for a no-cost consultation.