Revenge Porn

Arizona's Unconstitutional 'Revenge Porn' Law Is Officially Dead

State agrees to settlement permanently halting enforcement of the law.

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*Passenger*/Flickr

A constitutionally troublesome 2014 law designed to combat "revenge porn" in Arizona was permanently halted by a federal court Friday, after the state agreed to give up on its enforcement. "This is a complete victory for publishers, booksellers, librarians, photographers, and others against an unconstitutional law," said David Horowitz, executive director of the Media Coalition, an association dedicated to defending First Amendment rights. "Now they won't have to worry about being charged with a felony for offering newsworthy and artistic images."

The law had made it a felony to "disclose, display, distribute, publish, advertise, or offer" an image of a nude person without that person's consent. Intended to combat the spread of sexualized images by jilted lovers—a phenomenon known as "revenge porn"—and others online, it was so overbroad it could have punished a wide range of constitutionally protected communication, including "a library lending a photo book about breast feeding to a new mother, a newspaper publishing pictures of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison, or a newsweekly running a story about a local art show," as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pointed out. 

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona today approved a settlement between the state and the plaintiffs, which included five Arizona booksellers, the Association of American Publishers, and a slew of other media and publishing organizations, represented by the ACLU and the Media Coalition. The settlement states that the law is not to be enforced, and that plaintiffs are entitled to attorney's fees. 

"This is an important vindication of the First Amendment and a great resolution for our clients," said ACLU Staff Attorney Lee Rowland in a statement. "We commend the state for agreeing not to enforce a broad statute that chilled and criminalized speech unquestionably protected by the Constitution."

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  1. Arizona’s Unconstitutional ‘Revenge Porn’ Law Is Officially Dead

    Phew! What a relief! Did I dodge a bullet there or what?

    1. Matrix levels of bullet dodging from what I read here at Reason.

      Or is that someone else?

  2. So now Arizona ex-girlfriends can show my wiener to anyone they want? I have no protection under the law? I don’t like the idea of COMPLETE STRANGERS being able to view my wiener without first having to enter their credit card number and expiration date into my website payment system.

    1. Although I don’t think she’ll pay you anything Fist, isn’t there a young woman who is interested in, ahem, meeting complete strangers for her latest Blog project?

    2. Nobody wants to see a melted pudding pop with flies on it.

      1. Bill Cosby disagrees

    3. Join the club. There’s a video of me and a Vegas show gator floating around… I will never live it down

      1. At least your crest was impressive.

        1. I’m glad you enjoyed the show… Although other mammals would be disturbed that you watched it.

      2. Mr. Lizard, you and I need to form a Reptile Domination voting bloc.

        1. I’m ok with that. We could in fact form a voting bloc, or given your size we could just dominate…ONE BLOCK AT A TIME

    1. Clearly sexism. Hopefully I can console her.

    2. This Chairman Pao had little to offer. So much yapping, so little tasty yellow meat. Mammal name John will not cry

    3. Oh, and a kind commenter on HN informed everyone that calling her “Chairman Pao” is racist.

      1. Did you care even the slightest?

  3. OT:

    Pope calls capitalism dung of the devil

    Pope Francis on Thursday launched a blistering attack on the “new colonialism” of austerity, describing unfettered capitalism as “the dung of the devil”

    Nice.

    1. Eddie will be by any second to explain how you’re misinterpreting this, since the Pope is infallible.

      1. The Pope is only infallible on matters of Church doctrine.

        1. But infallibly stupid about most everything else.

    2. Huh? Capitalism is bad, but it’s also bad to ask Socialists to stop spending more money than they have? This guy is a complete imbecile. No wonder the Proggies love him so much.

      1. Austerity is the new colonialism. Got it.

        Not spending money you don’t have is equal to invasion and subjugation.

        The Pope is cognitively impaired.

        1. Yes, it makes absolutely no sense.

          Plus, the Ten Commandments says it’s a sin to steal, but apparently it’s OK for government’s to steal our hard-earned money and give it to stupid, lazy people who refuse to help themselves.

          Then again, this is the religion that says it’s a mortal sin for unmarried people (straight or gay) to have consensual sex, but molesting little boys is a mere ‘transgression’ that does not rise to the level of a crime.

    3. Yay commiepope. At least he isn’t trying to hide it.

      This is going to cause some serious problems for conservative catholics, especially here in the states.

    4. I grew up in a pretty fundamentalist Protestant faith. A lot of it was centered on end of time prophecy, Book of Revelation, VICARIVS FILII DEI stuff, how the Pope would one day be the head of a satanic one world government, and we’d be burned at the stake for not being Catholic, and all that.

      Once I got older, I converted to narcissism–but then I see stuff like this from the Pope and it makes me think maybe those fundamentalists weren’t wrong about everything after all.

      If I’m an enthusiast for unfettered capitalism, does that make me the Devil? What are they gonna do, exorcise me?

      I’m usually the one standing up for the religious rights of Catholics, so I really appreciate the opportunity to say, “Fuck the Pope!” every once in a while. Thanks for that, Pope Jean Claude or whatever the fuck his name is.

      1. You know, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that, as much as you have a perfectly legitimate opinion on the propriety of saying the word “cunt” in internet comments (though I would respectfully disagree with said opinion), to a lot of people saying, “Fuck the pope” is a hell of a lot worse than “cunt”.

        1. When was that–four years ago?

          I don’t want to get into another big discussion about this, but I don’t think people find the word “fuck” fundamentally demeaning to women, men, Catholics, or anyone else.

          My point about the c-word is that many, many women do find it fundamentally offensive to women. Sort of like the n-word is about black people.

          Now, those observations about the c-word were made within the context of an argument about how if we’re going to have a substantial impact on politics and culture, we need to make ourselves more attractive to women–rather than call them names thy find fundamentally offensive to women specifically.

          Is saying “Fuck the Pope” exactly like that vis a vis Catholics? I suppose that’s possible, and I certainly didn’t intend to alienate Catholics specifically. But then I didn’t say “Fuck the Catholics”‘; I said “Fuck the Pope”. I suppose that falls in line with my fundie upbringing, where we were taught not to hate Catholics. They were simply terribly misled by their Popes.

          Oh, and I should also point out that I wrote, “Fuck the Pope” in response to the Pope calling me a piece of shit out of the Devil’s own ass. Surely turnabout is fair play!

          1. Has it really been four years? Jeez, the older I get, the worse I am about blurring “five years ago” into “what was that, a few months back?”

            1. Oh, it gets a lot worse.

        2. Fuck that cunt of a pope.

  4. I wouldn’t want to be the guy that has to defend himself in front of a civil jury–by a preponderance of the evidence–after having posted embarrassing pictures of his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend online without her consent.

    What civil jury isn’t going to want to tan his hide?

    “So the victims don’t have to sue” is not a good reason by itself to criminalize something, and I’m so sick of seeing adults treated like children who are incapable of defending themselves and their own rights. Some of the dumbest women I ever knew somehow figured out how to pick up a phone and call a divorce attorney. Why can’t women (or men) who’ve been victimized this way do the same thing?

  5. The thing that makes me most nervous about these ‘Revenge Porn’ laws is that most will assume the guy was responsible and the woman is the victim. But suppose a jilted woman posted nude photos of herself from a public computer and then claimed her ex did it. How could a guy ever prove he didn’t do it, and who would believe him?

    1. Stop giving them ideas.

    2. Someone in a comments section once informed me that when a woman falsely accuses a man, that he must have done something to ‘make her do it.’ Somehow, he deserved it. So I guess we should just rest easy knowing that if this does happen, doubtless it was only because the justice system failed to aptly punish the guy for leaving the toilet seat up during the relationship.

  6. I guess I don’t get the whole revenge porn issue. If were the victim, I wouldn’t feel very embarrassed. And if I happened to look flabby or out of shape from certain angles, I’d just say something like,”Well, it’s amateur. What did you expect?” Only the hopelessly sexually repressed are going to feel victimized.

  7. Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

    This is what I do! .. http://www.homejobs20.cf

  8. You know, weiner jokes are funny but what is really funny is how making them distracts everyone from what just happened. The ruling just said that it is constitutional (i.e. the law preventing it was unconstitutional) to “disclose, display, distribute, publish, advertise, or offer” your private naked images without your consent.

    I would think that this is first an assult on our privacy, obviously, but also an assult on our property rights. If my non-public words, actions, and image are my private property then taking them from me is theft. Publishing them would compound that. Further, as any model can tell you, the only way that the person taking the photos can own the photo is if they get consent. So even if it was the boyfriend taking the shots he doesn’t have the right to distribute without consent from the subject. Even more true if it was a hidden camera.

    Ref the ACLU’s list of problems, requiring consent from the individuals or the artist whose artwork is being photographed is reasonable if you accept that they own their image and their artwork. But I have to wonder if this is actually about private property rights and ways to undermine them. Today’s ruling seems to open another crack in the wall that secures our right to property.

    1. nothing about this ruling prents tort, just felony convictions. we have enough felons.

  9. True. Civil law can demand compensation and we have enough felons. However, civil actions require the resources of the victim and in cases of theft or exploitation often has a limit of 3 times the value of damages sustained. In cases like this, anyone who doesn’t have the resources to go to court, or cannot hope to recover enough damages to pay for court should they ‘win’, gets no justice. Worse, damages can’t be collected from people who don’t have resources so there isn’t even that. And even more onerous is that we can expect that damages, even if they were paid, will not compensate for the real damage that can happen from publication and the publicity of any litigation. Money doesn’t make people unsee or unremember. In fact, it kinda makes it a bigger joke, he posts her pic and gets a $600 judgement.

    I thought the law sounded pretty good, no naked images without consent of the subject. It speaks straight to the point of how serious is it to steal and violate privacy. Making this a civil issue puts it on page 14, right after the obits, and does little to protect our rights.

  10. My own take on this “revenge porn” thing, as well as events like those stars’ nude pictures being stolen and put online, is like this: If you don’t want nude pictures of yourself floating about, don’t allow yourself to be photographed nude in the first place. Too many people seem to think that they are absolved from even the ordinariest common sense.

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