"Revenge Porn" Statute: The Cautionary Tale of Nudie Pics

North Carolina Enacts New Boudoir Law (aka "Revenge Porn" Statute)

The season of giving and gifting is upon us once again.  For those of you who are pondering whether you will get on the naughty list with your gift, you may want to think twice.  

On December 1, 2015, North Carolina joined the several other states that have enacted a “revenge porn” statute.  This statute punishes your past or present lovers for sharing your sexy selfies, intimate photos, videos, etc. with others.  Not only could your revenge-seeking lover be criminally charged with a Class H felony, but you can seek money damages in civil court, including actual damages of $1,000.00 per day for each day of the violation, or $10,000.00, whichever is higher.1  

Don’t get too excited; the statute is precise on what you must prove: 

  • It limits who can be punished, and it requires that the sharer had ill intent when distributing your risqué images.   
  • The person who shares your image must be someone with whom you have or had a “personal relationship” (i.e., spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, baby-momma, baby-daddy, parent, child, etc.).2  
  • Others must be able to recognize that it is you in the image either by the image itself or the information presented in connection with the image.
  • Photos, videos, or recordings of you also count.
  • Solely lingerie pictures are not explicit enough to be included under this statute.5  
  • Any type of distribution of your image counts, not just online publishing.6
  • There is a time limit for seeking civil remedies – one year after the initial discovery that your image was disclosed, however, you cannot take any legal action after seven years from the most recent disclosure of your image.7    

 

If you want to know more, N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-190.5A, which lays out the elements and definitions, should be on the North Carolina General Assembly website soon, but for now, you can read the full text of the House Bill 792  (S.L. 2015-250).  

So if, after December 1st, your sexy Christmas photos do get out, you may be able to get justice.  However, to keep your private Christmas gifts truly private, take the initiative to protect yourself by staying all wrapped up. 

 

1  N.C. Gen. Stat.  § 14-190.5A(c), (g).  The University Of North Carolina School Of Government’s blog focuses on the criminal aspects of the statute and can be read here

2 “Personal relationship” is defined in N.C. Gen Stat. §50B-1(b). The requirement of a “personal relationship” comes from the “reasonable expectation of privacy” element, which is defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-190.5A(a)(5).

3 N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.5A(b)(2).

4 N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.5A(a)(2).  The statute also includes film, and it can be a digital or other reproduction.

5  The images must be of certain naked human parts or of the depicted person being engaged in a sexual act.  This is defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.5A(a)(3).

The statute defines “disclosure” as “transfer, publish, distribute, or reproduce.”  N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-190.5A(a)(1).  This could include email, text, snap chat, Instagram, snail mail, handouts, etc.

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-190.5A(g).

Published by Shiann Schmidt on December 1, 2015