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Before You Press Send: Legal Rights Surrounding Your Nude Photos & Videos

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With technology being as advanced as it is these days, some individuals have found creative ways to stay connected with their boo, boyfriend, husband, swerve….whoever! Despite many horror stories of nude photos:

(a) ending up in the inbox of someone whose eyes were not meant to view said pic

(b) used as a tool against them for humiliation or harassment,

(c) on the internet or social media for fee based viewing, many people still partake in the act.

Some apps such as Snapchat, a photo messaging application, developed by Stanford University students, allow users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings and send them to a controlled list of recipients with a set time limit of how long recipients can view the snapshots. This was thought to have presented a solution to sexting horror stories, but there are now hacker-generated apps such as “Snaphack” which can totally throw a monkey wrench in your protected texts.

Whatever your level of comfort in e-sharing your love and goodies with someone may be, you should know your legal rights (if any) when voluntarily sharing nude photos of yourself.

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What Are My Rights?:

Some jurisdictions, such as California, have passed a first-of-its-kind state law outlawing what is referred to as “revenge porn,” which is the distribution of private, explicit photos or videos of other people on the internet to humiliate them.

In California, it is a misdemeanor to post images online after breakups and carries a maximum of six months in jail along with a $1,000 fine for the first offense. Senate Bill 255, which is already in effect, makes it a misdemeanor to “post identifiable nude pictures of someone else online without permission with the intent to cause emotional distress or humiliation.”

Before these laws took effect, many victims took their offenders to court based upon claims of invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional stress. Some courts have held that the fact the sender delivered the picture to another person knowing they would be viewing the photo or video, no longer made the photo or video “private.” This, however, is much different than if someone takes photos or video of you without your permission and ultimately distributes them. There must be a violation of a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”

It should also be noted, that if someone sells nude photos or videos of you without your permission, they may be sued for damages because they are profiting off of your name and likeness without receiving permission to do so.

Why is all of this necessary?

The real damage is already done as soon as a nude photo or video is shared with an unsuspecting viewer. Even if the violator is susceptible to jail time and fines due to breaking the law, as it pertains to sharing said nude photos, once these photos are released to others or the general public, you can never take that back. It is imperative to be selective about behavior directly related to the distribution of any photos or videos of you, and equally important to be selective about who you send said photos to.

If you are ever a victim of some sort of harassment surrounding nude photos and videos and someone is threatening to unlawfully distribute them without your permission, contact the police, file a police report and seek a restraining order.

But the overall stance should be to keep it classy ladies and keep it selective!

Please visit www.womenslaw.org for additional information.

Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com). She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.

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