House Bill 49
10:49 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Legislation to Ban 'Revenge Porn'

It’s a sign of the times that Virginia lawmakers may soon consider a bill to ban what’s popularly known as “revenge porn” – the posting of naked pictures by an ex-lover online. 
 

Sandy Hausman reports on the proposal and why some people object.

Albemarle County Prosecutor Denise Lunsford is a powerful woman, and when a former boyfriend posted nude pictures of her on Twitter, she went to court.  The pictures came down, but there was no legal penalty.  Now, Delegate Marcus Simon is stepping up to change that.  He sees revenge porn as a kind of assault and says Lunsford is not alone.

“We’ve got sort of scorned x lovers who then use this as a weapon to hurt and embarrass and  and sometimes cause serious financial harm to their former partner, because they don’t like the way the relationship ended.”

Del. Marcus Simon/53rd District

So he’s proposed House Bill 49, which would allow a sentence of up to one year behind bars and a fine of up to $2,500 on any vengeful person who sells or posts naked or sexual pictures or videos.

“I think they might think twice if they knew they were facing prison time for posting these images.”

That might seem reasonable, but not everyone supports the measure.

“The opposition does tend to come from the civil libertarians who are afraid that this might open the door to further regulation of content on the Internet.”

Still, the idea of regulating revenge porn has bi-partisan support with a similar measure submitted by Albemarle County Republican Rob Bell.