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Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts

Abstract

Effective September 2015, the Washington State Legislature passed two statutes which created both civil and criminal liability against individuals who distribute "intimate images" of others without their consent. These statutes were created to combat the modern phenomenon colloquially known as "revenge porn." Revenge porn is the non-consensual distribution of nude or sexually explicit photographs or videos, created with the intent to humiliate or harass the person these images depict. In addition to causing emotional damage to the victim, revenge porn can also produce broader consequences such as loss of employment and stalking. Traditionally, litigating these kinds of offenses has been difficult because traditional tort theories have been ruled inadequate, defendants often fall back on the Communications Decency Act ("CDA") to protect websites hosting such material, and, until recently, such offenses were not taken seriously. This Article focuses on the practical concerns of litigating civil cases under Washington’s revenge porn statute and its constitutional limitations under the CDA and the First Amendment.

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