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Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Maryland Announces Anti-Revenge Porn Bill

MIAMI- (Oct. 30, 2013)- The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) and its campaign, End Revenge Porn, are pleased to report that Maryland has proposed legislation to criminalize revenge porn.

The bill, introduced by Delegate Jon S. Cardin on Wednesday, would classify revenge porn as a felony, punishable up to five years in prison or a $25,000 fine, or both. Cardin worked with CCRI board members Professor Danielle Citron and Dr. Mary Anne Franks to draft the law.

Citron, professor of law at the University of Maryland, stated,  “This bill is a huge step forward for the protection of privacy, especially for individuals who consensually shared personal photos during a relationship of trust and whose trust was breached. Criminal law should have a role in deterring and punishing revenge porn because revenge porn and its ilk raise the risk of offline stalking and physical attack. Fear can be profound. Victims don't feel safe leaving their homes.”

Franks, an associate professor of law at the University of Miami, has also worked with lawmakers in New York and Wisconsin on their recently proposed legislation. According to Franks, “This bill is a very important step in the right direction, offering far more comprehensive protection to victims than California’s law.”

CCRI Victim Advocate Annmarie Chiarini has worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of victims in her state. "I am very pleased that legislators are taking this issue seriously, and I am optimistic that the Maryland house and senate committees will see the bill fit to be passed into law," Chiarini said.

Maryland is the latest state to introduce legislation to combat revenge porn. Until recently, New Jersey was the only state to criminalize revenge porn. After the passage of a California law to criminalize some revenge porn, New York and Wisconsin introduced legislation. Dr. Holly Jacobs, founder of CCRI, responded to the recent announcements, “Our movement is gaining momentum, and every law that is announced allows more victims to feel safe coming forward. Our country is only beginning to recognize the scope of this problem, but we believe America is headed in the right direction. These laws will offer protection to those who have had no recourse until now.” 

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About Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative is an organization founded by Dr. Holly Jacobs that aims to bring awareness to and reduce the occurrence of harassment on the Internet.  Our first campaign is End Revenge Porn, which sheds light on the issue of revenge porn (and other forms of non-consensual pornography) and advocates for state and federal laws to criminalize it. 

For more information regarding CCRI please contact Natalie Webb at natalie@cybercivilrights.org. For legislative information contact Mary Anne Franks at mafranks@law.miami.edu.  For victim outreach contact Anisha Vora at anisha@endrevengeporn.org. Annmarie Chiarini may be contacted at annmarie@cybercivilrights.org.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Wisconsin Proposes Legislation to End Revenge Porn

MIAMI- (Oct. 28, 2013)- Wisconsin legislators proposed legislation last week that would criminalize revenge porn in their state. The proposed legislation would make revenge porn a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $10,000, up to nine months in prison, or both. The bill had its first public hearing last week and is expected to be voted out of committee this week.

Mary Anne Franks, a board member of Cyber Civil Right Initiative (CCRI) and an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Miami, helped draft the bill. Franks wrote CCRI’s legislative proposal and has worked with a number of lawmakers to draft effective laws.

“Wisconsin’s bill effectively addresses this destructive conduct while including important exceptions for constitutionally protected expression,” Franks said.

CCRI founder Dr. Holly Jacobs expressed appreciation for the lawmakers involved in proposing the bill. “This is further evidence that lawmakers across the country are responding to the outcry from victims and their families,” Jacobs said. “Revenge porn is a problem that our country can no longer ignore. With every bill, we get one step closer to stopping the widespread devastation revenge porn causes.”

CCRI hopes its campaign, End Revenge Porn, will continue to raise awareness about revenge porn among the public and lawmakers. Through the End Revenge Porn campaign, victims can seek support and reach out to lawmakers to advocate for greater protection.

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About Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative is an organization founded by Dr. Holly Jacobs that aims to bring awareness to and reduce the occurrence of harassment on the Internet.  Our first campaign is End Revenge Porn, which sheds light on the issue of revenge porn (and other forms of non-consensual pornography) and advocates for state and federal laws to criminalize it. 

For more information regarding CCRI please contact Natalie Webb at natalie@cybercivilrights.org. For legislative information contact Mary Anne Franks at mafranks@law.miami.edu.  For victim outreach contact Anisha Vora at anisha@endrevengeporn.org

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Calif. Legislation Against Revenge Porn Signed Into Law

MIAMI- (Oct. 2, 2013)- Governor Jerry Brown signed the Calif. anti-revenge porn bill, SB 255, Tuesday. The End Revenge Porn campaign, and its parent organization Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), expressed satisfaction with the bill as an initial effort toward banning non-consensual pornography. 

Founder Dr. Holly Jacobs added that while SB 255 is an encouraging first step, CCRI will continue pushing for state and federal laws that provide coverage to all victims. The law only addresses images taken or recorded by other individuals, which means that it fails to cover “self-shots.” According to a CCRI survey, up to 80 percent of victims belong to this unprotected category. In addition, the bill requires perpetrators to act with “intent to cause serious emotional distress,” which creates an additional and unnecessary burden of proof. Legislators narrowed the scope of the bill’s reach after critics cited First Amendment concerns. CCRI takes the position that a carefully crafted law banning revenge porn does not violate the First Amendment.  

Jacobs, who holds a Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, explained, “Previous laws that prohibit harmful conduct, such as stalking and harassment—of which revenge porn is often a form--have not been found to violate the First Amendment. Revenge porn is the posting of private material, not material of public concern, and has no First Amendment value.”

CCRI also recognized the efforts of Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), who sponsored the bill. “Senator Cannella is one of the first lawmakers to take action on this issue and to deliver any measure of success. We hope to continue working with him in the future to strengthen California’s law,” Jacobs said. “This issue will only get bigger and the laws will catch up with technology when the public decides it has seen enough tragedy as a result of revenge porn. Our goal is to convince people that revenge porn is wrong today.” 

Perpetrators convicted under SB 255 will face six months in jail and/or a $1000 fine. California joins New Jersey on the list of states that have laws addressing revenge porn.

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About Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative is an organization founded by Dr. Holly Jacobs that aims to bring awareness to and reduce the occurrence of harassment on the Internet.  Our first campaign is End Revenge Porn, which sheds light on the issue of revenge porn (and other forms of non-consensual pornography) and advocates for state and federal laws to criminalize it. 

For more information regarding SB255 or CCRI please contact Holly Jacobs at holly@cybercivilrights.orgor Mary Anne Franks at mafranks@law.miami.edu.


 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Proposed CA Bill Would Fail to Protect Up to 80% of Revenge Porn Victims                                                   

MIAMI- (Sept. 10, 2013)- Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), the organization behind the End Revenge Porn campaign, is expressing concern about the wording of the proposed bill to criminalize revenge porn in California. Sponsored by state Sen. Anthony Cannella, SB 255 would fail to protect up to 80 percent of revenge porn victims, according to a CCRI survey.

Dr. Holly Jacobs, the founder of CCRI, explains, “We’re ecstatic to see legislators starting to take this issue seriously and get laws on the books, but the wording of this bill fails to protect the majority of victims.”

SB 255 does not cover cases of revenge porn in which victims took photos or videos of themselves, which accounts for 80 percent of victims, according to a CCRI survey of 864 individuals. Additionally, the bill only applies to perpetrators who distribute the material with the intent to cause the victim serious emotional distress, and only if they succeed in doing so. Some of the posters of this material could potentially avoid liability by arguing that they did so to make money, gain notoriety, or share “conquests,” as one victim describes it, rather than to cause “serious emotional distress”.

“The nation is watching California to see if it will be one of the first states to take a clear, principled, and effective stand against a practice that ruins lives and reputations. We’re trying our best to make sure that it does,” says Jacobs.

Mary Anne Franks, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Miami and CCRI board member, suggests the following redraft of the bill to protect victims more effectively while strengthening its ability to stand up to First Amendment challenges:

“The distribution of an image of the intimate body part or parts of another identifiable person, under circumstances where the parties agree or understand that the image shall remain private, without the consent of that person, where such distribution would cause a reasonable person serious emotional distress, would constitute disorderly conduct...  That the person consented to the capture of the image or to the possession of the image by the actor is not a defense to a violation of this section."

The two committee chairs who have the ability to change the bill to protect all victims are Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and Sen. Loni Hancock. CCRI is encouraging supporters to reach out to them and express support for Frank’s proposed changes.       

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 About Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative is an organization founded by Dr. Holly Jacobs that aims to bring awareness to and reduce the occurrence of harassment on the Internet.  Our first campaign is End Revenge Porn, which sheds light on the issue of revenge porn (and other forms of non-consensual pornography) and advocates for state and federal laws to criminalize it. 

For more information regarding SB255 or CCRI please contact Holly Jacobs at holly@cybercivilrights.org or Mary Anne Franks at mafranks@law.miami.edu.


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  • commented 2013-11-24 10:02:01 -0500
    TY :)