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A federal revenge porn law has finally been announced.  

This law has been expected for about a year. The delay shows the difficulty in creating criminal laws that potentially intrude on 1st Amendment free speech issues.

The full text of the federal revenge porn law, titled the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, can be found here. The federal crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

SIGNIFICANCE OF FEDERAL REVENGE PORN LAW

At last check, there are approximately 16 states that do not have a state revenge porn law.  The federal law would give victims of revenge porn in those states a chance to address alleged revenge porn activity.  The federal law would also give law enforcement the support of federal authorities to track down revenge porn activity in multiple states and in navigating online sources of revenge porn.

FIRST AMENDMENT CONCERNS

Unlike most state revenge porn laws, the proposed federal law does not require evidence that the photographs or videos be distributed with any sort of intent to harm or harass the subject of the media.  Rather, the proposed federal revenge porn law would punish theact of distributing the media with disregard for the other person’s consent to the distribution.  This lack of requiring evidence of specific criminal intent may potentially expose the law to a constitutional challenge.  This is the same problem Minnesota’s revenge porn law may face.

The ACLU has challenged state revenge porn laws on grounds that they infringe on constitutionally protected free speech, most notably convincing Arizona to re-draft its revenge porn law.  The ACLU points out that the type of language in the proposed federal revenge porn law could lead to overzealous prosecutions.  Requiring evidence of criminal intent eliminates the risk that revenge porn prosecutions would infringe on free speech.

Currently, it doesn’t seem that the federal revenge porn law has the support of the Senate. The House author is still seeking a sponsor in the Senate.

Several states have active revenge porn laws, including Minnesota.  

Contact our lawyers today to discuss an aspect of the Minnesota revenge porn law.

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John T. Arechigo, Esq.

Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense.  He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime. John offers what very few other Twin Cities criminal defense lawyers can offer. His combination of experience, success, connections, resources, accessibility, and complete handling of a client’s file sets him apart from his colleagues.

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