Colorado Passes “Revenge Porn” Law

By Sonya Gillen
May 31, 2014

Last week Colorado joined a growing number of states that have recently passed legislation making the practice of “Revenge Porn” illegal. On May 29, 2014, Colorado’s Governor Hickenlooper signed HB 14-1378 into law. The new law will make it a Misdemeanor in Colorado to post intimate pictures on the internet with the intent of causing severe emotional distress to those depicted in the pictures. Prior to the law being passed, law enforcement officials struggled with clear, legal avenues to charge people who were basically using these photos to intentionally embarrass, harass and extort their victims. The law was introduced by Colorado Representative Amy Stephens of the 19th District in Colorado Springs, in part, due to an investigation of the problem of Revenge Porn which was highlighted and featured on a Channel 4 investigative report by Brian Moss last year.

Denver attorney Andrew Contiguglia of Contiguglia/Fazzone, P.C., was a strong supporter of the bill, testifying on its behalf before both the Colorado House and Senate Judiciary Committees. “I have represented several victims of Revenge Porn during the last several years. It was very heart-breaking to listen to someone’s story that they had sent someone an intimate picture of themselves with the total expectation of privacy, then once the relationship broke-up, those same pictures were used against my clients to intentionally cause them pain and embarrassment” explained Contiguglia. “Until this bill became law, basically all I could advise my clients was that we could copyright the photographs and then attempt to take civil action against the offenders-Now we have a much stronger tool to deter this behavior.”

In addition to the criminal penalties associated with this legislation, the new law also provides an intellectual property provision. This portion of the bill will allow Coloradans to maintain a civil remedy in additional to the criminal penalties against someone who violates this law. This will provide a second avenue for victims of the Revenge Porn to stop their perpetrators. “My focus was really about adding a civil remedy to this bill in addition to the criminal penalties,” said Contiguglia. “I hope this two prong approach will make people contemplating posting Revenge Porn to think twice. Basically their victims will be able to civilly sue them for damages in addition to have them held criminally responsible. That makes this very strong legislation.”

Following the Bill being signed into law, Representative Stevens made a special point to thank all the victims who were brave enough to share their stories and help the legislators to understand the necessity of this legislation. Contiguglia added to Representative Stevens appreciation of the victims, “These victims took a terrible event that happened to them in their lives and were able to use it to help ensure that this doesn’t happen to someone else. That is the ultimate example of paying it forward, and I was happy I could contribute in some small way.”

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Representative Amy Stevens and Attorney Andrew Contiguglia watch as Governor Hickenlooper signs Colorado’s Revenge Porn Legislation into law. May 29, 2014: S. Gillen

Comments:

  1. […] Here’s some background on the Revenge Porn law from one of the attorneys who helped push it through the Colorado legislature. […]

    Pingback by UPDATE: Porn Ultimatum 2: The Porn Legacy | alex finley on January 30, 2015 at 8:28 pm

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