If you’re a revenge porn victim, consider this free, helpful legal guide

14 02 2017
Without My Consent, a San Francisco-based advocacy organization that aims to help victims of revenge porn, has released a slew of new resources this week in an attempt to make seeking justice easier for victims.

The new materials, dubbed “Something Can Be Done! Guide,” provides a step-by-step guide for victims. It provides concrete measures that they can take, including evidence preservation, copyright registration, restraining orders, and takedown requests to Internet companies—many of which don’t require the often-costly services of a lawyer. (Without My Consent’s efforts are reminiscent of Nolo, a decades-old do-it-yourself legal publisher.)

guide is here: http://withoutmyconsent.org/resources


The content in this post was found at https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/02/if-youre-a-revenge-porn-victim-consider-this-free-helpful-legal-guide/and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

University Cannot Discipline Student for Off-Campus Tweets

18 11 2015

Technology & Marketing Law Blog

October 7, 2015

Venket Balasubramani

Yeasin was involved in a relationship with W while both were University of Kansas students. In June 2013, Yeasin drove W to see her therapist and while she was in the session, read (and became incensed by) Facebook messages W was exchanging with someone else. When she returned, he confronted her, locked the car doors and would not let her out or give her back her phone. He finally did so later that evening. He later called W and threatened her at one point telling her that

He would make it so that [W] wouldn’t be welcome at any of the universities in Kansas.

Yeasin was charged with criminal restraint, battery, and criminal deprivation of property. These charges were resolved via a diversion agreement with the state. Separately, W obtained a protection order directing Yeasin to have no contact with W for one year. W also filed a complaint with the University, and it opened an investigation. The same day, Yeasin tweeted:


The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2015/10/university-cannot-discipline-student-for-off-campus-tweets.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

Criminal Cyberbullying Statute Violates First Amendment–New York v. Marquan

8 12 2014

Albany County enacted a criminal cyberbulling statute, which defined cyberbulling as:

any act of communicating or causing a communication to be sent by mechanical or electronic means, including posting statements on the internet or through a computer or email network, disseminating embarrassing or sexually explicit photographs; disseminating private, personal, false or sexual information, or sending hate mail, with no legitimate private, personal, or public purpose, with the intent to harass, annoy, threaten, abuse, taunt, intimidate, torment, humiliate, or otherwise inflict significant emotional harm on another person. [pdf]

Marquan M., a high school student in Albany County, created a Facebook page using a pseudonym.


He posted photographs of his classmates with “detailed descriptions of their alleged sexual practices and predilections, sexual partners and other types of personal information.” His postings were sufficiently offensive that the court notes that he received threats. He was charged under the cyberbullying statute and pled guilty while reserving the right to appeal.

On appeal, even the county conceded that parts of the statute were unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the county argued that the statute could be blue-penciled to apply only to communications containing the sexual details of minors that are intended to inflict emotional harm.

The court says that the speech in question does not fall under any of the well-recognized First Amendment exceptions. On the other hand, it notes that “cyberbulling is not conceptually immune from government regulation.” The difficulty is coming up with a statutory definition that comports with the First Amendment and determining how the Albany statute compares with this definition.

Case citation: People v. Marquan M., 2014 WL 2931482 (N.Y. Ct. App. July 1, 2014)


The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2014/07/criminal-cyberbullying-statute-violates-first-amendment-new-york-v-marquan.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

Ill-Advised Student YouTube Video Leads to Conviction For Misusing Computerized Communication System–In re Kaleb K.

11 12 2013

Kaleb, a high school student, allegedly created a YouTube video with a rap song about his Spanish teacher that contained “crude and vulgar language” about the teacher. He was found guilty of disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a “computerized communication system.” He appealed.

Is the speech protected speech?: On appeal, the court says that the prosecutor had no evidence or argument that the song was constitutionally unprotected speech. When Kaleb argued in the trial court that the speech was protected, the prosecutor first claimed she was “not prepared” to address this issue. Then the prosecutor argued, in summary fashion, that the video constituted “obscenity, fighting words, and hate speech.” On appeal the State switches tracks and argued that the video was defamatory. [??] This argument goes nowhere, and the court says that the speech was protected and thus could not form the basis of a disorderly conduct conviction.

Is Kaleb guilty of unlawfully using a computerized communication system?: Strangely, this does not result in the whole conviction getting tossed. Kaleb was convicted of unlawful use of a computerized communication system. The statute (Wis. Stat. 947.0125(2)(d)) covered anyone who:

[w]ith intent to frighten, intimidate, threaten or abuse another person, sends a message on an electronic mail or other computerized communication system with the reasonable expectation that the person will receive the message and in that the message uses any obscene, lewd, or profane language or suggests any lewd or lascivious act.

“Message” is broadly defined as “any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature.”

The court says that just because the speech was protected does not necessarily mean that it cannot otherwise form the basis of liability under the “unlawful use of a computerized communications system” statute. Kaleb also argued that he did not send a message to any single person (singular) and also tried to keep the video “on the down low” (i.e., did not intend that it would reach the teacher). The court rejects both of these arguments, saying that: (1) posting content online and not sending it directly could fall under the statute (2) as could a generalized communication that’s not directed specifically to someone.


The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/12/ill-advised-student-youtube-video-leads-to-conviction-for-misusing-computerized-communication-system-in-re-kaleb-k.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

New Federal Legislation Could Take a Nip Out of ‘Revenge Porn’

27 11 2013

Internet activists worry that forthcoming proposal could ruin free speech, along with bitter exs


US News

November 21, 2013

Activists seeking to criminalize “revenge porn” say they are working with a member of Congress to prepare federal legislation that would force Internet companies to take down the sometimes X-rated content.

The proposed law has not be finalized and its sponsor does not wish to be identified yet, according to University of Miami law professor Mary Anne Franks, who is helping draft the bill.


The content in this post was found at http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/21/new-federal-legislation-could-take-a-nip-out-of-revenge-porn_print.html and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

Accessing Ex-girlfriend’s MySpace Account and Posting Offensive Content Results in Conviction

26 11 2013

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

State v Kucharski, 2013 Il App (2d) 120270 (Mar. 29, 2013):

Steven and the victim were in a relationship. Because the victim was “kind of computer illiterate,” Steven set up a MySpace account for her. After the relationship ended, Steven accessed the victim’s MySpace page. He posted a slew of offensive things about the victim, for example:

I’m a slut with no education. I’m gonna end up with 2 different baby daddys and I can’t even get a GED. Worst of all my dad buys my boyfriends blow jobs . . .

He also posted the victim’s name and phone number with a note saying “call me.”  Finally, Steven posted a photo of the victim in a thong (that he had taken during the course of their relationship and retained, despite the victim’s request that he return or delete it).

When the victim became aware of these changes, she called Steven, who started “giggling and laughing” and said that “she deserved it.” Steven, who continued to access the page despite the victim having repeatedly changed the password, “essentially deleted” the page.

The authorities investigated and determined that the email address associated with the account was Steven’s and that the page was accessed via an IP addressed associated with Steven’s father. He was charged with: (1) attempted identity theft (720 ILCS 5/16G); (2) two separate counts of harassment through electronic communications (720 ILCS 135/1-2(a)(1) and (a)(2)); and (3) unlawful use of encryption (720 ILCS 5/17-52.5(b)(1)).

The defendant tried to poke holes in the State’s case saying that the investigator did not verify who at Steven’s household had actually accessed the page or for that matter who else had computers who resided in the same house who could have accessed the page. Steven’s father testified, implying that it could have been Steven’s younger brother who accessed the page. The trial court found the victim’s testimony credible and convicted on all of the counts. At the defendant’s request, the trial court dismissed the first count, but sentenced the defendant for violations of the remaining counts.


The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/04/accessing_exgir_1.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

First bill banning “revenge porn” passes in California

4 10 2013

The governor of California has signed Senate Bill 255, which will make the posting of “revenge porn” a crime.

. . . .In California, anyone distributing nude photos online with an “intent to harass or annoy” can now face six months in jail as well as a $1,000 fine. The bill was signed yesterday and goes into effect immediately.



The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/first-bill-banning-revenge-porn-passes-in-california/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

Facebook Posting That Someone Has Herpes Is Criminal Harassment–Pennsylvania v. Cox

27 08 2013

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani with a comment by Eric]

Commonwealth v. Cox, 2013 PA Super 221 (Aug 2, 2013) [pdf]

Lindsey Marie Cox (age 18) posted the following comment to her Facebook page:

[Victim, age 15] has herpes. Ew, that’s gross. She should stop spreading her legs like her mother.

Ill-advised, imprudent, and something that she should learn to not do if she wants to become a functioning member of online society.  But criminal harassment? LOL.

The statute says that the crime of harassment occurs when someone (1) with the intent to “harass, annoy or alarm another” (2) posts “lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words” or other materials.

She was convicted following a jury trial. On appeal. Cox predictably argued that this wasn’t a matter that the Commonwealth should concern itself with, at least from the criminal side. The court rejects this argument, saying that defendant intentionally made the post, and a statement that a 15 year old is sexually active or has an STD can be considered lewd or obscene: “Cox’s conduct was the type of conduct the legislature sought to criminalize under the harassment statute . . . .” Cox also argued that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, but the court says she does not satisfy the high standard necessary to challenge the verdict.


[ed note: I’ve organized this post under “Digital IP Torts” and “Cyberbullying,” but it is neither. The state tried the case as a criminal harassment case. Eric and Venkat both belittle the outcome; yet, it is what it is: a guilty criminal verdict over accusatory words posted online (by an 18 year old). I don’t have a category for criminal online harassment and won’t start one unless we begin seeing a lot of similar cases]

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/08/student_convict_1.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

Cracks in California’s Cyber-Revenge Bill

27 08 2013

California’s Senate approved a bill whose supporters claim would crack down on the digital-age problem of “revenge porn.”
The content in this post was found at http://feeds.wsjonline.com/wsj/law/feed?format=xml and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.


The content in this post was found at http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2013/08/16/cracks-in-californias-cyber-revenge-bill/?mod=WSJBlog&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wsj%2Flaw%2Ffeed+%28WSJ.com%3A+Law+Blog%29 and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

Resetting One of the Longest Running Cyberbullying Cases–DC v. RR (Guest Blog Post)

21 03 2013

By Guest Blogger Sruli Yellin

[Eric’s introduction: In the course of blogging over the past 8+ years, I’ve read hundreds or even thousands of cases. This case ranks in my top 1% of most interesting and memorable cases.

Today, we’d call this a cyberbullying case, but when the online attack occurred in 2004, we didn’t have that terminology. The principal plaintiff, DC, was a high school student and an aspiring actor. He had a promotional website for his acting career, including a guestbook. His classmates discovered the website and posted hateful and threatening messages in the guestbook. In 2005, DC and his parents sued the school, the students who posted messages and their parents. A lot has transpired in the past 9 years, and I’ve found it hard to track everything and keep things straight. In this post, my RA Sruli Yellin sorts through the numerous developments.]

D.C. v. R.R. spans more than eight years in court; two appeals (including one to the California Supreme Court); a side suit for malpractice; and an expensive trip to arbitration. Prof. Goldman blogged the case twice (here and here) and discussed it in a recent talk on high schoolers using the Internet. To get a sense of how long this case has been running, it has already lasted over 1/3 of the lives of some of the litigants who were minors when the case was filed.


The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/02/resetting_one_o.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.