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Internet Privacy & Cyber Civil Rights

These days, it is more and more common for a client to call and tell us that a former partner or an ex-lover of theirs is posting, sharing, discriminating, texting or in some other way sending nude, naked, intimate photographs or videos of them.  This is done without the client’s permission.  Sometimes these videos and photographs are posted on anonymous websites.  Other times they are sent to a client’s new partner, spouse, parent or employer.

Internet Privacy & Cyber Civil Rights

If you are involved in a situation like this, you need an experienced attorney who can help you. Please call the Law office of Steven H. Wolff today and speak with us about your matter.

“Intimate Parts”

Revenge porn is a type of nonconsensual pornography (NCP), in which sexually explicit images of someone else are distributed in order to humiliate and harm the subject of the images. In many but not all cases, the person distributing the pornographic images is an ex-partner (hence the element of targeted revenge), but NCP can also occur when hackers break into strangers’ computers and post images of people they don’t know. NCP is also referred to as “cyber exploitation.”

In New Jersey, nonconsensual pornography, whether accomplished by an ex-partner or a stranger, is a crime. It is also a serious crime in New Jersey for anyone to disclose a recording, however made, showing another individual’s intimate parts or the individual engaged in sexual conduct in a private setting without the individual’s consent to the disclosure. ” (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:14-9 (1)(c).) For purposes of the New Jersey law, “disclose” means sell, manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, publish, distribute, circulate, exhibit, advertise, or offer.” (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:14-9 (1)(c).)

Internet Privacy & Cyber Civil Rights

Protect your rights.

  • Visit the website to see if it has a removal policy. Some websites may have an icon or link that tells you how to ask them to remove a photo. Others have a “frequently asked questions” section that explains how to have a photo removed. In some cases, the information may be difficult to find. Sometimes you can find it by clicking the small print on the bottom or top of the website that says “About Us,” “Contact Us,” or “Privacy Policy.” If the website has a search feature, enter the word “contact” or “removal” to see if it takes you to the information you need. If the website has a removal procedure, follow the steps they provide.
  • If the website has no information about removal. Find their contact information and tell them you would like your photo removed. It can be difficult to find the website’s contact information. You may have to look for small links at the bottom or top of the page. Sometimes the information is not labeled as contact information but can be found in links to the “administrator” or “about us” sections of the website. You should explain that the photos were posted without your permission and that you would like them removed immediately. If you have copyright of the photo you should let them know that as well.
Cyber Civil Rights Morris County NJ

If you ARE the copyright holder, you may be protected by a federal law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Under the DMCA, it is illegal for websites to post copyrighted photos without permission. To have your copyrighted photo removed from the internet, you must send a notice of copyright infringement (an official notice that tells the website it has violated federal copyright law).
You can send notices of copyright infringement to:

  • The website that posted your photo
  • The company that hosts (gives space on the internet) the website
  • Any search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) that allow the photo to appear when your name or personal information is searched.

Some websites claim that they can help you remove the photographs and videos for a cost. This is a scam. Unfortunately, some websites have made deals with companies that offer to remove photos for a fee, and even allow these companies to advertise on their page in exchange for part of their removal fees—several hundred dollars in some cases. Some websites have posted advertisements for lawyers who do not even exist. There is no guarantee the photos will either be taken down or will stay down.

You do not need to have a special relationship with the person who posted your photo in order to press charges. Also, you can press charges even if you do not have proof that your ex-partner is the person who posted your photo. For example, even if the photos were posted with an anonymous name, if you only shared them with one person, and the prosecutor (the government lawyer handling your case) decides your case should go forward, s/he or the police can request a subpoena (court order requiring someone to provide information). The subpoena would require the internet service provider that hosts the website to provide information about the person who posted the photo. If found guilty, the person could be ordered to pay a fine up to $30,000 and sentenced to three to five years in prison. Also, if you do not have copyright ownership of the photos in question, you can ask the prosecutor to ask the court to transfer copyright ownership of the photos of you.

  • If you are unsure if there are sensitive photographs of you on the internet you can find your photo online by doing a reverse image search on Google. Before searching, make sure the photos you want to find online are saved on your computer, a flash drive, or some other place that makes it possible for you to upload photos. To perform a reverse image search go to the Google Images page. Click on the small camera icon on the right side of the search box. (When you put your cursor on the camera icon, it will say “search by image.”) Next, select “upload an image” and select the saved photo file. This will NOT post your photo online; it simply allows Google to search for the image

Our lawyers are here to help! Contact us today for a free consultation.