Cuomo signs measure criminalizing the publication of revenge porn

Cuomo: “Our laws have not kept pace with technology and how abusers can use it to harass, intimidate and humiliate intimate partners. By criminalizing the publication of revenge porn, we are empowering victims of this heinous act to take action against their abusers and showing them a path to justice.”

ALBANY, NY — Governor Cuomo today signed into law S.1719C/ A.5981, criminalizing the publication of “revenge porn,” or the non-consensual sharing or publication of an intimate image. This new law subjects abusers to criminal penalties of up to a year in jail, plus civil damages, and empowers victims to seek a court order to remove these images online. 

“Our laws have not kept pace with technology and how abusers can use it to harass, intimidate and humiliate intimate partners,” Governor Cuomo said. “By criminalizing the publication of revenge porn, we are empowering victims of this heinous act to take action against their abusers and showing them a path to justice.” 

“As part of our Women’s Justice Agenda, we are focused on changing a culture that enables sexism and violence against women,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This legislation ensures New Yorkers are not victims of nonconsensual release of intimate images, empowering them to take action to remove images from the Internet and subject abusers to jail time. This is another important step in our overall goals to achieve true social, economic, racial, and gender justice once and for all.”

Specifically, this legislation:

  • Defines “revenge porn” as the criminal act of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image when done with the intent to cause harm to the emotional, financial, or physical welfare of another person and when the image was taken with a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private.

  • Establishes the act of unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image as a Class A misdemeanor.

  • Amends the Civil Rights Law to allow victims of “revenge porn” to seek civil recourse for the damages.

Senator Monica R. Martinez said, “I was proud to champion this issue at a county level, and today I am honored to stand with my colleagues to pass this vitally important legislation at a state level that will work to protect victims of this particularly heinous crime. We are sending a strong message that this behavior will no longer be tolerated in the State of New York, and in doing so we are empowering victims to take a stand against this kind of violation. I want to extend my gratitude to the individuals who have come forward to share their powerful stories and to the advocacy groups who have given the victims a voice.”

Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein said, “This new law will make it a Class A misdemeanor to disseminate revenge porn, providing prosecutors with the tools necessary to punish those who engage in this type of reprehensible behavior. Additionally, New York will become the first state in the nation to allow victims to seek a court ordered injunction to require websites to remove the offending images. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for signing this important measure into law. I would also like to express my gratitude to Carrie Goldberg, a victims rights lawyer, as well as Sanctuary for Families, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, and the Cyber Sexual Abuse Task Force, for their tireless advocacy on this issue.”