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Revenge porn is the publication of explicit material portraying someone who has not consented for the image or video to be shared.The law now makes it illegal to disclose a "private sexual photograph or film" without the consent of the person depicted in the content, and with the intent to cause them distress.What are the penalties for someone convicted of revenge porn offences?Someone found guilty can go to prison for up to two years, plus a fine.Could someone be in trouble if they receive an unsolicited naked image on their phone? However, if you go on to share them you could be breaking the law.Simple rule: if you get an image like this, delete it and don't forward.It signals that the police and courts are starting to take online abuse as seriously as they do physical abuse.Only time will tell as to whether prosecutors will use the full power of the law against perpetrators.
This exempts people who forward images around the internet of people they don't know "just for kicks".Will the social media companies, such as Whats App and Facebook, shoulder any of the responsibility? But if victims own copyright of the materials (which usually rests with the person who takes the photo, not the subject), they can potentially sue for copyright infringement, and social media companies often respond to takedown requests based on copyright.The law absolves internet companies of responsibility for content posted by users, in order to safeguard free speech.So can we expect the courts to be filled to the brim with revenge porn cases? Prosecutors are required to assess in every case whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction and if a prosecution is in the public interest, and they may not wish to spend resources intervening in the aftermath of unhappy relationships.Victims are often reluctant to come forward, and prosecutors to prosecute, in sexually-tinged crimes in any event.