REVENGE PORN BILL PROTECTS ONLINE PUBLISHERS

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California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier has introduced a long-awaited bill in Congress to crack down on the practice of disseminating sexually explicit photos online without the consent of the person depicted, known as revenge porn.

The Intimate Privacy Protection Act of 2016 would make it a crime to post explicit photos without such consent. The bill includes protections for the providers of websites on which explicit photos are posted.

A Speier aide told Bloomberg BNA that Speier worked extensively with constitutional law experts to update the language of the legislation.  “She wanted the bill to be as solid as possible from a legal standpoint,” the aide said.

Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have endorsed the legislation. It’s not clear whether the bill will advance this year.

A provision in a discussion draft published last May would have held internet service providers liable for failing to take down revenge porn from their websites and search engines within 48 hours of receiving notice.  That provision wasn’t in the introduced bill.

The bill would provide an exception for ISPs with regard to content provided by third parties, pursuant to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 protects online publishers against liability for content produced by others, as long as they are performing traditional publisher functions and aren't content providers themselves.

According to the bill, the exception wouldn’t apply if the ISP intentionally promotes or solicits content that it knows to be a violation.