Helpful Tips for Victims of Revenge Porn

Is the nonconsensual creation or publication of private intimate images unlawful?

Generally speaking, yes. “Involuntary porn,” the nonconsensual creation, publication, or dissemination of a person’s private intimate image, for no legitimate public concern, should be legally actionable in almost every situation. The specific law(s) broken will vary by state. For an educational resource on the relevant state and federal laws, you may want to check out Without My Consent (“WMC”) is a 501(c)(3) privacy nonprofit currently undertaking a 50-State survey to compile a comprehensive overview of the possible civil claims that a victim of such conduct might explore, and the potential criminal consequences of the unlawful conduct, in each jurisdiction. The site also includes practical information for victims of online harassment and the attorneys who advocate on their behalf.

Disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice, and is not intended to form an attorney/client relationship with any reader. If you require legal advice, you should always consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Your interaction with this blog does not create an attorney/client relationship between you and Ridder, Costa & Johnstone LLP, or any of its lawyers. For more information, please see our full disclaimer below.

Erica Johnstone cofounded and currently serves on the board of directors for WMC; however, WMC is entirely separate from and has no affiliation with Ridder, Costa & Johnstone LLP.

What are the relevant legal claims I might bring against someone who published private intimate images of me without my consent?

There are many legal claims that can be brought in a lawsuit against the defendant who posted the images. Relevant state claims to consider often include: defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress, stalking, and harassment. Federal causes of action like copyright infringement, federal stalking claims, and computer fraud and abuse claims should also be explored. And most, if not all, states have the following criminal statutes on the books: criminal invasion of privacy, voyeurism, impersonation or fraud, harassment, and stalking. To view a list of relevant civil and criminal laws in your state, please access

By |February 12th, 2013|Privacy, Revenge Porn|2 Comments

RCJ Persuades Arts Commission To Rescind Unconstitutional Regulation

RCJ recently succeeded in persuading the Street Artists Committee of the San Francisco Arts Commission to rescind a regulation that infringed the First Amendment rights of street artists working in the medium of slumped bottles. The original regulation, passed by the Commission on September 8, 2010 (, provided that:

a) A raw commercially-manufactured bottle must be cleaned, prepared, slumped, and finished by the street artist.

b) The bottle must show a substantial or significant transformation of its commercial elements by the artist.

c) A bottle’s commercial label or applied images which are not created by the artist must be substantially altered to reflect significant input by the artist to the item as a whole. If the artist does not significantly alter the label or applied images, the artist may embellish the bottle itself; but the embellishment must visually outweigh the unaltered commercial label or images.

Following a letter sent by RCJ to the San Francisco City Attorney explaining that the regulation constituted a content-based restriction, and a prior restraint, on art involving commercially manufactured bottles, the Street Artists Committee rescinded the regulation and approved the following modified regulation on January 12, 2011 (

Slumped/Flattened or Re-Shaped Bottles: Street Artists wishing to sell slumped, flattened, or re-shaped commercially manufactured bottles must prepare, finish, and significantly alter the original form of the bottles.

RCJ believes that artists everywhere should have the freedom to interpret found objects, and indeed to create all forms of artistic expression, in a manner of their choosing and without government interference. We are proud to have played a role in this matter, and are pleased that the Street Artists Committee reversed itself on this important issue.

To learn more about San Francisco’s Street Artists Program, see If you would like to learn more about the law with respect to street art, the following cases are a good starting point: White v. City of Sparks, 500 F.3d 953 (9th Cir. 2007); Bery v. City of New York, 97 F.3d 689, 696 (2d Cir. 1996).

By |February 11th, 2011|Artists|Comments Off on RCJ Persuades Arts Commission To Rescind Unconstitutional Regulation

RCJ Law Blog

Welcome to our web site, and to our blog. We will use this space to share our thoughts about interesting and important developments in the law related to our practice areas, and to provide news and updates about our firm. We welcome your comments, and thank you for your interest in RCJ.

By |January 21st, 2011|Artists, Intellectual Property, Privacy|Comments Off on RCJ Law Blog