News

Revenge porn bill would impose $10,000 fine for posting private photos of "intimate parts"

In February 2013, we told you about Craig Brittan, the Colorado Springs man behind Is Anybody Down?, a website that published "involuntary" nude photos -- meaning intimate images typically intended to embarrass ex-lovers. The popular term for such web destinations? Revenge porn sites.

Brittan's address is now history, but the concept is alive and well -- and the subject of a new bill that would impose a $10,000 fine for posting private images depicting "intimate parts."

As we've reported, Brittain's site included scads of photos posted without the pictured individuals' permission plus a link to a service called Takedown Hammer, which offered to facilitate removal of said images for a mere $250. While Brittain tried to distance himself from the Hammer, it appears that he was on the receiving end of at least some, if not most or all, of these funds -- a way to make money from online victims as they were coming and going.

In interviews with CBS4's Brian Maass, Brittain initially claimed to be proud of the site -- but as the heat increased, he backed down. He eventually pulled Is Anybody Down? off the web and announced that he was going to become an investigator.

Nonetheless, the revenge porn phenomenon remains very much a going concern. As such, legislators around the country have introduced bills intended to strengthen penalties against it, including several in Colorado.

House Bill 14-1378 is co-sponsored by Representatives Amy Stephens and Dan Pabon; she's a Republican, he's a Democrat.

We've included the entire document below, but its summary notes that the measure "makes it a crime for a person eighteen years of age or older, with the intent to cause serious emotional distress, to post, add to a post, or otherwise distribute through the use of social media any photograph, video, or other image containing the intimate parts of an identified or identifiable person eighteen years of age or older, without the depicted person's consent."

Such an action would be considered a class 1 misdemeanor -- a crime that includes a sentencing range of six-to-eighteen months in county jail.

But that's not all. Here's an excerpt from the body of the bill:

IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER SENTENCE THE COURT MAY IMPOSE, THE COURT SHALL FINE THE DEFENDANT TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS AND SHALL ORDER THE PERSON OR THE ENTITY WHERE THE PHOTOS ARE POSTED OR PUBLISHED TO REMOVE ALL PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE VICTIM THAT SHOW THE VICTIM'S INTIMATE PARTS.
According to Pabon's office, the bill is tentatively scheduled to go before the House Judiciary Committee on April 24.

Look below to see a 2013 CBS4 report on revenge porn, followed by HB 14-1378.

House Bill 14-1378

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Tech archive circa May 2013: "Revenge porn's Craig Brittain drops involuntary nudes site to become...an investigator?"

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts