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Relationship Privacy Act - Revenge Porn

In Texas, over 1,200 new laws took effect in September 2015. Interestingly, Texas now imposes civil and criminal liability for "the unlawful disclosure or promotion certain intimate visual material" or what has been commonly termed as "revenge porn."

Under the civil statute, the new Relationship Privacy Act imposes damages when one person shares visual material that depicts a person showing intimate parts or engaged in sexual conduct, and:

1. the material is shared without consent of the person depicted,

2. the material was created or provided to the defendant with a reasonable expectation that the material would be kept private,

3. the disclosure of the material caused harm to the depicted person, and

4. the disclosure reveals the identity of the depicted person in any way, whether it is revealed by the person disclosing the material or it is revealed by a third party after disclosing.

What does this mean? Generally, that you can be held civilly (and criminally!) liable for posting a video or picture of intimate visual material online or disclosing it to others. In fact, the person bringing this claim against you can ask for actual damages, including mental anguish damages, as well as attorney's fees, costs of court, and even added exemplary damages.

The court can also issue a temporary restraining order and injunction regarding the material. If this happens, you could be ordered to pay $1,000.00 for each intentional violation of the order AND $500.00 for each unintentional violation of the order-for instance, if people start sharing the post.

For those getting divorced, or anyone with access to this kind of material, be very aware of the consequences of disclosure. The best answer is this: do not post or share anything that could fall under this new law, regardless of whether you are using social media or any other internet sites.

If you feel that you have been damaged by this type of disclosure, or are concerned about your internet presence, contact the Yale Law Group at (940) 891-4800 for more information.

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