Blog Header Image

Another Student's View:  Revenge Porn – Where to Draw the Line

Chelsea MacRae, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Spring 2014 Mass Communication Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the following essay in response to the prompt: “You just went through a nasty breakup with your significant other. A few days after your final fight, a friend sent you the link to an inappropriate website and you are on the front page. You significant other posted a personal video of the two of you being intimate and included your name in the video description. What can you do? What should you be able to do? What would you do?”

A significant other posted an intimate video to an inappropriate website with his ex’s name included in the description that is appearing on the front page. The girl might not have a case against her ex-boyfriend because they both have equal rights to the video. I believe that means that each individual can do whatever they want with the video due to the consent from both of them.

She may however have a case against him if they can prove it was a malicious intent. The fact that the video was released right after a nasty break-up makes it appear as if he released the video to produce harm. The description of the video was not listed in the synopsis, but if it says anything negative about her then that will help her make a case against him as well. A lawyer may create a case of defamation. It may be hard to prove his intent was malicious other than the fact it was following a break-up, but if the girl is able to prove it was out of anger and will lead to her personal or work life being affected, then the guy could be in trouble.

The girl will definitely have a case against the website. They used her image and personal information without any consent from her. They are promoting their business by using her video, which she never agreed to. This is a case of appropriation, which means that the company is in the wrong for using a name without approval.

I would sue both the company and the ex-boyfriend if I were her. The case against the company seems like an easy win to make. The ex might not be as easy, but I believe a great lawyer with a better argument can win a case. The fact that this video followed a fight makes me believe the girl has a case, but I still can see him winning the case due to the consent to film. He really should lose for poor morals and ethics, but that doesn’t hold up in court.

_____________________________________________________________

Chelsea MacRae is a senior at Pepperdine University majoring in public relations.

Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. COM 570 covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.  

  • Pepperdine Student Comments , Privacy , Privacy - Intrusion , Privacy - Private Facts
  • Jun 04, 2014

Featured Posts

Categories

Get in touch with Jon and his Team

Call Us at 310.451.5800 or Email Jon Newsletter Signup