Michigan’s First Revenge Porn Money Judgment

Detroit Free Press
August 26, 2016

This is a great legal development in my home state’s internet law:

“In what might be Michigan’s first revenge-pornography case resulting in a monetary judgment, an Oakland County woman was awarded $500,000 Wednesday after her ex-boyfriend posted nude photographs of her on multiple Internet sites. 

“According to court records from the Oakland County Circuit Court, Judge Martha Anderson awarded the sum, which is set to accrue interest over time. Anderson also granted a permanent injunction against the ex-boyfriend, forcing him to immediately destroy and never republish the photos to third-party websites. If he does … he can be held in contempt and face prison or additional fines.”

The article also notes that “In April, a bill criminalizing the posting of sexually explicit images on the Internet without the depicted person’s consent was signed into law by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. Anyone found guilty of violating the law could face up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense. If a second violation occurs, the person could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. The individual could also face separate charges in connection to the crime.”

Although many similar statutes have been passed around the country, they often have First Amendment defects, because they go too far in abridging the Constitution’s sacrosanct freedom of speech. Nevertheless, cases like this prove that existing tort laws will almost always provide a way to punish those who use the internet to abuse others.

New Firm & New Look!

For those who don’t already know, I have recently moved my law practice to the firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. I couldn’t be happier or more excited about continuing my career with this fantastic group of legal professionals. Today the firm issued this press release about my move.

Together with this transition, I’ve also refreshed the look of this blog with the “Get Noticed!” WordPress theme from Michael Hyatt. I’ve followed Michael’s social media insights for years, and this theme is designed to make it easier to follow his advice. It will allow me to share a wider variety of content along with my standard blog posts, such as announcements like this one.

And with that refresh comes a renewed commitment to sharing fresh content on this blog. Over the past few months I’ve been on a mini-sabbatical, posting content closer to once per month than to my typical once per week approach. I’m now back to my regular schedule, and look forward to contributing to (or even starting) some Warner Norcross blogs soon as well.

It’s you, my audience, who make this effort worthwhile. Over the past five years, I’ve learned that although my readers rarely comment online (who has time?), there are more of you out there than I ever knew. It never ceases to amaze and humble me how often I meet someone who has been following these posts. Thanks for continuing to read!

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking on “Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality” at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia as part of the World Intellectual Property Organizations’ Summer School series.

Date: August 11, 2016
Time: 12:30 p.m.
Event: Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality
Topic: Intellectual Property in an Augmented Reality
Sponsor: World Intellectual Property Organization
Venue: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Location: 600 Dulany St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Public: Private
Registration: Click here to register.

If you'd like me to speak to your organization about intellectual property, emerging media, or related legal topics, please feel free to contact me through my Contact page.