A Calgary man is facing jail time and a civil suit for posting an intimate video of an ex-girlfriend to an online gossip site based in the United States.

What is Revenge Porn?

Revenge porn, the posting of intimate photos or videos of a sexual nature to publically accessible media or websites, without the consent of those depicted in the images. This is most often committed by someone seeking to get revenge on a former intimate partner by causing them public humiliation, hence the name.

Revenge Porn In The News

In the case at hand, the man and woman had a brief intimate relationship, when the woman chose to end things between them. While the pair were dating, the man had recorded videos of their sexual encounters on his cell phone. The woman had consented to the recordings but had indicated that she intended that they not be shared with anyone else.

A month after the couple stopped seeing each other, the man uploaded a post to a gossip website in which he posted her place of work and a photo. He also suggested that she was sexually promiscuous and had a sexually transmitted disease. Two months later, he also uploaded a video to an adult website, depicting them engaging in sexual intercourse. In the video that was uploaded, the woman could be visually identified but the man could not.

When the woman discovered that the material was online, she hired a company specializing in the removal of intimate images and other content from the internet. The company found that the video had been linked to several pornography sites.

The man is now facing criminal charges, jail time and a psychiatric assessment. In addition, the woman has filed a civil suit against him, seeking $600,000 in damages.

Protections for Victims in Alberta and Across Canada

In Alberta, and across the country, lawmakers are beginning to recognize and address the concerns of Canadians around revenge porn and the public posting of intimate images online. As this is an issue that also greatly affects young people, it is especially concerning.

Federal Bill C-13, Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act (2014)received royal assent in 2014. It is referred to as the “Cyber-Bullying Act”, and amended section 162.1 the Criminal Code to make it a criminal offence to publicly distribute private intimate images of a person without their consent. The law applies to images or videos posted on websites or distributed via text message, email and social media.

Alberta has gone even further with the Protecting Victims of Non-Consensual Distributing of intimate Images Act, which allows victims to claim monetary compensation from the guilty party, and compel the removal of the images from the Internet, or any other remedy the court sees as just and reasonable, including making the guilty party account to the victim for any profits that were earned from the use of the images and videos.

If you are or have been the victim of revenge porn, you should contact the police immediately to report the offence. You should then seek legal advice to determine your options for civil remedies against the offender, and Mincher Koeman can help. If you are considering a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement, you can ensure greater protection for yourself in the event of a breakdown of your relationship by drafting an agreement that includes provisions to protect and compensate you should your partner ever post videos or photos of you online. Please contact our office to make an urgent appointment to discuss your matter with one of our lawyers by calling us at 403-910-3000 or by contacting us online.

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