Revenge pornography—also known as revenge porn or nonconsensual pornography—is a criminal offense in most states and is committed when a person publishes private nude, pornographic, or explicit photos, videos, or images of another person’s body or sexual activity without that person’s consent.
The publication of revenge porn may occur in many forms, including (1) an in-person showing of printed or electronic photographs or video to another person or persons; (2) sending images or videos by electronic message such as text, chat, or e-mail; (3) publishing images or videos on social media; or (4) publishing images or videos on a website.
Revenge pornography laws are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code. These statutes are sometimes titled with descriptive names such as The Unlawful Disclosure or Promotion of Intimate Visual Material. Revenge pornography offenses may be prosecuted as misdemeanors or as felony offenses—depending on the state's laws—and often include potential jail or prison time.
The publication of revenge pornography may also create civil liability for money damages in a lawsuit under state law, and some states have enacted specific laws providing for such civil liability, in addition to any criminal prosecution.