Today the New York State legislature unanimously passed a bill making revenge porn—meaning when someone attempts to defame and humiliate someone by illicitly releasing an intimate photograph or video—punishable by law.

The legislation also includes a private right of action, where victims of revenge porn can procure an injunctive relief against the perpetrator, have the images removed offline by a judge, and pursue civil and/or criminal cases further. Additionally, victims can pursue the civil action three years after the image is posted, or within a year that they discover that it's been posted online. If signed into law, disseminating revenge porn will be punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a $1000 fine.

"No one—absolutely no one—should be subjected to having their most intimate moments blasted across the internet without their consent," Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie said in a press release. "Today's legislation will ensure that people who illegally publish the intimate images of others are held accountable for their reprehensible actions."

"Revenge porn is not infrequent, nor is it just a celebrity issue,” State Senator Monica Martinez, a Democrat from Long Island and the bill’s sponsor, told reporters today. “It is a form of domestic violence."

The bill also acknowledges the horrific fallout that victims of revenge porn often face after the fact, including harassment, assault, and being fired by their employers.

The road to criminalizing revenge porn has faced several stops and starts since Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Senator Joseph A. Griffo proposed legislation back in 2013. But revenge porn has been a misdemeanor in New York City for the past two years. Since then, at least 143 people throughout the five boroughs have come forward in court to combat instances of revenge porn, as The New York Post reports.

An alliance of tech companies including Google and Facebook lobbied against a previous version of the bill, objecting to a provision that would have empowered revenge porn victims to attain a court order forcing websites to remove such images permanently.
The legislation was altered this month to limit the liability of social-media platforms that host user-published content, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Governor Andrew Cuomo appears inclined to sign the bill, making New York the 42nd state to pass legislation related to curbing revenge porn. "For years I have called for outlawing revenge porn as part of our fight to combat sexual violence in all its forms. This disgusting and insidious behavior, which can follow victims around their entire lives, has no place in New York," Cuomo said in a statement.