1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. Civil Rights
  4. Article 5: Right of Privacy


Section 52-B Private right of action for unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image

Civil Rights (CVR)

Private right of action for unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image. 1. Any person depicted in a still or video image, regardless of whether or not the original still or video image was consensually obtained, shall have a cause of action against an individual who, for the purpose of harassing, annoying or alarming such person, disseminated or published, or threatened to disseminate or publish, such still or video image, where such image:

  a. was taken when such person had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private; and

  b. depicts (i) an unclothed or exposed intimate part of such person; or (ii) such person engaging in sexual conduct, as defined in subdivision ten of section 130.00 of the penal law, with another person; and

  c. was disseminated or published, or threatened to be disseminated or published, without the consent of such person.

  2. In any action commenced pursuant to subdivision one of this section, the finder of fact, in its discretion, may award injunctive relief, punitive damages, compensatory damages and reasonable court costs and attorney's fees.

  3. This section shall not apply to the following:

  a. the reporting of unlawful conduct;

  b. dissemination or publication of an intimate still or video image made during lawful and common practices of law enforcement, legal proceedings or medical treatment;

  c. images involving voluntary exposure in a public or commercial setting; or

  d. dissemination or publication of an intimate still or video image made for a legitimate public purpose.

  4. Any person depicted in a still or video image that depicts an unclothed or exposed intimate part of such person, or such person engaging in sexual conduct as defined in subdivision ten of section 130.00 of the penal law with another person, which is disseminated or published without the consent of such person and where such person had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private, may maintain an action or special proceeding for a court order to require any website that is subject to personal jurisdiction under subdivision five of this section to permanently remove such still or video image; any such court order granted pursuant to this subdivision may direct removal only as to images that are reasonably within such website's control.

  5. a. Any website that hosts or transmits a still or video image, viewable in this state, taken under circumstances where the person depicted had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private, which depicts:

  (i) an unclothed or exposed intimate part, as defined in section 245.15 of the penal law, of a resident of this state; or

  (ii) a resident of this state engaging in sexual conduct as defined in subdivision ten of section 130.00 of the penal law with another person; and

  b. Such still or video image is hosted or transmitted without the consent of such resident of this state, shall be subject to personal jurisdiction in a civil action in this state to the maximum extent permitted under the United States constitution and federal law.

  6. A cause of action or special proceeding under this section shall be commenced the later of either:

  a. three years after the dissemination or publication of an image; or

  b. one year from the date a person discovers, or reasonably should have discovered, the dissemination or publication of such image.

  7. Nothing herein shall be read to require a prior criminal complaint, prosecution or conviction to establish the elements of the cause of action provided for by this section.

  8. The provisions of this section are in addition to, but shall not supersede, any other rights or remedies available in law or equity.

  9. If any provision of this section or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this section which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.

  10. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit, or to enlarge, the protections that 47 U.S.C § 230 confers on an interactive computer service for content provided by another information content provider, as such terms are defined in 47 U.S.C. § 230.

  * NB Effective September 21, 2019