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


Section 52-C Private right of action for unlawful dissemination or publication of a sexually explicit depiction of an individual

Civil Rights (CVR)

Private right of action for unlawful dissemination or publication of a sexually explicit depiction of an individual. 1. For the purposes of this section:

  a. "depicted individual" means an individual who appears, as a result of digitization, to be giving a performance they did not actually perform or to be performing in a performance that was actually performed by the depicted individual but was subsequently altered to be in violation of this section.

  b. "digitization" means to realistically depict the nude body parts of another human being as the nude body parts of the depicted individual, computer-generated nude body parts as the nude body parts of the depicted individual or the depicted individual engaging in sexual conduct, as defined in subdivision ten of section 130.00 of the penal law, in which the depicted individual did not engage.

  c. "individual" means a natural person.

  d. "person" means a human being or legal entity.

  e. "sexually explicit material" means any portion of an audio visual work that shows the depicted individual performing in the nude, meaning with an unclothed or exposed intimate part, as defined in section 245.15 of the penal law, or appearing to engage in, or being subjected to, sexual conduct, as defined in subdivision ten of section 130.00 of the penal law.

  2. a. A depicted individual shall have a cause of action against a person who, discloses, disseminates or publishes sexually explicit material related to the depicted individual, and the person knows or reasonably should have known the depicted individual in that material did not consent to its creation, disclosure, dissemination, or publication.

  b. It shall not be a defense to an action under this section that there is a disclaimer in the sexually explicit material that communicates that the inclusion of the depicted individual in the sexually explicit material was unauthorized or that the depicted individual did not participate in the creation or development of the material.

  3. a. A depicted individual may only consent to the creation, disclosure, dissemination, or publication of sexually explicit material by knowingly and voluntarily signing an agreement written in plain language that includes a general description of the sexually explicit material and the audiovisual work in which it will be incorporated.

  b. A depicted individual may rescind consent by delivering written notice within three business days from the date consent was given to the person in whose favor consent was made, unless one of the following requirements is satisfied:

  i. the depicted individual is given at least three business days to review the terms of the agreement before signing it; or

  ii. if the depicted individual is represented, the attorney, talent agent, or personal manager authorized to represent the depicted individual provides additional written approval of the signed agreement.

  4. a. A person is not liable under this section if:

  i. the person discloses, disseminates or publishes the sexually explicit material in the course of reporting unlawful activity, exercising the person's law enforcement duties, or hearings, trials or other legal proceedings; or

  ii. the sexually explicit material is a matter of legitimate public concern, a work of political or newsworthy value or similar work, or commentary, criticism or disclosure that is otherwise protected by the constitution of this state or the United States; provided that sexually explicit material shall not be considered of newsworthy value solely because the depicted individual is a public figure.

  5. In any action commenced pursuant to 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.

  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 sexually explicit material; or

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

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

  8. The provisions of this section including the remedies are in addition to, and 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.