Revenge porn is an issue the law has been slow to catch up with. In my opinion, the law should be changed to allow those convicted of distributing revenge porn to be put on the Sex Offender Register. This requires further clarification of the distinction between legal and illegal pornography.
If the individuals in explicit films or photographs do not consent to having the material published, even if he or she consented for the material to be made for another purpose, then it should be classified as illegal pornography. Illegal pornography should also include incidents where material has been accessed through devices without the explicit consent of the individual who owns the device and the participants in the explicit material.
To those of a more socially conservative leaning, all pornography is of the same ilk. These individuals must not be allowed to frame the debate. Revenge porn is by definition a form of pornography that lacks an element of consent. It is a very different thing from pornography that has been legally and consensually made. Until revenge porn is illegal it continues to demean the status of consenting pornographic performers.
Unless pornographic performers give their explicit consent for the material to be made and distributed then it should not be legal. In addition to the issue of consent, the mens rea behind revenge porn is to cause harm. There has been too much debate over which current laws apply to revenge porn but as someone who has followed this issue the only conclusion I can draw is that new laws should be made to deal with a new crime.
If you were to harm another individual sexually without their consent you would be put on the Sex Offender Register. Deliberately making and distributing pornography of individuals who can't consent, e.g. children, lands you on the Sex Offender Register. It is logically consistent to make creating and distributing pornography of people who don't consent an act worthy of being put on the Sex Offender Register as well.
Commentary originally written and published in 2014.