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Celebrity Photo Leak: Can You Be In Trouble For Viewing Stolen Pictures?

Brian J Smith Sept. 29, 2014

Over the past few weeks, the Internet has been stampeded with photos of celebrities. But these recent celebrity photographs aren’t your typical red carpet fare. Upwards of 100 celebrities have had their phones and information hacked, providing the web with numerous stolen images of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars posing nude. With so many famous faces dealing with identity theft, some have threatened legal action against anyone who posts the leaked images online. Other have even called the leaking of these photos a sex crime. As laws regarding Internet viewing and sharing can be a little murky, can someone find themselves in legal trouble for viewing stolen nude pictures of celebrities?

Is it a sex crime?

Big name actors and musicians such as Jennifer Lawrence, Rihanna and Kim Kardashian have all been victims of one of the largest photo leaks in history. With nude pictures that they don’t want public floating around online, it’s understandable that these celebrities want justice. But what can they do to fight back against Internet hackers and can you be to blame for simply viewing these stolen images?

Unfortunately for these celebrities, many states recognize famous people for their Right to Publicity, which allows them to make money off their celebrity image. Because of this, it can be tricky suing someone who hasn’t earned money off the distribution of these photos. For normal people that simply viewed the images on their computers or mobile devices, they should be clear of any charges. This is especially true since these images can be regarded as “newsworthy.” Since this story has been in the news for about a month, parties facing punishment for sharing images can claim First Amendment rights and protections.

Tough to pin down culprits

Even for those who decide to share these stolen photos, it may be difficult pinning them with a legal charge. Once an image goes viral, the damage has been done and that photo is out there for everyone. A harassment lawsuit could be brought upon people that distribute these pictures, but it is difficult to prove in a courtroom. Bottom line, once an image gets leaked onto the Internet, it essentially becomes property of the public domain.

For more information on sex crimes, Internet behavior or for a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, contact Brian J. Smith today.

Photo by Mingle MediaTV