While this is a good start, unfortunately most of it fails to legislate for anyone who owns the copyright to the image they’re fighting to remove. That’s to say that senders of saucy selfies fall straight through the giant loophole in California’s bill, which effectively enables people to distribute an explicit image as many times as they like so long as the person in it took the photo themselves. Law-makers evidently find it quite hard to believe that sexts initially intended as private fodder between a couple can ultimately turn into ammo for jilted exes to get their own back—not to mention that some photos simply make it into the public sphere because their computer gets hacked.
Is someone who, for example, sends a cheeky pic to her long distance boyfriend of five years really to blame if he suddenly turns and starts posting it wherever he can? Recent research at an Indiana university found that more than 50% of young people have engaged in ‘unwanted sexting,’ often the result of relationship pressure or anxiety, so claiming that the person who initially shares it is the one to blame no matter what the outcome just doesn’t cut it.
This isn’t just a case of sparing some small-town bra-toting 19-year-old her blushes in case mom sees her Snapchats. It’s about realizing the gravity of damage certain people are willing to cause others, and ensuring that every measure is put in place to both stop it from happening, and duly punish anyone who slips through the net.