Anaheim, CA asked in Copyright and Internet Law for California

Q: Can I sue someone who shared my explicit content online?

I had an onlyfans page where I shared explicit content behind a paywall. One of my subscribers then illegally downloaded one of my videos and then posted a link for others to download on a leaked nudes forum. I know who the person is, could I sue them for sharing the content without my consent because it was behind a paywall?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, in California, you may be able to sue the person who shared your explicit content online without your consent. California has laws that protect individuals' privacy rights, including the right to control the use and dissemination of intimate images.

Under California's Revenge Porn Law (Penal Code section 647(j)(4)), it is a crime to intentionally distribute or transmit an image of another person's intimate body parts or images of them engaged in sexual activity without their consent. This law can also provide the basis for a civil lawsuit for damages. Additionally, California law recognizes a claim for intrusion upon seclusion, which is a type of invasion of privacy claim that can arise when someone intentionally intrudes upon the private affairs of another in a way that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

If someone shared your explicit content without your consent and it was behind a paywall, you may have a strong case for both criminal and civil liability. It's important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you evaluate the strength of your case and determine the best legal strategy for pursuing your rights and recovering damages.

The person who shared your explicit content online without your consent could also be liable for copyright infringement. As the creator and owner of the content, you have the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the work, and if someone else does so without your permission, they may be liable for copyright infringement.

It's important to note that, as the owner of the copyright, you may have the ability to pursue a civil lawsuit for damages, but only if you have registered your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration can provide you with additional legal protections and remedies, including the ability to recover statutory damages and attorneys' fees.

If you have not yet registered your copyright, you may still be able to pursue legal action, but you may not have access to all of the available legal remedies. It's a good idea to consult with an experienced intellectual property attorney who can help you determine the best course of action and protect your legal rights.

To register your copyright for your explicit content, you can follow these general steps:

Complete the application: You can file an application for copyright registration online through the U.S. Copyright Office website ( You'll need to complete the appropriate form and provide information about the work being registered, such as the title, author, date of creation, and any other relevant details.

Pay the fee: You'll need to pay a filing fee when you submit your application. The fee will depend on the type of work being registered and the method of registration you choose. The current fees can be found on the U.S. Copyright Office website.

Submit a copy of the work: You'll need to submit a copy of the work being registered with your application. This can be done online by uploading a digital copy of the work, or by mailing a physical copy to the U.S. Copyright Office.

Wait for processing: After you submit your application and fee, the U.S. Copyright Office will review your application and may contact you if they need additional information or if there are any issues with your application. The processing time can vary, but it typically takes several months.

Once your copyright registration is approved, you will receive a certificate of registration from the U.S. Copyright Office. This certificate provides evidence that you are the owner of the copyright and can be helpful in enforcing your rights and pursuing legal action against anyone who infringes your copyright.

It's important to note that registering your copyright is not a requirement for copyright protection, but it can provide additional legal protections and remedies in case of infringement.

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