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Tennessee law bans posting Internet images that 'cause emotional distress'
June 10, 2011 9:56 am PT
A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to post an image that is likely to "frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress" to anyone who sees it.
Violators could face almost a year in jail or be fined up to $2500.
According to ARS Technica:
The ban on distressing images, which was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last week, is also an update to existing law. Tennessee law already made it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender "reasonably should know" would "cause emotional distress" to the recipient. If the communciation lacked a "legitimate purpose," the sender faced jail time.
The new legislation adds images to the list of communications that can trigger criminal liability. But for image postings, the "emotionally distressed" individual need not be the intended recipient. Anyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you "should have known" that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you could face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.
That means if you post an image on your Facebook page that causes someone to be frightened or suffer "emotional distress," you could go to jail.