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ACLU Sues Over Arizona 'Revenge Porn' Bill

A new Arizona law making "revenge porn" illegal is so broad it criminalizes booksellers, artists, news photographers and even historians and is therefore unconstitutional, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona said in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The civil rights group said the law can make any person who distributes or displays a nude image without explicit permission guilty of a felony. The group says that violates the First Amendment.

"On its face it will affect a goodly amount of protected speech that has nothing to do with the prototypical revenge porn scenario," said Dan Pochoda, legal director for the state ACLU. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix on behalf of several bookstores and publishing associations, the owner of the Village Voice and 12 other alternative newsweeklies nationwide, and the National Press Photographers Association.

Among the examples of acts they say would be criminalized by the law would be a college professor's use of a Pulitzer Prize-winning Vietnam war photo of a burned and nude little girl running from her bombed village. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 13 states have adopted revenge porn laws in the last two years, but most are very narrowly written. The Arizona law is the only one that has been challenged by the ACLU.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2515 into law in April after it unanimously passed the Senate and House.

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— Hasani Gittens