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Mischa Barton Lawyer Warns Over Alleged Sex Video: 'We Will Find You'

"You proceed at your peril," an attorney said of anyone who tries to sell or distribute video, after a "broker" said someone is trying to sell one.
Image: Mischa Barton
Mischa Barton poses at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin in 2016.Frederic / Frederic/dpa via AP

Actress Mischa Barton’s lawyer on Tuesday threatened to punish anyone who tries to distribute a sex video or images involving the celebrity.

"I have a message for anyone who attempts to traffic in these photos or videos of Ms. Barton: we will find you, and we will come after you," attorney Lisa Bloom said in a statement. "You proceed at your peril," Bloom added.

The threat was made after the Daily Mail ran an exclusive interview with Kevin Blatt, a self-described "sex tape broker" who launched a career by promoting a video of Paris Hilton having sex in 2003, who said a third party approached him with footage of Barton having sex. Blatt said it's currently the subject of a bidding war among online porn companies. NBC News has not verified that a recording exists.

In an email to NBC News, Blatt said: "I believe the person or persons' selling it may be in possession of stolen property. Obviously without the permission of both parties in the tape, the potential sale would be futile."

Mischa Barton poses at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin in 2016.Frederic / Frederic/dpa via AP

Laws in California — along with 35 other states and the District of Columbia — make it a crime to share nude or sexualized images of someone without their consent. Those laws apply whether you’re famous or not.

"Revenge pornography is a form of sexual assault," Bloom wrote in Tuesday’s statement, "And it is also a crime and a civil wrong in California. And we will not stand for it."

New York-based attorney Carrie Goldberg, whose firm has had nearly 1,000 non-consensual pornography videos and photos removed from the internet, said that anyone caught sharing or distributing a sex tape without consent could go to jail for a minimum of 45 days under California law.

"Considering that Gawker lost a $100 million lawsuit brought by Hulk Hogan after they published a sex tape of his, no reasonable online platform would risk publishing this kind of content without consent of all parties depicted," said Goldberg.

Gawker filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July after a Florida jury awarded Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, $140 million after it published online excerpts from a sex video. was shut down.

"The day and age of distributing celebrity — and non celebrities' — sex tapes and revenge porn is over," Goldberg said. "There is nothing newsworthy about the images."

Celebrities have increasingly challenged invasion of privacy and revenge porn acts as the internet has made it easier to spread images worldwide with one click. After a hacker broke into the iCloud accounts of Jennifer Lawrence and several other actresses and published the nude selfies found in their cell phones, Lawrence spoke out against the theft.

"It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime. It is a sexual violation. It's disgusting," Lawrence said in 2014.

That hacker, 29-year-old Edward Majerczyk of Illinois, pled guilty to a felony charge of unauthorized access to a protected computer last September. This January, he was sentenced to nine months in prison.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat who represents a California district that includes part of San Francisco, introduced a bill last year that would make it a federal crime to share pornographic images without consent. It never made it out of committee. A spokesperson for Speier said it had bipartisan support and will be reintroduced.

The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, of which Goldberg is a member and lead attorney, helped draft the legislation.

“Civilized people do not share other people’s sexual images or videos without consent,” said Goldberg. “It does not matter whether the video features a celebrity or Jane Doe.”