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Is It Illegal to Share 'OnlyFans' Content?

OnlyFans is a distribution platform that broadly caters to those who create and sell sexually explicit pictures and videos, most often depicting themselves. The site made headlines around mid-August when it announced that it would ban sexually explicit videos in October, but that directive was quickly reversed amid protest from users.

For now sexually explicit content is safe on the site, but long-held concerns about the distribution of someone else’s sexually explicit pictures and videos without their consent remain. While this wasn’t the issue that spurred the site’s threat to ban such content, it remains a looming concern among both creators and those who consume their content.

How California’s Revenge Porn Laws May Apply

In 2013 – long before OnlyFans’ launch – California signed into law its first revenge porn laws. These made it a misdemeanor sexual offense – punishable by up to six months in jail – to distribute sexually explicit images or videos of another person without their consent.

The specific elements of this crime include the following:

  • Intent to distribute images or videos of an intimate body part of an identifiable person.
  • The images or videos were taken under circumstances where both parties understood the content would remain private.
  • The defendant who allegedly distributes qualifying images or videos knew or should have known that doing so would cause serious emotional distress.
  • The person depicted in the images or videos actually suffers serious emotional distress.

All of these elements could apply to a situation where someone distributes content they took from OnlyFans or another site like it without the original creator’s permission. This means it’s possible that someone can face criminal charges if they are caught distributing someone else’s OnlyFans content.

While there are defenses to charges involving California’s revenge porn laws, anyone accused of such an offense should seek experienced legal counsel. Our attorneys at Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC have many years of experience advocating for clients who were accused of serious sex crimes.

For more information about how we may be able to help you with your defense, contact us online.