For All Parents: Tenn. Law Bans Posting Images that Viewers MIGHT Find Offensive
Tennessee recently enacted legislation making it a crime to post images online that viewers might find offensive. “A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.” Read the whole article here: Tenn. law bans posting images that.
The poster does not even intend to offend someone or post an image of the person who takes offense or “suffers emotional distress.” There only need be the “reasonable expectation that the image be viewed by the victim.” The “offensiveness” is totally dependent on the reaction of the viewer! It is a subjective standard without any real objectivity. The law paints with pretty broad strokes and leaves a lot of questions open. Needless to say, we need to take better care of our online activities. Images and activities can crop up in job interviews, or applications to colleges and universities. They have a way of creeping into lawsuits to show the character of a person, and undermine their credibility. For parents, we need to do a better job of monitoring our children’s online activities. Tennessee’s revised law (the legislation amends T. C. A. 39-17-308 on harrassment) makes the activity described above a delinquent act, punishable by up to 30 days of “community service, without compensation, for charitable or government agencies as determined by the court.” The new law takes effect July 1, 2011, so parents, take some time to discuss with your children responsible use of the internet and social networking sites.