According to Colorado statutes, posting a private image for pecuniary gain is against the law. This offense consists of an individual who posts an image of another person without their permission for financial gain or any other asset. Posting a private image for pecuniary gain is a class 1 misdemeanor, which means it carries penalties of a costly fine and time spent in jail. For the purposes of this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is posting a private a private image for pecuniary gain?
- 2. What are the penalties for posting a private image for pecuniary gain?
- 3. What are the defenses in Colorado for posting a private image for pecuniary gain?
- 4. Related Offenses
1. What is posting a private image for pecuniary gain?
Posting a private image for pecuniary gain occurs when a person who is 18 years of age or older distributes or posts images or videos on social media in exchange for money. This involves images or videos that contain private, intimate parts of an identified or identifiable person who is over the age of 18.
In order to be convicted of the crime of posting a private image for pecuniary gain, a prosecutor must be able to prove all of the following elements:
- The defendant posted the pictures of the depicted person with the intent to obtain a monetary benefit as a result of the posting, viewing, or removal of the picture; and
- The defendant posted the pictures without the consent of the depicted person or was aware that the depicted person had a reasonable expectation to believe that the images would remain private. 1
For example, let’s say that a woman decides to post a series of intimate pictures of her ex-husband on Facebook for all of their friends, acquaintances, and family to see. She claims that she will only take the picture down if he agrees to pay for his half of the rent for one last month on their shared apartment. If the ex-husband decides to alert the authorities, or another person reports the posts, the woman could be arrested and charged for posting a private image for pecuniary gain.
Colorado statutes define the terms “private intimate parts” and “social media.” Private intimate parts are considered the external genitalia, or the perineum or the anus or the pubes of any person or the breast of a female. 2
“Social media” is explicitly referred to as any electronic medium, including an interactive computer service, telephone network, or data network, that allows users to create, share, and view user-generated content, including but not limited to videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages, electronic mail, or internet website profiles. 3
2. What are the penalties for posting a private image for pecuniary gain?
Posting a private image for pecuniary gain is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor. Upon the conviction of this crime, a person may face penalties of up to 364 days in jail and a mandatory fine of up to $10,000.
Due to a relatively new law enacted in 2014, this fine is significantly more costly than the standard fine associated with a class 1 misdemeanor in the state. The maximum fine for most other class 1 misdemeanors is $1,000. Colorado elevated the fines for this crime to reinforce the state’s position that it will not take charges of this offense lightly.
In addition to criminal charges, a depicted person may be able to bring a civil claim against a person who allegedly posted the images to seek compensatory damages. 4
3. What are the defenses in Colorado for posting a private image for pecuniary gain?
Under Colorado statutory law, if a person posts an image, photograph or video that is related to a “newsworthy event,” he or she can not be convicted for posting a private image for pecuniary gain.
A newsworthy event is referred to as a matter of public interest, of public concern, or related to a public figure who is intimately involved in the resolution of important public questions or, by reason of his or her fame, shapes events in areas of concern to society. 5
4. Related Offenses
Posting an image for pecuniary gain is related to the crime of posting a private image for harassment.
4.1 Posting a Private Image for Harassment C. R. S. 18-7-107
This offense, which is also commonly known as “revenge porn”, occurs when a person posts intimate pictures of a depicted person online with the purpose of harassing or upsetting them. If the depicted person does, in fact, suffer serious emotional distress due to this misconduct, the person who posted the pictures may be convicted. Posting a private image for harassment (revenge porn) is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to 364 days in jail and a fine of at least $10,000.
Call us for help…
If you have been arrested and charged for posting a private image for pecuniary gain, please contact us at the Colorado Legal Defense Group.
- C. R. S. 18-7-108(1)(a)
- C. R. S. 18-7-108(6)(b)
- C. R. S. 18-7-108(6)(c)
- C. R. S. 18-7-108(4). Prior to March 1, 2022, class 1 misdemeanors carried up to 18 months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. SB21-271.
- C. R. S. 18-7-108(6)(a)