New York State Law

Civil Rights Law

Consolidated Laws of New York's CVR code

Article 5 - NY Civil Rights Law

RIGHT TO PRIVACY

Section Description
50Right of privacy.
50-APersonnel records of police officers, firefighters and correction officers.
50-BRight of privacy; victims of sex offenses or offenses involving the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus.
50-CPrivate right of action.
50-DPersonnel records of court officers.
50-EPersonnel records of bridge and tunnel officers, sergeants and lieutenants.
51Action for injunction and for damages.
52Televising, broadcasting or taking motion pictures of certain proceedings prohibited.
  S 50.  Right  of privacy. A person, firm or corporation that uses for
  advertising purposes, or for the purposes of trade, the  name,  portrait
  or  picture  of  any  living  person  without  having first obtained the
  written consent of such person, or if a minor of his or  her  parent  or
  guardian, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

  S 50-a.  Personnel  records  of  police  officers,  firefighters  and
  correction  officers.  1.  All  personnel  records  used   to   evaluate
  performance  toward continued employment or promotion, under the control
  of any police agency  or  department  of  the  state  or  any  political
  subdivision thereof including authorities or agencies maintaining police
  forces  of individuals defined as police officers in section 1.20 of the
  criminal procedure law and such personnel records under the control of a
  sheriff's department  or  a  department  of  correction  of  individuals
  employed  as  correction  officers  and such personnel records under the
  control of a paid fire department or force of  individuals  employed  as
  firefighters  or firefighter/paramedics and such personnel records under
  the control of the department of corrections and  community  supervision
  for  individuals  defined  as  peace  officers  pursuant to subdivisions
  twenty-three  and  twenty-three-a  of  section  2.10  of  the   criminal
  procedure  law  shall  be  considered  confidential  and  not subject to
  inspection or review without the express written consent of such  police
  officer, firefighter, firefighter/paramedic, correction officer or peace
  officer  within  the department of corrections and community supervision
  except as may be mandated by lawful court order.
    2. Prior to issuing such court order the judge must  review  all  such
  requests  and  give  interested  parties the opportunity to be heard. No
  such order shall issue without a clear showing of  facts  sufficient  to
  warrant the judge to request records for review.
    3.  If,  after such hearing, the judge concludes there is a sufficient
  basis he shall sign an order requiring that  the  personnel  records  in
  question  be  sealed  and sent directly to him. He shall then review the
  file and make a determination as to whether the records are relevant and
  material in the action before him. Upon such a finding the  court  shall
  make  those  parts  of  the  record  found  to  be relevant and material
  available to the persons so requesting.
    4. The provisions of this section shall  not  apply  to  any  district
  attorney  or  his  assistants,  the  attorney general or his deputies or
  assistants,  a  county  attorney  or  his  deputies  or  assistants,   a
  corporation  counsel  or  his deputies or assistants, a town attorney or
  his deputies or assistants,  a  village  attorney  or  his  deputies  or
  assistants, a grand jury, or any agency of government which requires the
  records  described  in  subdivision  one,  in  the  furtherance of their
  official functions.

  S 50-b. Right  of  privacy;  victims  of  sex  offenses  or offenses
  involving the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus.
    1. The identity  of  any  victim  of  a  sex offense, as defined in article one
  hundred thirty or section 255.25, 255.26 or 255.27 of the penal law,  or
  of   an   offense  involving  the  alleged  transmission  of  the  human
  immunodeficiency  virus,  shall  be  confidential.  No  report,   paper,
  picture,  photograph,  court  file or other documents, in the custody or
  possession of any public officer or employee, which  identifies  such  a
  victim  shall  be  made  available for public inspection. No such public
  officer or employee shall disclose any portion  of  any  police  report,
  court  file,  or  other  document, which tends to identify such a victim
  except as provided in subdivision two of this section.
    2. The provisions of subdivision one of  this  section  shall  not  be
  construed to prohibit disclosure of information to:
    a. Any person charged with the commission of an offense, as defined in
  subdivision one of this section, against the same victim; the counsel or
  guardian  of such person; the public officers and employees charged with
  the duty of investigating, prosecuting, keeping records relating to  the
  offense,  or any other act when done pursuant to the lawful discharge of
  their duties; and any necessary witnesses for either party; or
    b. Any person who, upon application to  a  court  having  jurisdiction
  over  the alleged offense, demonstrates to the satisfaction of the court
  that good cause exists for disclosure to that person.  Such  application
  shall  be  made  upon  notice  to  the  victim  or  other person legally
  responsible for the care of  the  victim,  and  the  public  officer  or
  employee charged with the duty of prosecuting the offense; or
    c. Any  person  or agency, upon written consent of the victim or other
  person legally responsible for the care of the victim, except as may  be
  otherwise required or provided by the order of a court.
    3.  The  court  having jurisdiction over the alleged offense may order
  any restrictions upon disclosure authorized in subdivision two  of  this
  section,   as   it   deems   necessary   and   proper  to  preserve  the
  confidentiality of the identity of the victim.
    4. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to require the
  court to exclude the public from any stage of the criminal proceeding.
    5. No disclosure of confidential HIV related information,  as  defined
  in  section  twenty-seven  hundred  eighty  of  the  public  health law,
  including  the  identity  of  the  victim  of   an   offense   involving
  transmission  of  the  human  immunodeficiency virus, shall be permitted
  under this section contrary to  article  twenty-seven-F  of  the  public
  health law.

  S 50-c. Private right of action. If the identity of the victim of an
  offense defined in subdivision one of section fifty-b of this article is
  disclosed in violation of such  section,  any  person  injured  by  such
  disclosure  may bring an action to recover damages suffered by reason of
  such wrongful disclosure. In any action brought under this section,  the
  court may award reasonable attorney's fees to a prevailing plaintiff.

  S 50-d. Personnel  records  of  court  officers.  1. As used in this
  section, "personnel records  of  court  officers"  means  all  personnel
  records  of  court  officers  as  defined  in paragraph a of subdivision
  twenty-one of section 2.10  of  the  criminal  procedure  law,  used  to
  evaluate performance toward continued employment or promotion, and under
  the control of the office of court administration.
    2.  Personnel  records of court officers shall be disclosed in a court
  action pursuant to the relevant provisions  of  the  criminal  procedure
  law,  the  civil  practice  law and rules, or any other provision of law
  governing such disclosure only after the court has notified the  subject
  of  such  record that such record may be disclosed in a court action and
  the court has given the subject of such  record  an  opportunity  to  be
  heard  on  the  question  of whether the records sought are relevant and
  material in the action before the court. If,  after  such  hearing,  the
  court  determines  that  only a portion of such records are relevant and
  material in the action before it, it  shall  make  those  parts  of  the
  record  found  to  be  relevant and material available to the persons so
  requesting.
    3. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any grand jury or
  any agency  of  government  which  requires  the  records  described  in
  subdivision  one  of  this  section in the furtherance of their official
  duties.

  S 50-e. Personnel records of bridge and tunnel officers, sergeants and
  lieutenants.  1.  As  used in this section, "personnel records of bridge
  and tunnel officers, sergeants  and  lieutenants"  means  all  personnel
  records  of  bridge  and  tunnel  officers, sergeants and lieutenants as
  defined in subdivision twenty of section 2.10 of the criminal  procedure
  law,  used  to  evaluate  performance  toward  continued  employment  or
  promotion, and under the control of the  Triborough  bridge  and  tunnel
  authority.
    2.  Personnel  records  of  bridge  and tunnel officers, sergeants and
  lieutenants shall be  disclosed  in  a  court  action  pursuant  to  the
  relevant  provisions  of  the criminal procedure law, the civil practice
  law and rules, or any other provision of law governing  such  disclosure
  only  after  the court has notified the subject of such record that such
  record may be disclosed in a court action and the court  has  given  the
  subject  of  such  record  an opportunity to be heard on the question of
  whether the records sought are  relevant  and  material  in  the  action
  before the court. If, after such hearing, the court determines that only
  a portion of such records are relevant and material in the action before
  it,  it  shall  make  those parts of the record found to be relevant and
  material available to the persons so requesting.
    3. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any grand jury or
  any agency  of  government  which  requires  the  records  described  in
  subdivision  one  of  this  section in the furtherance of their official
  duties.

  S 51. Action  for injunction and for damages. Any person whose name,
  portrait, picture or voice is used within  this  state  for  advertising
  purposes  or for the purposes of trade without the written consent first
  obtained as above provided may  maintain  an  equitable  action  in  the
  supreme  court  of this state against the person, firm or corporation so
  using his name, portrait, picture or voice, to prevent and restrain  the
  use  thereof;  and  may  also  sue  and recover damages for any injuries
  sustained by reason  of  such  use  and  if  the  defendant  shall  have
  knowingly  used  such  person's name, portrait, picture or voice in such
  manner as is forbidden or declared to be unlawful by  section  fifty  of
  this  article, the jury, in its discretion, may award exemplary damages.
  But nothing contained in this  article  shall  be  so  construed  as  to
  prevent  any  person,  firm  or  corporation  from  selling or otherwise
  transferring any material containing such  name,  portrait,  picture  or
  voice  in whatever medium to any user of such name, portrait, picture or
  voice, or to any third party for sale or transfer directly or indirectly
  to such a user, for use in a manner lawful under this  article;  nothing
  contained  in  this  article  shall  be  so  construed as to prevent any
  person, firm or corporation, practicing the profession  of  photography,
  from  exhibiting  in  or about his or its establishment specimens of the
  work of such establishment, unless the same is continued by such person,
  firm or corporation after written  notice  objecting  thereto  has  been
  given  by  the  person  portrayed; and nothing contained in this article
  shall be so construed as to prevent any person, firm or corporation from
  using the name, portrait, picture or voice of any manufacturer or dealer
  in connection  with  the  goods,  wares  and  merchandise  manufactured,
  produced  or  dealt in by him which he has sold or disposed of with such
  name, portrait, picture or voice used in connection therewith;  or  from
  using  the  name,  portrait, picture or voice of any author, composer or
  artist in connection with his literary, musical or artistic  productions
  which  he  has  sold or disposed of with such name, portrait, picture or
  voice used in connection therewith.  Nothing contained in  this  section
  shall  be construed to prohibit the copyright owner of a sound recording
  from disposing of, dealing in, licensing or selling that sound recording
  to any party, if the right to dispose of, deal in, license or sell  such
  sound recording has been conferred by contract or other written document
  by  such living person or the holder of such right. Nothing contained in
  the foregoing sentence shall be deemed to abrogate  or  otherwise  limit
  any rights or remedies otherwise conferred by federal law or state law.

  S 52. Televising,  broadcasting or taking motion pictures of certain
  proceedings prohibited. No  person,  firm,  association  or  corporation
  shall  televise,  broadcast,  take  motion  pictures  or arrange for the
  televising, broadcasting, or taking of motion pictures within this state
  of proceedings, in which the testimony of witnesses by subpoena or other
  compulsory process is or may be taken, conducted by a court, commission,
  committee, administrative agency or other tribunal in this state; except
  that the prohibition contained in this section shall not apply to public
  hearings conducted by the public service commission with regard to rates
  charged by utilities, or to proceedings by either  house  of  the  state
  legislature  or  committee or joint committee of the legislature or by a
  temporary state commission which includes members of the legislature, so
  long as any testimony of witnesses  which  is  taken  is  taken  without
  resort  to  subpoena  or other compulsory process, if (1) the consent of
  the temporary president of the senate or the speaker of the assembly, in
  the case of the respective houses  of  the  state  legislature,  or  the
  chairman,  in the case of such a committee or commission, and a majority
  of the members thereof present at  such  proceedings,  shall  have  been
  first  obtained,  provided, however, that in the case of the public rate
  hearings of the public service commission, it  shall  be  sufficient  to
  obtain  the consent of the presiding officer, (2) the written consent of
  the witness testifying at the time shall have been  obtained,  prior  to
  the  time  of  his  testifying,  and  (3) it has been determined by such
  presiding officer or chairman and such majority of the members  that  it
  is  in  the  public  interest  to permit the televising, broadcasting or
  taking of motion pictures.
    Any violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor.

  S 52-B. Private right of action for unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image 

  1. Any person depicted in a still or video image, regardless of 
  whether or not the original still or video image was consensually
  obtained, shall have a cause of action against an individual who,
  for the purpose of harassing, annoying or alarming such person,
  disseminated or published, or threatened to disseminate or publish,
  such still or video image, where such image:
  a. was taken when such person had a reasonable expectation that the
  image would remain private; and
  b. depicts (i) an unclothed or exposed intimate part of such person;
  or (ii) such person engaging in sexual conduct, as defined in
  subdivision ten of section 130.00 of the penal law, with another
  person; and
  c. was disseminated or published, or threatened to be 
  disseminated or published, without the consent of such person.

  2. In any action commenced pursuant to subdivision one of this section,
  the finder of fact, in its discretion, may award injunctive relief,
  punitive damages, compensatory damages and reasonable court costs
  and attorney's fees.

  3. This section shall not apply to the following:
  a. the reporting of unlawful conduct;
  b. dissemination or publication of an intimate still or video image
  made during lawful and common practices of law enforcement, legal
  proceedings or medical treatment;
  c. images involving voluntary exposure in a public or commercial
  setting; or
  d. dissemination or publication of an intimate still or video image
  made for a legitimate public purpose.

  4. Any person depicted in a still or video image that depicts an
  unclothed or exposed intimate part of such person, or such person
  engaging in sexual conduct as defined in subdivision ten of section
  130.00 of the penal law with another person, which is disseminated
  or published without the consent of such person and where such 
  person had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain
  private, may maintain an action or special proceeding for a court 
  order to require any website that is subject to personal 
  jurisdiction under subdivision five of this section to permanently
  remove such still or video image; any such court order granted
  pursuant to this subdivision may direct removal only as to images
  that are reasonably within such website's control.

  5. a. Any website that hosts or transmits a still or video image,
  viewable in this state, taken under circumstances where the person
  depicted had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain
  private, which depicts:
  (i) an unclothed or exposed intimate part, as defined in section
  245.15 of the penal law, of a resident of this state; or
  (ii) a resident of this state engaging in sexual conduct as
  defined in subdivision ten of section 130.00 of the penal 
  law with another person; and
  b. Such still or video image is hosted or transmitted without the
  consent of such resident of this state, shall be subject to personal
  jurisdiction in a civil action in this state to 
  the maximum extent permitted under the United States
  constitution and federal law.

  6. A cause of action or special proceeding under this section
  shall be commenced the later of either:
  a. three years after the dissemination or publication of an image; or
  b. one year from the date a person discovers, or
  reasonably should have discovered, the dissemination or
  publication of such image.

  7. Nothing herein shall be read to require a prior 
  criminal complaint, prosecution or conviction to establish 
  the elements of the cause of action provided for by this section.

  8. The provisions of this section are in addition to, but shall
  not supersede, any other rights or remedies available in law or equity.

  9. If any provision of this section or its application to
  any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity 
  shall not affect other provisions or applications of this
  section which can be given effect without the invalid 
  provision or application, and to this end the provisions of
  this section are severable.

  10. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit,
  or to enlarge, the protections that 47 U.S.C § 230 confers
  on an interactive computer service for content provided by
  another information content provider, as such terms are defined
  in 47 U.S.C. § 230.


  S 52-C. Private right of action
  for unlawful dissemination or publication of a sexually explicit
  depiction of an individual.  

  1. For the purposes of this section:
  a. "depicted individual" means an individual who appears, as a
  result of digitization, to be giving a performance they did not
  actually perform or to be performing in a performance that was
  actually performed by the depicted individual but was subsequently
  altered to be in violation of this section.
  b. "digitization" means to realistically depict the nude body parts
  of another human being as the nude body parts of the depicted individual,
  computer-generated nude body parts as the nude body parts of the
  depicted individual or the depicted individual engaging in sexual
  conduct, as defined in subdivision ten of section 130.00 of the penal
  law, in which the depicted individual did not engage.
  c. "individual" means a natural person.
  d. "person" means a human being or legal entity.
  e. "sexually explicit material" means any portion of an audio visual
  work that shows the depicted individual performing in the nude,
  meaning with an unclothed or exposed intimate part, as defined in
  section 245.15 of the penal law, or appearing to engage in, or being
  subjected to, sexual conduct, as defined in subdivision ten of section
  130.00 of the penal law.

  2. a. A depicted individual shall have a cause of action against
  a person who, discloses, disseminates or publishes sexually explicit
  material related to the depicted individual, and the person knows or
  reasonably should have known the depicted individual in that material
  did not consent to its creation, disclosure, dissemination, or publication.
  b. It shall not be a defense to an action under this section that
  there is a disclaimer in the sexually explicit material that
  communicates that the inclusion of the depicted individual in the 
  sexually explicit material was unauthorized or that the depicted
  individual did not participate in the creation or development of
  the material.
  3. a. A depicted individual may only consent to the creation, disclosure,
  dissemination, or publication of sexually explicit material by
  knowingly and voluntarily signing an agreement written in plain
  language that includes a general description of the sexually explicit
  material and the audiovisual work in which it will be incorporated.
  b. A depicted individual may rescind consent by delivering written
  notice within three business days from the date consent was given to
  the person in whose favor consent was made, unless one of the following
  requirements is satisfied:
  i. the depicted individual is given at least three business days to
  review the terms of the agreement before signing it; or

  ii. if the depicted individual is represented, the attorney, talent
  agent, or personal manager authorized to represent the depicted
  individual provides additional written approval of the signed agreement.

  4. a. A person is not liable under this section if:
  i. the person discloses, disseminates or publishes the sexually explicit
  material in the course of reporting unlawful activity, exercising the
  person's law enforcement duties, or hearings, trials or other legal
  proceedings; or
  ii. the sexually explicit material is a matter of legitimate public
  concern, a work of political or newsworthy value or similar work,
  or commentary, criticism or disclosure that is otherwise protected
  by the constitution of this state or the United States; provided that
  sexually explicit material shall not be considered of newsworthy value
  solely because the depicted individual is a public figure.

  5. In any action commenced pursuant to this section, the finder of fact,
  in its discretion, may award injunctive relief, punitive damages,
  compensatory damages, and reasonable court costs and attorney's fees.

  6. A cause of action or special proceeding under this section shall be
  commenced the later of either:

  a. three years after the dissemination or publication of sexually
  explicit material; or

  b. one year from the date a person discovers, or reasonably should
  have discovered, the dissemination or publication of such sexually
  explicit material.

  7. Nothing in this section shall be read to require a prior criminal
  complaint, prosecution or conviction to establish the elements of the
  cause of action provided for in this section.

  8. The provisions of this section including the remedies are in addition
  to, and shall not supersede, any other rights or remedies available in
  law or equity.

  9. If any provision of this section or its application to any person
  or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other
  provisions or applications of this section which can be given effect
  without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the
  provisions of this section are severable.

  10. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit, or to enlarge,
  the protections that 47 U.S.C. § 230 confers on an interactive computer
  service for content provided by another information content provider,
  as such terms are defined in 47 U.S.C. § 230.

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