Make law not love

THE TWITTER sphere has been running amok with explicit sexual content from South Africa, inviting questions about the legality of sexy social media.


Recent Sex scandals on social media

Recently, South African twitter was abuzz after a man leaked nude photos of a woman, allegedly his ex-girlfriend, because he was in “a fit of rage” after they broke up.

The woman’s pictures were then retweeted and shared across twitter to the point where #nudes was trending in South Africa.

Closer to home was the “Wits Sex tape”, which was uploaded onto a blog and shared by many on campus and around the country. The tape trended for 72 hours and people were still asking for links to it even though the blog had already been deleted.

At Rhodes, a “Gossip Girl” account tweeted a picture of a man and a woman naked in a university dorm room and in a sexual position. Tweeters such as Michelle Solomon (@mishsomolon) called for the account to be reported for sharing explicit content.

The Rhodes University alumni account (@RhodesAlumni) tweeted that what the account was doing was illegal and that the account should be closed. The account was shut down soon afterwards.

However, while the twitter sphere enjoys posting and sharing illicit sex tapes and nude photos, the repercussions for doing so, for both the original posters and those who retweet, can be severe.


Legal implications of distributing sexual content [pullquote align=”right”]”The crimen injuria route would mean that the person who has distributed private content unlawfully could serve jail time.”[/pullquote]

According to media law expert Dario Milo, if the person depicted has not given consent for a sex tape or nude photo to be distributed then they have legal recourse.

Milo said those who had made sex tapes or nude photos but had them published without their consent have three legal routes they may follow.

A person can sue for invasion of privacy and have a court interdict to have the content removed.

A person can sue for damages if publication causes them to lose their job or if it results in their reputation being damaged.

The third legal route is to make a complaint of “crimen injuria”, unlawfully and intentionally impairing the dignity or privacy of another person,” to the police.

The crimen injuria route would mean that the person who has distributed private content unlawfully could serve jail time.


Even retweets can get you arrested

Milo said those who shared or retweeted the content were also not on safe legal ground and could be held liable along with the person who originally posted the content without consent.

He said it was important that people realised that even if both parties had consented to making a sex tape or taking nude photos, that does not mean they consented to its distribution.

“Consent for one purpose does not mean consent for another purpose,” said Milo.

The moral of the story is, think twice before posting that naked picture or sex tape of that ex-lover you are angry with.

“Wits sex tape” causes storm

A “WITS sex tape” made by two students has been a hot topic of debate this week, blowing up on twitter and radio.

The six-part, 30 minute sex tape begins with the male student positioning the camera. The woman, whose name is known to Wits Vuvuzela, then begins performing oral sex.

The woman from the sex tape refused to speak with Wits Vuvuzela, but it was confirmed by a close friend that the woman is still a Wits student and the couple have been dating for years.

A source close to the girl told Wits Vuvuzela on Sunday: “Well she and her boyfriend made the sex tape long ago and she didn’t know it was online.

She had been trying to get hold of her boyfriend  [on Sunday] but he was not answering his phone.”

The source said she thought her friend was in denial about the tape going viral judging from her reaction when told about it.

“Oh well, at least I look hot,” she told her friends.

The sex tape was trending on twitter for more than 72 hours early in the week. Some students had mixed feelings about the sex tape, while most were just trying to get in on the most talked about topic on twitter. The tape was uploaded in six parts last November, on the Blacknudes mobile porn blog under the title “Wits girl love”.   The blog has since been deleted.

Many tweets rolled in speculating whether or not the couple was aware that they were being filmed, but it is clear from the tape that they knew they were  on camera.

The man positions the camera before the woman looks directly into the camera, saying: “So yeah, hey like we’re about to fuck.”

On Wednesday morning a man claiming to be in the tape was interviewed on the Yfm breakfast show hosted by Moeti Tsiki and Khutso Theledi.

During his anonymous interview with Yfm, the man claimed it had been filmed by his dad. However, many tweets flew in saying that the man being interviewed was a liar and that he was only trying to gain fame and publicity.