Primer on the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (RA 9995)

There’s an alarming rise in reported complaints of nude photos, mostly of women, being posted without the consent of the subjects in social networking sites such as facebook. There’s also a proliferation of sex scandals and sex videos. One of the usual complaints filed against the offenders is under Republic Act No. 9995, also known as the “Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009“. Here’s a primer on this anti-voyeurism law.

What is the definition of “photo or video voyeurism”?

It is the act of taking photo or video coverage of a person or group of persons performing sexual act or any similar activity or of capturing an image of the private area of a person or persons without the latter’s consent, under circumstances in which such person/s has/have a reasonable expectation of privacy, or the act of selling, copying, reproducing, broadcasting, sharing, showing or exhibiting the photo or video coverage or recordings of such sexual act or similar activity through VCD/DVD, internet, cellular phones and similar means or device without the written consent of the person/s involved, notwithstanding that consent to record or take photo or video coverage of same was given by such person’s.

That’s a very long definition. Please enumerate the specific acts prohibited and punished under the “Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009”.

1. To take photo or video coverage of a person or group of persons performing sexual act or any similar activity or to capture an image of the private area of a person/s such as the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast without the consent of the person/s involved and under circumstances in which the person/s has/have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

2. To copy or reproduce, or to cause to be copied or reproduced, such photo or video or recording of sexual act or any similar activity with or without consideration. It is immaterial if consent to record or take photo or video coverage of the same was given by such person/s.

3. To sell or distribute, or cause to be sold or distributed, such photo or video or recording of sexual act, whether it be the original copy or reproduction thereof. It is immaterial if consent to record or take photo or video coverage of the same was given by such person/s.

4. To publish or broadcast, or cause to be published or broadcast, whether in print or broadcast media, or show or exhibit the photo or video coverage or recordings of such sexual act or any similar activity through VCD/DVD, internet, cellular phones and other similar means or device. It is immaterial if consent to record or take photo or video coverage of the same was given by such person/s.

The first act speaks of “circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy”, what does this mean?

It means circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that:

  1. he/she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that an image or a private area of the person was being captured; or
  2. a private area of the person would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place.

What do you mean by “private area of a person”?

It means the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast of an individual.

If there’s an undergarment (e.g., brief or panty) covering the private parts, is this still covered by the law?

Yes. Based on the definition above, the genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast of an individual may be naked or clad with undergarment.

What is the meaning of “capture”?

With respect to an image, it means to videotape, photograph, film, record by any means, or broadcast.

What if the other person was aware of and consented to the taking of the photograph?

Even if there was consent to the taking of the photo, if there is no consent to the sharing or exhibition, then the offending party would still be liable.

What do you mean by “broadcast”?

“Broadcast” means to make public, by any means, a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons.

What if the photo shows the breasts of a man, is this covered by the law?

No. The law only covers female breasts.

If the photo shows only the side of a female breast, without the nipple, is this still covered by the law?

Yes. The term “female breast” includes “any portion of the female breast”.

What is the penalty for committing any of the prohibited acts?

The court has the discretion to impose:

  1. Imprisonment of not less that three (3) years but not more than seven (7) years, or
  2. A fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000, or
  3. Both.

Are these materials admissible in evidence?

As a general rule, no. The record, photo or video, or copy thereof, obtained or secured by any person in violation of this law shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.

However, any peace officer may secure an order of the court to use the record or any copy thereof as evidence in any civil, criminal investigation or trial of the crime of photo or video voyeurism. The written order shall only be issued or granted upon written application and the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he/she may produce, and upon showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that photo or video voyeurism has been committed or is about to be committed, and that the evidence to be obtained is essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution or prevention of such, crime.

15 thoughts on “Primer on the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009 (RA 9995)

  1. Pingback: Around the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Law | AttyAtWork.com

  2. rina

    Hello gud am, i just want to ask help cause my partner violated this law but it was the first time that he did thia and he has no intention to use it..his dont even know him to use the internet to show it to the public
    Public. I havent seen the video but i think what was taken iis private part ubdergarment cause the phone was positioned under cause the woman was wearing a skirt. He mewhat will be his penalty if this is the case..is there any way that we can do for him not to suffer the penalties

    Reply
  3. Ana

    Hi, I just want to know what legal repercussions I can take against someone who’s blackmailing to post my private videos and pictures? I have no evidence he’s done it and I’ve lost his text of him blackmailing me, but he keeps mentioning it in calls. Is there any way I can have a warrant of search against him for this?

    Reply
  4. nicole

    hello, base on your experience your pictures and videos was taken by u two. if he publish it and you think that it was not you. he is the one liable for that matter. even if he gave it to his friends still he is liable for that matter. fight for your right. that’s the only thing that would you say for yourself to be proud of. and ask for legal advice.

    Reply
  5. Lotee

    Hello…I am one of those that have a guy keep on blackmail me.i am very afraid because he will post my nude pic if i make a break up with him.can i file againts to this guy? Really i can’t sleep good.i think too much for this.pls give me advice.thanks

    Reply
    1. Future Lawyer

      @fides joyce, as what the law has said, your friend can file a complaint against the person who published such photos and videos which are the subject of the anti-photo and video voyeurism act to the police. Once a complaint has been filed, the corresponding police authorities will conduct an investigation and refer the same to the fiscal (prosecutor) in order for the latter to make a criminal information regarding the criminal case.

      Reply
  6. John Carlo

    Hello Sir! What if the act was used in an article and published with a screenshot blurred? is that also covered by the law? Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Shanne

    Hi! can I ask for legal advice? My former boyfriend was threatening me about my photos(some nude) that I send to him. When we broke up, he said that he will post it on public to destroy my dignity and honor. What should I do? please give me a legal advice. Thank you

    Reply
  8. Kurt

    Kc po may nagreklamo sa akin this past two months na nailang sa akin in a restaurant as i tried to take pictures of her, umabot nga po sa presinto. I told the truth na i did picture her not because of her leg part but because of her pregnancy. I erased the said pictures before we deliberated,and i denied that i took a picture as we were tried to be compromised in the security office. Because I was scared to be jailed and they were sure that i truly did it, I admitted that in the police station. My questions are: Is such case binding in the said law? If she does file the case against me, would it still have a strong ground for me?

    Reply
  9. love

    hello what can i do if have someone blackmail me my private videos on cam he posted on social media with out my permission ,i dont know he record that videos while where having fun on cam and he said i will return his money given to me. please need advice .thank you

    Reply
  10. sheng

    what if the person is performing in public and suffered a wardrobe malfunction making a full exposure of her breast. And somebody in the audience videotaped it using his mobile phone and were asked to delete it immediately and refused to do so. Can he be sue for RA 9995??

    Reply
  11. Alegna

    Minor po ako and meron po kasing guy na nakachat ko lang sa social media aware naman po ako na nagsend ako sakanya ng nudes ko (breast only) hanggang sa after ilang months tumino na ako and sabi ko sakanya na tigilan na nya ako pero binablackmail na nya ako na isesend nya sa mama ko kaya binlock ko sya sa acc ng mama ko pero ayaw nya parin ako tigilan gusto pa po nya ako makipag vc sakanya showing my breast pero umaayaw po ako. This friday lang po August 10 nagchat sya ulit saakin na isesend na daw nya talaga and nung nakita ko p sa recent searches sa FB nakalagay dun yung naka search yung acc ng papa ko kaya nag delete agad ako ng acc pero pwede pa naman ata maopen. I screenshot some important details here and isesend ko sakanya pero kung di parin sya titigil I will immediately report this sa police. Ayokong malaman to ng parents ko kaya natatakot ako atsaka baka nagsumbong kasi ako sa police baka maisabi sa parents ko.

    Reply
  12. Kasper

    Meron po kasi akong kaibigan at sinampahan siya ng kaso RA 9995 which is hindi niya naman intensyon na I public o Ikalat ang video at pag kaka alam ko ay private file nila mag jowa yung video. Ang nangyari po kasi nanakawan siya sa bahay nila at kasama ng nanakawan yung memory card niya na nalalaman ng video nila. Which is hindi naman totally malaswa ang video at nakikita lang na nakatilakbong sila ng kumot habang nagsesex at wala naman na kitang malaswang bahagi ng katawan ng babae sa video. Nangyari is yung mother ng babae sinampahan yung kaibigan ko. Kahit kumalat o lumabas yung video pero walang malaswa sa video at walang na kitang private part ng babae at hindi klaro at medyo madilim naman ang video. Masasampahan parin ba ng kaso yung kaibigan ko kahit wala naman maselan bahagi ng katawan ng babae ang nakita sa video.

    Reply

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