Today’s digital culture makes it easy to share any type of information globally. But what happens when nude or sexually explicit images are taken or distributed to a worldwide audience without the person’s consent? We don’t have a consistent and nationwide legal mechanism to deal with this, but that could soon change.

Earlier this month, Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) introduced the “Intimate Privacy Protection Act of 2016,” (IPPA) which would make the distribution of “nonconsensual pornography”—also known as revenge porn—a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison. The bill has wide bipartisan support and has eight co-sponsors, including Reps. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Thomas Rooney (R-Fl.).

In a statement released by Speier, the California congresswoman underscored the impact this kind of digital abuse causes: “The damage caused by these attacks can crush careers, tear apart families, and, in the worst cases, has led to suicide.” Speier added that “What makes these acts even more despicable is that many predators have gleefully acknowledged that the vast majority of their victims have no way to fight back.”

Revenge porn is not limited to the locker-room antics of high-school boys or the jealous rage of jilted lovers. Some are referring to the IPPA the “Gawker Bill” because Nick Denton’s Gawker Media Group has been the most notorious of the offenders, making millions of dollars off of the “clickbait” and advertising revenue of posting these kinds of images.

Few victims have the wherewithal to fight back against well-funded and well-lawyered New Media organizations. That dynamic changed when Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea found in industrialist Peter Thiel a patron willing to sponsor his privacy lawsuit against Gawker. Thiel told the New York Times that Gawker repeatedly published articles that were “very painful and paralyzing for people who were targeted.” He said, “I thought it was worth fighting back…I can defend myself. Most of the people they attack are not people in my category. They usually attack less prominent, far less wealthy people that simply can’t defend themselves.” That fact alone suggests the need for a federal revenge porn bill: it can’t be right that victims of such attacks must seek out the philanthropy of people like Thiel to protect themselves and get access to the justice system.

As everyone knows by now, a Florida judge and jury found that Gawker had published a sex tape of Hogan, recorded without his knowledge, and distributed it on the Internet thus violating his civil law right to privacy. (Gawker’s lawyers argued that they had a First Amendment right to publish the illegally obtained sex tapes because they deemed them “newsworthy”).

After the jury awarded damages of $140 million for Hogan, several publications ran hysterical—and often factually incorrect—editorials warning that the First Amendment was doomed, with headlines like “Gawker’s Bankruptcy Will Have A Chilling Effect On Free Speech.” Nothing could be further from the truth, and constitutional experts have noted that if properly crafted, the IPPA will protect legitimate First Amendment interests and the public’s privacy rights.

Legal scholar Daniel Solove noted in the New York Times, “The First Amendment doesn’t protect speech out of a desire to satisfy morbid curiosity or prurient interest.” (After all, we’ve had obscenity laws on the books for many years without a threat to the First Amendment). Expanding too widely the definition of “public interest” to cover any and all illegally obtained sex tapes completely undermines privacy rights.

As First Amendment advocate, Washington Post columnist and law professor Eugene Volokh pointed out, “showing someone having sex is likely to be seen as private, highly embarrassing, and not newsworthy (absent extremely unusual circumstances).” The Florida jury found in the Hogan case that there was no public interest in broadcasting a stolen sex tape of a professional wrestler. I find it hard to disagree. There were no “extremely unusual circumstances” serving the public interest. I would even go as far to say that even if such a sex tape depicted an even more famous subject—say the daughter of a governor—there is no public interest that could outweigh her privacy rights, not to mention common decency. We cannot substitute “prurient interest” for “newsworthiness.”

Gawker’s efforts to pass off “revenge porn” as journalism is an old story: The Hogan case is simply the first time someone went all the way to a jury with it. In 2010, Gawker’s sister site “Fleshbot” published a video of actress Rebecca Gayheart and her husband having sex, knowing that the video was stolen and uploaded it to the internet. Less than a year later, Gawker Media again published intimate sexually explicit photographs, this time of actress Scarlett Johansson, knowing that they were hacked from her mobile phone. Gayheart sued for more than $1 million, and Johansson’s lawyers also made demands on Gawker. Both cases were settled out of court. This teaches us that criminal laws are needed, because well-heeled traders in revenge porn can’t buy their way out of criminal charges.

Without federal criminal statutes, even cases where huge damages are awarded in civil cases, the perpetrator can either try to dodge punishment by filing for bankruptcy (as is the case with Gawker) or simply say “I’m broke, there’s nothing to collect.” Such is the case with Michael David Barrett, who was found civilly liable earlier this year for distributing hidden camera footage of sportscaster Erin Andrews naked in a hotel room. Andrews is certainly as “famous” as Hulk Hogan but just as in the Hogan case, a jury would not buy the “newsworthiness” defense. Although Andrews was awarded $55 million in damages, she’ll never collect a dime from a man who rightfully belongs in jail.

Under the IPPA’s standards, victims of revenge porn—the distribution of sexually explicit imagery taken with reckless disregard to a lack of consent—would have a criminal case and the responsible employees and executives could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Hogan’s lawsuit may very well bankrupt Gawker and its president Nick Denton. While the result is severe, so were Gawker’s actions, and like many others, I say good riddance to bad garbage. Denton and his ilk should be grateful to receive this lesson before legislation like the IPPA passes, or he would be facing jail time instead of just financial problems.

As I think about the world my grandchildren are entering, I hope that Congress will see the urgent need for this bill—and allow the defenseless to confront these predators in court.

Bay Buchanan was the youngest person to serve as Treasurer of the United States, holding that office from 1981 to 1983, and later served as chairwoman of the President’s Commission on Women Business Owners under President Ronald Reagan. She managed Pat Buchanan’s and Tom Tancredo’s presidential campaigns in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008; and served as a senior advisor to Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012. She is the author of the Extreme Makeover of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bay and Her Boys: Unexpected Lessons I Learned as a (Single) Mom, the story of her life as a single parent. She currently serves as president of the American Cause.