1Amending Titles 18 (Crimes and Offenses) and 42 (Judiciary and
2Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
3Statutes, defining the offense of online impersonation;
4prescribing a penalty; and providing for damages in actions
5for online impersonation.

6The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
7hereby enacts as follows:

8Section 1. Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated
9Statutes is amended by adding a section to read:

10§ 4121. Online impersonation.

11(a) Offense defined.--A person commits the offense of online
12impersonation if the person:

13(1) uses the name, persona or identifying information of
14another person or of a fictitious person to do any of the

16(i) create a web page;

17(ii) post one or more messages on a commercial

1social networking site;

2(iii) send an electronic mail, instant message, text
3message or similar communication;

4(iv) open an e-mail account; or

5(v) open an account or profile on a commercial
6social networking site; and

7(2) the person engages in activity prohibited under any
8of the following:

9(i) Section 2706 (relating to terroristic threats);

10(ii) Section 2709 (relating to harassment);

11(iii) Section 2709.1 (relating to stalking);

12(iv) Section 4952 (relating to intimidation of
13witnesses or victims);

14(v) Section 4953 (relating to retaliation against
15witness, victim or party).

16(b) Grading.--A violation of subsection (a) shall be
17classified as a misdemeanor of the second degree or one degree
18higher in the classification specified in section 106 (relating
19to classes of offenses) than the classification of the
20underlying offense set forth in subsection (a)(2), whichever is
21greater. Each violation constitutes a separate offense.

22(c) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
23construed to apply to works of public interest, including 
24commentary, satire and parody.

25(d) Territorial applicability.--A person may be convicted 
26under the provisions of this section if the victim or the 
27offender is located within this Commonwealth.

28(e) Concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute.--In addition to 
29the authority conferred upon the Attorney General by the act of 
30October 15, 1980 (P.L.950, No.164), known as the Commonwealth 

1Attorneys Act, the Attorney General shall have the authority to 
2investigate and to institute criminal proceedings for any 
3violation of this section or any series of violations involving 
4more than one county of this Commonwealth or another state. No 
5person charged with a violation of this section by the Attorney 
6General shall have standing to challenge the authority of the 
7Attorney General to investigate or prosecute the case, and if a 
8challenge is made, the challenge shall be dismissed, and no 
9relief shall be made available in the courts of this 
10Commonwealth to the person making the challenge.

11(f) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following 
12words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this 
13subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

14"Commercial social networking site." A business,
15organization or other similar entity that operates an Internet
16website and permits persons to become registered users for the
17purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users
18through direct or real-time communication with other users or
19the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public or
20to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail
21program or a message board program.

22"Document." Any writing, including, but not limited to, a
23birth certificate, Social Security card, driver's license,
24nondriver government-issued identification card, baptismal
25certificate, access device card, employee identification card,
26school identification card or other identifying information
27recorded by any other method, including, but not limited to,
28information stored on a computer, computer disc, computer
29printout, computer system, or part thereof, or by any other
30mechanical or electronic means.

1"Identifying information." Any document, photographic,
2pictorial or computer image of another person or any fact used
3to establish identity, including, but not limited to, a name, e-
4mail address, birth date, Social Security number, driver's
5license number, nondriver governmental identification number,
6telephone number, checking account number, savings account
7number, student identification number, employee or payroll
8number or electronic signature. The term includes a document,
9photographic, pictorial or computer image of a fictitious person
10or any fact used to establish identity as provided in this
11definition in the case of a fictitious person.

12Section 2. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:

13§ 8316.1. Damages in actions for online impersonation.

14(a) Cause of action established.--A person may bring a civil
15cause of action based upon online impersonation as defined in 18
16Pa.C.S. § 4121 (relating to online impersonation) in order to
17recover damages for any loss or injury sustained as a result of
18the violation.

19(b) Parties authorized to bring action.--An action may be
20brought by:

21(1) A natural person.

22(2) A parent or guardian of a natural person, if the
23natural person is incompetent or is an individual under 18
24years of age.

25(3) A corporation, partnership, limited liability
26company, business trust, other association, estate, trust or

28(c) Damages.--A court of competent jurisdiction may award
29damages as follows:

30(1) Actual damages arising from the incident or $500,

1whichever is greater. Damages include loss of money,
2reputation or property, whether real or personal. The court
3may, in its discretion, award up to three times the actual
4damages sustained, but not less than $500.

5(2) Reasonable attorney fees and court costs.

6(3) Additional relief the court deems necessary and

8(d) Other remedies preserved.--Nothing in this section shall
9be construed to limit the ability of a person to receive
10restitution pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 1106 (relating to
11restitution for injuries to person or property).

12Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.