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;

1(ii) post one or more messages on a commercial
2social networking site;

3(iii) send an electronic mail, instant message, text
4message or similar communication;

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

6(v) open an account or profile on a commercial
7social networking site; and

8(2) <-the person engages in activity prohibited under any
9of the following:

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

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

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

13(iv) Section 4952 (relating to intimidation of
14witnesses or victims);

15(v) Section 4953 (relating to retaliation against
16witness, victim or party).

17(b) Grading.--A violation of subsection (a) shall be
18classified as a misdemeanor of the second degree or one degree
19higher in the classification specified in section 106 (relating
20to classes of offenses) than the classification of the
21underlying offense set forth in subsection (a)(2), whichever is
22greater. Each violation constitutes a separate offense.

23(c) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
24construed to apply to works of public interest, including 
25commentary, satire and parody.

26(d) Territorial applicability.--A person may be convicted 
27under the provisions of this section if the victim or the 
28offender is located within this Commonwealth.

29(e) Concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute.--In addition to 
30the authority conferred upon the Attorney General by the act of

1October 15, 1980 (P.L.950, No.164), known as the Commonwealth 
2Attorneys Act, the Attorney General shall have the authority to 
3investigate and to institute criminal proceedings for any 
4violation of this section or any series of violations involving 
5more than one county of this Commonwealth or another state. No 
6person charged with a violation of this section by the Attorney 
7General shall have standing to challenge the authority of the 
8Attorney General to investigate or prosecute the case, and if a 
9challenge is made, the challenge shall be dismissed, and no 
10relief shall be made available in the courts of this 
11Commonwealth to the person making the challenge.

12(f) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following 
13words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this 
14subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

15"Commercial social networking site." A business,
16organization or other similar entity that operates an Internet
17website and permits persons to become registered users for the
18purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users
19through direct or real-time communication with other users or
20the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public or
21to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail
22program or a message board program.

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

1mechanical or electronic means.

2"Identifying information." Any document, photographic,
3pictorial or computer image of another person or any fact used
4to establish identity, including, but not limited to, a name, e-
5mail address, birth date, Social Security number, driver's
6license number, nondriver governmental identification number,
7telephone number, checking account number, savings account
8number, student identification number, employee or payroll
9number or electronic signature. The term includes a document,
10photographic, pictorial or computer image of a fictitious person
11or any fact used to establish identity as provided in this
12definition in the case of a fictitious person.

13Section 2. Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:

14§ 8316.1. Damages in actions for online impersonation.

15(a) Cause of action established.--A person may bring a civil
16cause of action based upon online impersonation as defined in 18
17Pa.C.S. § 4121 (relating to online impersonation) in order to
18recover damages for any loss or injury sustained as a result of
19the violation.

20(b) Parties authorized to bring action.--An action may be
21brought by:

22(1) A natural person.

23(2) A parent or guardian of a natural person, if the
24natural person is incompetent or is an individual under 18
25years of age.

26(3) A corporation, partnership, limited liability
27company, business trust, other association, estate, trust or

29(c) Damages.--A court of competent jurisdiction may award
30damages as follows:

1(1) Actual damages arising from the incident or $500,
2whichever is greater. Damages include loss of money,
3reputation or property, whether real or personal. The court
4may, in its discretion, award up to three times the actual
5damages sustained, but not less than $500.

6(2) Reasonable attorney fees and court costs.

7(3) Additional relief the court deems necessary and

9(d) Other remedies preserved.--Nothing in this section shall
10be construed to limit the ability of a person to receive
11restitution pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. § 1106 (relating to
12restitution for injuries to person or property).

13(e) Nonapplicability.--The provisions of this section shall
14not be applicable to:

15(1) A law enforcement officer acting in the course and
16legitimate scope of the law enforcement officer's duties.

17(2) A person who acts within the course and legitimate
18scope of the person's employment in order to obtain evidence
19of unlawful activity.

20Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.