Those who engage in "revenge porn" -- humiliating ex-romantic partners online -- now face jail time and fines under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Under the bill by Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), those convicted of illegally distributing private images with the intent to harass or annoy face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Cannella contended that without the law, authorities have had "no tools to combat revenge porn or cyber-revenge.” Electronically distributing or posting nude pictures of an ex-romantic partner on the Internet after a breakup to shame the person in public is, he said, “destroying people's lives.”

The bill that Brown signed into law on Tuesday, SB 255, takes effect immediately.

"Until now, there was no tool for law enforcement to protect victims," Cannella said. "Too many have had their lives upended because of an action of another that they trusted." 

The effort to criminalize the practice gained steam after Holly Jacobs broke up with her boyfriend, only to find a naked picture of herself posted on her Facebook page. The post went viral.

Her ex-boyfriend contends that the picture got out because his computer was hacked, but however it happened, the damage was done.

Less than a year later, Jacobs' photo was on some 200 websites, along with her name, email address and place of business, despite changing her phone number and name, quitting her job and unsucessfully trying to get the photos removed. She started a website with a petition drive for legislative action.

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Times staff writer Patt Morrison contributed to this report.