IsAnybodyDown Part IV: More Evidence the People Pictured were Deceived — and Didn’t Consent

In earlier posts, I documented some evidence that the proprietors of involuntary-porn site IsAnybodyDown.com were culling their photos from unsuspecting Craigslist posters and discounted their nonsensical claims that everyone who appears on the site consented to be pictured there.  This post is largely a re-hash of that evidence — with some fun new discoveries.

Craig’s List: are the photos on IsAnybodyDown.com culled from unsuspecting Craigslist posters?

It appears that Craig, Chance, or one really enthusiastic fan is gathering a large majority of IsAnybodyDown.com’s content by emailing posters in the Craigslist personals section, pretending to be a potential hook-up while gathering pictures and personal information.  While certainly not all of the pictures on the site are gathered this way, many — perhaps most — are.

Here’s how we know it’s likely Craig, Chance, or a single enthusiastic fan are culling their content from unsuspecting Craigslist posters:

IsAnybodyDown declined to comment — to put it charitably — on whether its administrators deceive Craigslist users into sending their photos.

It’s consent if she doesn’t say no, right?

It’s clear that almost nobody on IsAnybodyDown.com wants to be pictured there.  If those pictured there consented to it, why would Craig and Chance concoct a fake lawyer to deceive people into sending money to get their own pictures removed?

If the persons appearing on the site consented to the use of their pictures, why do its operators brag about being untouchable by U.S. copyright law because they’re hosted overseas, and note that “people will go to amazing lengths […] to get their pictures and information removed”?  This is the same law that Craig Brittain is now attempting to use to silence criticism of him on Popehat.  I can only surmise that IsAnybodyDown ignored the complaints of the three people who were forced to use DMCA complaints to Google to have their photos removed from search results. [PDF examples one, two, three — the latter involving a couple.]

Update: an eagle-eyed reader points out that it’s more than just four people who had to go to Google with DMCA complaints: it’s at least twelve.

Then there are the complaints on the site itself — and these are the ones who were brave enough to say anything at all:

Those photos are all still on the site.

If the complaints on the site weren’t enough to demonstrate Craig Brittain and Chance Trahon’s awareness that the people pictured there really don’t want to be pictured there, the emails they received and then freely shared as a boastful warning to others are damning:

All of these emails were deleted shortly after I began posting about them.

Additionally, the site’s brilliant proprietors sought to further their exposure by getting into the Bill Cunningham show (and getting a free trip to New York City in the process), asking users: “Were you posted on this site? Don’t want to be posted? State your case on TV!”

Finally, there’s this very helpful (and now deleted) advice about what to do if you got posted: change your Facebook settings so that nobody can contact you ever, change your phone number, and talk to Craig and Chance if you feel lonely.  It goes on to suggest that you not make legal threats and don’t contact law enforcement because you could go to jail for lying to them.  Again, why would this advice be necessary if people consented to this?

Craig and Chance justify this to themselves by resorting to their own self-serving view of ‘consent.’  In their view, anyone who sends nude photos to anyone else consents, because sending the photos to anyone via “a public channel” is “written consent by legal definition.”  This almost-argument conflates consent with assuming risk.  Yes, there is a risk that someone will share the photos with someone else, but that risk is not the same as consent to the person doing so.  The risk that someone is an asshat-for-profit is not consent to asshattery.  This blame-the-victim justification ignores both copyright law and common sense: sharing something privately with a small group of people is not a license to share it with the rest of the world, let alone do so for the express purpose of making money.

Chance Trahon resorts to an even weirder justification: according to Chance, the site somehow outs guys who try to set their wives up for rape and murder via Craigslist.  I’m unclear, exactly, as to when IsAnybodyDown.com has ever done this — or how posting the names, hometowns, and phone numbers of the women deters that terrifying possibility. [Images of Chance’s tweets courtesy of Satirical Takedown Lawyer.]

Update: or maybe this entire thing is for profit (“and business is good”) and to establish a legal world where employers can’t fire you for your online reputation. At this point, that’s probably the best outcome Craig and Chance can hope for — unfortunately for them, it won’t come true. [Taken from a now-deleted complaint email.]

Finally, one question: Craig notes (correctly, I’ve unfortunately discovered) that he, himself, has had his own nude photos plastered on the internet.  If Craig ‘consented’, why don’t his own nude photos appear on his own site? Why doesn’t Chance summon up the courage to do to himself what he does to others?

Because they don’t want to — just like the people whose pictures were usurped don’t want to.

15 comments

  1. K. says:

    I bet his “legal counsel” has received your blog post too. What is with the whole “I’m hiring a TEAM of lawyers” thing?

  2. anon says:

    Maybe his team of lawyers is busy maintaining a prudent silence while they prepare his case.

    Or, maybe he hasn’t yet found one that won’t tell him to “STFU STFU STFU Even when they are wrong and you are right you are just making it worse!”. I sympathize with those stuck with a client who continues to actively undermine one’s best attempts on their behalf.

    One thing I’ve learned in years of assisting with investigations: Counsel often makes a fantastic firewall. But like any firewall, it has to be properly configured. Configuration of a Counsel Firewall consists largely of doing what they tell you.

  3. Tali McPike says:

    What profit? Where/how are they making money, other than Takedown Hammer? Its not like the site is riddled with advertisements. In fact, as the screen shots show, the only other advert on the site is “who is Kadishin?” (and it doesn’t take a genius to know that’s Chance)

  4. […] as one of those meddling commenters pointed out What profit? Where/how are they making money, other than Takedown Hammer? Its not like the site is […]

  5. SA says:

    The photos and resulting Takedown dollars will come rolling in once he hires the Content Acquisition Specialist (http://isanybodydown.com/2012/09/21/is-anybody-down-content-acquisition-specialist/). It will all be free of any accountability or consequences in his new legal world!

  6. […] phone numbers, hometowns, and Facebook profiles of about 700 people.  The photos are posted without their consent and are purportedly submitted by jealous ex-paramours, but appear to be culled by the site’s […]

  7. […] the material users submit.  As I’ve documented extensively, they’re going out and getting much of it themselves by deceiving unsuspecting Craigslist posters.  Additionally, rather than creating an automated system to publish user-submitted content, […]

  8. […] — likely because Craig, Chance, or an enthusiastic fan get the photos by responding to unsuspecting Craigslist posters.  Note also that Craig admits that the photos are of people who sent them to […]

  9. saab says:

    18 USC § 875 – Interstate communications
    (d) Whoever, with intent to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value, transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to injure the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

    • Unless evidence emerges that the site’s proprietors were sending threats to the people pictured, I doubt there’s a case for extortion. The site is extortionary in that its business model makes money by purposefully harming people, but it’s not extortion per se.

  10. […] part of his bizarre claim that people somehow consent to being pictured on his site.  There is substantial evidence that Craig (or someone else) responds  to Craigslist personals ads, then posts the pictures.  If […]

  11. […] Springs, was likely getting photos for his site by responding to Craigslist personals ads.  I theorized this on the basis that most of the posts on IsAnybodyDown are tagged ‘craigslist’ and from […]

  12. […] there is the claim that all of his content is user submitted. As Adam posited way back when this got started, it seemed at though Craig might have been tricking people on […]

  13. […] information found on revenge porn websites to contact the people photographed offline. Women have lost their jobs and received threats of being gang raped because of the posts. When nothing has been effective at […]

  14. […]  Brittain pretended to be a woman on Craigslist to deceive women into sending him nude photos, mocked their pleas to remove the photos, then concocted an ‘independent’ but fake lawyer — […]

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