Revenge Porn Site YouGotPosted Sued (Again)

Revenge porn site YouGotPosted (also known as “ugotposted”) has been sued in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.  The complaint is here (hat-tip: Bullyville).

Notably, this is the first lawsuit targeting a revenge porn site that focuses on copyright.  I think intellectual property claims present the best chance victims of revenge porn sites have in prevailing in civil cases against site owners.

While sites even as despicable as YouGotPosted might have a CDA Section 230 defense against tort claims (although I think that’s debatable), CDA 230 expressly exempts intellectual property rights claims (like copyright) from its protection against liability.  That is, although under CDA 230 many sites have immunity from liability for tortuous content submitted by users, they don’t have immunity when it comes to copyright and trademark claims.  Rather, they can attempt to argue that they are exempt from copyright liability by way of the DMCA’s safe harbor, but they’re screwed on this front, having not registered an agent to receive DMCA takedown notices (among other failings).

While this will be a case to watch, I doubt that the main operators of the site (Eric Chanson and Kevin Bollaert) will respond.  They failed to respond (at least in court) to the trademark lawsuit filed against them by Bullyville/ViaView, and a default judgment in excess of $300,000 was issued against them.  Chanson’s parents, however, are now asking the court in the Bullyville case to set aside the judgment, claiming they weren’t properly served and had no idea about the lawsuit until recently.  (They also claim that they had no idea about their son’s revenge porn site until Bullyville offered to pay Eric and Kevin to shut down their site).

Though  Chanson and Bollaert’s scumbaggery is well-established by virtue of their running a revenge porn site, I’m surprised this lawsuit made no mention of the extortionate “ChangeYourReputation” scam.  The only way their site makes a profit (its advertising affiliate jumped ship following a tip from yours-truly — oops!) is by charging victims to have their pictures removed.  That idea was ripped off of the “Takedown Hammer” scheme operated by Craig Brittain (and probably Chance Trahan) of “ObamaNudes.”

And this suit is probably a preview of what’s to come for Craig Brittain and Chance Trahan — who are more likely to fight any claims against them.  (I’m not saying they’ll fight well — but they’ll fight.)

  • Bill

    Adam – I know I’ve buggedyou about this before, but now that the sanctions are up, what happens if they don’t comply and they leave it up?

    • doobie

      Your nieces, daughters, and sisters remain as internet pron for their whorish behavior. That’s what happens…

      • Bill

        Trolling is an art doobie. I don’t have a niece or sister and my daughter hasn’t partaken but keep working at it – like anything, with practice you might finally get your troll game up a little

  • edward

    I have a neice who came to me for help with this issue, pictures of her are when she was 16 and 17 years old. I have emailed and requeated they remove them. Have yet to see then removed. My neice is constantly being harassed because the poster also posted her facebook links. Any suggestions on helping her with this problem?

    • your boi!!!

      Poor slut

    • not david blade, not esquire

      Change your perspective a bit. Let’s assume the photos of your niece are more than just suggestive, and that they involve actual nudity or sexually-explicit content. (Hey, teenagers are teenagers.)

      You’re trying to get your niece’s photos taken down to protect her. That’s admirable. However, if you point out to them that she’s under the age of majority, and they take no action, you can go to the cops and demonstrate that they’re knowingly hosting child pornography. That’ll land them in a WORLD of hurt – criminal hurt, not just civil hurt.

      (The ensuing investigation will probably mean their servers are siezed as evidence, taking pictures of your niece – and of many other people – off the web for the time being. Not a lot you can do about other people who already have them, except keep an eye out for reposts.)

      It very likely doesn’t matter that she may have taken the photos herself and shared them voluntarily with someone she (thought she) trusted. With the way child porn laws are structured in North America right now, the context is irrelevant; only the presence of sexual images of underaged people matters. While I don’t like that the law pretends nobody has sexual experiences before they turn 18, you can probably exploit that to solve your problem.

      Obviously, consult a lawyer first – I am not a lawyer, and if I were, this wouldn’t be legal advice – but that’s my take. Don’t take these scumbags to court: send them to jail.