While much focus has been on IsAnybodyDown (now known as “ObamaNudes”) and the antics of truth-challenged Craig Brittain, the largest revenge porn site is YouGotPosted (aka “ugotposted”). This lowly blog receives far more visitors searching for YouGotPosted than for any other revenge porn site, and far more victims of that site contact me than victims of Craig Brittain.
YouGotPosted’s ride, however, is about to come to a crashing halt, as the result of a lawsuit filed by ViaView (parent company of Bullyville). The site’s remaining operators – Eric Chanson, Kevin Bollaert, Chanson’s parents (Roy and Amy Chanson), and “Blue Mist Media LLC“ – have been held in contempt by a Federal court in Nevada. Additionally, the court determined that their violations of court orders merit terminating the case in Bullyville’s favor and requiring payment of Bullyville’s legal fees.
More on the case after the jump.
The complaint (PDF) alleged, among other things, that YouGotPosted was infringing on the “Is Anyone Up?” trademark, which ViaView acquired from Hunter Moore in an effort to end Moore’s revenge porn site. The operators of YouGotPosted registered several domain names relating to “Is Anyone Up?” and offered to sell them to ViaView at a profit, establishing likely liability for cybersquatting. ViaView agreed to purchase the domains at a price, but YouGotPosted allegedly reneged on the agreement, allegedly at the behest of owner Eric Chanson’s parents.
In due course, ViaView sought and received a preliminary injunction (PDF) requiring YouGotPosted to cease using the “Is Anyone Up?” trademark, which order YouGotPosted ignored. This is generally a bad idea. It’s an even worse idea when one of the defendants starts cooperating with the plaintiff, offering chat transcripts demonstrating that Eric Chanson and Kevin Bollaert were aware of the lawsuit and attempting to establish trademarks of their own.
Having failed to respond to the lawsuit at all (except to eventually and recently stop using the “Is Anyone Up?” trademarks), the Federal court held Chanson, his parents, Bollaert, and their ‘company’ (Blue Mist Media, LLC — which is not a registered corporation, as far as I can tell) in contempt (PDF). The court determined that the defendants’ knowledge of the injunction coupled with their total failure to respond or abide by the order merited significant sanctions.
The sanctions ordered against YouGotPosted and its proprietors include paying Bullyville’s attorneys fees associated with the contempt order and terminating sanctions. That means that even if Chanson and friends were to show up to court tomorrow to argue that they have a case (as they very well may have had), they’ll be stuck at the courthouse door. Accordingly, the clerk has entered a default (PDF) against the remaining defendants.
What does this mean for YouGotPosted and its proprietors? Under FRCP 55, a clerk first enters a default. Once the judge signs off on it, it becomes a default judgment. Per FRCP 55(a)(1), YouGotPosted may be subject to the full extent of damages requested in the Complaint. Here, ViaView requested $100,000 in damages per infringing domain name — that is, $300,000 – plus other damages. The cybersquatting claims alone risk statutory damages from $3,000 to $300,000. If the judge agrees that these damages are in order — which isn’t guaranteed) — Chanson and friends will owe a hefty sum to Bullyville (who is also owed a hefty sum from Hunter Moore). And when you’re represented by well-known First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza, that’s a pretty penny.
It’ll be tough for Chanson and friends to pay that sum and the attorneys’ fees. Earlier this week, I contacted the only advertiser on YouGotPosted. The advertiser quickly terminated their relationship with the site. And I have a suspicion that their extortionate “ChangeMyReputation” scheme may also face impending doom. Oops.