Archive for Involuntary Porn

Revenge Porn’s Hunter Moore Ordered to Pay $30,103.39 to Storage Wars Star Brandi Passante

In June, reality television star Brandi Passante won a default judgment against Hunter Moore for, among other things, trademark infringement and defamation.  Moore, who bears a heavy crown as most hated person on the internet for attempting to legitimize revenge porn, had responded to the lawsuit only by — you don’t want to click this link at work or anywhere else — sending Passante’s lawyer a picture of his dick.  And, of course, quietly removing what he had claimed was a nude video of Passante (it wasn’t) after the judge suggested that the U.S. Marshals intervene.

After Moore ignored the lawsuit and lost by default — a curious legal strategy for a self-proclaimed millionaire — the judge awarded Passante $750, a sum Gawker labeled “paltry,” on the basis that Passante hadn’t demonstrated her actual damages.   The court also awarded Passante attorneys’ fees and suggested that she submit a declaration substantiating her actual damages.

While it remains to be seen whether Passante will describe how much the court should really give her, she did seek an order that Moore reimburse her for the attorneys’ fees.

The court obliged, awarding Passante $30,103.39 — the order after the jump.  Based on some rough calculations, that means Moore has now been ordered by various courts to pay $294,022.89, the lion’s share of resulting from James McGibney’s defamation lawsuit against Moore.

It’s unlikely that Moore has many assets, given that he can’t seem to find a lawyer to respond to any of these lawsuits.  Nevertheless, happy hunting, judgment creditors.

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Revenge Porn’s Hunter Moore Liable for Trademark Infringement, Fraud, Defamation in Brandi Passante Case

Hunter Moore, widely recognized as the progenitor of ‘revenge porn’, has been held liable by a Federal Court for trademark infringement, fraud, defamation, and other claims in Passante v. Moore.  Brandi Passante, star of “Storage Wars”, sued Moore after he posted a video purporting (falsely, as the court ruled) to show her performing sex acts. Moore failed to respond to the case, except to send Passante’s attorney a picture of his penis (NSFL) — and then quietly removed the offending content from his site.

Dick pics are not among the responsive pleadings permitted by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 12.

In the court’s ruling (PDF), the judge issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Moore from re-posting the content and awarded Passante $750 in damages, plus attorney fees.  The court reasoned that only minimal statutory damages were available, absent a showing by Passante of her actual damages.  That doesn’t mean that Moore will only have to muster up $750 and be done with the matter: the court invited Passante to submit a new declaration establishing her actual damages.  Given that Passante was asking for $1.25 million in damages, Moore may still be on the hook for much more.

This is Moore’s second legal defeat.  The self-proclaimed ‘millionaire’ also failed to respond to a lawsuit by Bullyville’s James McGibney, to whom Moore now owes $250,000 for defamation.

But at least he has his cat.

Casey Meyering’s Revenge Porn Forum Rips off “TakedownHammer” Scam

One of the unfortunate aspects of revenge porn sites is that its creators, with few (if any) legitimate opportunities to profit via advertising, are often driven to extortionate “take down” scams.  Recognizing that the men and women depicted on the sites are desperate to have their pictures removed, the sites advertise “take down” services by “independent” or “third party” companies that offer to negotiate to have their nude photos removed.  Of course, these “take down” sites never disclose the fact that they’re operated by the same person running the revenge porn site, because that would start to sound a lot like extortion.

Take, for example, “WinByState,” a private forum (running VBulletin software) that allows users to view and submit “your ex-girlfriend, your current girlfriend, or any other girl that you might know.”  To get access, users are required to submit photos, but must agree that they have “the person(s) permission who is in the picture/video[.]”  If that were credible, few people would quarrel with the site — if people are comfortable with nude photos of themselves online, more power to them.

But if it were credible to claim that the people posted on the site are posted there with “permission,” why would the site advertise TakedownHammer.info, an “independent” and “third party” service that charges $250 to have photos removed?  If this sounds familiar, it’s because Craig Brittain operated the same scam using the same name — and the text of this site is largely ripped off of Brittain’s now-defunct TakedownHammer.com.

Nor is this “TakedownHammer” remotely independent of the revenge porn-esque forum “WinByState”, as the site claims.  A little digging into the ownership of both “WinByState” and “TakedownHammer.info” shows that both are owned (and apparently operated) by Casey Meyering of Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Hat missing.  Also: basic sense of decency.
If found, please return to Tulsa, OK.
No reward.

Casey Meyering, 27, is the drummer for Tulsa halfway-rock group FM Pilots, which, judging solely on their sound, have probably never actually glided through any sort of F.M. band.  Maybe A.M.

When he’s not offering drum lessons via his TulsaDrumLessons.com website or running the vBulletin-powered WinByState revenge porn forum, he seeks help in modifying the same version of vBulletin software used by WinByState and apparently runs CCBillForVBulletin.com, which provides a way to charge for memberships to vBulletin-powered websites.

Almost all of the above websites were at one point registered to Casey Meyering or “KC” of various false addresses in Beverly Hills, California.  (Get it? “KC”? Sigh.).  Several of the websites are registered to Meyering using a WCPuppets.com email address.  WCPuppets was once a porn site operated by Meyering which now redirects to revenge porn forum WinByState.  Each of the above websites is hosted on the same server (identified as mazda.icertified.net in the headers of the emails sent when people register for an account on WinByState), and almost all of the sites hosted on the server are linked via whois records to Meyering.  And here’s Meyering tweeting back and forth with iCertified, talking about his “mazda” server:

That might be enough to tie Meyering to the revenge porn forum, but what about the extortionate “TakedownHammer.info” site?  Not only is it hosted on the same “mazda” server, but Meyering used the same Google Wallet account for both his drum lessons site and the “take down” site.  That is, people who sign up for a drum lesson on Meyering’s drumming site will find that it lists their payment as going to “Takedown Hammer” at a fake address in Beverly Hills, California.

Now why would Meyering lie to his loyal customers about the nature and location of his business?  You can draw your own conclusions.  Shortly after I emailed Meyering asking for a comment (he never responded), his Twitter account was deleted.

Revenge pornographers don’t get much clumsier than this.  And it’s a good thing, too.  While the legality of revenge porn is the subject of much public debate, and law enforcement is unlikely to address the borderline-extortion perpetrated by sites such as Meyering’s, those running these sites can and should be exposed and criticized for their harmful acts.  They hide their identities for a reason: so that they can expose, shame, and unethically take money from others without worrying about it disrupting their own lives too much.

But Google has a long — and unforgiving — memory.

UPDATE (February 14, 2014): Meyering has been arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma on five felony counts of extortion in California.

His video, above, has now been deleted, so here’s a photo of him, which I will gladly remove for the low-low price of free drum lessons for a year.  (Just kidding, I wouldn’t delete this ever.)

meyering2

And here are screenshots of Winbystate’s rules for submitting nude photos and the fraudulent “Takedown Hammer” website.

Craig Brittain “Shuts Down” IsAnybodyDown, Renames it “ObamaNudes.com”

[Update (2/28/15): Since Brittain is trying to get this post removed, it’s received substantially more traffic than it would have otherwise.  This is called the Streisand Effect: when attempts to remove content through dubious legal means winds up backfiring and exposing the content to more people who wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.  Meanwhile, the FTC will soon vote on whether to settle with Brittain — a settlement which does not require him to pay back his victims.  I think the FTC should require him to pay his victims back, and with a spare minute or two, you can tell the FTC not to let Brittain off with a slap on the wrist.]

Yesterday, revenge porn’s Craig Brittain announced on Twitter that he was ending his site, IsAnybodyDown.com (synopsis here).  Many (myself included) interpreted that to mean that Brittain was shutting down his site.  And with tweets like these, wouldn’t you?:

Alas, it appears that Brittain was being disingenuous: he’s merely renamed the site to ObamaNudes.com — and wants more money.

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IsAnybodyDown: Craig Brittain’s 2005 Harassment Charge Unsurprisingly Predictive

Craig Brittain’s revenge porn site, IsAnybodyDown.com, might have been an unremarkable ripoff of Hunter Moore’s “Is Anyone Up?” site if not for “David Blade III, Esq.”  Blade was an invention of Craig Brittain, a fake attorney created to add an aura of legitimacy to Brittain’s extortionate scheme:  post nude photos along with full names, social media profiles, and phone numbers, then charge victims $250 to have them removed.

Nor was “David Blade” Brittain’s only only online impersonation.  I theorized that Brittain’s efforts went a step further: pretend to be a Craigslist user arranging a sexual encounter, then take the photos and post them to IsAnybodyDown.  That theory proved true when CBS Denver turned up emails bearing Brittain’s IP address, showing that he pretended to be a “Jess Davis” to solicit nude photos, using the photos of one of his victims.

Brittain maintains that “David Blade” is real (or, at least, was created by somebody else) and that all of the photos on IsAnybodyDown come from users of the site — not him.  According to Brittain, the allegations are a “fabrication” by attorney Marc Randazza (and other Brittain critics) to make money off of his site.  Or something.  Brittain says that “[t]here is no truth to it at all.  These women are told to lie by their attorneys.”

But allegations in a 2005 harassment charge and restraining order naming Brittain are unsurprisingly predictive of his future behavior: impersonating people on the internet in an effort to harm women online and offline.

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Hunter Moore’s ‘Fortunes’ Threatened by Self-Imposed Legal Misfortunes

Revenge kingpin Hunter Moore, a self-proclaimed “millionaire,” has been hit by two default judgments after failing to defend himself in two lawsuits against him.

The first involves Storage Wars celebrity Brandi Passante, who sued Moore for posting a video that Moore asserted was a sex tape of Passante.  Her complaint (PDF), filed in the Federal District Court in Los Angeles, asserted causes of action for trademark infringement, privacy torts, defamation, and consumer fraud, alleging that Moore’s video was false and designed to trade upon her commercial likeness.  Passante also sought and received a preliminary injunction requiring Moore to remove the video.

Moore’s response to the suit and injunction was to send Passante’s lawyer a picture of his penis (NSFW, obviously) in lieu of hiring a lawyer to defend his considerable ‘ass’ets.  This well-considered legal strategy went predictably: Passante convinced the judge to hold Moore in contempt for disobeying the injunction.  Moore, faced with the prospect of being haled into California accompanied by U.S. Marshals armed with a bench warrant, quietly removed the video from his website.

Moore has since remained quiet publicly about the suit.  While a clerk’s entry of default has been entered against him in the case, Passante’s lawyer has informed the court that settlement negotiations are ongoing.  Negotiating with a plaintiff while you’re in default is an ideal bargaining position.  Bravo, Mr. Moore.

The second case is more interesting.

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IsAnybodyDown.com: Craig Brittain Still Can’t Keep His “David Blade” Story Straight

The Colorado Springs Independent has a feature story out today about Craig Brittain and his controversial site.  If you haven’t been following along, here’s a synopsis of the IsAnybodyDown.com controversy.

The article is worth a read, both because it lays out some of the controversy and because it gives Craig Brittain ample room to shed light on his side of the story.  Presented with this generous opportunity, Craig dissembles.  Craig is already claiming to have been significantly misquoted.

Months after this controversy began, these are the two big questions Craig has failed or refused to directly answer, and some discrepancies raised by Craig:

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Are you posted on IsAnybodyDown.com or YouGotPosted.com?

Are your nude photos posted on IsAnybodyDown.com or YouGotPosted.com? If so, I’d like to talk with you. I’ve written critically about both sites here and I am interested in finding out additional information about the sites, including more about how they get their pictures, how they respond to takedown requests, and the experience you’ve had as a result of being posted.

Anonymity guaranteed. I won’t reveal any identifying information without your permission or a lawful order (e.g., a subpoena).

Please note that I am not a lawyer and can’t help get your pictures removed. Another site has posted some tips on how to get pictures removed, but I can’t vouch for whether following its advice would be successful or legally prudent. I highly recommend that you contact an attorney.

You can email me (adam.steinbaugh@gmail.com) or find additional contact information on my “About” page.

An Involuntary Porn Site and its Deceptive “Reputation Management” Site, ChangeMyReputation.com

YouGotPosted.com is an involuntary porn site similar to IsAnybodyDown.com in more than its content: it’s taking a page from Craig Brittain’s playbook: they destroy your reputation by posting your nude photos, name, and hometown so that it’s easily found whenever someone Googles your name.  And they’ll keep destroying your reputation — but here’s an advertisement for a company that will negotiate with them to get your photos taken down. For a fee.

Except that the ‘reputation’ or ‘takedown’ company isn’t exactly independent.  It’s likely coordinated by the people posting those nude photos.

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Anonymous Targets IsAnybodyDown.com, which Chance Trahan Claims He Doesn’t Run

A few brief updates about involuntary porn site IsAnybodyDown.com and its “Takedown Hammer” scheme.  If you’re just joining us, a synopsis of the IsAnybodyDown.com controversy is here.

[Update: Chance Trahan responds at length [PDF].  He denies running the site and says that talking about him is cybersquatting, among other things. More below.]

[Update 1/7/2013: Chance deleted the above post (though here’s a copy [PDF]) and replaced it with a new response.  It’s a copy/paste of this post edited to tell his side of the story.  Chance Trahan says that the “David Blade” / “Takedown Hammer” site is, alternatively, a “parody” or a “third party hiree.”  Chance says he only designed the site, its logos, and created its Facebook account — the idea and content are Craig’s.  Chance also maintains his claim that speaking negatively about or to him (without his permission) is “harassment” and “cybersquatting,” and that those criticizing him were hired to do so.  Chance also commented on this post, below]

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