Tag Archive for Revenge Porn

Hunter Moore Takes Plea Deal, Will Go To Prison

Hunter Moore, the infamous involuntary porn kingpin who was facing trial in March, has agreed to plead guilty two felony charges: one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)(c)) and one count of aggravated identity theft (18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1).)

The violation of the CFAA — commonly referred to as ‘hacking’ — carries a minimum two year sentence, and Moore faces up to seven years in prison.  It’s incredibly unlikely that Moore will receive the full seven years.  More also faces fines which may reach as high as $500,000.

Moore’s charges stem from allegations, which he has admitted, that he solicited and paid co-defendant Charlie Evens to access e-mail accounts and search for nude photos, which Moore would then post on his website, IsAnyoneUp.

Evens still faces trial in March.  There is no plea agreement with Evens that has been made public, if one exists, and Moore’s agreement does not include any indication that he has agreed to testify against Evens.

Moore’s plea deal comes less than a month after YouGotPosted proprietor Kevin Bollaert was convicted on numerous extortion and identity theft charges and IsAnybodyDown operator Craig Brittain submitted to sanctions by the Federal Trade Commission for his conduct in deceiving people into sending him nude photos and subsequently charging for their removal.  A third operator, Casey Meyering, will shortly be tried on extortion charges for deploying a scheme identical to Brittain’s.  In one month, approximately half of the operators of dedicated revenge porn sites have been sanctioned, convicted, or are likely to be convicted.  Stunning.

Hunter Moore plea deal

Revenge Porn Site MyEx.com Sued For Copyright Infringement

Revenge porn site MyEx.com, along with Google and Yahoo!, has been sued for copyright infringement in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  The complaint is below.  ((Although the plaintiff in this action has previously sued the now-defunct website Texxxan and is publicly known, I redacted her name from the complaint because her photos continue to be accessible on MyEx.com and appear to have been posted in retaliation for having sued Texxxan.))

MyEx.com is one of few remaining websites dedicated to so-called “revenge porn,” and is likely the largest website of its kind, hosting the nude photos of upwards of 6,000 men and women.  It has been the subject of increasing media attention and peripheral legal action, although the site itself has never been sued.  This week, a former NFL player was sued by his ex-wife, who alleged that he posted her nude photos to MyEx.com. Previously, a teacher at a Christian school lost her job after being posted on MyEx — and was later charged with filing a false police report in connection with the posting.

MyEx is purportedly operated by “Web Solutions, B.V.,” a company in the Netherlands that does not exist.  Rather, the site was created and continues to be operated by Americans in coordination with persons in the Philippines.

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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.

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.)

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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