It’s another revenge porn lawsuit: a Florida woman claims her ex-boyfriend uploaded some pornographic pictures he had taken of her to a variety of different websites / Adult Sites. This woman is outraged, and has filed a handful of lawsuits against anyone involved.
You may remember the story we ran about 23 women who filed a class-action lawsuit against those who own Texxxan[dot]com, a website where users upload pornographic pictures of women (typically ex-girlfriends or ex-wives) without their consent, as well as GoDaddy for providing adult hosting services despite knowing full well what Texxxan[dot]com was all about.
Adult Sites: The Lawsuit
Just as with the Texxxan[dot]com lawsuit, it is holding a wide range of parties responsible. But is this going to fly in court? The Florida woman, Holly Jacobs, is suing her ex-boyfriend Ryan Seay, the four websites that posted the pictures, and the shared hosting companies that allowed these sites to post the pictures. But Seay did more than just post pictures!
The lawsuit says that Seay “took appropriated, or otherwise obtained pornographic images” of Jacobs while they were still together. When they broke up, Jacobs says he “began publishing pornographic photographs and video of the plaintiff as well as plaintiff’s name, occupation, details about her schedule, and other personal and private facts about the plaintiff on various websites.”
Adult Sites: Revenge Porn Sites Or Not?
The problem: these sites aren’t exclusively revenge porn sites. Jacobs lists the four sites — anonib[dot]com, pinkmeth[dot]tv, sextingpics[dot]com, and xhamster[dot]com — and labels them revenge porn sites. She says the sites “traffic in pornographic photographs of young women and children as well as private facts and details of the victims.” However, if you view the sites, that isn’t necessarily the case.
Upon visiting XHamster, you see that it isn’t about revenge porn at all; just porn in general. The site states, “we created a perfect platform for users to share their own amateur content and for producers to advertise their professional works.” Pinkmeth[dot]tv is nowhere to be seen, apparently offline, and AnonIB may have pornographic content, but again, not revenge porn-specific. Sextingpics, on the other hand, seems to be all about revenge porn.
Adult Sites: What About The Shared Hosting Companies?
Although Jacobs names the companies providing adult hosting services to these four sites, it isn’t likely she’ll claim a victory here. Why? Web hosting companies are granted immunity for the content their customers post for the most part, thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
In fact, the sites themselves may be protected by this very same Section 230. It all depends on how involved they were in going through the content users submitted.
According to legal scholar Eric Goldman regarding the GoDaddy revenge porn case, “The legal question isn’t close.” Despite Section 230, a judge opted not to allow GoDaddy to remove its name from the lawsuit. In the judge’s words: “After reading the authorities presented to the court and considering the arguments of counsel, it is my opinion that the Motion to Dismiss should be denied at this time.”
What Jacobs Wants
In her quest to hold all parties accountable for public disclosure of private facts, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, she is looking to stop these images from being distributed on the Internet Adult sites, as well as money (surprise, surprise.)
Ultimately, she wants to see these types of sites / Adult sites banned altogether. She has founded a group called End Revenge Porn, working with lobbyists to convince lawmakers to pass a bill to make the act of posting pornographic pictures or videos with personal information attached to any website, including social media sites, a felony.
Most people probably agree that sites like this shouldn’t be allowed. However, do you think that the shared hosting companies should be held accountable for the actions of the site owners? Let us know how you feel!