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Revenge Porn and Your Website

By May 20, 2015May 5th, 2016Internet Lawyer
revenge porn

Can a visitor post revenge porn on your website?

If you operate a website that allows visitors to upload images (even just a profile pic), you need to be aware of the risks of having revenge porn on your website.

What is revenge porn? It’s when someone posts a nude, semi-nude, and/or sexually explicit photo or video online of a person without that person’s consent.

There are two common types of revenge porn.

First, a jilted spouse or lover will post pics out of spite to humiliate the person with whom they had a relationship that went bad.

Second, there are hackers who steal these types of photos and videos and post them online. The motives vary for hackers. For most, it seems to a quest for 15 minutes of fame acquired for posting nudie pics of actresses (e.g. the “Fappening”) or celebrity sex tapes. Some hackers have been arrested for selling software that’s designed to steal nude photos (See Ian Lang’s article at Askmen.com, “Hackers Face Charges After Selling Nude Photo Hacking Software”).

Thanks to new state laws, there’s been a crackdown on revenge porn sites, that is, websites focused on hosting user submissions of sex videos and erotic pics uploaded without consent of the person being attacked. In a New York Post article by Marissa Charles, “Meet the Angry Mom Who Took Down the King of Revenge Porn,” you can read the saga of one effort to remove revenge porn. It’s important to note that at least one website owner is going to prison.

Does this mean that if someone uploads revenge porn to your site that you’ll end up in jail? Of course not. However, even those who don’t get prosecuted for hosting such content can be sued civilly for actual and punitive damages.

This means it’s a good idea to keep a watch out for the types of photos and videos your website visitors are posting (or even linking to). And if there’s a request to take down a pic by someone (whether it’s revenge porn, copyright infringement, or another reason), take the request seriously.

Although your Internet lawyer can help you on a case-by-case basis, it’s a good idea to remove revenge porn quickly for both legal and ethical reasons. You should also consider having your Internet attorney draft submission guidelines that make it clear what type of user content is acceptable to be uploaded to your site.

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Mike Young, Esq.

Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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