CLBR 7/31: Voices on “Revenge Porn”

CLBR Backgrounder

Voices on “Revenge Porn”

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with Host Bennet Kelley and Hollie Toups, Rebekah Wells and John Morgan

THE VICTIMS

Re–venge porn, n. – A form of cyber-rape that involves the distribution of sexually explicitphotos and/or videos of an individual (either real or photoshopped) on the Internet without permission.  Revenge porn, sometimes called involuntary porn, is usually posted by a scorned ex-lover or friend, in order to seek revenge after a relationship has gone sour. (1)

— EndRevengePorn.com

But what these people don’t realize is a victim of Revenge Porn, I am victimized every time someone types my name into the computer. The crime scene is right before everyone’s eyes, played out again and again, and, ironically, I am treated as if I am the one who has committed the crime.  I am victimized very time someone tells me that it’s my fault because I consensted to the taking of the photos.(2)

— Rebekah Wells

WomenAgainstRevengePorn.com

I felt my life was over.  I feared I would never be able to pursue my career in Criminal Justice, and more importantly I was terrified.  Someone was single-handedly destroying my life with the click of a button from behind a computer screen.  

Together we can make a difference, because we may be bent, but we will never be broken. . . .We’ve all been living in the shadows.  Where I was ashamed before, now I can feel proud that we can help people.  (3)

–Hollie Toups

ArmyofShe.com

Stand up for what you feel is right. It’s not OK that people are doing this and exploiting you, just because you trusted somebody and because you shared intimate photographs in an intimate relationship. That’s not the problem here. The problem is that somebody is using this against you and trying to drive you to suicide. They’re ruining our lives. That’s not OK.

I’m coming out because I’m tired of hiding . . . I hope that I’ll set an example and show this is how you overcome this: by coming forward,” she said. “You’re not exposing yourself—you’re already exposed on the internet. Instead, you’re exposing what is happening to you. Everybody’s going to see me naked, and everybody’s going to see me do things I never wanted anybody to see except the person I was with. But if it’s in the name of the cause and to change the laws about this, then I’m happy to do it. We’re all naked underneath our clothes. (4)

–Holly Jacobs

EndRevengePorn.com

THE REVENGE

PORNOGRAPHERS


I really don’t give a fuck. Why should I care? It’s not my life. It’s literally just a business. It’s stupid not to monetize it.

People threaten me with lawsuits every day, which is funny, because it fuels the site. (5)

–Hunter Moore, Founder of Is Anyone Up

These are not victims. These are people that have decided to publicly transmit their own information.

I call it entertainment.  We don’t want anyone shamed or hurt we just want the pictures there for entertainment purposes and business.(6)

–Craig Brittain, Founder of Is Anybody Down

30,000,000

IsAnyOneUp.com Monthly Page Views

THE WARRIORS

MORGANThis is a form of cyber human trafficking, or as it has been termed “cyber rape,” because they take photos of women for the purpose of dehumanizing them, for the purpose of degrading them, and they go even further. (7)

— John S. Morgan

John S. Morgan Law Firm

Lead Counsel in Toups v. GoDaddy.com (Tex. Dist. Ct.)

want to hurt isanybodydown.com. I want to hurt them bad.

Who’s with me? (8)

— Attorney Marc Randazza
Randazza Legal Group

Lead Attorney in UGotPosted  (S.D.Cal.)

 

“The days of the revenge porn industry are limited. . . . The house of cards is coming down.”  (9)

— Kyle Bristow

Dispatches from the Revenge Ponography War

THE COMMENTATORS

What does it say about society that websites where angry men shame their ex-lovers are thriving?  The purpose of revenge porn isn’t to allow regular guys the opportunity to see some naked girls-next-door; it’s explicitly purposed to shame, humiliate and destroy the lives and reputations of young women. (10)

–Jill Filipovic, The Guardian

CITRONBlanket immunity for revenge porn operators is incompatible with congressional purpose.  Section 230 celebrates the Internet as a “forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for political development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity” for the “benefit of all Americans.”  But revenge porn sites and other cyber cesspools threaten the universality of the Internet’s benefits by encouraging cyber harassment that silences women and minorities, narrows the range of political discourse, and stifles intellectual activity.

Congress ought to consider passing laws that criminalize the operation of sites designed to facilitate the posting of nude photographs without subjects’ consent, along the lines of state invasion of privacy laws. . .  The Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved a bill that makes it a crime to make an online app whose primary use is to facilitate cyber stalking.  The next important step is to criminalize sites doing the same. (11)

-Danielle Citron, University of Maryland School of Law in Concurring Opinions.

Every time a distasteful content website flares up in the media, the pro-regulation crowd agitates for amendments to 47 USC 230.  . . . First, we are already seeing troubling efforts to exploit the existing exceptions to Section 230, such as trademark lawsuits against consumer review websites and plaintiffs abusing copyright to create a “right to forget.”  Adding another exception will just create more possibilities for mischief.

Still, for individuals who would prefer not to be a revenge porn victim or otherwise have intimate depictions of themselves publicly disclosed, the advice will be simple: don’t take nude photos or videos.(12)

–Eric Goldman, Santa Clara High Tech Law Institute in Forbes

The first thing that strikes me about Prof. Goldman’s discussion of revenge porn (and this is true of many discussions of the issue) is the failure to note its gendered dimensions. . . .  The second interesting omission in Prof. Goldman’s article is any mention of the harm revenge porn causes. The victims of these acts have lost jobs, been forced to change schools, change their names, and have been subjected to real-life stalking and harassment because of the actions of those who posted and distributed their images. Some victims have committed suicide. The sexually explicit images of them have been sent to their parents, their children, their classmates, their employers; they have been used to blackmail, stalk, and threaten their subjects. This is not merely “distasteful,” and it most certainly is not like having a colleague look up the price of your home.

Given these omissions, perhaps it is not surprising that Prof. Goldman concludes with the recommendation that he does. The wording is telling: “for individuals who would prefer not to be a revenge porn victim…” According to Prof. Goldman, one can simply “prefer” not to do be a victim of forced sexual exposure. But I wonder if Prof. Goldman, or anyone else offering similar advice, has considered the fact that women and men are not equally at risk for either becoming the target of revenge porn or of suffering the negative consequences of it. (13)

–Mary Anne Franks, University of Miami School of Law in Concurring Opinions

WE ALSO RECOMMEND . . . 

 
 

NOTES

(1) http://www.endrevengeporn.org/

(2) An Involuntary Porn Star: My Story

(3) ArmyofShe.com, GoDaddy.com Among Defendants in Revenge Porn Lawsuit, Houston Chronicle;

Dozens of Women Join ‘Revenge Porn’ Class Action Lawsuit Against Texxxan.comABC Nightline

(4) A Victim Speaks: Standing Up to a Revenge Porn Tormentor
BetaBeat; Revenge porn’ victim fights back: ‘I was terrified, Today Show
(5) The Battle Over Revenge Porn: Can Hunter Moore the Webs Vilest Entrepreneur Be Stopped, BetaBeat

Hunter Moore, Founder of Anyone Up, Says New Website Will be Scariest on the Internet, Huffington Post

(6) Is Anybody Down?, Wikipedia

(7) Dozens of Women Join ‘Revenge Porn’ Class Action Lawsuit Against Texxxan.comABC Nightline

(8) Let’s Fuck Up David Blade Attorney at Law and IsAnybodyDown.com.  Who’s With me?, Legal Satyricon

(9)Dispatches in the RevengePornographyWar

(10) Revenge Porn Degrades Women, The Guardian

(11) Revenge Porn and the Uphill Battle to Sue Site Operators, Concurring Opinions;
Revenge Porn Site Operators and Federal Criminal Liability, Concurring Opinions

(12) What Should We Do About Revenge Porn Sites LIke Texxxan.com, Forbes

(13) Adventures in Victim Blaming: Revenge Porn Edition, Concurring Opinions;
Why We Need a Federal Criminal Law Response to Revenge Porn, Concurring Opinions

SEE ALSO

States Tackle Revenge Porn, ILC Cyber Report

LISTEN TO PODCAST

with Host Bennet Kelley and Hollie Troups, Rebekkah Wells and John Morgan

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