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Playboy Advisor: Revenge Porn
  • March 18, 2012 : 20:03
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What are the legalities of “revenge-porn” sites, on which nude photos submitted by ex-lovers are posted alongside screenshots of the person’s Facebook profile? What rights do you have in this situation?—E.F., Las Vegas, Nevada

A word to the wise in the digital age: If you snap nudes of yourself, make sure you’re holding the camera. That’s because the only chance you have to get images taken down quickly is to claim you own them and that the site is violating your copyright. Beyond that, notes the advocacy group Without My Consent (withoutmyconsent.org), which provides resources for victims, there is “no clear path to justice.” To see how this works practically, consider Hunter Moore, who posts on Is Anyone Up? nudes of men and women, with names and personal data attached. His site elicits hate mail and legal threats (which Moore also posts), and last year a woman who had been exposed stabbed him in the shoulder as he walked to his mailbox. How has Moore stayed out of court? He posts only images that others submit to the site and doesn’t claim to own them. That, he argues, makes him a publisher, and under federal law online publishers are not liable for material posted by others unless it infringes on a copyright. Because he sometimes edits the content and matches photos to online profiles (which one could argue makes the posts something more than user-submitted content), Moore could be sued for invasion of privacy or harassment. But that takes time and money, and a plaintiff risks triggering “the Streisand effect,” a phenomenon named for Barbra Streisand, who by suing to get an aerial shot of her home taken off-line only drew more attention to it. One revenge-porn site includes a ditty suggesting its victims look on the bright side (“Call off your counsel, / Don’t waste your money! / With thousands of downloads, / You must be a honey!”), but identifying nude pictures ensures they will show up when a person’s name is searched, which may be embarrassing but also financially damaging by affecting a person’s ability to get or keep a job. If you own the photos, you can address this by sending a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice to the search engines, which compels them to remove links to the images from the results for your name.

All reasonable questions—from fashion, food and drink, stereos and sports cars to dating dilemmas, taste and etiquette—will be personally answered if the writer includes a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The most interesting, pertinent questions will be presented in these pages. Write the Playboy Advisor, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611, or send e-mail to advisor@playboy.com. For updates, visit playboyadvisor.com and follow @playboyadvisor on Twitter.

read more: Sex and Dating, playboy advisor, magazine, porn, issue april 2012

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