385,000 Ways To End Revenge Porn

The story they tell is that there is no way to stop revenge porn except by the enactment of new laws that reflect a cavalier disregard for the First Amendment. That it also serves to elevate their profile in the process, well, can’t be helped.  Except, it’s nonsense, as shown by the $385,000 judgment obtained by Marc Randazza against revenge porn site You Got Posted, Eric Chanson and Kevin Bollaert.

The woman sued as “Jane Doe,” and the federal court for the Southern District of Ohio awarded her a judgment of $385,000 against Kevin Bollaert and Eric Chanson on March 18, 2014. The Court awarded the plaintiff $150,000 each on two child pornography claims, and $10,000 on her right of publicity claim. Additionally, the Court awarded the plaintiff $75,000 in punitive damages based on Bollaert and Chanson’s conduct. In total, the Court awarded $385,000 against Kevin Bollaert and Eric Chanson. Additionally, the Court prohibited Kevin Bollaert and Eric Chanson from ever again publishing her images.

They can’t be sued? There is no effective civil remedy?  There has to be a new criminal law, and it’s such a critical need that collateral infringement of free speech is just an unfortunate, but necessary, consequence?  Well, no. Not at all.

This comes on top of two major prosecutions against revenge porn operators as well, showing how existing law can take the profit out of these cesspools.  And the outing of another, who tried to hide his connection to his disgusting operation.

In the meantime, the same people who are actually waging the battle against revenge porn in the trenches, and doing a thousand times, a million times, more to put an end to this travesty.  They do so by actually doing something about it rather than giving self-promotional interviews and attacking the very people (who just happen to be male) destroying revenge porn as fragile rape apologists.

The Randazza judgment strikes at the root of the problem, which is money. By exposing revenge porn website operators to significant money judgments, and criminal liability for their attempts to extort money from women for removing their images, they take the profit out of the scheme.  Indeed, they strike at the heart of the problem, the revenge porn model, without causing any collateral damage to anyone else’s civil rights.

When Mary Anne Franks went on a rampage, attacking anyone who didn’t think her model revenge porn law was fabulous, Randazza made his view clear:

 

Ms. Franks,

While you’re sitting on your ass “teaching people how to think like a lawyer,” I’m actually out front on this issue, *litigating* these kinds of cases.

And you know what?

I think your law is fucking idiotic.  Absolutely.  Fucking.  Idiotic.

Nothing but the academic circle jerk and a few vote-starved legislators could possibly consider *criminalizing* the publication of photographs to be tolerable.  So go write another law review article about something else you have no first-hand experience about, and leave the legal work to the big boys and girls.

And now, Randazza has $385,000 ways to prove Franks wrong.  No doubt Mary Anne and the feminist cabal that rubs her tummy will rush to express their appreciation for what Randazza has done to help the women victimized by revenge porn, while they were giving interviews to promote themselves as the saviors of their poor victims.

This is the way to kill revenge porn.  And when it’s dead and gone, we will still have these misguided laws on the books to criminalize and chill the free speech of others.

39 comments on “385,000 Ways To End Revenge Porn

  1. bill

    I guess that’s why Franksesque people need to rush law. With a little time and thought, their silly proposals are seem for what they are. The feminist talks about it, Marc , Adam, Ken and company fix it. Institutional sexism must explain things

  2. bill

    Ken white. He was one of the attys who helped expose IsAnyoneDown and threw up the Popehat signal to get put victims in touch with people that could help.

  3. Marc Randazza

    I actually feel like a dick for being so harsh in that comment. Franks is doing what she thinks she can to help solve this problem. I actually think I was out of line.

    1. Jim Majkowski

      Are you really a mere human or descended from heaven to provide guidance to us mortals? (I intend hyperbole, not sarcasm)

      1. SHG Post author

        Today is fence-mending day, so while basking in the glory of success, he’s offering an olive branch. The problem will be what to do when he gets smacked again, because most people don’t consider inconsistency a feature.

        1. Marc J. Randazza

          I am not saying that I do not still disagree with the movement to make revenge porn a crime. I still think it will be ineffective and constitutionally problematic.

          But, maybe I’m just feeling soft today, but I think that looking at my prior comment, I was being a douchebag. Forgive my act of self-reflection and contrition if it cuts against the grain.

          1. SHG Post author

            It’s very nice that you are a kinder, gentler Randazza today. Let me know when Mary Anne sends you a congratulatory email, or comment, or post, or anything.

            1. Marc J. Randazza

              The world would be a better place if people could more readily admit it when they are unnecessarily douchetastic. (That’s not me making any veiled comments about anyone’s behavior but my own). I think I’ve been a huge asshole to some people who have done something to deserve it, and I stand by those episodes.

              MAF didn’t do anything to deserve it (from me anyhow) aside from associating with a crowd that did deserve it. That should not be enough.

              I go to the box. Two minutes by myself. I feel shame. And then … I get free.

      2. SHG Post author

        Or maybe he’s a lawyer doing what lawyers are supposed to do. And if so, isn’t that good enough?

    2. Sgt. Schultz

      Not that you can’t be a dick, but at the same time, one of the rules of life for lawyers is that once someone has forsaken integrity, they don’t get it back too easily. I’ve yet to see Mary Anne Franks say or do anything to suggest she’s deserving of forgiveness, no less an apology.

      So you were a dick? That’s nice, but I smell a rat. Given that she’s never made an act of contrition for her many trespasses, your out-of-the-blue apology-for-no-apparent-reason smells of something else happening that makes you want to tone down the rhetoric toward her. If so, then you’re a double dick for doing so while concealing your real purpose.

      And, IMHO, a triple dick if I’m right, because by making this effort to rehabilitate Franks after all she’s done to deserve the crap she’s gotten, your rehab efforts undermine the legitimate criticism of others for your own purposes. For those of us who admire your work, this is really disapppointing. Tell me I’m wrong.

      1. SHG Post author

        As long as we’re speculating about motive, perhaps this will be more palatable. Marco has broad shoulders, and can afford to apologize for his words in order to tone things down. Mary Anne, on the other hand, hasn’t yet matured to the point where she can apologize. Given that Marco may be more concerned with achieving the dual goals of stopping revenge porn while protecting society from bad law, he finds it more effective to end the stupid and do the least harm possible. It’s unfortunate if Mary Anne can’t admit to the problems and do the same.

        So, if my math is right, that would reduce Marco from a triple dick to merely a double dick. See? Math is cool!

    1. SHG Post author

      Or maybe actually putting revenge porn operators out of business isn’t nearly as good as whining, wringing your hands, singing “I am Woman” at the top of your lungs and being a boy-feminist, Max?

        1. SHG Post author

          It’s pretty damn well QED. Notice that major revenge porn websites, Is Anybody Up, You Got Posted, Win By State are gone? Not because of a new anti-revenge porn law, nor by the efforts of feminists. Go figure.

          So when did you first decide that the 1st Amendment only mattered if it didn’t get in the way of your feminist views?

          1. Max Kennerly

            I didn’t realize revenge porn consisted solely of three websites taken down for, respectively, child porn, infringement of another website’s trademark, and extortion.

            I applaud Marc for knocking down some slimeball child porn distributors, and I hope he’s able to collect something, but I doubt Marc is closing down the rest of his practice to chase typical revenge porn cases pro bono, nor do I blame him. Maybe there are some civil remedies — I say, “maybe,” because if you’re right about the First Amendment issues, then that forecloses civil liability, too — but that means a lot of money out of victim’s pocket just to seek relief, much less get it. Claiming otherwise is dishonest and unpersuasive.

            P.S. “Boy-feminist?” Pathetic.

            1. SHG Post author

              There are a great many things you don’t realize. You might, if you weren’t so blinded by your political agenda, but there is still hope for you when you grow up. And then, you will no longer be “boy-feminist.” Yes, pathetic indeed.

            2. Ken

              The 3 major revenge porn websites taken down, and you try to turn it into a strawman by arguing “revenge porn consisted solely of three websites.” Even for you, that’s bad. Remind us again of what you’ve done to help actually rid the world of revenge porn, other than be a troll?

            3. Max Kennerly

              The post concludes, “This is the way to kill revenge porn.” But the post is about a default judgment obtained for child porn.

              I pointed that out, and was given two other examples of killed websites as proof that, in fact, it’s quite easy “to kill revenge porn.” One was killed by trademark infringement. The other killed by trying to use the revenge porn to extort victims.

              How does any of this apply to, say, revenge porn on Facebook involving an adult, no trademarks at all, and no extortion? Seems all Scott’s found is “the way to kill revenge porn websites that happen to violate some other criminal law.”

            4. SHG Post author

              And you continue to miss the point. There are people actually doing things to take the incentive out of revenge porn, to put them out of business, to bring them down, and they are succeeding. This is how you stop revenge porn, not by adoring your political agenda which has failed to accomplish anything and risks those constitutionals rights you hold so dear unless one of your scared cows is at stake. I keep hoping you’ll grow up. I see today is not the day.

            5. AlphaCentauri

              I’m an old fogey, but I really think this will all be a non-issue in 10 years or so. People going through adolescence today will have to deal with plenty of instances of ex-boyfriends who have nude photos of women they know, and they will see plenty of embarrassing facebook posts of friends that escaped into the wild. By the time they are parents or employers, they really won’t care what kind of photos are posted on the internet.

              Just as our generation expects employees to have no visible tattoos or piercings but their generation has no problem with first grade teachers with nose rings, the revenge porn sites can only make money during the relatively brief period where there is a rift in how people in different generations view nudity.

  4. Turk

    One other possible hook that some may use to end revenge porn other than criminal laws, might be the victims trying to claim copyright violation, as an actress successfully did regarding her appearance in Innocence of the Muslims (Garcia v. Google, Inc., 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, decided Feb. 26, 2014).

    She was told her performance was for one thing but it was used for another, thus no license to use an image deceptively procured. (I probably butchered that one-line summary, since IP isn’t my thing, but that seems to be the gist.)

  5. David Sugerman

    In the civil justice world, what Marc Randazza accomplished was both great and somewhat ordinary. The great is daring, pioneering and seeing it through. The somewhat ordinary is winning by default.

    That said, there is no question in my mind that civil liability is a tool to stop this. But it still raises First Amendment issues. Many, many years ago I assisted Morris Dees and Elden Rosenthal as an amicus in a high profile wrongful death case here in Oregon. Three white Aryan punks killed Mulagetta Seraw by beating him to death. Tom Metzger, an older racist mo-fo, had primed his little protégés with hate, training and material support. The Seraw estate sued in wrongful death, and the ACLU entered as amicus claiming that Metzger was protected by Am1.

    I led the National Lawyers Guild team that opposed ACLU. Our position–tortious conduct does not create immunity when carried out via speech–carried the day. Our other point was that the right to a remedy was equally important and sat in tension with speech rights. The point is that these lines are not nearly as clean as some of this analysis may suggest. The Am1 issues do not go away simply because it is a civil case. (But yay for Marc’s great work!)

    1. SHG Post author

      The same chilling effect that makes this meaningful despite its being a default raises the 1st Amendment problems as well. But given that it’s far, far better that it be subject to civil action than the manufacture of a crime that would both raise the same 1st Amendment problems as well as criminalize innocent people for their violation strikes a far better balance.

      As for the winning by default (upon which Max pounds unmercifully as if the amount of the judgment doesn’t resonate regardless (a la the RIAA judgments), liability is a trade-off against damages. If the damages are sufficiently severe, the risk of liability becomes less of an issue and the incentive not to be one the south end of a multi-hundred thousand dollar judgment is strong. Taking the profit out of revenge porn is the best weapon for ending the blight, even though it may lack the “satisfaction” of having their own personal bespoke law to vindicate their personal pain.

  6. Bob Ambrogi

    We just recorded a podcast yesterday with Holly Jacobs and Mary Anne Franks. I wasn’t aware of Mark’s win in advance — I wish I had been. The show should be posted in a couple days at [Ed. Note: Link deleted per rules]. Regrettably, the show suffered from being one sided. We should’ve had Mark on.

    1. SHG Post author

      I don’t know where to start with this, Bob. So are you saying your computer has been broken for the past year? Or that self-promoting baby lawprofs trying to ride their model law to glory at the expense of constitutional rights doesn’t interest you as much as shiny iToys?

      This has been very controversial for quite a while now, and yet you somehow missed all of it? Wasn’t there an app for that?

      You should have had Marc (note spelling) or any number of other people on, but you didn’t. Instead, you will air your one-sided podcast, where they promote their solution, falsely dismiss criticism, attack anyone who disagrees with their agenda, and push for the evisceration of constitutional rights so they can get a pet law passed that promotes their agenda. Great job, Bob.

      1. David Sugerman

        Easy fix. Take a mulligan. Bob-Why not a do-over with Marc , if he’s willing, or someone else qualified if Marc is not, together with the duo who previously appeared on the one-sided episode.

        You haven’t broadcast it yet, so no harm, no foul. This is a perfect opportunity to fix what otherwise could be gas on a fire. Better, it could be a great win for all sides and a rare opportunity for a round or two of Kumbiyah.

        1. Bob Ambrogi

          The greater likelihood is that we would do a follow-up show with other perspectives. The logistics and cost issues that go into setting up, recording and producing each show don’t exactly allow for scrapping it once it’s recorded. I’d rather do a part 2. And we’d love to have Marco.

          1. SHG Post author

            Shouldn’t you have thought of that before you did the show? I mean, since you knew all about the controversy and all.

      2. Bob Ambrogi

        I was well aware of the controversy. All I meant to say was that I had not heard about this week’s verdict in the civil case. I of course was aware of Marc’s comments and the concerns raised by many others about revenge porn laws. I specifically asked the guests about the issue of addressing this criminally vs. civilly. I also asked about 1st Amendment issues. That said, I wish we had had another guest on the show to give it balance.

        1. SHG Post author

          David’s idea is great. Invite Marc and Mark Bennett and do it over again, this time with balance.

          1. Bob Ambrogi

            We are not currently set up to do four-guest shows. Our current set-up only works reliably with two guests plus the two hosts. So it’ll have to be a follow-up show.

            1. Patrick Maupin

              Or more realistically, see if you can get Marc and Mark Bennett to agree to a follow on show before you air it, and then when you air it, you can have a teaser at the beginning and end for the upcoming opposing view show. What show doesn’t like to self-promote?

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