Internet Law & Revenge Pornography

Have you or a loved one been victimized by way of the Internet?  Is someone defaming you or your small business by posting derogatory content to a website like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogger, Ripoff Report, or The Dirty?  Are you or a loved one a victim of revenge pornography?  Are you a journalist or blogger who would like your writings reviewed prior to publication so as to avoid being on the wrong end of a lawsuit?  If you face any of these or another Internet law-related problem, Bristow Law, PLLC, is available to assist you with your situation.

If you or your small business is being victimized by a tortfeasor through the Internet, you may have a cause of action against your tormentor for defamation, invasion of privacy, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or copyright infringement.

In a cyberstalking or cyber harassment situation, it may be possible to resolve the civil matter short of litigation by having Attorney Kyle Bristow put the tortfeasors on notice with a demand letter that they can be sued unless they cease their wrongful conduct.  If a demand letter fails to induce the tortfeasor to cease their tortious conduct, suit can be filed against them and money damages and/or injunctive relief can be sought.  Through an injunction, a court can order the derogatory content removed from the Internet.  Mr. Bristow can also contact search engine providers like Google and Yahoo! to request that webpages with derogatory content not be linked to in search engine results.
The Revenge Pornography Victim's Guide to Removing Pictures from the Internet, by Attorney Kyle Bristow, is available for purchase from Amazon in the United States here, in Germany here, and in the United Kingdom here.  (Please note, however, that the book is in English.)

Revenge pornography is a relatively recent phenomenon in which former lovers and computer hackers publish onto revenge pornography websites nude photographs of women—without their consent—, along with their contact information—such as phone numbers, email addresses, home addresses, LinkedIn accounts, Facebook profiles, and employers' addresses and phone numbers—so as to cause their targets to suffer.  As time goes by, many images of victims on revenge pornography websites are republished to other websites, and so it is quite common for a bad situation to become worse as numerous websites republish the derogatory content.  Many women who are victimized this way report job and relationship loss, severe depression, phone harassment by anonymous third-parties, and even threats to their physical safety as sexual predators become infatuated with stalking them.  Some women have gone so far as to legally change their names or commit suicide so as to put an end to the torment.

Most revenge pornography websites are created and operated by anonymous individuals who host their websites on servers in foreign countries.  Revenge pornography website operators make money through their websites by selling advertisement space to more mainstream pornography companies, charging people to upload pornography content to their websites, and/or by trying to extort money from their victims.  A now-defunct revenge pornography website was alleged to have earned the revenge pornography website operator up to $10,000.00 per month in revenue.

Some victims of revenge pornography try to pay revenge pornography websites to remove their content; however, this is not a prudent course of action for one to take since the money is wired to an anonymous—and many times foreign—bank account, and there is no guarantee that the content will be removed from the website.  Some people who fall for this extortion scheme find that after they provide payment to a revenge pornography website, the revenge pornography website will forward their content on to other revenge pornography websites and the problem is exacerbated.

Other victims of revenge pornography try to resolve the matter on their own or by hiring an Internet reputation company to send a cease-and-desist letter on their behalf.  This course of action is inadvisable to pursue, because a company that is not licensed to practice law cannot follow through with a lawsuit filed on the revenge pornography victim’s behalf.  Most revenge pornography websites either ignore the pleas of victims or demands of non-legal companies.  Furthermore, without the help of a lawyer, it is possible that a statute of limitations could pass if suit is not timely filed, which could bar a revenge pornography victim from suing her tormentors.

Many victims of revenge pornography try seeking help with law enforcement agencies, but historically law enforcement agencies either refuse to help victims on the basis that the matter is civil—and not criminal—in nature or fail to adequately help victims because the law enforcement agencies lack the tools and knowledge required to hunt down and prosecute a revenge pornography website operator.

As a licensed lawyer with experience in shutting down revenge pornography websites and helping victims get their images removed from revenge pornography websites, Attorney Kyle Bristow is well qualified to assist you or your loved one with their predicament.  Although no past case can evince the likely result of a future case, most of Mr. Bristow’s revenge pornography clients have had their content removed from the Internet in a very timely fashion.

To assist his revenge pornography victim-clients, Mr. Bristow sends notices—in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act—to websites to request the removal of the nude photographs so long as the photographs were self-taken by the client.  If a person takes a photograph of their self, then they enjoy copyrights in the photograph per federal law and can restrict its publication.  Mr. Bristow also sends very sternly written demand letters via electronic mail to the revenge pornography website operators to encourage them to cease tormenting his clients.

Attorney Kyle Bristow also frequently contacts search engine providers like Google and Yahoo! to request that they cease linking to webpages in their search engine results that contain nude images of his clients.  By attempting to limit the searchability of the nude photographs and by attempting to induce the revenge pornography website operators to outright remove the content, Mr. Bristow engages in an aggressive two-pronged attack to better his clients’ situation.

If the revenge pornography victim-client’s photographs are not removed from the Internet or if she elects to irrespective of the rehabilitation of her online image, a lawsuit can be filed against the revenge pornography website, the former boyfriend who forwarded the nude photographs to the revenge pornography website, and other tortfeasors for a number of civil causes of action.  Through a lawsuit, money damages and/or injunctive relief can be sought.  Through an injunction, a court can order the derogatory content removed from the revenge pornography website.

Although many revenge pornography website operators believe that they are immune to suit by hiding behind a veil of anonymity, they are seriously mistaken:  once suit is filed, a civil litigant can utilize a court’s subpoena powers during the discovery process, which will invariably result in the identity of the revenge pornography website operator being exposed.  Only a licensed attorney can assist you with this complicated legal process, and Attorney Kyle Bristow’s methods of hunting down revenge pornographers through the discovery process is proprietary in nature.

Mr. Bristow has acquired experience in and significant recognition for his accomplishments in the area of helping victims of revenge pornography.  After getting two revenge pornography websites shut down on behalf of clients, he was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire Magazine, ABA Journal, Katie Couric’s Katie television talk show, and a Northwest Ohio-based television news station.  The ABA Journal quoted a prominent attorney in their feature article about revenge pornography who claimed that Mr. Bristow is one of only “four or five” attorneys in the entire country who helps victims of revenge pornography.

If you or a loved one is being victimized by way of a revenge pornography website, please call Bristow Law, PLLC, for a free consultation.