FTC Law Firm on Order Shutting Down Revenge Porn Site

Federal Trade Commission law firm Hinch Newman LLP reports that the FTC and the state of Nevada have obtained a court order permanently shutting down a revenge porn website and ordering its operators to pay more than $2M following a finding that they violated state and federal law by posting intimate photos of individuals and other sensitive information. According to plaintiffs the operators did so without consent and demanded fees in exchange for removal of information.

The complaint was filed under Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 53(b), and Nevada Deceptive Trade Provisions of Chapter 598 of the Nevada Revised Statutes. Default was previously entered against defendants EMP Media, Inc. and Shad Applegate, also known as Shad Cottelli.

The plaintiffs moved for entry of default judgment. In light of the default, and after considering the pleadings, declarations, exhibits, and all other evidence filed in this matter, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion.

The order is in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other civil or criminal legal remedies.

The order permanently prohibits the dissemination of images without clear and conspicuous consent, and not as part of a privacy policy. It requires verifiable affirmative express consent in writing directly from each individual depicted in the intimate image prior to dissemination and the right to revoke consent at any time.

Defendants are also ordered to destroy personal information and intimate images in their possession.

The order also broadly prohibits charging any consumer any fee related to taking down or removing personal information or intimate images from any website.

Any person or entity, including any website host hosting any website on the internet by or for defendants must take any steps necessary when they have knowledge of postings of intimate images and personal information obtained without affirmative express consent to ensure that any website by or for defendants that contains intimate images and personal information is disabled and no longer viewable or accessible to persons using the internet.

Judgment in the amount of $2,022,930.00 has been entered in favor of in favor of the FTC against the defendants, jointly and severally, as equitable monetary relief.

“We are gratified that the court ordered this site shut down for good,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The defendants in this case harmed individuals by publishing their intimate images, and then victimized them again by trying to extort money to take the information down.”

Earlier this year, the FTC and Nevada approved a settlement with one of the other individual defendants in the case. Similar conditions were imposed upon this individual who served in various corporate roles.

Richard B. Newman at Hinch Newman LLP, a Federal Trade Commission law firm.  Email him at rnewman@hinchnewman.com. 

ADVERTISING MATERIAL. Informational purposes only. Not legal advice. Always seek the advice of an attorney. Previous case results do not guarantee similar future result. Hinch Newman LLP | 40 Wall St., 35th Floor, New York, NY 10005 | (212) 756-8777.

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