Woman Awarded $6.45 million in Revenge Porn Lawsuit
In 2014, a man named David Elam II spread his ex-girlfriend’s naked pictures and videos online after their romantic relationship was no more. Jane Doe, the ex that wanted to stay anonymous, sued in civil court claiming alleged copyright infringement, stalking, online impersonation with intent to harm and the intentional infliction of emotional distress. But the case was more complicated as it seems as federal law does not protect one against revenge porn, only state laws and most cases are dismissed or settled outside the court.
For Jane Doe to get her pictures taken offline, she had to copyright her breasts. Websites can refuse to take down pictures if they have the permission of the photographer or recipient of the media if those were received consensual however if the content featured is copyrighted it becomes a whole different set of legal issues. Now a California court awarded her $450,000 in damages due to copyright infringement. Another $3 million in compensatory damages for emotional distress and $3 million in punitive damages. Who’s got revenge now?
“Revenge porn is a very serious violation of someone’s rights and can lead to very serious injuries that are worthy of being redressed — and in a more general sense, people cannot ignore the judicial process,” K&L Gates partner Seth Gold said.
The $6.45 million however is not the largest amount ever paid for a revenge porn, $8.9 million was received by a Seattle couple last spring, represented by the same Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project. Of course, celebrities can score higher amounts due to their known persona.