'Revenge Porn' Website Sued Over Privacy Violations - Legally Weird
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'Revenge Porn' Website Sued Over Privacy Violations

Driven largely by "sexting" between partners, so-called "revenge porn" websites have sprung up online. Now, one such U.S.-based website is being sued.

If you aren't in the know, a "revenge porn" website is basically a site where a vengeful person posts your naked pictures online -- along with personal information like your name, address, and telephone number, reports Wired.

How do these sites get the photos and information? Typically, from bitter exes.

Are these websites legal? Well, we're about to find out.

So far, "revenge porn" websites have faced lawsuits for reasons ranging from extortion to copyright violations. These lawsuits have not been too successful, as new sites seem to crop up as soon as others are taken down.

Last week, in the latest effort to stop "revenge porn," a lawsuit was filed against a website called Texxxan.com, alleging that it violates Texas' privacy laws, according to Wired.

This lawsuit has the potential to become a class action brought on behalf of all the women on the site. So far, the suit only includes 16 women. Interestingly, the lawsuit takes aim not only at the "revenge porn" website, but also GoDaddy, the website's host.

The gist of the lawsuit is that these websites use the women's private images and post them online for the public to see -- for a profit, and without the women's consent.

It may sound like an open-and-shut case, especially if your photo is up on the site. But there are some potential legal obstacles.

One problem could be proving that the women did not voluntary put the photos in the public realm -- in today's world, taking any naked photo of yourself may not be a good idea if you intend it to remain private. Another issue may center on which court has jurisdiction to enforce the laws.

For example, would a Texas court have the authority to stop a website that can be viewed anywhere? And even if the Texas court blocked the site in Texas, couldn't the creators of the site simply move to California, Montana, or even the Philippines to launch the exact same site?

As with many things on the Internet, "revenge porn" websites are certainly distasteful. It's just unclear how the plaintiffs can really enforce their rights given the nature of the Internet.

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