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Former Law Student Wins $6.45M in Revenge Porn Case

A former law student won a $6.45 million judgment against her ex-boyfriend who posted revenge porn of her online and sent links to her mother.

The award was the second-largest of its kind, eclipsing even the more famous revenge-porn judgment against rapper 50 Cent for $5 million. The defendant in this case, however, apparently thought he could hide in anonymity.

David K. Ilam II, who defaulted in the case, used the images to impersonate the victim on dating and porn websites. But Jane Doe got her revenge in the form of inescapable judgment.

"Strange Men"

According to reports, Elam posted explicit photographs of the plaintiff on sites such as MyEx, Tumblir, OkCupid, and Adultspace. He also distributed the plaintiff's home address online and encouraged "strange men" to send her sexual images at her home for sex.

The woman, known as "Jane Doe" in the lawsuit, sued in California under Civil Code Section 1708.85 and related claims, including intentional infliction of emotional distress. Prosecutors also investigated, but declined to file charges.

A judge issued a restraining order against Elam, ordering him to remove the posts from the internet and to stop impersonating the woman. The damage award included $3 million in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages.

K&L Gates represented the plaintiff on a pro bono basis, as part of its Civil Rights Legal Project. The firm said the award was the second-largest in revenge porn that did not involve a celebrity.

Undoing Damages

California and more than 30 other states have laws against nonconsensual disclosure or sexually explicit images and videos. Most of the laws didn't exist five years ago.

According to CNN, victims know who is to blame 99 percent of the time. But plaintiffs' attorneys and prosecutors are still learning how to deal with the problem.

Typically, victims want their privacy more than damages. But because "the internet is forever," that is a hard order to fulfill.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act gives copyright holders the ability to make websites take down offending pictures. That's how law student "Jane Doe" did it; she copyrighted her images.

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