Legal

FTC and Nevada Crack Down on Revenge Porn Sites

The Federal Trade Commission and the state of Nevada recently announced that they have charged the parties responsible for a revenge porn site with violating federal and state law by posting intimate images of people, together with their personal information, without their consent.

In the complaint filed in federal court, the FTC and Nevada alleged that the website MyEx.com is dedicated to revenge porn and has solicited intimate pictures and videos of victims, together with their personal information such as their name, address, employer, and social media account information. According to the complaint, the site urged visitors to “Add Your Ex” and to “Submit Pics and Stories of Your Ex.” In numerous instances, as alleged, the defendants allegedly charged victims fees from $499 to $2,800 to remove their images and information from the site.

“MyEx.com uses reprehensible tactics to profit off of the intimate details of individuals’ private lives,” said Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “People who were featured on this site suffered real harm, including the loss of money they paid to remove intimate images and personal information, loss of jobs, and being subject to threats and harassment.”

According to the complaint, visitors to MyEx.com can rate the videos and pictures they see and post comments. Allegedly, the site included victims’ full date of birth, personal email address, telephone number and links to social media profiles, along with the intimate images.
The FTC alleges that the defendants knew that many of the individuals did not consent to having their intimate images and personal information posted to MyEx.com.

The complaint asserts that many individuals suffered serious harm because of the defendants’ conduct, including direct financial loss, loss of employment and harassing emails.

The complaint names EMP Media, Inc., Aniello “Neil” Infante, Shad “John” Applegate, also known as Shad Cottelli, and one or more unknown parties doing business as Yeicox Ltd.

The FTC alleges that the defendants’ practices constitute unfair acts or deceptive practices in violation of the FTC Act. In addition, Nevada alleged that the defendants’ conduct constitutes a deceptive trade practice under Nevada law.

The Commission, together with Nevada, has approved a proposed settlement with one of the defendants, Neil Infante. Infante purportedly served in various corporate roles, including President of EMP Media Inc.

Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, Infante is banned from posting intimate images and personal information of others on a website without notice and consent, is required to destroy all such intimate images and personal information in his possession, and is banned from charging individuals fees for removing such content from a website. He is also permanently restrained from serving as an officer or director of any business unless he has knowledge of the ordinary operations of that entity. He has agreed to a $205,000 judgment, which the order will suspend upon payment of $15,000 in light of his financial condition. The payment received will be used to provide redress to individuals who paid him take-down fees.

ADVERTISING MATERIAL. These materials are provided for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice, nor do they create a lawyer-client relationship. No person should act or rely on any information in this article without seeking the advice of an attorney. Information on previous case results does not guarantee a similar future result. Hinch Newman LLP | 40 Wall St., 35thFloor, New York, NY 10005 | (212) 756-8777.

 

 

Richard B. Newman is an Internet marketing compliance and regulatory defense attorney at Hinch Newman LLP focusing on advertising and digital media matters. His practice includes conducting legal compliance reviews of advertising campaigns, representing clients in investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General, commercial litigation, advising clients on promotional marketing programs, and negotiating and drafting legal agreements. You can find him on Twitter or on LinkedIn at FTC Defense Lawyer.
 

 

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