At the request of the Federal Trade Commission and the state of Nevada, a federal court has ordered that a revenge porn site be permanently shut down, and that the operators pay more than $2 million after finding they violated federal and state law by posting intimate images of people and their personal information without their consent and charging takedown fees.
In a complaint filed in January in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, the FTC and Nevada alleged that MyEx.com was dedicated solely to revenge porn and solicited intimate pictures and videos of victims, along with their personal information such as their name, address, employer, and social media account information. The site, which shut down shortly after the complaint was filed, urged visitors to “Add Your Ex,” and to “Submit Pics and Stories of Your Ex.” In numerous instances, the defendants allegedly charged victims fees from $499 to $2,800 to remove their images and information from the site.
“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.”
The federal court entered the default judgment and ordered the defendants -- EMP Media, Inc., and Shad Applegate also known as Shad Cottelli -- to pay more than $2 million. In addition, the court granted the FTC’s request to permanently ban the defendants from posting intimate images and personal information of others on a website without notice and consent. The order also requires the defendants to destroy all such intimate images and personal information in their possession, and prohibits them from charging individuals fees for removing such content from a website. The order further requires third parties to disable any website hosted for the defendants when those third parties have knowledge that the site posts revenge porn.
Earlier this year, the FTC and Nevada approved a settlement with one of the other defendants in the case, Aniello Infante, who served in various corporate roles including President of EMP Media Inc. The settlement with Infante imposed similar conditions as the court’s latest order.
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Source: U.S. Federal Trade Commission, FTC.gov