Marc Randazza Goes To War Against Revenge Porn Site Over Alleged 'Takedown Lawyer' Business Model

from the got-it-all? dept

Well, well. Last year, there was a lot of attention paid to a so-called "revenge porn" site called "Is Anyone Up"? The site reposted submitted nude photos, linked to the person in the photo's social networking accounts. The "idea" (a horrific one) was that spurned people, who had naked photos of their ex's, could publicize them. Not surprisingly, many people were completely horrified by the concept and the media coverage was not kind. The site eventually went down, but others popped up to take their place. Lawyer Marc Randazza has decided to go to war with one of them, which uses the very similar name "Is Anybody Down" (and, no, I'm not linking to it). Randazza points out that he has no problem with porn or porn sites, but when the participants are not consenting (and not necessarily adults) he has serious problems.

However, his main issue with this other site is in what he believes to be its sneaky business model. There is apparently an "advertisement" on the site for a "lawyer" named David Blade, who will help you get your photos off the site for $250. Randazza argues that it's really the site's own business model:
Here’s their business plan:

Step one: Register the domain name “isanybodydown.com”

Step two: Get ahold of nude photos of people who never consented to having their photos published.

Step three:Publish them, along with their names, home towns, and links to their facebook profiles.

So now how do you “profit?”

Well, openly saying “I’ll take down the photo for $250,” would probably create some legal issues for you. So, instead, you create a fake lawyer persona and say “I am an internet lawyer, named David Blade, III, and I’ll get your pics down for $250.”
The "ad" goes on at length about how successful "David Blade" is in removing images from the site, and how it's much cheaper than going to any other lawyer. Blade has his own website, called TakedownLawyer.com. Randazza has a few damning facts. The registration info for both sites... are by the same person. The "ad" by "Blade" insists that they're different people, with Blade claiming to merely be a college friend of the operator of the site -- and someone who disapproves of the site. "Blade" claims that as he's tried to convince the operator of the site to take it down, their "compromise" is that the site owner has allowed him to place that "ad" that just so happens to help "Blade" make money any time someone wants their images down from the site. The other bit of damning evidence? There is no record of a David Blade as a registered NY attorney (where he claims to operate). Oops.

In an email discussion (pdf) with "Blade," he insists that he really is a lawyer, but that Blade isn't his real name. That, too, is a big issue, since lawyer advertising is pretty heavily regulated, and one of the common requirements is having your real name and contact info. Randazza points to the NY law to that effect, and "Blade" (still using that name despite admitting it's not real), insists there's no violation since he's not engaging in "case law, civil law or trial law," but merely doing "mitigated/mediated takedowns, which are not considered to be a legal service."

Of course, soon after this exchange, the website for "Takedown Lawyer" announced: "Due to ethical concerns our business and the website will now be called 'Takedown Hammer'." Uh huh.
Meanwhile, the operator of the "Is Anybody Down" site sent Randazza a profanity laden email asking "why the fuck are you messing with me and Dave?" And it gets worse from there, resorting to ethnic slurs and much, much more. Of course, one could read that email to suggest that the site and "Dave" are, in fact, partners.

There are other little tidbits in this mess, including the fact that the Is Anybody Down site has a blog post asking for investors:

A. Investors, Funding, Etc.

We need more funding (i.e. seed money and/or potential Stage 1 funding) in order to upgrade our server and make T-shirts. Please click the “submit” button to contact an admin if you wish to invest, donate, etc. We are looking for investors, venture capitalists, angel groups, etc.

The seed money will be used for equipment/hardware (computers and server costs), software to be used in the production of the website and the manufacturing of T-shirts which will be sold for value.

Our goal is to raise $50,000+ in seed money to help expand this website, followed by a round one investment prior to an IPO which will return upwards of 600%

There are, of course, a whole bunch of other legal issues brought up by the site, but the statement above? Yeah, that's a pretty blatant violation of securities law. Publicly advertising for investors is already a no-no, but then also promising an IPO (I'm trying not to laugh) and a return of "upwards of 600%" go way beyond what you're allowed to say.

Oh yeah, and "Blade" eventually claims that he's going to hit back at Randazza for "extortion," which is interesting since Randazza didn't ask Blade to give him any money (though he does ask him to return the money from those who have paid up to remove their images).

All in all, this certainly feels like yet another one of these "only on the internet" stories where it may be time to get out the popcorn and wait to see what happens next.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Shadow Dragon (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 3:41am

    I can recall a few years taking one of my ex's photos.One of my online friends messed it up to make me feel better.I was kinda surprises that it took him a year later to find out about all the stuff I was trashing him about, even I moved on. He was just jealous fuck that would sabotage my new relationship at that time. Long story short,He should gotten me when he had chance,He shouldn't kept me waiting too long but I was too nice to dump him but ended the one being damped instead. Moral of the story is your exes will find out eventually what you been saying about them doing with their photos and stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 3:42am

    Here's a nifty idea

    Don't want your nudie photos end up on the Internet?

    DON'T BLOODY TAKE THEM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Pixelation, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 3:47am

    "it may be time to get out the popcorn "

    I'm down...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 3:58am

    We all know there is no love lost between him and me, but I hope he destroys these idiots.

    If he wants the CEOs phone number and home address I've already found it. He'll need someone allowed to practice in Colorado.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:29am

    ?

    Well, openly saying “I’ll take down the photo for $250,” would probably create some legal issues for you.

    Probably? How could it possibly cause a legal issue? "Sure, we'll take down that picture, it will simply cost a $250 processing fee."

    Not that I condone this, but it seems like they went out of their way to make this sketchy, a legal sense.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:30am

    Patent

    I smell a business method patent here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:39am

    Re: ?

    well considering the idiot behind the website used to sell cam shows of himself on myspace, they aren't to bright.
    I am sure his father Retired Master Chief Sargent, United States Air Force would be pleased to know whats being done out of his basement.

    The truly sad thing is this moron was actually Doxxed by Anon months ago... and he persists.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:46am

    1) Register A domain name
    2) Get nude photos of people who never consented
    3) Post them, along with identifying info
    4) receive summons
    5) ???
    6) Go to jail

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:53am

    Re:

    The problem is and was that they willingly gave those pictures to others.

    While it is skeevy when it was happening on the original site, the legal challenges were always getting slapped away because these people gave the pictures to others who then put them on the website.

    The cries of many of the female "victims" was they had their pictures "stolen" but no evidence of hacking and it was they sent them to someone they shouldn't have trusted. It just helped them defend their honor to claim they were stolen or hacked... but the point is they took nudes of themselves and not just to keep as memories.

    The guy who ran the first site doing this only folded because it stopped being fun for him, but he was more ethical than the idiot running this new version of it... and that bar wasn't that high.

    The genius behind this site most likely hasn't verified the ages of any of his victims and well CP charges go over poorly.

     

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  10.  
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    Joshua Bardwell (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:54am

    Re: Here's a nifty idea

    Victim blaming par excellence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:54am

    Re: Here's a nifty idea

    In this case it seems the people in the pics aren't the ones posting them, it's jilted ex's and whatnot, so the ones in the pics are most certainly not to blame here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re: Here's a nifty idea

    sad but true in the history of the up version of this website, there were people who would submit themselves just to get their 5 minutes of fame.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Joshua Bardwell (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 4:57am

    Re: Re:

    The genius behind this site most likely hasn't verified the ages of any of his victims and well CP charges go over poorly.

    Even if the victims happen to be over 18, I have known people who worked in porn before, and the recordkeeping requirements with regard to age verification/documentation are incredibly strict. I'm not an expert on the topic, so there may be some legal loophole this person is sneaking through, but my guess would be that he's definitely breaking the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Here's a nifty idea

    Hmm, actually, reading TAC's comment down below, it looks like we're both half right, and it's probably a mix of pictures taken of them by said ex's, and by them and sent to said ex's.

    The idea is still incredibly slimy and offensive to be sure, but it seems it's largely made possible by a pretty massive dose of lousy judgement on the parts of almost all involved.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    As its not being presented as porn or sold as such it gets all messy.
    What I do know is a full doxxing of the person behind the website is on its way via a 3rd party to Randazza.
    Its quite possible that will lead him to the "lawyer" and comedy will ensue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Here's a nifty idea

    well what makes this version of it worse is the fake "takedown" service for cash done by a "lawyer".

    People will always take cheap shots at ex's, its another thing to try and turn a profit via what smells alot like extortion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re:

    Extortion is still illegal, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    *heheheehehehehehe*
    That depends on if you have a law degree or not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And yet another case that really demonstrates the need for a 'sad but true' button...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:41am

    Re:

    I wonder what his tax accounting looks like...?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm really trying to behave this morning, but the ball was put on the tee and I had to swing.

    The most frightening thing to come out of all of this is a momentary alliance where I actually helped Randazza.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Here's a nifty idea

    They need to accept some responsibility though. They allowed the pictures to be taken and they did not take steps to ensure they remained private in the case of relationship break up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 6:02am

    on one level - these are just links to photos and social accounts. and links are not illegal.

    but-then there is the copyright/DMCA. Are they complying with the Safe-Harbor restrictions regarding photos? If they can block birds from singing on youtube - then surely someone can file a complaint to get these people offline without the money. And then these sites are sued out.

    just like mega-upload.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 6:08am

    Re:

    Facebook can complain because he is scraping their content.
    The people in the pictures don't have much grounds to protest or use other things to get the pics down as they willingly provided them to another party with no strings attached.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 6:19am

    Deja vu all over again

    Paraphrasing a bit:

    Well,openly saying "I'll tell all family, neighbors neighbors and friends that you have downloaded gay pornography, but I can make this go away if you pay me $3000," would probably create some legal issues for you if you don't have a lawyer degree. So, instead, you hire a lawyer persona and now you can call extortion "ADR" and ransom — "settlement."


    Sounds familiar?

    It is always fun to watch one extortionist goes after another.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 6:45am

    Re: Deja vu all over again

    and I was so trying to behave and do something good in the universe this morning...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Here's a nifty idea

    not exactly but i see where your concern on that is.
    i think a more tactful way to have put it is this:

    in this day & age, if you are not willing to have your nude self plastered all over the internet, you really should think twice about who you are sending those pics to/who you are letting take such pics of you. how much do you trust that person to not let them out? chances are, they are going to be seen by someone that you dont want seeing them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    arcan, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 7:59am

    as sleazy as this is, it is still a pretty ingenious way to make money, you guys have to admit that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Aaron Wolf (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    no, we do not have to admit that this is ingenious. It is pretty obvious to anyone who is morally lacking enough to consider it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Deja vu all over again

    OK, I shut my mouth, couldn't help :) Hell, I would cheer IRS, ICE and even TSA if they help in bringing down Steele of one of similar crooks. What's wrong with me? :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Guy, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 10:00am

    " Randazza points out that he has no problem with porn or porn sites, but when the participants are not consenting (and not necessarily adults) he has serious problems. "

    If you don't want your picture online then don't take and distribute those pictures to anyone. After you take them they are not private anymore so don't complain. If someone uploads a picture that was taken without consent then that is the uploaders fault for breaking the law, not the sites. You can't keep information a secret once it is made don't know why everyone keeps trying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    I...were those words?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    hobo, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re:

    no.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    btr1701, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 10:42am

    Re:

    > He should gotten me when he had chance

    He probably just moved on to someone who could put together an actual complete sentence and can communicate above the level of a 3-year-old.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    btr1701, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    > I have known people who worked in porn
    > before, and the recordkeeping requirements
    > with regard to age verification/documentation
    > are incredibly strict.

    There's a legal difference between porn and mere nudity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re:

    But don't the original "photographers" retain automatic copyrights in the photos? Besides, it's not like you need a legitimate copyright claim to the use the DMCA to take down a site you don't like.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 11:47am

    Re:

    And again, this is blaming the victim, and they truly are victims in this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re:

    But this is so totally innovative! It's extortion on the internet!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re:

    You seem to be under the impression that you can't blame the victim. If someone does something foolish and it comes back to bite them, then they deserve to be called out on their foolishness.

    Simply put, if you don't want nude pictures of yourself to be put on the Internet, don't take nude pictures of yourself. Otherwise, you're taking a gamble.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    The dude, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    To all the white knights out there, telling people not to be stupid and expecting them to know that uploading things to the Internet that they don't want to be seen is not blaming the victim, its merely trying to educate them about things they should know the very moment they set their foot on the outside world.
    This days telling the people that they are being stupid and should change their habits in certain things to avoid trouble is seen more and more as "blaming the poor poor victim".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Storkleman, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 2:24pm

    I wonder how this compares to those newspapers that I see around the country. They post mugshots and information about people arrested for drug offenses and small crimes. In the paper is a # you can call to have the images removed for a processing fee. I doubt their business model is illegal.

    I would imagine this case would hinge on details such as consent, the advertising as a lawyer, an attempt to deceive by pretending to not be affiliated and other attempts to deceive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    Now hapless scammers send out "Help" emails to dozens of lawyers at once (not even bothering to use bcc).

    Wait a minute... I thought they had their own in-house attorney.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Joe, Oct 31st, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Re:

    It get's better. A few of us compared email headers from emails sent from Craig Brittain and from David Blade. Same originating IP address from ISP Comcast residential accoumt using the same obscure email program.

    These guys are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    that only works if your a massive corporation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 6:12pm

    Re:

    Tis one thing to let the lesson teach them pain, its another to try and profit from the misery you inflict upon others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 31st, 2012 @ 6:29pm

    Moderation...

    did we have fear I was going to do something wrong?
    Are you new?
    Did you really fear I would post the dox here?
    I'd really like to understand the motivation.

    Many things I'd like to be commenting on now, but there now seems to be no point. My comments just disappearing into the ether.

    Might I request the courtesy of an email when this block is lifted and I can once again be trusted to participate as a grownup?

    I am disappoint in you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    TrollDown (profile), Nov 1st, 2012 @ 5:23pm

    Marc Randazza, Big Porn/Mafia Lawyer

    Marc Randazza is being paid by Manwin/Big Porn to attack these websites under the guise of 'Pro Bono' work that isn't.

    He's turning a profit to bully them - and yet trying really hard to make them look like the bad guys.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 2:05am

    Re:

    I tried running this through Google's translation service, but even it couldn't figure out what language it was in...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Nov 3rd, 2012 @ 2:11am

    Re: Re: Here's a nifty idea

    Yeah, don't blame the victim!

    It's like the other night when I went walking through the slums of New York with $5,000 cash in a bag while singing "I'm in the money!" at the top of my lungs, and I actually got mugged!

    What is this world coming to when people have to refrain from doing perfectly legal things just because some others might take advantage of them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    ??, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    Yes ppl should be more careful of who they send their pictures to or be more careful of keeping the content private, but im sure the subjects of the pictures have suffered enough for their mistakes they shouldn't have to live with it for the rest of their lives because in sure they have learned to be more Careful. Also.... If u thinks these girls are dumb for sending these pictures to boys.. think again because not every single girl on that website sent their pictures to someone

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Nov 7th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    Re:

    This. I don't understand why regular folks are so cruel and bloodthirsty. Zero tolerance implies zero mercy and zero empathy.

    Everyone of us made many stupid things: before saying "it's nobody's fault but yours," everyone should make an effort and recall own bloopers, and imagine the worst possible consequences.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    IsAnybodyDown, Nov 11th, 2012 @ 4:13am

    Cease And Desist

    Be advised that these actions, your slander and screen shots can and will be used as key factors should a case be pursued against you. Your posting, advertising, marketing, dissipating and otherwise disseminating the slanderous materials constitute actionable violations of Mr. Trahan and Mr. Brittain's rights of privacy and publicity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Cease And Desist

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Cease And Desist

    If it's really "you": Care to defend YOUR actions?

    Privacy rights? Do you REALLY want those enforced?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Milton Freewater, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Cease And Desist

    "Be advised that these actions, your slander and screen shots can and will be used as key factors should a case be pursued against you."

    If and when unicorns exist, they will ride them to court to file the papers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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