Revenge Porn Site Owner Convicted Of Extortion

from the another-one-rung-up dept

So, last week, the FTC came down on revenge porn's Craig Brittain, and this week another big revenge porn/extortionist Kevin Bollaert was found guilty by a jury for his revenge porn site, YouGotPosted.com. As we wrote when he got arrested, the claims against him that made sense were the extortion claims, and he was found guilty on six extortion counts, along with 20 counts for identity fraud. No verdict was reached on charges of conspiracy.

As with Brittain's "David Blade III" and his "TakedownLawyer/Takedownhammer" website, Bollaert's YouGotPosted directed people to a website called ChangeMyReputation, where they could pay $300 to $350 to get their photos taken down off the site. That's where the extortion charges come in. It's good to see these guys go down for what they did, but some of the specifics do matter. It's unclear from the posted reports so far what the specific charges he was found guilty for cover, and whether or not some of them were the ones we pointed out initially that could be seen as problematic. It's also quite possible that Bollaert will appeal -- at which point the specifics will become a lot more important. It does seem likely that some of what he did was very much criminal extortion, as the jury found, but one hopes that the nature of what he was doing and the type of site didn't cloud the issue, such that he was also blamed for protected activity or activity by users in addition to his own activities. It's easy to want to see someone like Bollaert be taken down on criminal charges -- but we should worry about precedents that may later apply to other site operators who aren't running revenge porn sites.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2015 @ 4:57pm

    Ninja comments in 3,2,1...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2015 @ 5:24pm

    "we should worry about precedents that may later apply to other site operators who aren't running revenge porn sites."

    Like what?

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

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 3 Feb 2015 @ 11:35pm

    Everybody, all together now...1...2...3...Aaww!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2015 @ 12:36am

    "we should worry about precedents that may later apply to other site operators who aren't running revenge porn sites."

    Worry ... or hope and pray that it does happen?

    Perhaps this case can used as a precedent against crooked lawyers John Steele and Paul Hansmeier, who ran a similar type of extortion racket, which was far more devious, fraudulent, and larcenous. Prenda Law (and related shell corporations) raked in millions of dollars from gullible people who paid much higher blackmail demands to avoid public embarrassment and the threat of financial ruin.

    But as is usually the case, extortion rackets and other crimes, when engineered by lawyers, rarely face the same level of punishment as non-lawyer-engineered crimes.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 4 Feb 2015 @ 1:09am

      Re:

      Yes, but they ran their scheme in the name of copyright, and as long as you invoke that excuse, you can get away with pretty much anything and everything. Extortion, perjury, guilty until proven innocent, it's all good as long as it's in the name of copyright.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2015 @ 3:49am

        Re: Re:

        Sad but true. Prenda was an outright scam, however, and I suspect that there may be many more porn producers who are working this same scam -- releasing their own ultra-low-budget videos on Bittorrent and then threatening to sue IP-address owners whenever anyone downloads them.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2015 @ 7:30am

    It's obvious

    The powers-that-be will do whatever it takes to stop the sharing economy.
    /snark

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2015 @ 11:06am

    I would have tried federal stalking statutes... but as long as the sites are gone se la vie.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.