About Time

03.20.14

Revenge Porn Site 'You Got Posted' Gets Busted

Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin have all seen lawsuits or bills passed this week that come down harshly on scorned lovers who share nude photos and videos of their former paramours online.

It's been a very bad week for the sleazy and scorned lover.

Shockingly, almost no legal sanctions existed previously for those engaged in the hideous phenomenon of "revenge porn," in which jilted men (and let's be honest: it's almost always men) disseminate nude photos and videos of women who clearly had not guessed that they were involved with a person who might have a penchant for disseminating nude photos and videos when jilted. And, with the exception of a few states, neither did sanctions exist for the scumbags attempting to make money off of hosting collections of previously private pornography.

But the law is finally catching up with these louses. A judge in Ohio has levied a $385,000 fine against Eric Chason and Kevin Bollaert, founders of the “revenge porn” website You Got Posted, for broadcasting explicit images of an underage woman. A “Jane Doe” plaintiff filed suit against Chason and Bollaert in May 2013 for distributing compromising photos of her without her consent. Money damages may not make up for psychological ones, but the plaintiff’s attorney acknowledged that, in this case, “the message this $385,000 judgment sends to people who run revenge porn sites is unambiguous,” setting a strong legal precedent that will hopefully deter other would-be distributors.

Another anti-revenge porn bill working its way through Florida's House of Representatives would force harsher penalties: the attempt to humiliate could result in a five-year sentence behind bars.

Similar moves were made in Wisconsin on Tuesday when the State Senate passed a bill that, according to the Associated Press, "would make it a misdemeanor to disseminate a nude picture without [a] subject's consent, regardless of whether the subject granted permission to capture the image." Those convicted would face up to $10,000 in fines and face much deserved jail time.

A bill that passed the Florida State Senate this week would likewise punish those distributing private, explicit photos without prior consent with fines (a slightly less daunting $500) and jail time. But another anti-revenge porn bill working its way through Florida's House of Representatives would force harsher penalties: the attempt to humiliate could result in a five-year sentence behind bars.

It's hard to know if such penalties will have the desired effect proposed in these measures. And while they likely won't spell the end of revenge porn—after all, child pornography is illegal and still proliferates—they're certainly a positive first step.