The War On Revenge Porn Might Actually Be Winnable

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Kevin Bollaert was arrested yesterday in California.

Bollaert allegedly ran a revenge porn site called ugotposted.com, as well as its companion site, changemyreptutation.com. If you wanted your naked picture taken off ugotposted.com, you paid money to changemyreputation.com. It seems like a pretty clear cut case of extortion, which is one of the charges Bollaert’s facing (also conspiracy, identity theft.)

California made headlines in the fall for specifically banning revenge porn, but it’s worth mentioning that Bollaert was charged under previously existing laws. When the California law first passed, OTM spoke to law professor Eric Goldman who said that he wasn’t sure how useful it would turn out to be.

Other states have found their own ways to punish revenge porn magnates. This past Spring, in Nevada, Hunter Moore lost a lawsuit filed by one of his victims and got hit with a $263,170 penalty.

We’re starting to see different states try different tacks against revenge porn magnates, but in the aggregate they all seem to be working.

In one sense, revenge porn will always be with us. You can’t outlaw a genre, and as long as people are storing naked photos, some of those photos will be disseminated further than they intend. Computers will be hacked, exes will be jilted, USB keys will be dropped in coffee shops. But revenge porn as a miserable American business could very well be prosecuted out of existence. It’s hard to imagine anyone will miss it.