Think Before You Shoot

Mar 18, 2019

Think Before You Shoot

Dear people of the world, please don't send nude photos of yourself to another person, and please, don't let someone take nude photos of you. Just make life easy and don't take them at all. JUST DON'T TAKE THEM. While in the heat of the moment they may seem like a quick way to spice up your sex life, these photos can haunt you for the rest of your life.

Let me tell you how.

In addition to the obvious "family-member-accidentally-finding-a-nude-picture-on-the-phone" humiliation, nude photos can prove detrimentally humiliating if an ex-lover decides to post them on the internet. Yes, this is a real thing and yes, we are about to give up on humanity. It's called revenge porn.

As the name suggests, revenge porn is the posting of pornographic images and/or video content without the subject's consent, usually by an angered ex-lover who seeks revenge. These postings are usually accompanied by incredibly derogatory captions that use lewd language that I will not include. Google it. But don't actually.

If you do send photos and they are put on the internet, there are some things you can do. Rightfully so, it is a misdemeanor in California to post revenge porn. As such, you can take legal action if you become a victim. Just follow these steps:

Step 1: The first step on the road to any kind of recovery is admitting that you have a problem.

Step 2: Call your lawyer and begin strategizing. It is crucial that you take a deep breath and stay proactive. We recommend Pfeiffer Law for obvious reasons, but I digress…

Step 3: Try contacting the websites that you are on and ask them to kindly take you down. It is unlikely that they will comply unless it's one of the more "wholesome" ones (not a site dedicated to revenge porn), e.g. Facebook orTwitter, however it is crucial that you start building records as they will help support your case.

Step 4: Resolve the issue as soon as possible. Assuming that the websites were not willing to comply, you need to serve a take-down notice on them. This is easy enough if you took the photo. Under copyright law, whoever took the photo is who the photo belongs to. That means that if you took it and it is on a website without your explicit consent, that website is breaking copyright law.

Step 4 b: Let's assume that it was not you who took the photo, but your angered ex. That means that you have to go through an extra step of gaining the rights to the image(s). Again, HIRE A LAWYER. You're going to want someone on your side as you go into negotiations to obtain the rights. Maybe these negotiations include some sort of civil suit such as defamation, or perhaps that you will not call the police (remember that posting revenge porn is illegal and the sentence is up to a year in prison). Either way, you're not going to want to go straight to the police. They will likely not get your photos off websites. Stick with obtaining the copyrights.

Step 4 c: Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I got stressed out just typing this.

Step 5: Send in your DMCA take down notice. Most sites have one listed on their site, but if they do not, you can use this one: http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/list/a_agents.html. The terms and use section of the site should have an email or mail address to send the notice to. If they do not, you can check with the copyright database. If that doesn't work, you can check the WHOIS database here: http://whois.domaintools.com. You will have to list some contact information, obviously, but again, just hire an attorney and they can fill it out with their information so that no one knows where you live, etc. How much more pleasant is that?

Step 6: No matter what you should do this, but especially if the site you're dealing with refuses to comply (call a lawyer for advice), but also you need to contact Google (and other search engines #NoDiscrimination) and file a take-down notice with them so that they can de-index the image. What this means is that they will keep the image from popping up in search results. While they can't take the image down from the lewd sites, this is still incredibly helpful as it will keep your boss's wife from finding them when she is Google-Stalking you.

Step 7: Vodka. You earned it.


Jon Pfeiffer is an experienced entertainment and copyright trial attorney practicing in Santa Monica. Jon is also an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California where he teaches Media Law. His class covers First Amendment issues as well as copyright, defamation and privacy.

Sign Up for Pfeiffer Law's Monthly Newsletter

Contact Jon and his team today.

Subscribe