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2 Investigators: Website Demands $250 To Remove ‘Revenge Porn’

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Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Pam Zekman serves on CBS 2 Chicago’s...
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(CBS) — More and more people are sending naked pictures to their boyfriends and girlfriends. But what happens to those pictures if the relationship falls apart?

CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports there’s a new trend called “revenge porn” that’s leaving lots of people red-faced and feeling violated.

Three women from across the country all with the same feelings.

“It’s embarrassing and humiliating.”

“I wanted to throw up.”

“I felt embarrassed and just thinking about how many people were going to see these.”

What’s the common denominator? They all learned that naked pictures of themselves were posted on the Internet without their consent.

The pictures appear on so-called “revenge porn” websites that have popped up over the past few years. Many pictures are submitted by angry ex-lovers, but often the victims are not sure how the pictures got on the websites.

One of the victims is a west suburban woman we’ll call Sarah.

Oftentimes, victims like her don’t even know their nude pictures have been posted until online they get contacted by complete strangers.

“I was shocked. I didn’t believe when I got that one email from a random guy telling me about the site,” she says.

The pictures are often accompanied by contact information such as Facebook links or telephone numbers.

“I call it entertainment,” says one website owner, Craig Brittain.

He runs the site that posted Sarah’s pictures. It’s based out of Colorado and claims to have pictures of 700 people.

“He’s hurting people by what he’s doing. If I lose my job because of this, that’s hurtful. If my boyfriend finds out about this, it’s hurtful,” Sarah says.

“We don’t want these people to hurt. We just want entertainment, we want the money,”  Brittain says.

On Brittain’s site, you can get your picture removed for $250.

“That’s what we are after: We are out to make a buck,” Brittain says.

University of Miami law professor Mary Anne Franks says website operators have immunity for content submitted by other people. But she says posting nude pictures of someone without their consent should be criminalized under federal law.

“The reason this type of behavior is wrong is because it is non-consensual sexual behavior,” Franks says.

For now, the owner of the website that posted Sarah’s pictures refuses to remove them unless she pays the $250.

“What kind of person does this,” she says.

Franks says legal challenges to these websites are currently very difficult. If you can prove you are the copyright owner of a picture  you do have stronger legal footing to get that picture removed.  But that’s the rare exception in most cases.

So, some advice in the Internet age: Don’t send anything out there that you wouldn’t want everyone to see.

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