Purveyor of Unwitting Porn Faces Challenge
LAS VEGAS (CN) - A website that publishes naked pictures of unwitting victims with links to their Facebook pages is trying to extort a company that shut down its predecessor, the rival says in court.
Isanyoneup.net is trying to capitalize on the controversial business model of the now-shuttered isanyoneup.com
Hunter Moore, who is not named in the lawsuit, created isanyoneup.com to let users anonymously submit nude photographs to its database. The photographs were allegedly posted by spurned lovers, who would also provide material from the online profiles of those pictured.
Bullyville.com took responsibility for shutting down the so-called "revenge porn" website in April 2012. But the victory was apparently short lived.
In a new federal complaint, Bullville's owner, ViaView, says that Blue Mist Media and the individuals who run it quickly registered similar domain names: isanyoneup.net,
ViaView says it bought the trademark rights to Is Anyone Up so that it could "put an end" to the involuntary pornography it disseminated, "choosing to build a positive brand around other aspects of the business."
The application ViaView filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark allegedly states that the site would offer "computer services, namely, creating an online community for registered users to participate in discussions, get feedback from their peers, form virtual communities and engage in social networking."
Blue Mist's sites, however, were registered "with a bad faith intent to capitalize upon the isanyoneup trademark, of which ViaView is the proper owner," according to the complaint.
"While ViaView's complaint about the defendants likely pales in comparison to the grievances held by the defendants' hundreds of victims nationwide, ViaView still has important rights the Defendants are violating," Via View says. "ViaView owns the trademark rights and goodwill to the mark isanyoneup. ViaView does not, nor would it ever, engage in 'involuntary pornography.' However, the Defendants' actions have a strong likelihood of confusing the public into a belief that ViaView has an involvement in this unethical and illegal conduct."
The "involuntary pornography" business depends on stolen "sexually explicit photographs of unwitting victims," according to the complaint.
"Not content to simply publish these victims' photographs, the defendants also engage in a form of cyberstalking, whereby they identify the subjects of the sexually explicit photographs, and then publish not only the sexually explicit photographs, but they also publish the victims' full names, where they live, and links to their Facebook pages," according to the complaint. "The defendants do not verify the ages of any of the subjects of the actual sexually explicit content that they publish, nor do they maintain any records as required by law."
ViaView says it offered to buy the domain name from Blue Mist avoid litigation and to "ensure that the infringing domain name was no longer used to victimize innocent third parties," but Blue Mist allegedly sought payment "well in excess of any out of pocket expenses related to the domain names."
Although the parties reached an undisclosed agreement, Blue Mist and its individual officers allegedly breached that agreement and then shut down the cellphone used to broker the deal.
ViaView says the isanyoneup.net domain name redirects visitors to yougotposted.com. Courthouse News found several nude photographs and Facebook links at this address.
Isanyoneup.com, the original website, still redirects to Bullyville.
ViaView wants the allegedly infringing sites shut down, $100,000 for each of the three allegedly infringing domain names. It alleges cybersquatting and breach of contract.
The company is represented by Marc Randazza.