Notorious "revenge porn" tormentor Craig Brittain has been banned from posting people's nude photos on his website or anywhere else online – and ordered to destroy thousands of pictures in his possession.
However, the 30-year-old from Colorado will escape a fine despite having made $12,000 from his IsAnybodyDown.com website because it is his first offense, US trade regulator the FTC said on Thursday.
It was claimed [PDF] Brittain broke the law by tricking women into sending him their nude photos – by posing as a curious woman on the internet and offering to swap private snaps. He then posted their compromising pics on his website, the FTC said.
He also solicited naked photos from readers, asking for personal details of the people in the images, which he used to categorize the women by location for extra embarrassment, it's claimed.
To profit from his activity, Brittain promoted a separate takedown service: he would offer to get the pics removed if he was paid between $200 and $500, we're told.
"This behavior is not only illegal but reprehensible," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in announcing an out-of-court settlement between the watchdog and Brittain.
"I am pleased that as a result of this settlement, the illegally collected images and information will be deleted, and this individual can never return to the so-called 'revenge porn' business."
Brittain was infamous for trying to defend his actions in the media. "I call it entertainment," he told his local CBS station. "We don’t want anyone shamed or hurt. We just want the pictures there for entertainment purposes and business. I would say our business goal is to become big and profitable."
As part of the settlement, Brittain will require explicit permission to post any nude images online – putting a stop to apparent plans to run the same business on a new website, ObamaNudes.com. A spokesman for the trade regulator told us that if Brittain fails to abide by the agreement, he will be fined $16,000 per day for any violations.
Brittain may not be out of the woods yet, however. A number of victims who appeared on his website are reportedly taking legal action against him.
And, over at law blog Popehat, Ken White, a criminal defense lawyer, reckons Brittain is now unemployable, which is perhaps at least some level of punishment: "Craig Brittain is now subject to a permanent and relationship-and-career-debilitating stigma. Employers, lenders, landlords and others won't necessarily pick up internet drama. But you can bet that they'll pick up on an FTC consent order," says the blogging brief. White also suggests Brittain could face state prosecution despite this settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
One final note: Brittain was lucky not to be based in California which has passed specific anti-revenge-porn legislation, and last month jailed 36-year-old Noe Iniguez for a year with three years' probation for posting topless pictures of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. ®
Photo credit: CBS Denver