Karen Hepp loses lawsuit against Facebook and Porn website for sexualizing her image

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Fox 29 News anchor Karen Hepp loses $10M lawsuit against Facebook, Reddit, Imgur, and a porn website

Facebook, Reddit, Imgur, Giphy, WCGZ, and S.R.O (a Czech Republic-based porn website operator) got a reprieve from the District Court of Pennsylvania in the lawsuit filed by Fox 29 news anchor, Karen Hepp. The court contended that all the defendants were protected under the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”), 47 U.S.C. § 230.1 and dismissed Hepp’s motion.

Karen Hepp had sued Facebook, et.el for #110 million for allegedly using a sexualized image of her without her permission. The case began when an allegedly unauthorized photograph of Hepp, captured by a security camera in a New York City convenience store appeared on in dating and erectile dysfunction ads.  Hepp told the court that two years ago, her coworkers alerted her to an image of her had begun appearing on websites and in erectile dysfunction advertisements.

Facebook hosted an ad that used the image for a dating website to “meet and chat with single women.” An Imgur user shared the same image in a category labeled “MILF.” Next, the photo was also shared on Reddit in a section titled OBSF. Another user altered the image of Hepp to include a man appearing to masturbate behind her and posted it on Giphy. The image appeared on the Czech Republic-based website called S.R.O.

Hepp sought damages of $10 million accusing the companies of “usurpation and unlawful use of her image” and the “unlawful dissemination and publication of her image on the various commercial website[s].”

The court accepted the motion of Facebook and other defendants that they were protected under CDA and ruled in their favor. The court judgment can be read here(PDF).

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"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." Eric Schmidt

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