Celebrities Threaten To Sue Google For $100M Because Of Nude Pics

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We get it, few things must be as frustrating and horrifying as having your nude pictures stolen and broadcast for the world to see. It’s no surprise then, that some of the affected celebrities in the latest nude pic scandal want to do something about it. Well, now lawyers are involved, and they are threatening to sue Google for one hundred million dollars, but do they have a case?

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Hackers are still releasing nude pictures of celebrities and there seems to be no end in sight. The Fappening, as the latest nude picture scandal is known in the Web, continues to impress if only for the sheer number of pictures stolen and celebrities affected. This incident has become a polarizing platform for people to speak about privacy, freedom of speech and consent. Now a lot of the victimized women, including Jennifer Lawrence, Cara Delevigne, Vanessa Hudgens, Kate Upton and Kim Kardashian, among others are deciding to take legal action against Google for failing to remove the stolen images. Do you think they have a case or all hell is gonna break loose?

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In a letter adressed to Google founders, the Hollywood attorney Marty Singer threatened to sue the company for $100 million dollars. The attorney accuses Google of “failing to act expeditiously and responsibly to remove the images” and of “making millions from the victimization of women, which constitutes “blatantly unethical behavior”. Since the pictures were obtained illegally and are being distributed without consent, the lawyer may have a compelling case and Google may have an obligation to remove the infringing images.

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Google responded to the letter and claimed that they are doing the right thing and removing thousands of infringing images and have closed hundreds of accounts that shared the pictures. “of course people continue to post these images on the Web, so we rely on people notifying us to help us take them down, whether by flagging content or filling DMCA requests.” They are taking proactive action and removing the pictures “for community guidelines and policy violations” on services like YouTube, Blogger and Google Plus. However, when it comes to search results, they are taking a different approach. “We remove these images when we receive valid copyright notices”.

This is where it may become a problem for affected celebrities. If the pictures taken are selfies, then there is no doubt that they own the rights to the pictures and can demand for them to be taken down. If, on the other hand, someone else took the picture, then it could be argued that they are not the ones who own the rights to the image, and it may be harder to get them off the search results.

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It is clear that morally speaking, this incident is disturbing and repulsive. But is it Google’s place to be the arbiter of what’s morally right on the Internet? What is more complicated to decide is if the search engine is legally accountable. Legislation on the Web is still ambiguous and the line between private property and public domain becomes very blurry when talking about something as intangible as a picture. Now, of course it is interesting to consider that the attorney decided to go after Google, a simple search engine, when the company that failed to protect the data was Apple.

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