Sending A Dick Pic As Your Response To A Lawsuit: Not An Effective Legal Strategy
When we last wrote about Hunter Moore, the guy who created one of the more well known “revenge porn” sites called “Is Anyone Up,” it was because he’d lost a lawsuit (mostly by ignoring it) and was ordered to pay $250,000, which (as far as we know) he’s ignored as well. Others have been suing Moore, including Brandi Passante, from the TV show Storage Wars who sued Moore for posting a video that he claimed was a sex tape of Passante that she had made for him. Moore mostly ignored the lawsuit, except for… sending a photo of his penis to Passante’s lawyer. As Adam Steingbaugh points out,
Dick pics are not among the responsive pleadings permitted by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 12.
The court has now found Moore liable for trademark infringement, fraud and defamation, though has only awarded $750 in damages plus attorney fees. The low amount, however, is mainly because Passante failed to show her actual damages. She can submit more information explaining any actual damages and the amount Moore owes could go up. The court appears to recognize that Moore seems to have little interest in the judicial process.
Defendant has stated that he receives “about a million” cease and desist letters but states that “Idon’t give a fuck. I’m never going to stop.”
I will say that I’m extremely skeptical of publicity rights cases, as well as many trademark cases like this one, where it appears trademark is being used as yet another way to shoot for a publicity rights kind of protection, but under federal, rather than state laws. But, given the way Moore has treated this case, it’s hardly a surprise that the court went with a default judgment against Moore.