SAN DIEGO – California’s 4th Appellate Court on June 28 upheld the conviction of a lower court in the case of Kevin Bollaert, a man who ran what was known as a revenge porn website that posted nude photos and information about ex-girlfriends and personal enemies.

Bollaert was convicted in February 2015 and sentenced to eight years in prison and 10 years of mandatory supervision.

Bollaert created the website, UGotPosted.com, in 2012 in San Diego. On it he had pictures of nude people, their names, hometowns and Facebook links. The postings were all done without the permission or knowledge of the subject.

Victims pictured in some of the posts contacted Bollaert about removing their photos and information. When they asked for them to be removed, he required the victims to show two types of identification and pay money to an account on the other website he operated called ChangeMyReputation.com.

Some victims ended up paying him a total of nearly $30,000. He also received about $900 per month for ads on his website.

The case brings up questions as to whether Bollaert was liable for actions of his users in posting content under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA).

Section 230 of the CDA states that: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

According to The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Section 230 “provides websites, blogs and social networks that host speech with protection against a range of laws that might otherwise hold them legally responsible for what their users say and do.”

Section 230 is like a shield that allows reviewers to post on sites like Yelp. “Without it, websites and internet service providers would be more expensive, operate with less efficiency and be motivated to censor,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation states.

It also allows for sites like Craigslist to post classified ads and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to host user’s posts.

Mark Goldowitz of the California Anti-SLAPP Project said he doesn’t think that cases like the Bollaert one is endangering the upholding of Section 230 of the CDA.

“CDA 230 does not affect criminal liability, rather, it provides for immunity from civil liability,” Goldowitz told the Northern California Record.

Earlier in its ruling, the district court noted that it did not need to answer a question involving CDA 230 as it had enough evidence and information to charge Bollaert with intent to defraud.

“CDA 230 allows for enhanced freedom of speech on the internet,” Goldowitz said.

That enhanced freedom, he said goes toward “allowing people to share links and information created by others without fear of civil liability,” he said.

The court decision that upheld Bollaert's conviction states that there was enough circumstantial evidence for the jury to find that Bollaert kept the personal information of his victims with intentions to defraud them. Thus, the court found he purposely created UGotPosted.com to direct victims to his other website where they could pay him to remove the posts.

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