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US revenge porn victim gets $6.4m damage award

Uploaded file Image copyright PashaIgnatov
Image caption Intimate images were widely shared online after the relationship in the case broke down

A California court has awarded $6.4m (£4.5m) in damages to a woman in a revenge porn case.

The unnamed woman sued ex-boyfriend David K Elam II after he put naked videos and pictures of her online.

The award compensates for the harm done by sharing the images, stalking, emotional distress and copyright infringement.

The judgement was made in a civil suit as a federal criminal case against Mr Elam was dropped in 2014.

Serious injury

Legal firm K&L Gates fought the case as part of the firm's Cyber Civil Rights Project, which helps victims of revenge porn for reduced fees.

Court documents seen by the BBC reveal that David Elam and Jane Doe, the pseudonym given to the woman in the case, met via an online dating site in 2012.

Ms Doe sent intimate images and videos to Mr Elam while the pair were in a relationship but were living far apart in the US.

Soon after the relationship broke down, say the papers, Mr Elam threatened to "ruin the life" of Ms Doe and uploaded the images to several social media networks, porn websites and dating services.

Mr Elam is also alleged to have impersonated Ms Doe on these sites and encouraged others to send her sexual images. He also shared her mobile number and home address with anyone who responded.

As a result of this activity, the court papers say, Ms Doe "has continually feared for her physical safety".

In order to get the content removed, Ms Doe was forced to copyright her image and serve take-down notices to the many different sites on which they were uploaded.

The court found that Mr Elam was liable for the injuries caused by his "systematic revenge porn campaign" and ordered him to pay damages.

"Revenge porn is a very serious violation of someone's rights and can lead to very serious injuries that are worthy of being redressed," said Seth Gold from K&L Gates in an interview with CNN Money.

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