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Free Speech

Child Pornography Lawsuit Against Pornhub Can Go Forward


So holds Judge L. Scott Coogler (N.D. Ala.) in today's Doe v. MG Freesites, LTD. An excerpt from the long opinion:

[I]f Plaintiffs' allegations are true, Defendants, through Pornhub and other sites, host and harbor child pornography—i.e., knowingly receive and possess it—which are illegal acts under the United States Code and which are prosecuted in proceedings against individuals every day. How, then could a corporate defendant escape punishment for the same illegal conduct? Further, Plaintiffs' allegations here are … that Defendants not only received, possessed, distributed and failed to remove CSAM [child sexual abuse material, such as children being raped or assaulted], … but they also played a vital role in the creation and development of CSAM, such as by using keywords and tags to encourage users to find CSAM, such as the "Lil" tag used on videos of Plaintiff Doe #1.

The court also concludes that Pornhub's actions, if they were as alleged, wouldn't be protected from civil liability under 47 U.S.C. § 230: "that Defendants are not subject to Section 230 immunity … [because they] materially contribute to the creation of illegal content on their platforms."