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The Matassini Law Firm, P.A. Your trusted legal advisors since 1976

PornHub Targeted In Child Exploitation Lawsuit


An exploitation victim has filed a lawsuit against PornHub alleging that her rapists uploaded the video to the site where it was displayed and downloaded. The lawsuit alleges that PornHub unjustly profited from illegal sex trafficking and child pornography, and did not make enough effort to ensure that all participants in videos were consenting adults.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Birmingham, AL under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, a law that many believe targets the porn industry and not sex trafficking. Below, we’ll discuss the law and how it works.

What is the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act? 

The law allows victims of sex trafficking to file civil lawsuits against those who profited from sex trafficking if they had reason to know that the video contained illegal content. Having reason to know is not the same as knowing. Essentially, the prosecution can argue that PornHub should have known that the video contained illegal material. The entire trial will attempt to show how PornHub failed its own policies and allowed illegal material to be posted on the site.

PornHub, like many similar sites, allows users to upload videos. The videos can either be freely available or paid. Even videos that aren’t paid show ads, which is relevant to the plaintiff’s case. If PornHub did not “benefit” from showing the video, then the plaintiffs cannot allege unjust enrichment.

Controversy Over the Law 

Sex trafficking is a serious problem and the government must do everything in its power to stamp it out. However, suing porn sites doesn’t help the government do that. Since PornHub is a user-driven-content site, PornHub would be considered a publisher, like Facebook. For instance, if someone uploaded a video to Facebook and the video contained illegal material, could Facebook be held to the same standard as PornHub? Maybe not, as posting any adult material would be a breach of Facebook’s policy. And then a broader question is, how could PornHub have prevented the rapist from uploading the video? 

Should PornHub Face Liability for the Conduct of Its Users? 

The text of the law makes it possible for PornHub to be held liable for unjust enrichment based on illegal material. However, defining PornHub’s responsibility to monitor its videos is necessary moving forward. The law may require PornHub to vet each video that is uploaded to the site. The question of how PornHub responded once they learned the video contained illegal material will also figure into the plaintiff’s case.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney 

If you have suffered sexual exploitation due to the horrific acts of another person, the Tampa personal injury attorneys at Matassini Law Firm can prepare and file your lawsuit against the negligent party. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


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