Famed entertainment lawyer Marty Singer has written to Google demanding that the company pay damages for “knowingly accommodating, facilitating, and perpetuating the unlawful conduct.” The letter was sent on behalf of a dozen actresses, models and athletes, slamming Google’s “despicable, reprehensible” failure to remove the stolen photos quickly, and threatening a $100 million lawsuit.
The letter can be found on The Hollywood Reporter‘s website.
“Google is making millions and profiting from the victimization of women,” accused the letter from lawyer Martin Singer. “Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ motto is a sham.”
The letter says that Twitter has complied with demands to take down the photos of actresses including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Jenny McCarthy, and Kirsten Dunst, but “Google, one of the largest ISPs in the world, with vast resources and a huge support staff, generating multimillions of dollars in revenues on a daily basis, has recklessly allowed these blatant violations to continue in conscious disregard of our clients’ rights.”
Since the photos and videos first started appearing online during Labor Day weekend in late August, Singer’s firm Lavely & Singer has been sending notices to website operators and hosting services, including Google, asking for the images to be removed. But many of the images are still available on Google sites, according to Singer’s letter.
“We’ve removed tens of thousands of pictures — within hours of the requests being made — and we have closed hundreds of accounts. The internet is used for many good things. Stealing people’s private photos is not one of them,” Google said in response to the accusations.
In any case, it may be difficult for Singer to prove that Google failed to comply with the DMCA requirement to remove infringing images quickly enough, according to Bradley Shear, an attorney at Shear Law, LLC who specializes in social media and digital law.
The actresses Vanessa Hudgens and Aubrey Plaza and US soccer player Hope Solo are reportedly among those victimised. The original list had also included Olsen and Hudgens, as well as Ariana Grande, Jessica Brown Findlay, Mary E Winstead, Mary E Winstead, Cara Delevingne, Kate Bosworth, Selena Gomez, Kate Upton, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Kaley Cuoco.