Court rejects Pornhub parent’s motion to dismiss the sex trafficking lawsuit


Plaintiffs have asked for extra protections from Pornhub’s website

Alabama federal Judge has denied MindGeek, the Pornhub parent firm, its motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by two victims of sex trafficking.

The attorneys for the plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief to class members. This would require MindGeek (the owner of several pornographic websites) to place additional protections on the website, such as user verification.

In a Friday statement, Levin Papantonio Rafferty (LPR), partner Kim Adams stated that “we are encouraged by Court’s order.”

Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 2 were identified by the two plaintiffs. Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. MindGeek is accused of violating federal sextrafking and child pornography law by owning, operating and controlling websites that allow users to view and share illegal child pornography. The lawsuit was filed February 20,21.

Plaintiffs claim they were 18 years old when they were allegedly “depicted” in child pornography and commercial sex acts. The Defendants are MindGeek, MG Freesties, LTD, doing business under the name Pornhub.

The attorneys for the plaintiffs claim that the defendants have violated the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

Mindgeek’s Pornhub website was accused of generating more traffic than Amazon or Netflix in 2019 and that videos uploaded to the site show children being raped and assaulted. It gives an example where a mother of a missing 15 year-old girl identified her daughter on 58 videos posted to the pornography website.

According to the lawsuit, Pornhub submitted more videos than 4,000 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in 2020. Plaintiffs, however, argue that the defendants failed to report Child Sexual Abuse Material to the CSAM.

According to the complaint, MindGeek and Pornhub also claim that they profited from CSAM by making exploitative material searchable using tags and keywords such as “crying teen”, “abused teen” or “middle-school girls”.

Pornhub boasts 100 billion video views per year or about 12.5 porn videos for every person on Earth. It also has more than 100 millions visits to its website each day.

MindGeek’s July 2021 motion for dismissal was denied by the judge. He stated that “if Plaintiffs’ claims are confirmed, defendants, through their ownership of Pornhub or other sites, are no more than the thousands of people convicted in the United States of non-production child pornography offences each year.”

MindGeek argued that it should not be penalized because third-party content is posted on its websites under Section 230, 1996 Communications Decency Act. This section protects websites from being held liable if third-party users post content on their platforms.

“This putative action… attempts shift legal liability from Plaintiffs’ assailants, to MG Freesites Ltd (“Freesites”), certain of its affiliates, (collectively, “Defendants”), for allegedly owning and operating websites that provided a public platform the perpetrators used in sharing their video content,” defendants’ motion dismisses.

According to the motion, Section 230 bars plaintiffs’ claims.

Judge Scott Coogler said that Section 230 protections are inapplicable because child pornography constitutes illegal contraband.

The motion also states that defendants “donot permit, let alone encourage” the posting of CSAM and non-consensual material on their websites under their terms.

Freesites has taken several steps to stop the practice. Although the procedures have changed over time, the Complaint states that Freesites screens videos containing CSAM or other nonconsensual material. Pornhub also retains full-time moderators to monitor for CSAM and other inappropriate contents. Although there is no perfect content moderation process, Freesites has done everything possible to ensure that user-generated content is not uploaded to its sites. It also removes videos that violate the Terms of Service whenever violations are found.” the motion states.

Pornhub removed the majority of user-submitted content in 2020, largely from unverified accounts. In 2021, it will implement a stricter verification process. Pornhub has approximately 20 million users.

Pornhub stated in a statement that it had suspended previously uploaded content as part of its policy to ban unverified uploaders.