Athletes from eight different schools including Illinois, Illinois State, Eastern Illinois, Indiana, Penn, Iowa State and Michigan State Universities have filed suit against several companies, individuals and Internet service providers after secret videotapes taken in the schools’ locker rooms were sold over the Internet and through the mail.
The lawsuit charges defendants with invasion of privacy, unlawful use of the plaintiffs’ images for profit, and mail and wire fraud under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The 28 unnamed plaintiffs have been described as male football players.
David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, stated that the ISPs named in the suit will likely evade responsibility for their customer’s actions, given that the Communications Decency Act maintains that ISPs are not responsible for the content of their customer’s Web sites. “I think the law goes a little further than it probably ought to in shielding ISPs, particularly in case where they have knowledge of what’s there,” commented Sobel.
In related news, New York state police officials are investigating allegations that 8 state troopers encouraged two young women to strip and pose naked for pictures at the Woodstock ’99 festival this weekend.
Lt. Jamie Mills commented, “Obviously, such allegations are disturbing and would be considered inappropriate.”