August 8, 2022

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Judge says Visa cannot escape Pornhub related lawsuit

2 min read

This weekend, Judge Cormac J. Carney of the U.S. District Court of central California refused Visa’s request to be dismissed from a case that claims it conspired to help MindGeek, parent company of the website Pornhub, profit from images of child sexual abuse.

Is Visa helping others make money from illegal images? The court says it may have, allowing certain claims against Visa to proceed, based on its role in processing payments for MindGeek. The suit was filed by a woman who says MindGeek profited from naked videos taken when she was an underage teen that were posted on Pornhub.

  • “If Visa was aware that there was a substantial amount of child porn on MindGeek’s sites, which the Court must accept as true at this stage of the proceedings, then it was aware that it was processing the monetization of child porn, moving money from advertisers to MindGeek for advertisements playing alongside child porn like Plaintiff’s videos,” Judge Carney wrote.

The decision’s unusually strong language raises alarms for payment processors. This early-stage win signals that companies may not be able to easily distance themselves from accusations of misdeeds by their clients.

  • Judge Carney: “When the Court couples MindGeek’s expansive content removal with allegations that former MindGeek employees have reported a general anxiety at the company that Visa might pull the plug, it does not strike the Court as fatally speculative to say that Visa — with knowledge of what was being monetized and authority to withhold the means of monetization — bears direct responsibility (along with MindGeek) for MindGeek’s monetization of child porn, and in turn the monetization of Plaintiff’s videos.”

Visa argued that the case could upend finance. In its motion to dismiss, Visa said that a decision against the company would upend the financial and payment industries, making it impossible for Visa to do its job processing…

Andrew Ross Sorkin, Vivian Giang, Stephen Gandel, Lauren Hirsch and Ephrat Livni

2022-08-01 09:30:21

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