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YouTuber wins damages in landmark UK revenge porn case

Chrissy Chambers' long legal battle is over.
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Chrissy Chambers (left) and Bria Kam (right) make videos together under YouTube channel BriaAndChrissy. Mike Windle via Getty Images

YouTuber Chrissy Chambers has won damages in a landmark legal case against a former partner who posted revenge porn online. The vlogger was dating a British male — who remains anonymous as part of the settlement terms — in 2009 when several sex videos were filmed without her knowledge. They were then posted to RedTube and several other porn sites in 2011, after the pair had broken up and Chambers had come out as gay with singer-songwriter Bria Kam. The timing of the uploads meant that new laws criminalizing revenge porn weren't applicable. As a result, Chambers had to win her case on quite different legal grounds.

The YouTuber had hoped to mount a criminal case against her former boyfriend, but this was ultimately rejected by the UK Crown Prosecution Service. Chambers then filed a civil case against her ex for damages and copyright — a first for England and Wales — in March 2016. Thirteen months later, the British man called Chambers' team to announce that he wanted to settle. Chambers won an unknown sum in damages (it's thought to be substantial, and can't be disclosed due to the terms of the deal), the copyright of the videos, an apology, and the right to inspect his devices.

The settlement was completed last month and made public in open court this week. The copyright ownership means Chambers can legally force websites to take down the uploads. Of course, on the internet it's always possible to make copies and stay ahead of the law — now, however, Chambers can curb the spread and slowly regain control of her online identity. Her case also sets a precedent for others who are in a similar situation — victims of revenge porn, but stuck in a legal quagmire because UK laws criminalizing the practice aren't applicable to historic offences.

"To every victim of this horrific kind of attack, I am here to say you can fight back and you can win," Chambers said. "You will heal and you will move on, and you will not have to take those steps alone."

Earlier this month, Facebook reached an out-of-court settlement in a revenge porn case. The circumstances were a little different, however; the victim sued the alleged perpetrator and the social network over a naked picture that was shared repeatedly on a "shame" Facebook page between late 2014 and early 2016. Facebook has been named as a co-defendant on many revenge porn cases, but this was the first time it's settled. The girl's lawyers had argued that while Facebook took down the image when notified, it didn't do enough to stop those responsible from reposting.

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