Friday, August 10, 2012

Mother sues after breastfeeding video used in porn film

A little Googling led to a horrific discovery for MaryAnn Sahoury, who found that an educational breastfeeding video she participated in had been included as part of a pornographic video.

Sahoury has sued Meredith Corp. for fraud, misrepresentation and negligence with her footage. Meredith says the video was stolen from its website and used illicitly by other parties.

According to the report, which first reached media on Friday, after Sahoury Googled herself, she found her name led to links to numerous pornographic sites and videos. The lawsuit states that when she clicked on one of the links, she saw her breast-feeding video had been spliced together with footage of a woman of "similar features and stature" performing sexual acts.

Worse, Sahoury then Googled her infant daughter's name, which also returned links to pornographic sites and videos.

The tale of horror began shortly after her daughter, named in the filing only as A.S., was born on Dec. 9, 2009. Sahoury was recruited to be a part of a breastfeeding educational video by her lactation consultant, who had been contacted by Parent TV, a Meredith Corporation brand.

[Meredith is also involved in some other businesses whose names you might recognize: it publishes the popular magazines Parents, Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens.]
Sahoury agreed to participate, sans compensation, though she had some initial concerns. She "felt her own personal experience would be insightful and helpful to other first-time mothers who are considering breastfeeding," according to the complaint, which was filed in federal court last year.

Sahoury states the woman in charge of the video production said that neither her nor her daughter's name would be used in the video. Additionally, Sahoury was told that the video would be available only a Parent TV website and broadcast on cable television.

The lawsuit claims, however, that not only did the video go viral on the Internet in the porn film, it was also posted to YouTube. Despite protections at Google's video site, it is quite easy to download YouTube videos using online or stand-alone tools. That may have been how the footage was obtained, rather than by theft, as Meredith says, although it is unclear.

Although Meredith at first cooperated with Sahoury, helping remove the videos and initially attempting to find the perpetrator, eventually, the suit says, that help died out. As you might expect, Sahoury said videos kept re-appearing as soon as they were taken down.

The old adage, "what is posted on the Internet, stays on the Internet," was proven true again.

Sahoury is concerned that the search results will stain her reputation forever. Googling for her now does still bring up some video results on the first page, but most of them have been pushed onto later pages by stories about the lawsuit.

We'd recommend that she look into Brand Yourself, a service we wrote about earlier. The services uses a form of SEO to push "bad links" down in your search results. We have reached out to the company in an attempt to help her.

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