Athletes at more than 50 universities across the U.S. are getting international exposure that they never expected, but it's not happening on the playing fields.
A lawsuit filed last week in Chicago accuses several video companies and Internet service providers with distributing secretly taped videos of college athletes in showers and other private areas. CBS This Morning Co-Anchor Thalia Assuras spoke to one of the students and his attorney.
The class action lawsuit filed by student athletes alleges invasion of privacy, unlawful use of images for monetary gain, and mail and wire fraud.
"I pulled up a Web site my friend told me about, and there I was on the Internet naked," says one student, who chose the alias John for this interview. "I was extremely shocked. After that, I was just disgusted and really angry that somebody would walk in and pull off a stunt like this with no problems."
"John" said the videos apparently were taken in his school's athletic locker room. "Just routine after-practice showering up, we got videotaped," he says.
"It is embarrassing," he says. "Some people found out about it at school. It was a big thing at school. It is just not something you really want to be a part of."
The video footage, often found on voyeuristic adult Web sites, is the latest trend in online pornography. John's attorney, Louis Goldstein, says there are more than 1,000 individuals involved in just the eight tapes he's seen.
Goldstein says there's little the video victims can do. "There is very, very little protection," he says. "There is no statutory protection either federally or statewide. Now, in Illinois, we have one thing that covers him and it may be videotaping in the bathroom."
Goldstein says the videos are recorded by people who sneak into locker rooms posing as trainers or referees.
"They would sneak the camera in a gym bag, take the gym bag, set it on a stool or on top of a locker, and then move it around various times during the day," Goldstein explains. "The way we know that they did this is they actually have almost caught two different people dressed as either trainers or referees."
Although a legal precedent may be in the making, Goldstein says at this time he's simply seeking a court order prohibiting the tapes being produced, distributed or advertised. "We're singling out the owners of the servers," he says. "They're the people who actually put the information on the Web sitesÂ…If I put advertising on your channel, you're responsible for it because you have notice. They have notice when I come in and say, 'young studs hidden video;' that should put them to a point where they would look further into it."
Goldstein has named 28 victims in the filing of the lawsuit, and he has more than 200 clients. The defendants include six individuals and nine companies that allegedly distributed the tapes as well as five Internet service providers that rented space on the World Wide Web to the distributors.
The lawsuit names distributors include Franco Productions, Rodco, Hidvidco, Hidvidco-Atlas, Video Release, AMO Video, Logan Gaines Entertainment, D.I.Y./Triangle Video, Cal Video, and TVRP; and Dan Franco, George Jachem, Logan Gaines, Alan Gould, Brad Theisen, and Kevin Gleason.
It also names Internet providers PSI Net, TIAC.Net, GTE, GTE Internet Working, and Genuity.Net, charging they should have known the videos were taken without permission.
But for "John," the concern is preventing this from happening to other people.
"I don't really want damages. I want to stop the whole incident from occurring again," says John. "I want to make sure people are aware it is happening. Maybe some of the schools can start preventing against it. I would really like to seize these production companiesÂ…It is disgusting what they're doingÂ… I hope they get the stiffest punishment available."