Photo-Humiliation Site Brings Paparazzi Headaches to Masses

People are pissed off about YoBusted.com: It posts embarrassing pictures and won't take them down unless you pay a "membership fee." Welcome to the photo-extortion hell celebrities already live in.

The site, as described by BusinessWeek, appears to operate as a defacto blackmail racket: Your "friends" submit "hilarious" pictures of you, often filched from Facebook. If you are in a picture and want it removed, you have to become a member of the site, which costs $20 per month or $50 per year.

Best part: Your "friend" earns a kickback of $10 or $20 if his picture causes you to pay the membership fee.

It's not really worth fighting in court. A violation-of-privacy lawsuit would be prohibitively expensive. And if you're in the picture, you probably didn't take the picture, so you can't make a copyright claim (without lying, which will bring you major fines if caught).

Better to accept the inevitable: Celebrity has been so devalued and democratized that we all have to learn to play the PR games of famous people. That means flooding the market with flattering pictures and blog posts (the equivalent of magazine puff pieces); bullying hostile bloggers and scandal websites (as celebrity flacks do with tabloids and other disfavored publications); and paying the occasional bribe, in the form of anything from flirting to a free lunch to cold, hard cash (like when Michael Phelps reportedly tried to buy those bong pictures).