The advent of “revenge porn” has placed a number of victims in an enormously difficult situation -- how to get their photographs off pornographic websites. The Internet is renowned for its inability to forget, after all.

But getting websites to take down pictures of revenge porn victims is not always as hard as it seems, depending on the circumstances around the image. Revenge porn is the non-consensual posting of sexually explicit material, often of a former girlfriend or wife.

It is also a form of harassment reaching pandemic proportions, prompting one law firm -- the first of its kind -- to create initiatives to help revenge porn victims sue the perpetrators who post their images online.

The Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project, created by the K&L Gates law firm, helps revenge porn victims to get their photographs off the pornographic websites. A profile of the Pittsburgh-based firm’s project in the New York Times reports that 50 of its lawyers have volunteered their time with nearly 100 victims so far.

In cases where victims photographed themselves, lawyers involved in the project are using copyright laws to get websites to remove the offending images. They say that upwards of 80 percent of the offending photographs were originally taken by the victims themselves. If the websites refuse, they can be sued as well as the victims’ former partners.

There is one catch for victims, however. If they do sue their perpetrators using federal copyright laws, they would most likely need to register the photographs with the U.S. Copyright Office, creating a public record of an image they are trying to remove.

Revenge porn has been difficult to prosecute against in the past, but 13 states have so far enacted criminal statutes relating to revenge porn, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

A Texas jury ordered one man to pay his ex-girlfriend $500,000 for posting a sexually explicit photograph of her online without consent. She had successfully argued that the act caused her emotional distress. 

Federal prosecutors are also using online stalking laws to go after revenge porn perpetrators. 

K&L’s legal clinic is the first of its kind at a major U.S. law firm, the Times reports, led by partner David A. Bateman and litigator Elisa J. D’Amico, who works on cases relating to Internet law.