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When most athletes change clothes in the locker room after a long practice or a tough game, they never imagine that their naked bodies are being caught on camera.

But that's exactly what happened to several Penn athletes sometime between 1996 and 1998. And last week, the former students were each awarded $11 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

The students were filmed by cameras hidden in a shower of a University athletic facility. Clips from these films were spliced together and sold as pornographic videos with titles like Straight off the Mat. In addition, portions of the videos were shown on the Internet to coax viewers into purchasing them.

The Penn students were not the only victims of the pornographic scam, however. The students' attorney, Cindy Fluxgold, represented a total of 46 student athletes filmed in locker rooms across the country between 1995 and 1999.

Fluxgold said all of the students were either football players or wrestlers but would not specify which Penn team the scam involved.

The federal court's judgment came on the grounds that the production of the tapes was an invasion of privacy.

"If ever there was an invasion of privacy, it's when you're being filmed naked without your knowledge, and then the film is being sold worldwide over the Internet without your permission," Fluxgold said.

Fluxgold explained that in each of the cases, cameras had been planted in places like gym bags and showers. Additionally, some cameras had been held manually and moved around.

Fluxgold added that the footage focused especially on frontal nudity and included athletes weighing in, urinating, showering and slapping each other.

The scam was uncovered in 1999 by a student who recognized one of his friends in an online clip according to Fluxgold. At that point about 30 students filed a civil suit against the video distributors and the Internet servers who hosted their Web sites.

The court eventually decided that the servers could not be held accountable because of regulations granting them immunity. According to Fluxgold, servers are not liable for material present on the Web sites of their customers.

However, the court did hold eight companies and three individuals accountable.

The ruling was considered a "default judgment" because none of the defendants chose to appear in court.

Regardless, all of the companies and the individuals will have to pay a total of $506 million dollars in damages and legal fees.

Fluxgold said she was pleased with the judgment.

"This was the number we had asked the court for, and the court awarded it to us," she said.

Fluxgold added that the ruling served a greater purpose as well.

"We look at this as the court wanting to send a very strong message to the people out there that this type of action will not be tolerated -- turning the Internet into a cesspool and taking advantage of students and other people," she said.

Fluxgold explained that the next step is to search for the assets of each of the distributors, a process that could take years.

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