According to Dr. Norm Arkins, the associate vice president of university relations, the investigation of DormAngels.com is based on allegations of trademark infringement. Arkins told XBiz that some of the site's content is believed to have been shot at recognizable locations on the university's campus.
"We have not actually seen the website," Arkins told XBiz. "Our interest is in our name and whether images of the campus have been misused. We have property rights in the images and our name."
Founded by former business student Brett Jennings with just a few thousand dollars and a partner named Jeff, DormAngels based its content on hundreds of co-eds eager to make $100 an hour posing nude and semi-nude. Many of the models featured on the site claim to be former students, or students from other colleges and universities in the region.
Jennings started his online career with a job at a search engine and then returned to the University of Washington to finish his degree. He and his partner recruited talent through the school newspaper and other alternative papers.
Arkins added that the school's administrative offices are in the process of communicating their concerns with Jennings and that if the allegations are true, and if Jennings fails to cooperate, they will issue a cease-and-desist order to have the website disabled.
The Attorney General's inquiry came on the heels of a News Tribune article that featured DormAngels. Prior to that, school officials had not wanted to interfere with Jennings' First Amendment rights.
DormAngels is just one of many attempts students have undertaken to launch student-based porn websites on campuses. Earlier this year, Harvard University students launched a nude magazine featuring talent from the female student body.
Now an alumnus of the university, Jennings attributes his rise in the ranks of online adult porn to applying some fundamental business tactics to the thriving Internet sex industry that is always looking for content featuring college-age girls.
"Looking around campus there were 20,000 cute college girls, most of whom were complaining about not having any money," Jennings said. "I had $12,000, but I knew that wasn't going to get me through two school years, and Jeff had a digital camera that was a present from his parents. It was an obvious equation."
Jennings and his partner are also the owners of another adult website, MidwestMandy.com, which focuses on one single girl and already equals the amount of subscribers as DormAngels.
Jennings has said that he fully intends to cooperate with the investigation into his website.