Lively's reps immediately went on the offensive after four pictures allegedly featuring the star’s bare body were leaked, saying that the controversial photographs were fake and threatening legal action against any outlet who published the pictures with the implication that they were Lively.
However, the adamant denial seemed only to incite at least one hacker, who then released an additional 17 salacious snaps with this taunt:
"Oh, yes, Blake's rep.These are totally fake. We really, really believe you. Want moar?"
But could Lively's saga be part of a bigger picture? Could this all be the work of a ring of hackers that were being investigated by the FBI less than two months ago? The feds reportedly met with Disney star Vanessa Hudgens back in March to ascertain how her Gmail was hacked. It was then revealed that she was just one of more than 50 celebrities including Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus, to have been targeted by the ring.
If the “Blake Lively Nude Photos” are indeed a sham, as her team vehemently insists, the high-profile star has every reason to head to the courts.
“If these are phonies, then she should immediately seek a court injunction ordering their removal and preventing their further publication. Trouble is that these images spread like wildfire, and getting them completely ‘scrubbed’ from the Internet would be virtually impossible now,” California criminal defense attorney David E. Wohl told FOX411’s Pop Tarts. “But let’s assume that the pictures are her face, but not her body. She could still bring suit for invasion of privacy, defamation (libel) and misappropriation of her image for financial gain against anyone or any publication that publishes the pictures, pictures which if Photoshopped would obviously paint her in a false light. She could also sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
The alternative scenario is that the leaked pictures really are Lively, and that could involve an even bigger legal headache.
“The first question is how did the person who spread them get a hold of them? If she ‘sexted’ the photos to that person she's out of luck. She lost her ‘expectation of privacy’ once she hit ‘send’ and the photos sailed through cyberspace. She also lost her ownership rights at that point,” Wohl explained. “But if someone hacked her phone or computer to get the pictures that amounts to a federal crime, and that person could spend years in a federal prison if convicted. Blake would then be able to bring suit for damages against anyone or any organization who publishes the pictures.”
According to Wohl, the hacker or hackers who are continuing to release photos in an effort to prove they are genuine may or may not be aware that what they are really doing is confessing to a federal crime.
But irrespective of whether the pictures in this latest nude celebrity photo drama are real or not, it could still be a cause for concern for any other high-profile peeps out there with naughty snaps filed away.
“They should be worried in the world we live, and the world is changing right before our eyes. There is not one solitude ounce of privacy left,” Hollywood publicist Michael Levine told us.
Whether or not the photos are legit, crisis management expert Glenn Selig doesn’t foresee this incident harming Lively’s thriving career.
“This is the type of story that will probably help her. She is getting attention and publicity and people take their clothes off all the time in Hollywood,” he said. “You have to be prepared for things like that. If you have those things out there, there will always be people trying to capitalize on your fame. Whether they are real or fake, the photos are embarrassing and someone is using Blake’s name to make money. But aside from the personal embarrassment, it isn’t going to harm her career, and it isn’t the end of the world.”