NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Actress Alyssa Milano has become a star on the Internet, a place where she's never even auditioned, but she's not enjoying the publicity.
Instead, she is suing five Internet site providers that profit from nude photos of her and other celebrities.
"This is really about a celebrity controlling his or her image on the 'Net because there are a lot of adverse problems that come when you don't control your own image," says her lawyer, Mitchell Kamarck. "The 'pasties' probably being the worst case where they will take a celebrity's face and paste it on someone else's body."
Milano's mother Lin runs Cybertrackers, a business that helps celebrities keep track of use made of their image on the Internet, where nude pictures of popular media figures are in great demand.
"I'm pro-Internet," she explains. "I love the Internet. I just want to clean it up a bit."
The online adult industry earns an estimated $200 million a year, with celebrity nudes - both real and fake - reportedly the fastest-growing segment of that business.
Site operators can easily earn $10,000 a month by charging Web surfers for access privileges to view the images, and linking to other pay-porn sites is another thriving revenue stream.
Legal experts say celebrities have just as much legal control over copyrighted material on the Internet as they do in any other medium.
However, few stars have tried to enforce their rights, perhaps because the anonymity of the sometimes-labyrinthine Internet can make legal action difficult due to the ease with which site owners can hide their whereabouts in the non-virtual world.
A website owner named in Milano's lawsuit, Alexander Poparic, was unavailable for comment. Poparic's office address is listed as a Hollywood hotel, but a hotel employee said that he's no longer staying there.
Although Poparic's site is still in business - without the pictures of Milano -- his company phone number has been disconnected.