Perez Hilton presents Paris Hilton (L) with the Big
Outlaw award at the VH1 Big in '06 Awards in Culver City, California, December
2, 2006. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni ( UNITED STATES)
LOS ANGELES - Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton is being stalked by paparazzi ¡ª
in court, at least.
X17 Inc., a Los Angeles photo agency known for its images of stars in
personal or embarrassing moments, has filed a $7.6 million federal copyright
infringement lawsuit against Hilton.
Hilton's Los Angeles-based site, PerezHilton.com, posts tabloid photos of
celebs and adds cheeky captions and rudimentary doodles.
The suit claims Hilton used 51 photographs without permission, payment or
credit, including images of a pregnant Katie Holmes, Kevin Federline pumping gas
and Britney Spears showing her, um, assets.
"We've had trouble with a lot of bloggers," X17 co-owner Brandy Navarre told
the Los Angeles Times for a story on its Web site. "But he's the biggest, and
the most arrogant and pigheaded about it, frankly.
"He is stealing our images and costing us money every day," she said.
Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, said he believes he has done
"I am going to vigorously defend myself," he said. "I am willing to step up
to the plate and fight for my rights and fight for the rights of all bloggers."
His attorney, Bryan Freedman, said Hilton has a legal right to make satirical
or humorous use of newsworthy photographs.
If the copyright lawsuit succeeds, "the effect would be to eliminate the
ability to comment on and transform photographs under the fair-use exception to
the Copyright Act," Freedman said.
But X17's lawyer, John Tehranian, argued that Hilton "is basically
free-riding on the labor and efforts of X17 and its photographers who stay up
all night and roam the city."
Seven other photo agencies sent Hilton a joint letter demanding that he stop
using their photographs but they have not sued, the Times said.