Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Perez Dispenser of Others' Work?: Photog Sues Hilton for Copyright Infringement

Perez Hilton is being sued in the United States District Court for the Central District of California by a freelance photographer who alleges the gossip blogger posted photos of Glee star Darren Criss on his Web site without the photographer's permission.

In the 22-page complaint including counts alleging copyright infringement [17 U.S.C. sec. 501 et seq.] and violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act [17 U.S.C. sec. 1201 et seq.], Robert Caplin v. Mario Aramando Lavandeira Jr. d/b/a Perez Hilton (Docket No. 13-cv-04638), the plaintiff accuses the defendant of using 14 copyrighted photos of Criss on shot by Caplin in December 2011, for a New York Times article that ran in January 2012, concerning Criss' Broadway debut.
As reported by the New York Observer, Caplin claims Hilton refused his request to remove the photos from Hilton's Web site, though the images purportedly have been removed since the lawsuit was filed. The complaint alleges that Caplin posted 32 photos he took of Criss on his Web site and that Hilton allegedly superimposed his own watermark on the allegedly appropriated images over Caplin's watermark.

The plaintiff is seeking $150,000 for each alleged infringed image for total damages of more than $2.1 million, pursuant to 17 U.S.C. sec. 504.

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