Apparently the photo agencies are tired of this shit. From SplashNews:
We hit Perez Hilton with a multi-million million dollar copyright lawsuit yesterday.
Five celebrity photo agencies – Splash, Bauer-Griffin, Flynet, INF and London Entertainment Pictures warned Perez last December that we could no longer accept his unlawful use of copyright pictures without payment or credit.
He and his lawyers have refused to pay up and refused to take down unlawfully obtained photos. They donâ€™t even have the decency to respond.
Most bloggers out there are decent, honest business people who understand the photographers need to earn an income and we thank all of you who do pay and credit and we are happy to supply you so you can entertain your readers.
But the time has come to show Perez he can no longer get rich off the back of other peoplesâ€™ work.
News reports and some boasting from Perez put his income at over $800,000 a year from advertising revenue and his appearances on TV shows, TV programs etc.
He says he gets up to 4 million unique visitors a day. Yet he doesnâ€™t pay a cent to anyone whose material he uses to get fame and fortune.
$800,000 a year? Honestly, I think that’s a pretty gross underestimate. Even his cheapest Blogads go for $1200/week. His most expensive go for $9000/week. He has at least 10 running at a time. Let’s assume they are all priced at $1200. That’s $624,000 right there. That is not counting what he’s charging for advertising on his background (probably over $2000/day, although he doesn’t have one running each day), for ads in his feeds, and for personal appearances. He’s paying hosting costs and maybe some modest web design costs, but his overhead is negligible. He’s easily clearing a million annually in pre-tax earnings.
Check out the rest of the details after the jump.
The lawsuit alleges that Perezâ€™s success is a direct result of his theft of copyrighted photos and video.
Hilton has repeatedly refused agency demands to pay for photos, credit the photographers and remove the pictures when notified.
â€œPerez has achieved his fame and fortune by unlawfully taking and exploiting other peopleâ€™s work. Using someone elseâ€™s only means of earning money to make yourself rich at their expense is most un-American,â€ said Gary Morgan, CEO of Splash News.
â€œPhotographers work incredibly long hours quite often on a commission only basis to earn their living and Perezâ€™s illegal use of the photos devalues their pictures in the legitimate celebrity magazine, TV and online world.
â€œMost bloggers are law abiding paying customers. They have to pay for photos but Perez gets rich by refusing to pay for them. There is no question he is famous because of other peoples hard work. All the agencies have asked for all along is fair pay for a fair dayâ€™s work.
The 99 page suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, CA.
It states that Lavandeira unlawfully publishes the agenciesâ€™ copyright protected works on a daily basis without their consent, without paying, without crediting the agencies or the agencies photographers as creators of the images.
Chris Doherty, President of one of the plaintiff agencies, INF, said: â€œPerez Hilton is making a mockery of the copyright laws in this country and all over the world, and it is now time for the U.S. legal system to recognize this and put a stop to it.
â€œLavandeira is becoming a household name, not to mention a very wealthy man, directly on the back of our labors and investment in gathering the news.
The suit alleges twenty five civil counts against Lavandeira and a number of unknown defendants including copyright infringement, unfair competition by misappropriation of hot news, and civil conspiracy under the laws of California and New York.
The agencies are requesting statutory damages of $150,000 for each of the infringements, totaling in excess of $7 million dollars, along with the costs of the lawsuit and the agenciesâ€™ attorneys fees.
The agencies also request that any profits made by Lavandeira be seized by the court and that all of the copyright protected images be removed permanently from the perezhilton.com site.