December 17, 2006

"I am willing to step up to the plate and fight for my rights and fight for the rights of all bloggers."

"I am going to vigorously defend myself," says Perez Hilton (Mario Lavandeira). I'm not sure why he should win, but I do want him to win. Is there any reason why I shouldn't?

I JUST HAVE TO ADD: This quote of Mario's from the article:
"If the law says I am wrong, if a jury of my peers says they think my actions are wrong, then I will listen to them. But I don't think they will. Especially if they see that the person who is suing me admitted she is suing me because I am arrogant. A judge would dismiss that."

Ha ha! I love the legal theory that you win if what pushed your opponent over the line to filing suit was your arrogance.

... it's a theory borne of arrogance.

21 comments:

Bissage said...

"Page Not Available."

Dang!

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

"Perez Hilton" vs. a firm of litigious paparazzi.

Sigh. It's really too bad that both sides can't lose.

Simon said...

The link doesn't work, but a google news search indicates that he's being sued for unauthorized use of copyrighted photographs. His defense is that he was using them for satirical purposes; my question would be, what was he actually using them for, was it modified in any way, and does it fit into the frameworkof § 107 ("fair use"). Concededly, I know very little about IP law, but I'd want to want to know more about what he was using the material for.

Ann Althouse said...

The link has been working since I fixed it at 11:34.

If you want to know more about how he uses the stuff, go to the blog. I just put it on my blogroll.

Gahrie said...

Well after looking at his site, I'd say the paparazzi have a case.

It sure looks to me like he's using their pictures for profit or gain with no attribution, credit or payment.

I would certainly never behave in so boorish a fashion.

Jennifer said...

The guy is an arse and I hope he loses. I realize being an arse is no more a valid legal issue than being arrogant, but he's really an arse. He's made a name for themself by purposely outing people who for whatever reason prefer to keep their sexuality publicly unknown. That just seems so wrong to me.

Jennifer said...

for himself*

Ann Althouse said...

Jennifer: I didn't realize that and hereby take him off the blogroll.

Medopine said...

It seemed he had a pretty good case until I read the part about how much it affected X17's ability to sell their photos to mags.

That might tip the scale in their favor.


Perez is an ass either way.

Medopine said...

Oh and check this out: Oregon's "Just Out" actually applauds Perez for outing people!

http://perezhilton.com/topics/gay_gay_gay/the_gays_love_the_queen_20061216.php

clairedm said...

Perez Hilton alters a lot of the photos on his website, draws on them and writes words on them and stuff. I don't know if that makes a difference or not, but Simon suggested it might in one of his comments ("my question would be, what was he actually using them for, was it modified in any way..."). Also, Perez is unapologetic about outing people. He says that his belief that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality means that there is nothing wrong with speculating that someone is gay, that outing people is only wrong if you believe calling someone gay is an insult. Maybe that is right... but I don't know... I want him to win though- where else will I get my news?

VICTOR said...

My gut feeling is that PH will lose and rightly so. For the same reason Crooks and Liars will lose a lawsuit brought by CNN/Fox (etc.). The fair use factors are pretty murky and generally fact specific in their application. The fact that he's using the photos generally unaltered and as a focus of his commentary would be determinative for me if I were making the call. He rarely offers commentary on the photos themselves (like BAGnews) but basically uses the photos to illustrate gossip news items.

Any word on the lawyers involved? This will probably ultimately determine the outcome. I imagine the agency has enough money and will continue to pay their lawyers to make their point. At a certain point I imagine PH will get tired of paying his lawyers. Unless a pro bono lawyer or blogger coalition steps in, the lawsuit will likely end with a settlement (under which PH will agree to credit and link).

(I haven't looked at the facts closely but I'm a regular PH and Superficial reader and I've dealt with this issue several times in practice. There's a famous case involving footage from the LA riots that a news agency used that feels somewhat analogous, but there are a ton of fair use cases.)

Anonymous said...

Oh, please, why doesn't this well-spun turd actually be honest for once? He doesn't give a frak about the 'rights of all bloggers', any more than his sleaze-bag outing of Lance Brass and Neil Patrick Harris was a blow for the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

Here's the truth-enhanced version of Professor Althouse's headline:

"I am compelled to step up to the plate before these a-holes derail my highly profitable gravy train, 'cause who the hell wants to get a real job?"

Anonymous said...

Ann, I don't see how this is different from you wanting to be linked to when other bloggers talk about you. Here's a paragraph of the article:

"While X17 has agreements with many gossip blogs -- Pink IsTheNewBlog, PopSugar and SocialiteLife, among others -- allowing them to post photos with proper credit and a link back to the X17 website, Navarre said she was tired of constantly reminding Hilton to credit X17 and had finally given up."

If he used the agency's photographs without giving credit or linking to them, wouldn't you say that the agency has an argument?

Anonymous said...

Great to see attention getting paid to this!

I think Hilton was largely chosen because he's obnoxious. Obnoxious and successful. When you have your pick of defendants, why not pick the rich asshole?

Here's a reason why you should maybe want him to lose: if he wins, it genuinely could be a serious danger for companies like Getty Images and the like, who sell licenses to these kinds of photos as their basic business model. They'd probably respond by making their pictures harder to access - putting them out of reach of real fair users, not just moneymaking leechy folks like him.

In tepid defense of his outing: everyone he has outed was more or less publicly out, just not out to the media. I've never seen him name anyone for whom it wasn't kind of an "open secret" type of situation. Maybe still wrong, but at least a little different than yanking people out from deeper in the closet.

Also, for disclosure's sake: I've been posting under "admin," which was my old blogger account, but it seemed like a jerkish name to use on someone else's site, so I'm switching to this. Is that ok? I'm not trying to sockpuppet it up or anything.

knoxgirl said...

He's made a name for themself by purposely outing people who for whatever reason prefer to keep their sexuality publicly unknown. That just seems so wrong to me.

Yeah, he is ruthless with the posts about people being gay. Thing is, at one time or another, he pretty much has accused EVERY male celebrity of being gay, so I don't know how seriously he is taken on that topic. However, at the very least he seems like one mean MF.

As to the photos, if he's making money from his blog, isn't it a copyright issue? (What I don't know about the law is a lot.) Regardless, if he cared so much about the fellowship of bloggers, he'd at least link for the sake of linking.

Donald Douglas said...

Read the story on Perez this morning in the hard copy LAT over coffee. Interesting -- he really rips off the paparazzi shots, and doesn't care. Had a feeling you'd blog this piece.

Burkean Reflections

Gerald Hibbs said...

But. . .but, he draws symbols representing cocaine or semen on the pictures! If he couldn't use the pictures without attribution or paying then the world would lose his genius at biting satire!

PH was on the top of my gossip blog list for a while but his outing people, arrogance, bitchiness (is that offensive to say if it's not about a woman? Well, if fits), etc have dropped him down to about blog #5. The man has gone insane when he says that Elizabeth Hurley is fugly.

I have a certain sympathy with him when it comes to bloggers and fair use of pictures in general. But when a content owner is actually willing to work with you and you refuse the simple courtesy of attribution/linking then you get what you should. I hope he loses. As to what that type of precedent does to the rest of us. . .it's just a bad situation he caused for no good reason.

Anonymous said...

Aero! wrote:
In tepid defense of his outing: everyone he has outed was more or less publicly out, just not out to the media. I've never seen him name anyone for whom it wasn't kind of an "open secret" type of situation. Maybe still wrong, but at least a little different than yanking people out from deeper in the closet.

Balls. You know something, I'm gay and also a recovering alcoholic with a long history of manic-depressive mental illness. Let's substitute 'none of your f-ing business' for 'open secret'. Here's what really gets my goat about that kind of self-serving b.s. from Hilton. There are millions of people in the world who, like me, are recovering alcoholics or are living with long term mental illnesses. You bet your arse I don't feel the need to post a memo every time I start a new job, or take out a full page advert in the local newspaper annoncing I'm a big ol' crazy lush c**k-sucker.

AFAIC, Hilton can go burn in the same circle of hell as the other tabloid hypocrites who pandered to homophobia - and ruined lives and careers - under the same old hypocritical b.s. about the public interest. You can wrap your crap in a rainbow flag, Miss Putz, but it still smells like maggot chow.

Brian said...

Hilton will lose. He steals the creative work of others - the total work, for each photo is a complete, marketable whole - and then does jack with it; he makes a squiggle on the photo and calls the result "satire" (because he heard about the satire exception in copyright law.) And then he makes a buck off it, at the expense of depriving the creator of the money the later would derive from selling an exclusive.

This is a slapdash analysis, I know, but if you look at the 4 statutory factors listed in the federal Fair Use statute, and examine the pertinent precedents, you'll agree.

And he deserves to lose because a lazy jerk, as against the paparazzi, who are aggressive, energetic jerks.