Gay gossip blogger Perez Hilton is speaking out against the company suing him for copyright infringement over the usage of celebrity photos on his web site.
In an exclusive interview with EDGENewYork.com, Perez says he will “defend my life and my freedom” against what he says is no more than a “publicity stunt.”
Hilton makes his living throwing dirt at a bevy of Hollywood celebrities, and now, a top celebrity photo agency is throwing some of that dirt. Hilton is being sued by photo agency X17, and according to Access Hollywood, other celebrity photo agencies are also considering filing suit.
X17 filed suit against Perez (whose real name is Mario Lavendeira) earlier this month, claiming the blogger, who’s dubbed himself the ‘Queen of All Media,’ “knowingly and willfully used X17’s images on his blog without permission from the agency, thereby violating federal law.
“Mr. Lavandeira has regularly infringed on X17’s large scoops,” the agency said in release, according to Entertainment Tonight. “While it usually takes weeks of effort by a team of photographers and reporters to break a story, for Mr. Lavandeira, it has been as simple as a right-click.”
Hilton, on the other hand, says in the EDGE interview “To the core of my being, I don’t believe what I am doing is wrong, immoral or unethical… This one agency disagrees. The only way to settle it is to let the legal process take over.”
X17 is seeking more than $7.5 million dollars in damages from the blogger for what they say is a loss of profits and injury to their reputation. While readers can visit PerezHilton.com for free, the site makes money off of advertising, Access Hollywood reported.
“Mr. Lavandeira is profiting through advertisements on his site (one-week ads on his site go for between $9000 – $16,000) and has gained relative fame from the success of his blog, which, X17 contends, is due in large part to the quality and quantity of celebrity images he posts on his site, many of which are owned by X17,” the release stated.
Hilton says the lawsuit has wide ranging implications. “This is for all bloggers. This case could have a very profound effect on the whole blogosphere,” he said in the EDGE interview.
Hilton works out of a Los Angeles coffee shop he calls his office, according to reports, and is currently tapped to appear on VH-1’s upcoming Big in ’06 Awards and on MTV’s New Year’s Eve special.
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