Perez Hilton is headed to court again—the difference this time is that the fast-and-loose celebrity chronicler is the plaintiff in a suit against the same paparazzi agency that recently sued him. The winner? Anyone curious about the grimy dealings of celebrity photography and bottom-feeding bloggers.
Back in November 2006, Mario Lavandeira (aka gossip blog queen Perez Hilton) was served by paparazzi agency X17 with a $7.5 million copyright infringement suit accusing him of snagging photos for his site without credits or licensing fees. Then, late last month, a spa and nail publication threatened action against Perez for lifting their logo—shortly after the threat went public, Lavandeira caved and changed his site's nameplate.
But late last week, X17 and other paps, having pestered Perez's online host with more legal threats, succeeded in getting his site taken down. Lavandeira acted quickly to get it back up and running with a new host, but things haven't quite been the same since. Comments, a massive factor in his content, disappeared, and there were problems with interactivity.
The hassle apparently inspired Lavandeira to file a lawsuit of his own, in which he points a finger at X17's alleged "unlawful" use of illegal immigrants and ex-gang members as photographers and attempts to make the case that X17 "unfairly competes" with his site.
Radar spoke to X17 VP Brandy Navarre, who offered new insight into X17's dealings with Perez.