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  Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sissy Paparazzi

A photo agency is suing blogger Perez Hilton, who takes celebrity photos from the web and publishes them on his own blog with his own captions and doodles, without compensating X17 Inc., the paparazzi agency.

X17's lawyer claims Hilton is "basically free-riding on the labor and efforts of X17 and its photographers who stay up all night and roam the city."

I'm not generally in favor of copyright infringement, but I think I'm siding with Hilton here, for two reasons. First, there's the concept of fair use. You're allowed to copy abstracts of material for the purpose of parody, and it seems to me that that's what Hilton is doing. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know?

The thing that rankles me in this instance is X17 whining about how they're working so hard to produce a product that Hilton is stealing. And what is that product? They're stealing the likeness of a celebrity who worked to establish their popularity without compensating the celebrity. Now who is it free-riding on the efforts of others?

Blog Tag: Opinion


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