Frank A. Rubino, ESQ.

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Internet copyright infringement and white collar crime

The most well-known celebrity and entertainment blogger in the United States is faced with a serious white collar crime problem. The blogger, known as Perez Hilton, is the subject of a copyright infringement complaint filed by photographer Robert Caplin. The complaint includes an allegation that Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr., violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Blogger Hilton is well-known for appropriating images from a variety of sources. He adds captions, drawings, and other additions to those images and claims that his alterations allow for "fair use" of the images under copyright law. Hilton began this practice when his blog was a small start-up operation. Today, it is a huge success, drawing interviews with mainstream celebrities and a substantial amount of advertising cash.

The photographer who filed the claim against Hilton, Robert Caplin, is successful in his own right. He runs a popular site called The Photo Brigade, and his pictures have appeared in several major newspapers.

Caplin posted over 30 original photos of actor Darren Criss from Glee on his personal PhotoShelter website. Those photos had a copyright notice and a watermark as well - two unambiguous affirmations that the photos were protected by copyright. He had even activated Theft Guard protection to keep the photos from being downloaded or copied.

However, Hilton took 14 of the images anyway by using screen capture. According to the claim, this constituted copyright infringement. Since Hilton failed to take the images down after a phone request from Caplin, it is alleged that the continued infringement was willful. Further, the complaint says, the removal of copyright information like watermarks constitutes a DMCA violation.

If you find yourself facing white collar crime legal troubles, it will be important to find a law firm experienced with white collar crime cases. The attorneys will provide the highly qualified representation and legal advice you need.


Source: 
PetaPixel, "The Economics of Copyright Infringement in Robert Caplin vs. Perez Hilton" Allen Murabayashi, Jul. 08, 2013

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Frank A. Rubino, Esq.
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