Perez Hilton Chats FBLA Up! But Legal Expert Says Blogger’s Use Not So Fair


Beleagured gossip gangsta Perez Hilton got chatty with FBLA. Speaking from his usual spot, Hilton rattled away about the lawsuit, the LA Times story and about his mission, slightly distracted, slightly breathless, but always impassioned:

I’m an easy target. Sucessful people get sued all the time… I’m being singled out because I’m quote “arrogant and pigheaded”. That photo agency has a reputation for being very aggressive in how they conduct their business on the street. Look at the police intervention with them and Cameron Diaz in Sept. They started a blog just to compete. At the core of my being, I’m confident that what I’m doing isn’t wrong, illegal or immoral…

I thought the LA Times story was fair and balanced–X17 claimed it was unfair and unbalanced–their response speaks for itself. I’m confident that a jury of my peers will side with me. I started the site for fun, and I’m still having fun–I need to pay for 10 servers, but I’d still do it if it didn’t make any money.

FBLA, along with others, had wondered if Hilton was protected under Fair Use, and we asked Anthony Falzone, of Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project for his opinion. He told us:

“Perez Hilton is no poster boy for fair use. The touchstone of fair use is transformation: are you using a copyrighted work to say something new or add meaning, or are you simply offering a substitute for the original? When it comes to the paparazzi photos Perez Hilton posts, it would seem that he is doing the latter. He is posting copyrighted photos because people want to see them, not because he has something to say about them.

Although parody and satire receive strong protection under fair use, the parody or satire here is very minimal. Perez Hilton seems to do nothing more than add short, descriptive captions and maybe a humorous phrase here and there. I doubt, for instance, that writing “woof” next to Teri Hatcher or drawing little hearts next to Kevin Zegers is going to save him here.

At the end of the day, Perez Hilton is doing little more than showing these copyrighted photographs for profit, and almost certainly affecting the market for the original photographs in the process. I doubt very seriously that he would prevail on a fair use defense.”

FBLA is a tich crushed to learn that writing woof isn’t considered much of a legally protected means of expression. And as for the hot ‘n’ bothered blogger, we’re expecting this to get settled and some sort of mutually beneficial agreement to be reached–while waiting for the next fracas.

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