Dane v. Gawker

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

09/23/2009

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

California

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
On September 23, 2009, Grey's Anatomy star Eric Dane and his wife Rebecca Gayheart filed a complaint for copyright infringement against Mark Ebner and various Gawker Media entities in the federal district court for the Central District of California. According to the Complaint,... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Gawker Media, LLC; Gawker News, LLC; Gawker Sales, LLC; Mark Ebner

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Media Company

Location of Party: 

  • California

Location of Party: 

  • New York

Legal Counsel: 

Alonzo Wickers IV, Karen A. Henry, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Description

On September 23, 2009, Grey's Anatomy star Eric Dane and his wife Rebecca Gayheart filed a complaint for copyright infringement against Mark Ebner and various Gawker Media entities in the federal district court for the Central District of California.

According to the Complaint, in 2008 Plaintiffs made a home video recording of the two of them with a third party, Kari Ann Peniche, that depicted "intimate moments and conversations among" the threesome, and further depicted the plaintiffs "partially and sometimes fully disrobed."   (Compl. ¶ 10)  The Complaint further alleges that defendant Mark Ebner obtained a copy of the video in 2009 and gave it to Gawker, which then posted clips of the video on the Defamer and Fleshbot websites beginning on August 17, 2009.  (Compl. ¶ ¶ 12-14)  On August 19, 2009, Plaintiffs registered their copyright in the video with the U.S. Copyright Office.

On October 30, 2009, the Defendants filed a motion to strike portions of the Plaintiffs' Complaint, on the grounds that Plaintiffs were not entitled to seek statutory damages or attorneys' fees because the alleged infringement commenced prior to registration of the video with the Copyright Office.  The Court granted Defendants' motion in part on December 14, 2009.  On December 23, 2009, Defendants filed their Answer to the Complaint asserting various affirmative defenses, including fair use and that distribution of the video is protected under the First Amendment.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Video

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Copyright
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • California

Source of Law: 

  • United States

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Central District of California

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

CV09-06912 GW(SHx)

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Priority: 

1-High