Hilton v. Persa

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: 

01/29/2007

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

California

Disposition: 

Injunction Issued
Settled (partial)
Withdrawn

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Paris Hilton sued Bardia Persa, Nabil Haniss, Nabila Haniss, and a number of anonymous defendants in January 2007 for copyright infringement, publication of private facts, and misapproriation of her right of publicity. The case revolved around a website, ... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Bardia Persa, Reza Karamooz, Stephen Thomas, Kevin Green, Chazz Hoffman, Nabil Haniss, Nabila Haniss, Green Brothers Limited, John Does 1-10

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • California

Location of Party: 

  • California
  • Arizona
  • St. Kitts

Legal Counsel: 

Paul S. Berra (for Nabila Haniss)
Description

Paris Hilton sued Bardia Persa, Nabil Haniss, Nabila Haniss, and a number of anonymous defendants in January 2007 for copyright infringement, publication of private facts, and misapproriation of her right of publicity. The case revolved around a website, Paris Exposed, which offered viewers the ability to view personal materials belonging to Hilton for a fee. According to the complaint, the website contained Hilton's medical records, bank account information, credit card information, contracts and other legal documents, diaries, home videos, and photographs, which she had stored in a storage unit in California. Hilton alleged that the storage facility foreclosed on her unit because of a billing mix-up and then sold the contents at a foreclosure auction. The complaint alleged further that Nabil and Nabila Haniss purchased the materials for $2,775 and then sold them to the operators of the Paris Exposed website for a large sum of money.

Hilton's complaint, filed in federal court in California, alleged copyright infringement based on the defendants' unauthorized distribution and display of three works (apparently poems) created by Hilton -- "Love Letter," "I Can't Take It," and "How Would You Know?". Additionally, it alleged that the defendants had violated her privacy by publishing information contained in Hilton's medical and financial records, private home videos, audio taped conversations, diaries, and photographs, among other things. Finally, it alleged that the defendants misappropriated Hilton's right of publicity by using her name in the name of the website and displaying videos and other material containing her likeness for commercial gain.

In February 2005, when only the Hanisses had appeared in the action, the federal district court granted Hilton a temporary restraining, which barred the defendants from infringing her copyrights, publishing her private materials, and using her name and likeness. In late February 2005, the court granted Hilton a temporary injunction barring Bardia Persa from infringing her copyrights, publishing her private materials, and using her name or likeness. (Prior to the ruling, Hilton had acknowledged that the Hanisses had no part in operating the website.) Persa, apparently a resident of St. Kitts, never appeared in the action.

After the prelminary injunction issued, Paris Exposed shut down operations for a time, but then resurfaced at the same domain name. In June 2007, Hilton amended her complaint to drop Nabil Haniss from the lawsuit and to include claims against Green Brothers Limited, a St. Kitts company that allegedly was running the Paris Exposed website. The complaint also named three new individual defendants -- Karamooz, Thomas, and Green, who were alleged to be connected to the company.

In September 2007, Hilton settled with Nabila Haniss and dismissed the lawsuit against her. In October 2007, Hilton voluntarily withdrew her lawsuit against the remaining defendants, none of whom ever appeared in the action. The Paris Exposed website is still up and running.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Photo
  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Copyright
  • Right of Publicity
  • Publication of Private Facts
Court Information & Documents