CNN is reporting (via the Associated Press) that Internet gossip columnist Perez Hilton's site was shut down for several hours after his hosting company received complaints that the site contained copyrighted photos of celebrities. According to CNN:
Popular Internet gossip columnist Perez Hilton had his Web site shut down for several hours after the company hosting it received a flurry of complaints about copyrighted photos being posted on PerezHilton.com. After being silenced on Tuesday, the site was back online Wednesday but hosted by a different Internet service provider.
Web Host Industry Review provides some additional detail on the backstory, noting that Hilton's hosting company had
warned Hoodlum Productions, the Los Angeles, California-based company that manages Hilton's site, that the site would be shut down if it received any more notices claiming copyright infringement, says Matt Lum, owner of Hoodlum Productions. While Hilton's site is currently up and running, it has limited inter-activity.
Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, is a defendant in several copyright infringement lawsuits filed by photo agencies and photographers who claim he posted their photos and video content on his site without their permission. According to Lavandeira, his use of the material constitutes "fair use" and is protected by copyright law.
I'll admit I have not previously visited Hilton's site, but a quick review shows that he routinely includes commentary with the photos and often handwrites comments on the photos themselves. Is this sufficient to establish fair use? Perhaps as to some of the photos, yes. But just saying someone looks "asstastic" isn't likely to be sufficient.
Look for a follow up post with a more detailed analysis of Hilton's fair use arguments once I've had the stomach to peruse the rest of his site.