Singer Fred Durst Sues Web Site Operators

By | March 8, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Los Angeles – Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst is suing 10 Web site operators who the rocker claims profited from posting an explicit video stolen from his home computer showing him having sex with a former girlfriend.

The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, seeks more than $70 million in damages and any profits reaped by the Web site operators in recent weeks, when the 3-minute clip began appearing on the Internet.

In the complaint, Durst contends that the video, which he shot in 2003, was never meant for public viewing. By disseminating the clip, the Web site operators invaded the singer’s privacy and misappropriated his name and likeness, among other charges, according to the suit.

Durst, who secured the copyrights to the video before filing the lawsuit, also claims the Web sites are guilty of violating U.S. copyright laws.

The video was stored in Durst’s home computer, but hackers managed to break into the computer remotely and make a copy, according to the lawsuit.

In December, Durst’s manager was contacted by the owner of an adult video firm who claimed to have access the clip and asked whether the singer would be interested in making the video commercially available.

Durst’s attorneys sent a cease and desist letter to the defendants, but they did not comply.

Since the lawsuit was filed, many of the Web sites have told Durst’s legal advisers they would pull the video clip, something the attorneys were still trying to verify Tuesday.

“Most of them have purported to comply,” said Ed McPherson, Durst’s attorney.

McPherson said federal investigators looking into how Durst’s computer was hacked suspect the same individuals who recently hacked Paris Hilton’s mobile phone were behind the theft of the sex video.

The video was still available for downloading Tuesday on at least one of the Web sites, one listed in the lawsuit as being operated by Peerl Network Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

The other Web site operators named in the lawsuit are: Gawker Media LLC and Roadrunner Records Inc., both of New York; Hurricane Electric LLC of Fremont, Calif.; ServInt Internet Services of McLean, Va.; The Planet Internet Services of Dallas; TierraNet Inc. of San Diego, Everyone’s Internet Inc. of Houston; Verio Inc. of Englewood, Co.; and, Tyrone Norris of Capitol Heights, Ma.

In a statement, Hurricane Electric said the video was not located on a server owned by the company, but by a third party site, which has removed the video.

Representatives of Roadrunner Records and Everyone’s Internet declined to comment Tuesday.

Messages left with ServInt and TierraNet were not immediately returned.

Phone numbers could not be found or were unlisted for Gawker Media, Planet Internet Services, Verio, Peerl Network and Tyrone Norris.

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