Adult star Vicky Vette has filed a lawsuit against RapidShare A.G. claiming the company repeatedly uploaded her content and provided it free to web surfers. Vette said she is the first major adult star to file a lawsuit against RapidShare.
According to Vicky Vette’s attorney, Michael Kernan, the suit centers around Vette’s right of publicity. Kernan said that under California law, any actor has the right to protect their name and likeness.
RapidShare, Kernan said, is illegally using Vette’s likeness and content to sell memberships to its sites.
“RapidShare is trying to redefine itself as a Google, when in fact it is more like Napster and making a profit out of selling pirated content. It’s downloading copyright protected material,” Kernan said.
“The adult industry has complained bitterly about torrent sites and file sharing sites like RapidShare destroying the business, but for some reason no one has stepped up to the plate and done anything about it. Instead of whining, I decided to put my money where my mouth is, and retained an attorney to sue them.
I have lots of popular exclusive content like my ‘Lavatory Occupied’ series that is repeatedly available on RapidShare for download without my permission.”
Vette said she decided to sue after repeatedly sending cease and desist letters that were ignored by RapidShare.
“RapidShare promised me they would “filter” their content, but I just found ‘Lavatory Occupied’… once again… sitting on their servers and free to the world. I think it must be deliberate, or they just don’t care.They seem to feel they are immune to action,” Vette said.
“Anytime I mention this to other people in the business I am shocked that they shrug their shoulders and seem resigned to the stealing that is going on. Napster was forced to comply with the law after being sued. I am hoping to set an example. Just because my content is adult does not mean that it is not worthy of protection.
It costs me money to make it, and it is valuable to me. Just a couple of months ago a comic book publishing consortium got an injunction for similar infringing behavior against RapidShare. I figured that it was a great time to strike,” Vette said.
RapidShare’s U.S. attorneys were not available for comment at press time.
In a related story, XBIZ reported today that Perfect 10, which also filed a suit against RapidShare won a motion to deny RapidShare from postponing a preliminary injunction hearing set for May 12 and moving the venue to Germany. The hearing will be heard in San Diego District Court as originally scheduled.
“RapidShare didn’t want a U.S. court to have the opportunity to hear the case,” Perfect 10 owner Norm Zeda told XBIZ. “They wanted the case tried under German law.”
Zada filed a preliminary injunction April 12 against RapidShare, saying the company is stealing, copying and selling his copyrighted material.
RapidShare’s response in a memorandum stated that Perfect 10 has declined to provide RapidShare with the links to files it asserts are among hundreds of millions of user files on RapidShare’s site, which RapidShare would gladly remove if Perfect 10 shared this information.
According to Zada, RapidShare admits to selling the content, but not to copying it, saying the material ended up on its servers, which are located in Germany, through anonymous third parties.
RapidShare claimed it’s a storage site where users can store and share files and view licensed content, including video games and movie trailers from Warner Brothers in Germany.
But Zeda argued, “They’re not a storage locker. RapidShare is the greatest infringing paysite of all time. They’re making $80 million a year that belongs to American studios and producers.”
Zada said he has lost $60 million fighting the good fight, adding the U.S. government doesn’t help the cause by not offering copyright protection. Both Zeda and Vette said they will continue the fight. Vette asked others in adult who think they are victims of RapidShare to email her and she will refer them to her attorney.
Vette can be reached at email@example.com.