LOS ANGELES (CN) – Mavrix, a celebrity photo agency which says it licenses photos for up to $100,000 a pop, claims a gossip website published its copyrighted photos of singer Katy Perry to boost its web traffic and increase ad revenue.
Mavrix Photo claims defendant Idontlikeyouinthatway.com “reproduced, publicly distributed and publicly displayed copyright protected photographs belonging to Mavrix on numerous occasions” without its permission.
The website and its owners, co-defendants CraveOnline Media and AtomicOnline, are “engaged in a coordinated scheme to undermine the copyright laws by way of stealing copyrighted images of content owners, such as plaintiff Mavrix, using those images on their web sites and then gaining significant traffic to their website as a result of the high value celebrity images,” the photo agency says.
“In the marketplace, celebrity photos carry tremendous value,” Mavrix says in its federal complaint. “Mavrix has licensed individual images of celebrities for over $100,000 to major publication outlets. … Celebrity content, celebrity gossip and celebrity photos are among the most valued Internet commodities to generate traffic to websites. Defendants herein have driven massive traffic to their website in part due to the presence of the sought after and searched-for celebrity images. As such, content websites may effectively monetize the content on their websites by securing eyeballs on the sites which translates to ad revenue; this is in distinction to traditional pre-Internet print media who could only monetize content by selling it to end users. Consequently, the defendants are able to, and do have, a national online magazine located at the above-referenced website which generates revenue directly from views by people, including and specifically by way of views from California residents.”
Mavrix says it filed for copyright registration of its photos within 90 days of first publication.
It seeks $3 million in damages for copyright infringement, and an injunction to stop defendants from reproducing, displaying, or distributing its photos.
Mavrix is represented by Peter Afrasiabi with One LLP of Newport Beach.