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Hilton Sues Panama Porn Company

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Feb 9, 2004 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
LOS ANGELES – Hotel heiress Paris Hilton who saw her porn star fame fizzle after only a month of its Internet debut, has launched a $30 million lawsuit against a porn company based in Panama.

After Hilton's infamous sex tape surfaced all over the Internet in November 2003, followed immediately by a flurry of cease and desist orders from the Hilton team of attorneys, the young heiress distanced herself from the entire event, underwent a makeover at the hands of some top-notch fashion designer, and moved as far from the porn world as she could manage.

But as of Monday, the Hilton legal team announced an aggressive crackdown on Kahatani Ltd., a porn purveyor based in Panama, claiming that the company illegally distributed the famous videotape of Hilton and her then-boyfriend Rick Solomon having sex.

The lawsuit is claiming violation of privacy, illegal business practices, and the infliction of emotional distress, and according to Reuters, Hilton is going after $15 million in actual damages and $15 million in punitive damages.

After nearly every single Internet-savvy individual has seen the entire contents of the 27-minute videotape, not to mention excerpts of it that were aired on popular television programs like Entertainment Tonight, Hilton and her lawyers contend that the tape was intended only for personal use and was not meant for the public eye or for public distribution.

The lawsuit was filed on Los Angeles Superior Court this week and a trial date has not yet been set.

When the tape first surfaced and a national scandal erupted, the lawsuit filings started flying back and forth in $10 million increments.

Salomon filed a defamation lawsuit on Nov. 13 in Los Angeles Superior Court against the Hilton family, and he also filed another $10 million lawsuit in federal court against Marvad Corp., the Seattle-based Internet porn company that first obtained the video of Solomon and Hilton from a man named Donald Thrasher, a former roommate of Rick Solomon.

According to legal papers filed, Solomon accused Marvad, the parent company of Sexbrat.com, and one of its principal owners Roger Vadocz, of obtaining the tape by illegal and unauthorized means and then flaunting samples of the tape to major media outlets in an effort to start a bidding war. Solomon also accused Marvad of invasion of privacy and copyright infringement.

In a similar vein, Marvad filed a $10 million breach of contract suit against Thrasher claiming that he misrepresented the tape by telling Sexbrat.com that he owned the rights to it. As a result, Marvad claims it has "suffered substantial damages arising out of the misrepresentations by Thrasher" and various third party individuals.

On January 15, Solomon offered to drop his $10 million lawsuit against the Hilton family if they would grant him the pay-per-view distribution rights to the video. The Hilton legal team reportedly was disgusted by the offer and refused to respond to Soloman's request.

According to Soloman's lawyer, no such offer was ever made to the Hiltons and it was "an absolute fabrication."

Just last week, Paris Hilton was offered a book deal by Simon & Schuster for an estimated $1 million. The book is so far being titled, "Tongue in Chic: Confessions of an Heiress." Hilton will collaborate with writer Merle Ginsberg.

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