XPays Sues Over Infringement of Paris Hilton Tape

Gretchen Gallen
LOS ANGELES – XPays filed a lawsuit in federal court Monday accusing several well-known sponsor programs of copyright and trademark infringement of the Paris Hilton sex tape.

XPays claims to hold the right to enforce any aspect of the Hilton video that passes over a network connection – a deal the company penned when the tape featuring a sexual tryst between Paris Hilton and then-boyfriend Rick Salomon first surfaced online.

Defendants named in the suit include CelebrityCash parent company ICG Entertainment, CelebsUnzipped parent Tarasant, FreeCelebrityMovieArchive parent Adult Profit, MrSkin parent company SK Intertainment, PaparazziFilth.com parent Web Traffic Inc., and Verotel Merchant Services, the billing company for CelebsUnzipped.

XPays is seeking permanent injunctive relief and more than $1 million in damages.

According to documents obtained by XBIZ, the defendants allegedly took images and derivative works from the Hilton video and used them in tours and on their sites, resulting in the dilution of exclusive content and unfair competition. Additional charges include violations of the Latham Act, fraudulent business practices, false advertising and libel.

The term “Hotel Heiress” is trademarked by XPays, as well as all derivative works from the video and the box cover.

In most cases, the infringement occurred multiple times dating back to 2004.

XPays first obtained Internet enforcement rights of the Hilton tape when Salomon signed the rights over to his brother Jim, who then assigned them Merlin SV. In March 2004, XPays officially obtained the rights to sell, market and otherwise exploit the video on the Internet.

XPays is represented by Paul Berra, the same attorney who helped Salomon acquire property rights when the tape first made its Internet debut. Berra, formerly with the Los Angeles-based law firm Lavely & Singer, has been involved in sex tape lawsuits involving Colin Ferrell, Cameron Diaz and Carolyn Murphy.

Berra recently left Lavely & Singer to start his own firm.

"XPays is committed to protecting and agressively enforcing its rights in the Paris Hilton sex video," Berra told XBIZ.

Over the last couple of years, Salomon has sued Traffic Cash Gold and Consumption Junction for copyright and trademark infringement.