LeaseWeb Sued for Allegedly Hosting Pirated Content

Feb 20, 2014 4:00 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — Adult entertainment brand Perfect 10 has fingered LeaseWeb in a federal lawsuit, accusing the hosting provider of being in cahoots with a number of websites that host pirated copies of its copyrighted images.

Perfect 10 in a federal suit claims that LeaseWeb is responsible for copyright infringement because it didn't process 22 DMCA notices it sent starting in February 2013 through last month.

"The DMCA notices sent by Perfect 10 identified at least 12,220 infringing Perfect 10 images hosted on the servers of the LeaseWeb defendants," the suit said.

Perfect 10 noted in the suit filed at Los Angeles federal court that LeaseWeb operators have "actual knowledge of the rampant infringement that they are hosting, presumably because the LeaseWeb defendants receive lucrative hosting fees from their infringing clients."

"For example, the LeaseWeb defendants have knowingly aided and abetted massive alleged infringers, including the website MegaUpload.com, whose operators have been charged with  criminal copyright infringement," the suit said.

Perfect 10 listed the file-sharing sites IMGChili.net, IMGChili.com, IMGTiger.com, IMGServe.net, Poringa.net, UltraForos.com, UltraForos.net, GalleryWorld.info and MegaUpload.com, among 11 additional sites, as those that have infringed on Perfect 10 copyrighted works.

Owned and operated by longtime operator Norman Zada, Perfect 10 is not shy to file lawsuits.

The Los Angeles company has taken on some of the biggest companies that have directly or indirectly hosted its copyrighted images, including file-sharing sites MegaUpload, LiveWire, DepositFiles and GigaNews, among many others. Perfect 10 even challenged Google over copying and distributing thumbnails of its images and Tumblr for posting images.

Litigation has become a way for the company to survive now that revenue has dipped to $70,000 a year from a high of $2 million in 2002.

"Perfect 10 has lost more than $50 million over a 16-year period and is struggling to retain its few remaining employees," the suit said.

Perfect 10 said that most of the large infringing websites are now using identity concealing services to "hide the identity of their operators, and are located in foreign countries, such as Russia, where there is no effective redress for copyright infringement, or are fly-by-night operations that are judgment proof."

But the suit notes that LeaseWeb has a U.S. presence with servers located in Manassas, Va., as well as in Lynn, Mass., on the property of recently acquired hosting provider Shore.net.

"Perfect 10 is informed and believes, and based thereon alleges, that the LeaseWeb defendants currently host at least eight websites on their servers located in Manassas, Va., that infringe Perfect 10’s copyrighted works," the suit said.

Perfect 10 seeks maximum statutory damages of $150,000 with respect to each work infringed and a restraining order over alleged infringement against LeaseWeb.

     

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