Playboy Sues Site for Posting Nude Azealia Banks Pics

Sep 10, 2015 4:40 PM PST

NEW YORK — Playboy Enterprises International filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the operators of hip-hop gossip site, alleging they violated copyright laws when it leaked nude photos of hip-hop star Azealia Banks.

Banks appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine's April 2015 issue. (A video of the shoot can be seen here.)

Playboy’s lawsuit accuses of having wrongfully "reproduced, distributed and publicly displayed" numerous "iconic photographic images" of the 24-year-old rapper.

Photographer Ellen Von Unwerth, who shot the photos of Banks, and Playboy registered the works with the U.S. Copyright Office in February 2015, according to the suit. Von Unwerth is not a party to the action filed at New York federal court.

Playboy in the suit said it discovered unauthorized copies of the images on the in March, before its magazines even hit newsstands.

The suit contains links to four URLs where operators allegedly displayed the unauthorized photos.

Each link misspells Banks' first name with an extra caption such as "Nekkid Playboy" and "Loud-Mouth Rapper."

Playboy further said that the site’s operators doctored the images by affixing its "" watermark to each poached photo, according to the suit.

"Upon information and belief, defendant knowingly altered and/or falsified copyright management information to conceal defendant's infringement of plaintiff's registered and unregistered copyright works," the complaint said. 

The lawsuit, which seeks an injunction preventing further publication, is asking for damages of "up to $150,000 for each copyright infringement" and up to $25,000 for each violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 

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