March 30, 2012 7:33am PT by Eriq Gardner
Paparazzi Agency Sues Vibe Over Pregnant Beyonce Pictures (Exclusive)
Mavrix Photo, a celebrity photo agency, has filed yet another copyright-infringement lawsuit. The litigious paparazzi shop is suing Intermedia Vibe Holdings for $600,000 over photographs of a pregnant Beyonce posted on Vibe.com.
This represents the 17th lawsuit filed by Mavrix is the past three years. The company has been aggressive in courts, suing various websites for allegedly infringing photos of stars like Whitney Houston, Katy Perry, and Fergie. A decision last year at the Ninth Circuit put to rest some jurisdictional questions by allowing the Miami-based company to sue in California because Mavrix's legal targets focused "on the California-centered celebrity and entertainment industries.”
Since then, Mavrix has upped its litigation game with new lawsuits, including a $4.3 million claim last week against the blog Global Grind over 29 photos and this latest lawsuit against Vibe over a baby-bump photo of Beyonce.
According to the complaint, "Despite having no permission, consent or license to do so, in or around November 16, 2001, Vibe reproduced, publicly distributed and publicly displayed, as well as made available for others' download and display, certain original photographs of musician Beyonce Knowles belonging to Mavrix."
Last week, Mavrix settled a similar lawsuit against Buzz Media, which operates a community of pop culture websites.
After being sued in March 2011 for violating the copyright on Fergie photos, Buzz Media brought counterclaims against Mavrix that asserted that Buzz had an Internet Content License Agreement with Mavrix for use of photos in return for a monthly payment. Buzz said that it had informed Mavrix in December 2010 about a failure to live up to the agreement.
Buzz accused Mavrix of violating its contract that agreed that "high-quality images" would be provided free from defects in material and workmanship. Buzz also countersued Mavrix for violating a confidentiality provision by including that agreement in the publicly filed complaint.
In court papers, Mavrix denied the charges.
On March 20, the case settled without details of the agreement except that each party would bear its own fees and expenses in connection with the dispute.