Unauthorized use of Britney photos focus of Houston copyright lawsuit

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Jan 24, 2013

HOUSTON - Mavrix Photo Inc. has filed suit against Popscreen LLC over photographs that were published without permission, recent court papers say.

Mavrix Photo's lawsuit, filed Jan. 23 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, alleges Popscreen did not get the plaintiff's approval to run its images online.

Twenty unnamed individuals purported to be "partial owners of Popscreen, or contribute heavily to Popscreen’s content, and are personally liable for Popscreen’s copyright infringement" are co-defendants in the case.

The suit asserts that the respondents "reproduced, publicly distributed and publicly displayed, as well as made available for other’s download and display" certain original photographs of pop star Britney Spears that the complainant claims it owns in a video on the Popscreen Web site and other locations.

"This photograph distribution and display is done without regard to Mavrix’s ownership of the copyrights in those photos, without procuring a license from Mavrix, and without providing any compensation to Mavrix," the original petition says.

Mavrix insists it has complied in all respects with the Copyright Act and all of the laws of the United States governing copyrights" and the disputed pictures are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Consequently, the plaintiff seeks at least $150,000 in damages and a jury trial.

Attorney Peter Rasla with Peter Rasla and Associates, P.L.C. in Irvine, Calif., is representing the complainant.

Case No. 4:13-CV-158

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