Jared Leto is suing TMZ over “stolen” video featuring the actor cursing Taylor Swift.
According to the lawsuit, TMZ promised a $2000 payment, but then was warned the company never had rights to the footage, according to reports.
Jared Leto has filed a copyright lawsuit against TMZ and the parent company Warner Bros. Entertainment, claiming that the website published a sensational video after being warned that it was stolen.
The video features Jared Leto and an engineer at a home studio judging various songs off of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album. Leto then says: “I mean, f her,” he says. “I don’t give a f about her.”
Leto would later apologize, tweeting, “The truth is I think @taylorswift13 is amazing + an incredible example of what’s possible. If I hurt her or her fans my sincerest apologies.”
Now the actor is getting ready to battle TMZ in the court room.
His Sisyphus Touring company has brought a copyright lawsuit that could put the Warner Bros.-owned site on its heels with some sort of fair use defense. If the lawsuit goes far, it could also explore TMZ‘s reportorial methods.
“I have chosen to file this lawsuit not because I want to, but in hopes it will encourage more people to stop trafficking in stolen goods, to follow proper legal procedure and so that it may motivate additional consideration for the harm these acts can create, especially when the only intention is to simply further the bottom line for the companies and corporations that commit these acts,” says Jared Leto in a statement.
According to the federal court complaint, the footage was shot in September by a videographer. This videographer is said to have delivered the video to TMZ in exchange of $2000.
“TMZ requested that Videographer sign a document confirming he had the legal right to deliver the Footage,” states the complaint. “Videographer refused to sign such an acknowledgement. Prior to any broadcast of the Footage, Plaintiff had advised Defendants that the Footage was stolen, and that Defendants were not authorized to disseminate, display, or publish the Footage on the website TMZ.com or at all.”
The lawsuit also claims that TMZ rushed to publish and that 15 minutes after it had done sone, the videorapher urged the website, “Do not post the footage. I do not own it. I do not have permission.”
This is not the first time TMZ was sued. Five years ago, TMZ was sued over an interview with Michael Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe. The interview was produced by another production company, which was granted access to her with an agreement with Michael Jackson because the singer had to release Rowe from Non-disclosure obligations. It would later spark a lawsuit which would be settled out of court.
But, all of this begs the question? How powerful is TMZ? In a report by Defamer, there is a “TMZ vault” which includes:
sealed testimonies from the Michael Jackson molestation trial […] footage of various celebritiesBieber, Lohan, Travoltabehaving badly.
As Jordan Sargent from Gawker pointed out, “when a media empire like TMZ is holding the secrets, it would probably be best to pay attention.”
What do you think of the Jared Leto TMZ lawsuit? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!