March 9, 2005
LOS ANGELES - Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst is suing 10 Web site operators who posted the rocker's homemade sex tape after it was stolen from his computer - possibly by the same hackers who got into reality-television star Paris Hilton's cell phone.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court last week, seeks more than $70 million in damages and any profits the site operators reaped in recent weeks, when the 3-minute clip of Durst and a former girlfriend began appearing on the Internet.
In the complaint, Durst contends the 2003 video was never meant for public viewing. It was stored in Durst's home computer, but hackers managed to break into the computer remotely and make a copy, according to the lawsuit.
In December, Durst's manager was contacted by the owner of an adult video firm who asked whether the singer would be interested in making the video available commercially. Durst's attorneys then sent letters ordering the defendants to stop.
The lawsuit claims the site operators invaded Durst's privacy and misappropriated his name and likeness. Durst, who secured the copyrights to the video before filing the lawsuit, also claims the Web sites are guilty of violating U.S. copyright laws.
Since the lawsuit was filed, many of the Web sites have said they would pull the clip. "Most of them have purported to comply," Ed McPherson, Durst's attorney, said Tuesday.
McPherson said federal investigators were looking at whether the hacking incident involving Durst's computer was related to one involving Hilton. Recently, the contents of her mobile phone - phone numbers and e-mail addresses - were posted on the Internet.
The Durst sex tape was still available for downloading Tuesday on at least one of the Web sites - listed in the lawsuit as being operated by Peerl Network Inc. of San Jose, Calif.
Peerl Network was one of several defendants whose phone numbers could not be found or were unlisted.