Daily Mail sued for more than $1m in US over copyright

A celebrity photo agency has lodged a legal claim for more than $1m (£641,053) with a Californian court alleging the Daily Mail infringed its copyright by publishing photographs without permission.

Mavrix Photo, a company based in Florida but with offices in Los Angeles, is seeking damages over the use of ten sets of images of celebrities it says the Mail published online and in print without the appropriate authority.

The agency, though Californian legal firm One LLP, filed papers last month at the Central District Court of California in Los Angeles claiming that it offered pictures of actress Kate Hudson in a bikini by a pool to the Mail for use in print only upon payment of a fee.

Despite "prominent warnings" the Mail used the pictures of Hudson without prior payment or authorisation both in print and online, the court papers suggest.

In addition to the Hudson images, the court papers claim the Mail repeatedly used its Mavrix images without prior consent and then would occasionally send "a check [sic] for a trivial, insubstantial sum of money which was never agreed upon as the appropriate fee".

In total, the papers claim the Mail used ten sets of Mavrix photos in print and online without its authorisation – including images of Robbie Williams' wedding, photos of Pamela Anderson, Roger Daltrey and Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez.

The court papers accuse the Mail of having a history of copyright infringements, saying: "The pattern and practice of the defendant is to ignore the demand of photo agencies or photographers to agree rates before use and to simply take the pictures and use them without compensation or to then offer token compensation."

Mavrix says in court papers that the Mail has established a bureau in Los Angeles, publishes specific US-facing pages on its website, and carries online ads for Californian businesses.

The picture agency claims its business and its profits have suffered "substantial damages" from the Mail's unauthorised use of its photos.

It is seeking statutory damages of $150,000 (£96,195) per infringement, legal costs and a declaration from the court preventing further unauthorised use.

The Daily Mail has yet to respond to a request for comment.

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