A Los Angeles celebrity photographer has filed a lawsuit against CBS claiming the network's 'The Insider' and 'The Early Show', featured an image of John Edwards' mistress Rielle Hunter, and their newborn child, without his permission.
The complaint was filed Friday in New York's Southern District Court by Zanger who alleges that during the presidential campaign of then-senator John Edwards, CBS infringed on his intellectual property rights after failing to obain authorization for a picture used on their news programs.
Alan Zanger, a paparazzo known for his celebrity photographing and stalking abilities, said the copyright infringement caused him harm and he is seeking compensation for the use of the imagea.
"According to his complaint, Zanger struck an exclusive licensing deal in October 2008 with The New York Post to publish photos of Hunter and Edwards' love child. After the photo was published, Zanger began contacting other media to gauge interest in further licensing of his collection of Hunter photographs. Among the outlets said to have taken a license were Inside Edition and US Weekly," according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Zanger claims in the court documents that he delivered copies of two of his pictures to the Insider and CBS for evaluation but never received a reply from the news group to license his images. He said they later used the photographs, for which he obtained a copyright registration in 2009, on at least two television shows.
"These photographs and the event generated great publicity and is of great interest to the public at large," says Zanger's complaint. The paparazzo said he had licensed his Rielle Hunter with Baby Collection to maximize the distribution of the images which would eventually be used to document the relationship of Edwards and Rielle, which resulted in ending the political career of the former North Carolina governor.
Edwards was indicted on federal charges of conspiracy, making false statements, and illegal campaign contributions, some of which was allegedly used to cover-up the affair.
CBS News spokesperson responded to the lawsuit by saying: "We haven’t yet seen the lawsuit and can’t comment on its particulars. We have great respect for copyright protection as a general matter, and it is our practice to ensure that our use of copyrighted material is either authorized by the copyright holder or well within the bounds of fair use."
This isn't Zanger's first time in court for his celebrity photographs. The freelance photographer filed suit against Alec Baldwin after a fright broke out between Zanger and Baldwin in which Zanger's nose was broken. Baldwin is said to have caught the paparazzo snapping photo's of the actor, his wife Kim Basinger, and their newly born daughter upon returning to their home. Baldwin reportedly sprayed shaving cream on Zanger's truck window after punching him in the nose.
Baldwin was acquitted of misdemeanor battery, but required to pay $4500 to Zanger for his injuries. Baldwin won his case of invasion of privacy against Zanger, but was not awarded damages, reports People.
After a celebrity stalking incident involving Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, Zanger, a former UPI photographer, told the Chicago Tribune, "Celebrities are not nice to me," when talking about the dangers of his job.
Zanger was also involved in a lawsuit against the Pasadena Police Department in which he claims he was falsely arrested and denied his right to freedom of speech.