Who's liable for the Erin Andrews nude video?

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Who's liable for the Erin Andrews nude video?

Wed Jul 22, 2009 @ 10:51AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Erin-andrews-photo The release of naked video of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews has raised at least one interesting legal question.

According to her lawyers, Andrews was "surreptitiously videotaped" nude through a peephole while "in the privacy of her hotel room."

The video was posted on some adult websites and quickly became a very hot item.

Although ESPN shouldn't have any liability in the matter, the media organization's general counsel David Pahl stepped in and sent a letter to the websites warning that the video constituted trespass and assault and that "continued posting of these pictures are highly likely to render you an accessory after the fact to a criminal act."

Power Lawyer Marshall Grossman has also been hired. Reportedly, the video has been taken down but several media organizations have been running with the story, including CBS News, which ran a piece this morning on "The Early Show" that included blurred footage of the Andrews tape and an interview with CBS legal analyst Erin Brown about potential laws broken by the Peeping Tom, the bloggers who posted the item, and even people who watch the video.

Asked whether anybody who downloads the video is doing anything illegal, Brown answered yes. "It's like buying or selling stolen property," she says. "If you know you are buying something that is stolen...you could be liable criminally or civilly."

Sounds like a dubious theory to us, and wouldn't it mean that CBS risks liability by showing some of the video? Maybe CBS viewers are breaking the law too?

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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