Perez Hilton: First Amendment and Blogging Crusader?

Hilton feels like he will not only be defending his rights, but those of bloggers everywhere.

"This one agency is attempting to squash our freedom of speech and our freedom of expression and our freedom of creativity, which is protected under the law," he said.

Blogosphere Crusader?

In fact there are those in the so-called blogosphere who see Hilton as a crusader.

Matt Lum runs Hoodlum Productions, which has provided high-tech help to Hilton's site and X17.

"When he says he is fighting for all bloggers, he really is," Lum told The Los Angeles Times. "The way Americans get their news and entertainment these days is a whole lot different from waiting for things to get printed, and that's what's at the crux of this whole ordeal."

Mirell says established copyright law applies across all media and the courts now have a wealth of experience with Internet issues. He anticipates no chilling effect.

However, the questions before the court remain the same.

"Is the content that they have uploaded and then distributed an infringement of somebody else's copyright?" Mirell asked. "And should they be paying for it?"

Hilton's defense could include the allegation that he rendered "commentary" in scribbles and scrawls across the appropriated photos and that it represented satire or humor.

Such "transfigurative" altering of another's work for "art's sake" is allowed under the law.

Still, X17's Navarre takes exception.

"Literally stealing every single photo on the Web site and claiming just because you put a few white dots coming out of someone's nose that you have safe harbor as a satirical work? No, I don't think that will hold up in court," she said.

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