June 14, 2007 -- From spice cakes to X-rated pictures, there were new attempts to cash in on the Paris Hilton craze this week.
A Web site featuring racy photos, diary entries and other personal and financial information about the hotel heiress has re-emerged, apparently in violation of a federal court order blocking the site.
In February U.S. District Court Judge George King issued a preliminary injunction against a site known as ParisExposed.com and its .net equivalent after Hilton sued the Web sites for copyright infringement and violating her privacy.
King barred the sites from publishing a range of personal information about Hilton, including "any picture depicting [Hilton] in a state of undress and in a private setting," until the conclusion of the lawsuit.
The site, which recently reappeared online, features nude photographs and home videos of Hilton — an apparent violation of the court order.
The photos, along with Hilton's diaries, some medical and financial records, and personal writings, were apparently sold to the Web site's operators after Hilton failed to pay the bill for a storage locker where those items were being kept. The site's reappearance was first reported by the Web site Thesmokinggun.com.
'The Guy Came With a Bag of Cash'
The publisher of ParisExposed, identified in court documents as Bardia Persa, could face contempt of court charges for continuing to publish the banned information — if he can be found.
But Persa's identity is something of a mystery.
Hilton sued Persa and Nabila Haniss in January, alleging that Haniss bought the contents of the storage locker for $2,775 at a foreclosure sale after Hilton didn't pay the $208 storage bill.
Hilton said in court papers that she paid for the locker through her moving company, but the movers didn't make the payments on time and never informed her when her payments were overdue.
Haniss then sold the locker's contents to Persa for $10 million, court papers say.
But Haniss' former attorney, Robert Shiri, said Haniss doesn't know to whom she sold Hilton's belongings, adding that the buyer contacted Haniss.
"The guy came with a bag of cash and she handed him the videotapes and other stuff," Shiri said.
Hilton's attorneys did not return several calls seeking comment. Haniss' current attorney, Paul Berra, declined to comment.
Court records don't list an attorney for Persa, and no one showed up in court on his behalf to challenge the preliminary injunction. Messages sent to an e-mail address registered to ParisExposed were not returned and other efforts to contact Persa Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Shiri said the original ParisExposed site was traced to an owner in Amsterdam, and that he believed Bardia Persa was a fictitious name. ParisExposed.net is registered in the West Indies.
"I don't think it's a real person," Shiri said.
Court Order Difficult to Enforce
The re-emergence of the Web site highlights one of the difficulties of controlling personal information on the Internet. If the site does originate from overseas, it would be more difficult to regulate, even with a court order, legal experts said, since U.S. courts have little control over the actions of people in foreign countries.
"As a practical matter, a U.S. court can't control a foreign operation," said Thomas R. Burke, who practices media law at Davis Wright Tremaine in San Francisco.
"News can travel too fast on the Internet," he said. "It's difficult for any court to issue an order that will have an effect worldwide. It's virtually impossible to do so."
Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School and a former attorney with the computer crimes division of the Department of Justice, said Hilton's lawyers could probably shut down the domain name ParisExposed, even if they could not stop the photos from leaking out somewhere on the Internet.
"It's really hard to keep something off the net entirely, but you can certainly make it hard to find," Kerr said.
Spoofs and Spice Cakes
There were also other, less salacious efforts to turn a profit off of Paris.
A new spoof music video called "Paris in Jail," made by a start-up Los Angeles production company, has gotten more than 3.6 million hits on YouTube in the last few days.
The City Bakery in West Los Angeles started selling Paris Hilton Visitor's Cakes Tuesday morning, and has sold about 50 a day since, said baker Maury Rubin. The cakes cost $5 a piece and have a "file" -- an emery board -- in the middle.
"I knew I wanted to do this," Rubin said. "I was kind of crushed when she got out of jail last week."