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Popular celebrity gossip columnist Perez Hilton had his site shut down for several hours after the host received complaints about the copyrighted photos on it.

On Tuesday, Perez was silenced, but the quote-unquote gossip gangsta was back online Wednesday – hosted by a different Internet service provider.

The celebrity gossip “writer,” whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, is the target of several lawsuits by paparazzi and others who claim he posts their photos and videos on his site without permission.

Pararazzi agencies make big bucks selling exclusive celebrity photos to sites and magazines. The companies that have sued Lavandeira say he has refused to pay fees to license the photos, claiming he has a right as a journalist to use them for free.

Perez Hilton routinely posts tabloid photos of celebrities and adds really lame drawings, stupid blogs and scribbled, unfunny commentary on and under them.

Mario Lavandeira vehemently defends his actions, saying his “commentary” on the photos constitutes “fair use” and is protected by copyright law.

Los Angeles photo agency X17 Online sued Lavandeira over copyright violations in federal court last year, asking for $7.6 million in damages.

The suit claimed Hilton used 51 photos without permission, payment or credit, including images of a pregnant Katie Holmes, Kevin Federline pumping gas and Britney Spears.

We’re gonna assume that the Associated Press, who reported this story, means a photo of K-Fed pumping gas and a separate photo of Britney Spears – not a pic of FedEx up in that.

A judge denied the firm’s motion for an injunction against Perez Hilton, although the lawsuit continues, as does another filed on behalf of several other photo agencies.

A lawsuit filed by Universal Studios claiming the site posted a stolen photo of Jennifer Aniston from the film The Break-Up is also pending.


X17 says the company has sent more than a dozen notices to the Australian Web hosting company Crucial Paradigm in the past two weeks, demanding that copies of photos on be removed.

Perez has also gotten himself into hot water for shoplifting his celebrity gossip site’s own logo. It doesn’t get much more pathetic than that.

Crucial Paradigm wrote to the firm representing Paris Hilton‘s quasi-namesake and biased buddy, saying it had received numerous complaints of violations and warning that one more would result in the site being taken offline.

“Please note that with any other provider this would have been done a long time ago, and moving your site to another provider will not solve this issue,” the letter read. “Continued abuse is leaving us more liable each day, which we can’t afford.”

Perez first got served in December but has managed to stay up and running until this incident. Crucial Paradigm did not respond to a request for comment.

The site’s new host, Blogads, also did not immediately return a call for comment. Mario Lavandeira, reached by cell phone, referred all comment to his attorney.

“Having lost its attempt in court to stop when the judge denied their injunction attempt, X17 now brazenly admits to resorting to threats and intimidation in an attempt to shut down a Web site,” Bryan J. Freedman, Lavandeira’s lawyer, said Thursday.

“ stands by its commitment to protect the freedom of people to transform content on the Internet for the purpose of commentary and satire and unquestionably believes that it comports with the fair use exception.”

After returning, the celebrity gossip blog explained the outage by telling viewers it was being moved to another server and experiencing “technical difficulties and roadblocks.