McSteamy Sex Tape Goes Offline…Forever

Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart settle $1 million infringement suit against Gawker; blog will take down posts featuring naked video

By Gina Serpe Aug 04, 2010 2:30 PMTags
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Listen up, celebrities: If you don't want your adoring public to see you in the altogether, there's a very simple way to avoid the embarrassment. Don't make a sex (or in this case, sexy) tape.

And if you can't resist the lure of the camcorder and your nekkidness does get leaked, rest assured you've always got litigation to fall back on, provided you can endure 12 months and millions of hits on your naughty bits.

That's the option Eric Dane chose and this week emerged victorious, settling a copyright infringement suit (creative!) against Gawker and its sister site Fleshbot, in which the video hosts agreed to remove all posts featuring his homemade romp with wife Rebecca Gayheart and their very accommodating pal Kari Ann Peniche.

Um, yay, legal system?

In exchange for removing the nowhere near X-rated footage, the tit-for-tat deal sees Dane and Gayheart drop their $1 million suit against the blogging conglomerate.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the settlement instead falls somewhere in the low-six figures. It was reached after the parties entered private mediation, which was agreed to after McSteamy's case began to fall apart.

Dane and Gayheart cited infringement, but that usually only holds legal water when you've copyrighted the asset in question before it gets leaked, not after. Oops. Gawker fought back with claims of fair use, and the couple returned volley with demands that they were entitled to a cut of the profits that the more than 4 million hits on the blog posts had rendered.

The suddenly camera-shy couple has yet to comment on the settlement, but Gawker wasted no time in speaking out and defending their seeming caving against the celebrities.

"Although we are confident that our use of the video on Gawker was protected fair use, because the posts already had been available to our readers for nearly a year, and because we already had won an important decision from the court striking large parts of the plaintiffs' damages claims, we agreed to remove the posts as part of a global settlement to avoid the burden of further litigation," said Gawker COO Gaby Darbyshire.

Oh, well. We'll always have "great hangs."

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Get the dirt on the most salacious celeb videographers in our Top 9 Tales of the Tape.