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Landlord Files New Lawsuit Against Mile High, Performers Over Background Art

Landlord Files New Lawsuit Against Mile High, Performers Over Background Art
Posted in Legal on 6/4/2021

AQUINNAH, Mass. — A Martha’s Vineyard landlord who is currently suing Mile High Media and others in Massachusetts over the background art that can be seen in videos shot by a producer in her rental property, filed last week a second lawsuit arising from a judge’s decision during the first, ongoing lawsuit.

The new lawsuit filed by Leah Bassett — who describes herself as an artist and the creator of some of the works that can be seen in the background of a few adult videos distributed by the company — is now naming as co-defendants Mile High, Vivid, Gamma and a string of performers who appear in the videos.

Notably, unlike the previous lawsuit, the second filing does not name the two people who were previously named as responsible for the sets in question — now-retired producer and director Nica Noelle and her former collaborator, Joshua Darling.

The new lawsuit alleges copyright infringement against dozens of corporate and individual defendants, including noted adult performers in gay and trans content.

Bassett now alleges the new defendants “are each known or believed to have participated in the creation and/or the marketing and distribution/sales of those porn films and stills shot on Bassett’s premises.”

Regardless of the merits of Bassett’s case regarding her artwork appearing in those 2015 videos — currently being fought by Mile High on diverse grounds — if the new lawsuit were to be given merit, it would open the door for any performer in any adult or mainstream video content to be made liable for any allegation of copyright infringement for art shown in the background while they are performing.

A Seemingly Endless Saga

As XBIZ has reported, in her original 2018 complaint, Bassett — a sometime artist whose paintings decorated her Martha’s Vineyard rental property — had named Noelle and Darling; the distributor of their content, Mile High; and others as defendants, accusing them in a civil lawsuit of a laundry list of violations against herself (such as fraud and emotional distress), her property and her copyrighted art.

In May 2020, Judge Saris granted Mile High and the other co-defendants their motion to dismiss counts I (Breach of Contract), II (Trespass), III (Negligence), VI (Civil Fraud), X (Civil RICO) and XI (Defamation).

Bassett was allowed to continue the lawsuit on counts IV (Chapter 93A), V (Civil Conspiracy), VII (Infliction of Emotional and Mental Distress) and VIII (Interference with Contractual Relations).

That first trial is scheduled for August, 2021, after an August 2020 ruling that allowed Bassett to claim copyright on the artworks.

Details of the new lawsuit appeared in yesterday’s Cape Cod Times. “In a civil complaint filed on May 28 in U.S. District Court,” the local newspaper reported. “Bassett alleges that nearly 40 defendants — most of whom were not named in the previous lawsuit, including numerous actors known only by their stage names — variously violated the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and the United States Copyright Act.”

“The complaint also alleges that the defendants' actions constituted civil conspiracy and inflicted ‘severe’ emotional and mental distress,” the Cape Cod Times explained.




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