The actor and Thirty Seconds to Mars musician has filed suit against TMZ via his company Sisyphus Touring, claiming that the website obtained an “unauthorized or stolen copy” of the video.
According to the copyright infringement suit, the video was shot at Leto’s home studio, and “is private confidential and not meant to be publicly released.”
In the video, Leto is seen listening to Swift’s music for possible inspiration, but eventually declares: “I don’t give a f-ck about her.”
According to the suit, a former videographer for Leto sold the footage to TMZ for $2,000, and refused to sign a document confirming that he had the legal right to deliver the footage. The suit also claims that Leto informed TMZ that he didn’t authorize the site to use the video, but they published it anyway in a post Monday.
Leto is seeking unspecified damages in the suit.
A spokesman for TMZ has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.
After the footage circulated, Leto tweeted an apology to Swift and her fans, writing: “The truth is I think @taylorswift13 is amazing + an incredible example of what’s possible. If I hurt her or her fans my sincerest apologies.”
In a lengthy statement accompanying the lawsuit, Leto said that he filed the suit in hopes of encouraging “more people to stop trafficking in stolen goods.”
Read Leto’s full statement below.
Last Sunday, I was alerted that TMZ had acquired personal and private video footage of me in my home and that they were planning to leak it on their site. My team notified TMZ immediately that I fully owned the footage and that their source had absolutely no rights to sell it. They chose to post it anyway.
Let’s be clear. This was stolen footage. This was an invasion of privacy. And it was both legally and morally wrong. Regardless of who we are, we should all be able to talk freely in the privacy of our own homes without the fear that our unfiltered thoughts or actions will get broadcast to the world. We have the right to privacy and security and when we don’t have protections in place to safeguard those things, we lose the freedom to speak loudly and clearly – right or wrong – about anything and everything we choose to.
I have chosen to file this lawsuit not because I want to, but in hopes it will encourage more people to stop trafficking in stolen goods, to follow proper legal procedure and so that it may motivate additional consideration for the harm these acts can create, especially when the only intention is to simply further.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.