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CONDE NAST SPRINGS A LEAK: As if the year-end newsstand competition weren’t enough, Condé Nast Publications said in court documents Thursday that GQ’s December issue had to contend with a hacker who leaked a large swath of its editorial content before the magazine even hit shelves. In a copyright lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the publisher said an unauthorized Web user, which it knows only by his or her Internet protocol address, had accessed the company’s networks in September and copied more than 1,100 files. In November, the anonymous author of the blog FashionZag posted some of the lifted content, including GQ’s five alternate December covers, using a third-party photo-hosting site. Condé Nast’s legal team sent a takedown request to the photo host, which complied. Two days later, however, the publisher said the blog used a different photo service to repost the images along with much of the issue’s “still as yet unpublished editorial ‘well.’”
Lawyers wrote that the subsequent posting was “willfully done by defendants to thumb their noses at Condé Nast…” The company said the second post enabled numerous third parties such as Twitter users and other bloggers to spread the content across the Internet.
According to the suit, the original hacker also copied pages from the December issues of Vogue, Teen Vogue and Lucky. The company said it believes it will be able to discover his or her identity through the course of the suit. It is seeking an injunction, attorney’s fees and unspecified damages from up to five anonymous defendants. A visit to FashionZag Friday revealed the five GQ cover shots were still up, as was a Leighton Meester spread from the issue and Lady Gaga’s December Vogue shoot, though some of the other editorial material described in the suit was gone.
— Matthew Lynch