A lawsuit by reality show star Kim Kardashian and rapper Kanye West over leaked footage of their marriage proposal can proceed because it does not violate the free speech rights of the co-founder of YouTube, a judge ruled today.
The ruling came as a Superior Court judge in California rejected a motion by tech entrepreneur Chad Hurley seeking dismissal of the case against him on constitutional grounds.
Hurley was sued days after posting a short video of West’s lavish proposal to Kardashian in October on his new video-sharing website MixBit.
The lawsuit has said the video pre-empted the official release of footage by E! Entertainment Television.
West and Kardashian claim Hurley violated a confidentiality agreement and may have infringed the rights of the producers of the reality series, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” who filmed the proposal.
The lawsuit says Hurley wasn’t invited to the event and accompanied another guest. Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, wrote in a sworn statement that Hurley would have been removed from the event if he had not signed the confidentiality agreement.
Hurley eventually removed the video from MixBit.
The footage showed West proposing to Kardashian while an orchestra played and the ensuing celebration with Kardashian’s family and invited guests toasting the newly engaged couple.
Hurley contends he posted his footage only after seeing pictures and congratulatory messages from celebrities online.
The ruling was praised by Eric George, a lazwyer representing the celebrity couple. “We’re very confident going into the next phase of this case,” George said.
Hurley’s lawyer Rodger Cole said he was disappointed by the ruling and planned to appeal.
“We still believe Mr Hurley’s conduct should be protected by the First Amendment free speech rights,” Mr Cole said. “We do not believe the celebrity release agreement should preclude him from posting the video he posted.”
West and Kardashian are seeking unspecified damages.
A trial on the case is scheduled for November 17.