November 20, 1998 4:40 PM PST

IEG wants sole rights to Dr. Laura photos

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The company that won the legal right to post nude photos of popular radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger despite her objections is now doing some objecting of its own.

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California gave the Internet Entertainment Group (IEG) permission to post nude photos of Schlessinger, known as "Dr. Laura," when she was in her 20s.

Now IEG, a company whose business strategy is to create a controversial buzz that will drive people to its subscription-based site, is fighting other Internet sites for posting the same nude photos that it alone won legal permission to publish.

IEG purchased the photos for $50,000 from Bill Ballance, an alleged ex-lover of Schlessinger's, making the company their rightful owner. IEG president Seth Warshavsky said that anyone else who displays them--even Dr. Laura herself--will have to face IEG in court.

"We own these photos," he said. "If Dr. Laura chose to display these photos, I'd sue her. If you display my property, I'm going to get you."

Warshavsky added that the $50,000 price tag for the photos was well worth it. "I think it was a great deal," he said.

IEG also is known for making millions of dollars from its purchase of exclusive rights to the commercial distribution online of a sexually explicit home video of former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson Lee and her rocker husband, Tommy Lee.

The company said it has sent more than 50 cease-and-desist letters to individuals and companies that displayed the Dr. Laura photos and apparently copied them from IEG's site. Today, IEG filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in the Southern District of Texas against one of those sites, After Hours Production Company.

IEG membership costs $24.95 per month, but the company offers a one-week trial of its offerings free of charge.


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