Rebecca Gayheart, Eric Dane Cash in on McSteamy Sex Tape

Kim Conte

eric dane rebecca gayheart

Maybe Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane were mortified when their infamous McSteamy sex tape surfaced last year, but the scandal has proved profitable for them in the end.

Gawker has agreed to pay the couple a large(ish) sum of money -- reportedly in the low six-figures. Not only that, the gossip blog is taking down the video, which featured them having a threesome with former Miss Teen USA Kari Ann Peniche.

That's a heck of an about-face from a media company that up until now has insisted its use of the video was protected fair use.

So why is Gawker retreating all of a sudden?

In an atypical legal move (at least when it comes to sex tape lawsuits apparently), the couple sued Gawker for copyright infringement. They claimed that because Dane held the camera for a portion of the shoot, he had partial copyright in the footage and, therefore, was entitled to Gawker's profits from posting the video. Sounds convincing enough, right?

And when you consider the fact that the video has been viewed more than 4 million times, the six-figure settlement makes all the more sense (although the couple was asking for $1 million).

Whether or not the Gayheart-Dane legal strategy will affect future celebrity sex tape suits remains vague. In the meantime, there's a clear lesson here: It pays to make a sex tape.

Do you think Gawker should have to pay for posting the sex tape?


Image via Getty

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