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said the blog used a different photo service to repost the images along with much of the issue’s “still as yet unpublished editorial ‘well.’”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.

This story first appeared in the December 21, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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

ARDEN B’S NEW SPOKESMODEL: Crooner Marié Digby will be the new face of Arden B.’s spring ad campaign. Digby, who became a YouTube sensation after her acoustic version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” garnered 12 million hits, will wear the spring collection in the images, which will appear in fashion magazines and in all Arden B. stores nationally starting Dec. 22. That same day, a behind-the-scenes video from the Nov. 10 shoot will premiere on the Arden B. Web site.

— Taylor Harris

THURSDAY WITH MORLEY: Morley Safer flexed his inner media consultant onstage at the 92nd Street Y in New York on Thursday night. “What I don’t understand is why The [New York] Times charges so much for the daily paper and so much for the Sunday paper but then gives it away for free,” the 78-year-old newsman told interviewer Budd Mishkin. Over the course of an hour mostly dedicated to Safer’s four decades on “60 Minutes,” the pair touched on the state of the media several times. Unsurprisingly, the former newspaper reporter decried the decline of print. “Television will never be able to do what a good newspaper can do,” Safer said. The evening also provided Safer a chance to explain bits of his journalistic philosophy. After showing a clip from a 2007 piece on Helen Mirren, he said he usually had an aversion to celebrity interviews. “Actors or other performers don’t really impress me as subjects for a story unless they’re at least as interesting as their talent,” he said, before adding, “and she’s one of them; she’s so much fun and so self-critical…and she swears like a sailor.”

— M.L.