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April 18, 2014

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2 lawsuits over R-J copyrights lift total to 100

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Righthaven LLC, the company suing bloggers and websites over copyright infringements involving Las Vegas Review-Journal stories, filed at least two more suits on Wednesday as its lawsuit total hit an even 100 since March.

One suit was filed in federal court in Las Vegas against Dominique Houston and the Chris Brown Network, which allegedly are associated with the website www.chrisbrownconnection.com. Review-Journal stories allegedly posted on that site this year involved the sentencing of a man for tax fraud and a Las Vegas 51s game on Memorial Day.

Court records indicate the tax fraud story was posted by a user of the chrisbrownconnection site, "jaqhiggins," while the baseball story was posted by another user, "macnorris."

In both instances, the Review-Journal was cited as the source of the story and there were links to the stories on the R-J website.

With the chrisbrownconnection.com domain name having expired on Aug. 4, Houston and others allegedly associated with that site could not be located for comment.

Another suit was filed in the same court against Hush-Hush Entertainment Inc. and PN Media Inc., which allegedly have an adult website called www.pornnewz.com.

Court records indicate a user of that site, "Tawnya," posted to the site an R-J story this year about a church that ministers to pornography stars, exotic dancers and prostitutes in the Las Vegas area.

The records indicate the www.pornnewz.com posting did not credit the R-J for the story.

A request for comment was placed with managers at the pornnewz website.

"The defendants knew, or reasonably should have known, that websites, such as the (defendant) website, are and were at all times relevant to this lawsuit, the habitual subject of postings by others of copyright-infringing content," Righthaven complained in both lawsuits, adding the defendants did not prevent, monitor for or swiftly remove such postings.

"The defendants’ failure to institute any proactive policies intended to address the posting by others of copyright-infringing content on the website constituted and constitutes the defendants’ willful blindness to copyright infringements occurring on the website," Righthaven charged in the lawsuits.

As it usually does, Righthaven in the latest suits seeks damages of $75,000 apiece and forfeiture of the defendants’ website domain names to Righthaven.

Another online commentator about Righthaven, in the meantime, on Wednesday posted a blog critical of Righthaven and its policy of suing websites and bloggers over copyrights – particularly without first filing "DMCA takedown notices" where such notices are applicable under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

Mike Masnick, writing at the www.techdirt.com website, called "ridiculous" assertions about Righthaven by the Review-Journal’s general counsel, Mark Hinueber.

Hinueber was quoted recently in a Corporate Counsel story as saying he hopes Righthaven’s lawsuit campaign will generate more website links to the R-J and result in less online infringement of R-J material.

"Yeah, right. Suing people linking to you is going to get more links? Considering that some of the examples of sites being sued included one that posted just four paragraphs of a 34-paragraph article ... with a link, it seems that these lawsuits are almost guaranteed to lead to less linking," Masnick wrote.

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