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September 2, 2014

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Conservative website among 3 sued over R-J copyrights

A conservative news-sharing website with plenty of experience in dealing with copyright issues has been sued for copyright infringement after Las Vegas Review-Journal stories allegedly were posted on its site.

Free Republic LLC, James C. Robinson and John Robinson, who are associated with the website www.freerepublic.com in Fresno, Calif., were sued in federal court in Las Vegas on Monday over the postings.

Court records indicate users of that website this year posted a dozen R-J stories, columns and editorials, with the R-J being credited as the source of the information.

These postings amount to copyright infringement, charges the lawsuit filed by Righthaven LLC, which has partnered with the Review-Journal to sue website operators around the country. The suit seeks damages of $75,000.

Calling itself "The Premier Conservative Site on the Net," the Free Republic site includes links to dozens of newspapers, including the Las Vegas Sun, but not the Review-Journal.

The site also includes a long list of newspapers that have requested the site not post their stories, or post only excerpts and links. The R-J is not on that list.

Concerning copyrights, the website says: "Free Republic has settled the alleged copyright infringement suit brought by the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post and has agreed not to post full text articles from their publications or any of their related subsidiaries and affiliates. Please do not post full text from these sources."

That suit dates to 2000, records show.

The Free Republic website continues: "Most of the sourced material posted to Free Republic is posted according to the 'fair use' doctrine of copyright law for non-commercial news reporting, education and discussion purposes. We used to post full text of most articles so we could document history as it's being made, but more and more news agencies are now requesting us to post excerpts and links only to their material, and some are requesting that we post no material at all from their sites. We are complying with all such requests."

Also sued last week and this week by Righthaven were:

--Erin Wilcox and Stranger Than Fiction. Wilcox, the lawsuit says, is the registrant of the Internet name strangerthanfiction.org. That site allegedly posted without authorization a May 25 column by R-J Publisher Sherman Frederick called "The TSA's mini `Watch List." The strangerthanfiction.org post of the story credited it to the R-J.

--Kevin Kelleher in Raleigh, N.C., who operates a website about public address announcers. He's accused of posting on the site, pa-announcer.blogspot.com, an R-J story about UNLV announcer Dick Calvert being named to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame. That post credited the R-J, records show.

Messages for comment on the lawsuits were left with the defendants. The latest suits bring to 75 the number of copyright infringement lawsuits filed since March by Righthaven.

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