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4 more sites sued over alleged R-J copyright infringements

Updated Thursday, May 20, 2010 | 2:36 p.m.

Four more website operators were hit with copyright infringement lawsuits Wednesday and Thursday alleging they copied and displayed Las Vegas Review-Journal stories without authorization.

In one case filed in Las Vegas federal court, Righthaven LLC sued Portside Inc., a New York City nonprofit, and Portside official Barry Cohen, alleging that in February they posted on Portside's website a Review-Journal story about layoffs.

Righthaven is a Las Vegas company that this year obtained copyrights to Review-Journal stories and has now sued 18 website operators claiming they infringed on those copyrights by posting -- without authorization -- R-J stories.

Portside's portside.org website, which includes stories involving labor and unions, says: "Portside is a community of people on the left and an alternative medium of communication."

"While the commercial media are becoming steadily more monopolized by the same giant economic interests that control finance and industry, we are dedicated to realizing the democratic potential of the Internet and other new communications technologies. We are part of the movement to create an alternative information infrastructure. We are beholden to no corporate interests," the website says.

On its frequently asked questions page, the question was posed "Are there legal issues involved?" with publishing stories from other sources.

"Well, there's nary a lawyer, much less a constitutional scholar, among the Portside moderators. But from a common sense point of view, reproduction of politically relevant material which has been placed on the Internet would seem to enjoy lots of First Amendment protection. These issues may ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, though there doesn't seem to be any too much constitutional scholarship there, either."

A request for comment on the lawsuit was left with Portside.

Also sued in the same court was Real Money Sports Inc. and Adam Meyer. Righthaven complained the Plantation, Fla.-based Real Money Sports website, adamwins.com, on Feb. 7 copied and displayed without authorization a Review-Journal column involving sports betting.

A request for comment was left with Real Money Sports, whose website covers sports betting.

A twist in that lawsuit is that the Norm Clarke column at issue included an item on Meyer, who had been approved for a $1 million Super Bowl bet at the M Resort.

Another lawsuit was filed against Jan Klerks and Stichting Wolkenkrabbers, whom Righthaven says are associated with the international website skyscrapercity.com, whose motto is "In urbanity we trust."

Righthaven asserts the skyscraper website on Feb. 2 wrongly copied and displayed a Review-Journal story involving the maglev train proposed to link Las Vegas with Southern California.

Contacted about the lawsuit, Klerks said in an email: "This is the first time I have heard about this issue. The Web site has been scanned for member postings possibly related to the issue and (such items were) deleted immediately."

Another lawsuit was filed against Goff Associates and Patrick Goff in Croydon, United Kingdom. Righthaven says they are associated with the website hoteldesigns.co.uk.

That suit claims the hoteldesigns website on Feb. 21 posted a Review-Journal story on the closing of the Ritz-Carlton hotel at Lake Las Vegas.

Asked about the suit, Patrick Goff said in an e-mail: "We have not knowingly used any story from any other publication."

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